Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Think Fast

"Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training.  But that person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: 'Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins'" (Small Catechism).

One of the congregation's more senior ladies whispered to me on the way out of church Sunday, "I fasted this morning."  "Oh, bless you!" I said, clearly revealing my pleasure.  "Now go eat something."

See, several weeks ago I gave a sermon on how to fast and prepare your body for receiving Communion.  I shared five concrete examples such as dressing your best or brushing your teeth.  The fifth and final suggestion was to skip breakfast on Sunday morning as a bit of fasting before receiving Communion.  I stressed that this should only be done health-permitting, and that people might consider doing it one Sunday a month at first.

Fasting on Sunday morning helps teach self-control, repentance, and focus on God.  What's more, it turns the Lord's Supper into the true breakfast.  You break your fast with the body and blood of Jesus.  And because Sunday is the first day of the week, the Sacrament becomes your First Food of the new week.

But let us fast and prepare in other ways not because we must but because we are in love with Christ!  A lover experiences loss of appetite out of a consuming desire to be with the other person.  In a spiritual manner, this should be our experience toward the dear Lord Christ.