Every Lent comes around and the conversation in Christian circles that observe Lent talk about fasting. Specifically about what we are "giving up for Lent". There there are others who talk about not giving up something for Lent but taking something additional on (such as a prayer practice). The thing I have noticed in the conversations about fasting that I have been involved in is the there is an overwhelming resistance to fast from food.
I am not saying that we all should fast from food like the desert fathers or that fasting from other things (such as Facebook or television) are not worthy disciplines. What I am saying is that perhaps our resistance to give up food for a period of time exposes for us that we are addicted to food.
The life of the Christian is one that is disciplined. Yes, we (I) mess up and fail at fulfilling the discipline. But the disciplined life teaches us how to Love. Fasting is a critical discipline toward learning how to Love. Can you imagine a doctor learning how to heal people without a stethoscope? Or a judge learning how to administer justice without deliberation? Fasting, specifically fasting from food, breaks our addition to food and leads us to love more fully.
Christians do things that Jesus did and commands us to do. We pray, we wash feet, we baptize, we teach, we love, we share, but for some reason we in the USA are not big on fasting from food - even though Jesus did this and expected it of his disciples.
Perhaps the great irony is that today many American Christians have an abundance of food and yet we are still unable, unwilling or uninterested in fasting from food. Is it not a sign of addition that even if you have an abundance you still cannot get enough?
So may we all prayerfully consider the ancient practice of fasting from food for a period of time. Pray. Rejoice. Give thanks and may we learn to Love as Christ Loves.