The Journey of Lent is a Wilderness journey. In the wilderness, survival resources must be carefully rationed. One of the rituals observed in Lent is fasting, a discipline intended to simulate the scarcity of the wilderness. Some people fast from meat, or soda, or TV. The long- practiced spiritual discipline of fasting is designed to empty one’s self, to reduce one's neediness, in order for the Spirit to keep and fill you. The symbolism of fasting is that doing without your most basic needs, food and water, is an act of trust and submission. We submit our most basic needs in trust that God will provide, much like the ancient Israelites trusted God in the wilderness to provide the manna needed to sustain life.
From a psychological standpoint, submission in trust is called humility. Psychologically, humility is to let go the idea that you are in ultimate control of what you think you need for comfort and happiness, be it material or intangible. We like to think we control our circumstances as well as our attitudes and perspectives, but very often we are not. And very often, the attitude we choose is not an attitude that reflects the benevolent love of God…either toward others or toward our self. In theological language we call humility or self emptying kenosis. Fasting is a symbol of kenosis or self emptying, which is essentially the willingness to reduce your neediness – physiological and psychological – to humble yourself in a gesture of trust and prayer before God. It is no mistake that the root of humility is humus – dirt, soil (ashes) – the same root as human. It is in the Wilderness of humility that we accept our humanness – our inability to count on anything but God to provide everything we need.
“But know this,” says YHWH: “Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Tear open your heart not your clothes!” Return to YHWH your God, who is gracious and deeply loving as a mother, quick to forgive, abundantly tender-hearted – and relents from inflicting disaster." Joel 2:12.
“And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8
Peace be with you on the Lenten journey ~ Peggy
Artwork from faithinallah.org