Bishop David Walker
Bishop of Dudley's Lent message 2008
Bishop David talks of the traditional values of fasting during the Lent period.
I've become quite old fashioned about Lent. It began as a fast and in recent times that’s been how I've tried to approach it. I still usually give something up for the 40 days. I may even take on some additional good work or spiritual activity, but I've rediscovered the value of going without food. Not, I must hasten to add, for the whole season, but for one day in each week between Ash Wednesday and Easter. I've found it so helpful that I'd like to commend it to you – at least to those of you who are fit and well enough to cope with it.
Bishop David Walker
Physical beings with physical needs
Fasting turns food back from being an entertainment to a necessity. It reminds us that we are physical beings with physical needs. It rebuilds the link between humanity and God's wider creation; a link we desperately need to underpin our growing concern for the environment and climate. It also puts us back in touch with the majority of the world’s population and our own ancestors in knowing what it is to go hungry. I try to let each rumble of my empty stomach be the source of a prayer.
There are, inevitably, obstacles to overcome. My fasting can become a test of my willpower; something I can feel proud about achieving. I can do it for vanity, for the pleasure of seeing my weight drop back to what it should be. I can even do it for show; to look good in the eyes of others. But the lessons I have learned through these temptations help me to understand how most of what we call sin is the misuse of things that are in themselves good.
Join in fasting
Fasting doesn't have to be done alone. Friends can fast on the same day, or take turns through the course of the week, and pray for each other as they do so. It can be done with a particular intention to pray for something, such as before a difficult decision, or it can simply be open to whatever God brings you.
So this message comes with an invitation from me for you to join me in fasting this Lent. I promise to pray for anyone who lets me know they're doing it; and I ask you all to pray for me. And, however we choose to observe the 40 days, may God bless each of us.
last updated: 04/02/2008 at 12:59