Fasting and abstinence is an ancient tradition of the Christian church. Since Reformation times, some Protestant churches have moved away from the practice but the late 20th century saw many of these churches and individuals return to the practice. Much of this return to tradition could be attributed to the writing of the Evangelical Quaker, Richard Foster, and his Renovare movement.
Traditional Lenten practice in the Christian Church in the western tradition is that Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence and all Fridays in Lent are days of abstinence. Fasting means one main meal during the day and, if necessary, two smaller meals to keep up one's strength. These smaller meals should not exceed the main meal. Abstinence means abstaining from meat. Beef and poultry are out on days of abstinence but fish is permitted. From this tradition of fasting and abstinence during Lent comes the tradition of "giving up" something for Lent i.e. children might decide to give up lollies, men might give up alcohol and so on.
The purpose of such practices is to encourage a penitent way of life during this season of the soul remembering our dependency on God and how sinful human nature impeded, and continues to impede, our relationship with our Creator and brought Jesus to the Cross.
Friday, February 23, 2007
Seasons of the Soul: Fasting and abstinence
I'm a Has Been - or to be grammatically correct a Have Been. I have been - Nurse, Librarian, Station Cook, Union Organiser, Political Staffer, Corporate PA, Business Woman. I receive that well-known arts/blogging subsidy known as the Old Aged Pension and keep myself occupied out-of-doors with gardening, community activism & doing coffee.