Sunday, March 8, 2015

Fasting Training - Lent 3, Numbers 21:4-9; Matthew 4:1-4

Commerce Presbyterian Church, March 8, 2015, 3rd Sunday of Lent (but using portion of fourth Sunday Lectionary)

How’s your training going?  
When I initially began training for the Mt Taylor quadrathlon way back when; it was extremely painful for the first 3-6 weeks.  
I was sore, I felt like my muscles were on a tag-team mission to bring me down:
passing to one another the pain of a pull or a strain -
One week, right glut (ah), next week, right hamstring (ah),
then right calf (ah) - left calf (Ah); left ham (ah).  etc.

The pain of trying to do something we’re not used to doing is why many people
- don’t get past January with new years resolutions;
- don’t get beyond the first few weeks of a trying a new diet,

It’s too hard!
break old habits!
can’t teach us old dogs new tricks!
Behold I am doing a new thing!

But the call of Lent is to be disciplined.
To be disciples...
Come on disciples! Drop your nets... follow me.

SLIDE - Desert Mothers and Fathers
Since the time Jesus fasted in the wilderness, many, we call desert fathers and mothers, have wandered into the wilderness to model Jesus’ behavior where they dedicated themselves to prayer, meditation on scripture, solitude, labor, poverty, fasting, service.
These involve both taking on and giving up...

Slide -Training Elements

We started our training 3 weeks ago now, right
- week 1 - at least 10 - 15 minutes in intentional prayer; How’s your training going?
- week 2 -  at least 10 - 15 minutes reading Scripture;   How’s your training going?
And this week, Week 3 - we are thinking about fasting….Who’s ready to train!?

Fasting of all things, during that time when things start to get hard;
the songs we sing during lent begin to drag on...the light of day begins to get longer and it seems like the end of Lent is further and further away..

Fasting? really?  
What do yall think about fasting?

I didn’t know this until last night as I was putting finishing touches;
this sermon is really trying to convince you...and perhaps better said, convince me (I’ve said before most sermons I preach are for me), well convince all of us that fasting is something not just worthwhile, but something that should be part of our a regular daily living, not just during lent.  

Maybe some of you already know about fasting, and fast regularly? Anyone?

My experience:
I’ve fasted on occasion in college as part of campus ministry organizations I was part of.
We fasted and prayed; but, that was when I was 20 years ago!

Well for the benefit of those of us for whom fasting is kind of a newer idea, or not something we practice regularly, let’s start at a base level.

First, a definition:
SLIDE - Definition Fasting
  1. Fasting is primarily an act of willing abstinence or reduction from certain or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time.
Food or drink, or both... pretty essential to life, right?
Why give that up?