Tag Archives: fasting

Ash Wednesday and Beyond

Readings for 1st Sunday in Lent

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Romans 5:12-19; and Matthew 4: 1-11



Ash Wednesday 1 March

The observance of a holy Lent as recalled in the Ash Wednesday liturgy: “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy word.”

These are five options to develop our spirituality muscles this Lent. I think the five are linked to prayer and study. Either of the areas is a part of prayer and study or a direct result. So reading this Lenten study, praying before,   during or after. Looking at something else; a film, some music, the News, a single book of the New Testament….. and react within yourself and for others beyond yourself.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, this Lent give me a portion of that grace to be obedient to your Spirit to heed your call and develop to be wiser in my love of you though and into others around me. Amen



Wednesday 30 December

A reading for today was an abridges account of Anna recognising Jesus in the temple. 

Her response?

Anna praises God and tells everyone she meets something about the wonder of the visitation. She had spent her time in the temple day and night fasting and praying; but after touching Jesus her actions changes to proclamation.

Feeling Uneasy about a ‘Widow’s Mite’.

Church is quiet.

The are perhaps thirty people asleep, resting after worshipping from the early hours until dawn. The gathered community of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians are attentive in prayer and the tradition that brings them together. There is something quite earnest about their determination to continue this festival based around the ‘Assumption, even when they are dispersed and far from their homeland. I am humbled by their offering of such a great expanse of time set aside for prayer.

My friends in the Moslem community begin life today outside the commitment to Ramadan. The nurse in the Blood Donors centre in Bradford yesterday was having the afternoon off, as he and his family were preparing for Eid. Ramadan is based in prayer as well as fasting, of giving from what a Moslem has, as well as curbing bodily needs. From dawn til dusk, an act of will turned toward God. Life focus on the divine – prayer indeed.

I enter St. Peter’s this morning for my daily office and the sacred space is quiet with holy sleep. It is strange but my usual half an hour of morning prayer, with readings and intercessions seems sluggish and unfulfilling. Alongside the time and effort of the two groups described above, my offering seems weak, ineffectual and sparse.

Perhaps I need to recognise my marathon over the years and content myself in offering what seems at this time to be a ‘Widow’s Mite’.