A pastoral Lenten journey: "Fasting through addition"
I was a sophomore at the University of South Carolina in 2010 when heard Tom Wall use the phrase, “fasting by addition.” New to campus ministry life, I had just started attending the Wesley Foundation at USC, affectionately known as MSN or the Methodist Student Network, and since I had just told my pastor at the time, Rev. Dr. Ronnie E. Brailsford, Sr. (now the Presiding Prelate of the Twentieth Episcopal District of the AME Church) that I wanted to go into ordained ministry that I better start taking Lent seriously.
Tom had just led a midweek bible study on how sometime Lent can be a time when we should not just give up things but also consider adding on a spiritual discipline such as prayer, scripture reading, or doing some community service.
That sounded easy enough. So, in addition to giving up dark sodas, I decided I was going to exercise (rekindling a failed New Years’ Resolution that had not manifested itself to that point). As much as I would like to say that was the Lent, I got buff and girls started drooling over me—that didn’t happen.
Instead, I gave up dark sodas, never really made it to the gym, and started attending MSN more regularly on Sunday afternoons.
Now the pastor of a downtown church in Manning, SC, I find myself again on another Lenten journey unsure about what to give up. So, after a recent visit to my alma mater, I decided to be intentional with “fasting by addition.”
So…for Lent 2020, I’m committing to a course of daily habits designed to make my days less cluttered, give myself 6-7 hours of sleep nightly, and read two books that have been on my spirit.
These may seem like a nontraditional “Lenten fast” however I know and believe a healthier me can better serve the people God loves.
Let us pray…This Lent, open the eyes of my heart Lord. Open the eyes of my heart. I want to see you.