The traditional Lenten disciplines of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving are of a piece…a summons to mindfulness aided by tangible expressions of Faith.
Fasting may entail forgoing food for a period of time. Only Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are mandated fasts for Episcopalians, but in historic Christian practice all Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent are considered helpful fast days. Many choose to “give up” something they especially enjoy for the entirety of the Lenten Season.
Prayer, as St. Paul counseled, is a condition of heart which ought to be unceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We form the habits of the heart through daily prayer, and the Book of Common Prayer assists with liturgies and suggested scripture passages for Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline. One or more of those liturgies may assist with Lenten discipline.
Almsgiving…sharing with the needy or promoting the work of the Church from one’s abundance, is a special priority during the Forty Days. It can be a useful meditation to consider how we give. Some have asked about the book I made reference to in last Sunday’s sermon. ‘Toxic Charity’ by Robert Lupton is a provocative reflection on charitable giving. This book may be found on Amazon here.
With prayers for a Holy Lent,
Remember Kathy Sweeney and her family on the passing of Kathy’s father, faithful Episcopalian John Dickason. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.