folded hands over an open Bible

Fasting for soul and body

Lent -a  season of the Christian church year

Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and continues until Easter Sunday.

Observed by Catholic , Orthodox, and Protestant Christians, (although the dates may differ) Lent is a time of spiritual reflection, contemplation, renewal,  and commitment.

Christians accomplish this in various ways such as special religious services, readings, music, prayer and meditation,  and service.

But probably the best known and observed is the practice of fasting.

What is fasting?

Simply put, fasting means to refrain from  foods and/or drink either partially or completely, for a specified time periods.  Religions other than Christianity also practice some form of fasting.

Traditionally, one  observed Lent by avoiding certain types of food (particularly meat, eggs, and milk products).  In some traditions, partial fasts were observed where participants would eat only one meal on certain days.

Many who observe Lent today are not as strict.  Often they choose to abstain from a particular food or particular behavior such as television or social media during Lent.

The purpose of fasting during Lent  is to refrain from something to redirect the time and energy  on our relationship to God.

Medical fasting

You may be more familiar with fasting for medical reasons.

We physicians frequently ask patients to fast for 8-12 hours prior to performing certain blood tests. The meaning of the result may be different depending on whether or not the patient was fasting or not.  Some blood tests that

blood sugar(glucose)

lipids-cholesterol

40 days of sorrow

The 40 days of Lent are also a time of grief.

This tradition begins with the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday. Ashes are put on believers’ foreheads during religious services as a sign of repentance.

The practice of putting ashes on one’s head is an ancient sign of mourning that was often done at funerals or similarly sorrowful occasions.  In this case, the ashes represent sorrow over our sins and the pain and death caused by sin.

Whether you formally observe Lent or not, this time of year as spring approaches (at least in part of the world)  can be a time of

self reflection,

self examination, and

re-commitment

to a life that uses our gifts to their fullest and seeks its highest reward in service to others.

Mark 10:45 New Living Translation (NLT)

For even the Son of Man  (Jesus ) came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

New Living Translation (NLT)Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

I hope you enjoy the Lenten theme posts which you can access directing from the links on this page. I would love to know how you observe Lent so send me a message.

always sharing words of faith, hope, love.        Dr.Aletha 

Faith, Love, Hope
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a blog by Dr. Aletha Cress Oglesby

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