Each Friday, we pause to explore how our fasting is going and to consider an action item inspired by the week’s devotions. Check out Week 1: Friday if you need a refresher on the what and why.
In week one, you were encouraged to give up something that gives you joy and to try to locate your joy in Jesus. How has this been going for you this week? What have you learned so far about yourself and/or about God during this fast? Were you able to “relocate” the joy and fulfillment from this item or activity into contemplating Christ and the nature of his sacrifice for you? If not, what do you think is holding you back? Pray for strength and encouragement to find joy in the sacrifice.
You were encouraged, as long as there isn’t a medical reason against it, to fast from either lunch or dinner on Fridays. Have you been able to use this time in prayer and contemplation of the cross and Christ’s sacrifice for you? How can you focus your physical hunger to consider hungering and thirsting for God’s righteousness in your life?
This week, we looked at biblical texts from Genesis, Matthew, and Romans, as well as the life of Dirk Willems and John 17:20–21. These texts reveal a loving God willing to do anything to bring about reconciliation with his people, even taking their punishment upon himself and identifying with their sin. This reconciliation is testified to by our own baptism. Too often, however, instead of bearing witness to God’s reconciling love, the Church fights within herself which, in turn, grieves God.
How can you fast from your pride this week to either reconcile with someone within the Church or to learn something from another Church tradition? Consider offering a sincere apology to someone from your church whom you have harbored anger or resentment toward. Perhaps you could reconcile with someone who has caused you pain by forgiving them and by asking for forgiveness.
Sometimes our pride shows up in the way we interact with our neighbors or friends from a church or faith tradition that is different from our own. Consider asking someone if you could go to a worship service with them, take them out for coffee or lunch to discuss what you appreciated, and respectfully ask questions of things you didn’t understand. The goal of this is not to argue or try to prove a point, but to listen and learn.
Heavenly Father, thank you for reconciling us to yourself and to others through the power of the cross. May we live under its shadow and under the humility of the cross and be ministers of reconciliation ourselves. In Jesus’s name, amen.