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Freedom in Fasting

*  Is this a fast, to keep the larder lean?   And clean …. 

I’m always a bit envious of  Jewish children who laugh and play and look for the last bit of chametz before Passover, and of Muslim families and friends who are able to feast and laugh together after fasting each day of Ramadan.  Christians so often turn Lent into a penance or a second-rate guilt-trip, when it could be such fun.

Suddenly we have an excuse to try something new, and it doesn’t have to last for ever! We could change our diet. We could go on a diet. We could read a book we’ve always wanted to read.  We could stop reading books! We could go to bed early, or get up early  – and if anyone asks us we can just say ‘I’m doing it for Lent’ and no one would question us.  What  freedom!

In fact we could remind ourselves that ‘the Sabbath was made for humanity, not humanity for the Sabbath’ and we could say ‘I’m just  giving myself a little more time during Lent to be myself’ or ‘a little more quality time to spend with my friends’ – or ‘with other people’ – or ‘with people who need me’.

* It is to fast from strife,   From old debate   And hate;  
 ‘Lent’ By Robert Herrick (1591–1674)

And I would add – a fast to live a little.

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