I receive Seeds to Scatter emails this Lenten season, and this weekend’s email was about fasting. Some great ideas!
“Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” –Isaiah 58:3-7
Today, we ask you to take up — in any way of your own imagining — the practice of fasting in order to bring about justice, as described above in the Torah. Here are some ideas of different kinds of nontraditional “fasts” for justice to get you started:
- Perhaps, in order to bring about environmental justice, you might fast from eating meat today. Did you know that cutting out meat can cut your carbon footprint in half?
- Another fast for environmental justice would be a “carbon fast.” You could do this by tossing your keys and choosing to carpool, walk, ride a bike, or use public transportation for the day.
- What about putting your pantry on a fast? Do you really need all those canned goods and unopened dry goods? Drop them all off at a local food bank.
- Put your closet on a fast as described on the website http://bemorewithless.com/project-333/, where you dress with 33 items or less for 3 months. At the end of 3 months, donate the clothes you realize you actually don’t need to charity.
- How about a “credit card fast?” Can you go a whole day without swiping or buying anything? Now, donate whatever you think you would have spent to the charity of your choice.
- You calendar definitely needs to go on a fast. Write down your top three values. Then, look at your calendar. Try to eliminate as many things as possible on your calendar that do not align with your top values. Be ruthless. Now, with the added room — if you don’t already — schedule in sacred time for seed-scattering — whether that be volunteering, attending activism events, booking self-care practices for yourself, or carving out quality time with those you love.
- The ultimate test: how long would you go on a screens/tv/internet/social media fast? Now, use whatever time you would have wasted on your media vice playing this addicting vocabulary game instead: www.freerice.com. You won’t believe it, but for every answer you get right, advertisers pay for 10 grains of rice to be donated to the World Food Program.