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Minister: Rev. Raheel Arif

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Isaiah 58:4-11 – Fast Food

Before you start reading this article and do anything, can I ask you to please pause and read the Scripture passage given above.

Friends, it is a season of Lent when you think about giving up something, or making a commitment with God, or with a friend or a family member or perhaps taking on some extra responsibility or fasting. If you really thinking of doing something, this article will help you to find ways or the things that you can do during this Lent in the run up Easter.

At the start of Lent, we usually give up chocolate. But let’s be honest, isn’t it a bit of a cop-out?

Quit the chocolate for six weeks then eat out at Easter to make up for it? It’s all a bit easy. I had a friend who gave up alcohol for Lent – but he never drank anyway, he didn’t even like it! Is that really what fasting is all about?

Here are some ideas for a more spiritually satisfying Lent, some ‘food’ for your fast. 

Which one will you pick?

Giving Up – something that will have an impact on more than just your waistline.

Give up social media / your on-the-way-to-work coffee / smoking – then spend the time / money on something useful.

Waking Up – Yes, I know, beds are warm and comfortable. But wouldn’t this make a much more meaningful sacrifice than the odd chocolate bar?

Wake up ten minutes earlier (and actually get out of bed) to spend time with God.

Taking Up – always been meaning to volunteer at the foodbank / join that walking club / help out at the kids club? Now’s the time!

Take up a new habit that will benefit you and your community

Looking Up – lift your eyes from the daily grind. Grab a little ‘Awe and Wonder’.

Look up at the stars or clouds. Take a few moments to remember to one who created and sustains both them and you. Everyday.

Breaking Up – take a long, hard look at your daily life. Are there any things that are having a negative impact on you?

Break up with any negative influences in your life, be they places, habits, attitudes, whatever.

Building Up – You never know what effect your words might have.

Build up a random person each day with a genuine compliment or thanks. ‘Your hair looks good’, you could say to another mum at the school gate; ‘Thanks for doing that’, to a cleaner; ‘You are good at that’, to the person who wraps your chips.

Making Up – You might want to start by praying for the person, ask God to help you forgive whatever might need forgiving, and ask for forgiveness for yourself (things are rarely one-sided). Make up with someone you have fallen out with.

Showing Up – be there. Presence is the best gift.

Show up when your kids want to play a game, even if you hate it. Show up home early and cook (or bring!) dinner. Show up at lunchtime and sit next to the guy who is always alone.

Stumping Up – this is where it hits.

Stump up the cash. One pound a day (or more) throughout Lent will soon mount up and buy a something for a needy person, or a bed for the night for a rough-sleeper in your area.

Picking Up – Making the world a better place, one crisp packet at a time. Pick up five items of litter a day

Filling Up – we should not need foodbanks, bit we do.

Fill up a box to make someone’s Easter. Add some goodies every day.

Messing Up – we all do it. Don’t be so hard on yourself

Mess up (OK, that was the easy part). Now admit it, and realise that it’s not the end of the world. God knows you’re a mess and he likes you anyway. Think about it.

Making Up – Make up your mind to come back to Church (if straying away).

Church is not just a building. It is a family you belong to where God is waiting to welcome you.

I hope these ideas will help you to provide some perspective to live your life during Lent and beyond.

Rev. Raheel Arif
Minister, Denny Old and Haggs