Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lent is a time for solidarity

If you are anything like me, Lenten discipline (of whatever sort) is difficult. I begin to ask myself why I should bother with it. "I need to be self-disciplined" weakens as a motivation as the forty days wear on.

A more outwardly focused motivation occurred to me last week - solidarity. Take fasting, for example. Instead of focusing only on self-denial as the reason for fasting, consider also that millions around the world are going without food through no choice of their own. Regard your relatively insignificant suffering as a joining in with the genuine suffering of the world's hungry. When you are stricken with hunger pangs, pray for those who endure that pain daily:
God of the hungry, so many are hungry.
Rescue your hungry children,
fill their stomachs with food
and their hearts with gladness.
Send your Spirit to the hungry and to the unhungry,
until all feast with Jesus in the new age.
(Adapted from this pdf.)
Yet remember the warning of James 2:15-16. Don't just pray. Find some way to feed the hungry yourself.

Solidarity gives an outward focus to Lenten discipline. Lent is, after all, preparation for Holy Week and Easter, the time in which Jesus put aside his own comfort for the sake of others.


  1. Traditionally, the companion discipline of fasting is almsgiving. Fasting frees the money for a few meals for you to give to the poor.

  2. Agreed. I used fasting as an example because it's not so obviously connected to the poor. Also, because almsgiving can (not must) become "mere" charity, and I'm wanting toward solidarity.

    Thanks for the comment.


About Me

I'm Rachel's husband and Darcy's daddy. I'm a Hoosier, an accountant, and an Episcopalian. Politically, I'm a progressive who believes in the preferential option for the poor. I use the blog as a sort of journal - to interact with my reading and sketch out ideas.