If you attended Marsh’s evening Ash Wednesday service, you might have heard myself, DJ and Abigail chatting about Lent from somewhere up at the front of the chapel. To me, the most important of our sermon was the idea of an active fast, and I’ve spent the last week and a half trying to be especially conscious of that.
Part of my active fast did involve giving something up. I decided to give up eating meat during Lent, partly because of the Christian tradition behind it, but for other reasons as well. As an Alternative Spring Break coordinator, I attended a pre-break meeting where we heard speakers from different ASB issue area talking about why our service in those areas is important. One representative from the Humane Society gave us an overview of the effect that reducing the amount of meat you consume can help the environment. I felt like during this time of simplicity, giving up something that will actually improve the world I live in would be an active fast, but it’s also motivating me to be more conscious in my daily routine of when and what I’m eating, so I’m generally being healthier.
The other part of the active fast that we talked about in our sermon involves actually doing things to reinvigorate our own souls revive our communities. By starting of my day with yoga and improving my diet, and going to sleep before midnight every night, I’ve felt healthier and more energized and ready to be present and useful in my community. By taking time to greet people, ask how they’re doing, concentrate on other’s needs as much as on my own, I feel like I’ve been able to be a more respectful and compassionate member of my community, not just a passive observer.
While it might be alright to do these things for a week or so, I want to challenge myself to really keep things up for the remainder of Lent–and hopefully throughout the rest of the year as well. I’m so glad that I have the motivation of our sermon behind me. I feel that because we shared this suggestion of an active fast with everyone on Ash Wednesday, I’m compelled to try to follow my own advice, and I feel and see the positive effects of this already.