OC Ministry Development Team (Dana Short, Prayer Coordinator)
May 3, 2014
This is a call for Ohio Conference congregations to engage in a three day fast between now and the August 9th special delegate session. At this session, delegates will discern OC’s response to the Concerned Pastors’ Letter and Resolution in response to Mountain States decision to license a woman (Theda Good) in a committed same sex relationship.
Why fast? Fasting is a very personal experience between you and God. In fasting, we open ourselves to the grace of the Spirit and become a sacrifice pleasing to God. Fasting gives concentration to prayer and aids in seeking God’s will (see Mark 9:14-29 including footnote on 29 and Judges 20:26-27). Fasting is a tool and not an end in and of itself. We engage in fasting in reverence to God and in imitation of Jesus, who fasted regularly (see Matthew 9:14-15, 15:32). God is to be the center of our fast. Our reward is the joy of submitting ourselves to God. In this time of fasting, we are particularly seeking God’s will in this situation which has generated great passion for those who support the resolution and for those who do not. Jesus prayed for our unity (see John 17). Let us be united through prayer and fasting even in our disagreements. Let us prepare ourselves for the August 9 delegate session as we discern together God’s will. Let us surround this session in prayer.
How to fast: We are calling you to fast from food for three days. This may seem like a long time and we advise that you seek counsel from your doctor before you begin. We also encourage you to drink plenty of water throughout your fast. If there are medical reasons you should not fast, you may want to consider a juice fast. In this, you may drink fruit and vegetable juices, but eat nothing solid.
A word about fasting: On day one of your fast, you WILL become hungry. You may want to let your stomach grumblings be a cue to look inward and to pray. You may choose to use your specified meal times as intentional prayer time. On day two, you will begin to feel better and by day three, you will feel like you can go on and on. At first we are so aware of the fast itself, but with time, practice, and experimentation, it will come to feel more natural (even comfortable) and we can be more aware of spiritual matters. Be gentle with yourself. In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster states that “fasting is feasting on God”. Let us engage in this time of “feasting”.
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Isaiah 58:6