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Fasting and Creation Care

I have been sitting on these for about a month now waiting for the right time to write and share them. And the LORD has spoken that it’s time!

Scripture for Contemplation and Meditation

  • Luke 4:18-19

“The Spirit of the LORD is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour.”

  • Isaiah 58 (read below) 

The week before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent, I was finishing up a study on Isaiah that I’d been doing for a couple months. Isaiah 58 was the chapter for the day, and I’d been spending this week leading up to Lent trying to figure out what how I was going to participate in Lent this year, what I would be fasting from. Imagine my surprise when Isaiah 58 was titled “Proper [True] Fasting.”  This is what it says:

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’

Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?

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? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call and the LORD will answer; You will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your need in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.

For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

Isaiah 58, NIV Translation

Fasting, for me, has always been a challenge to give something up and see how long I could go without it. Usually, it would be something like sugar or TV or social media. I would spend the first few days replacing those things with prayer, but eventually, usually after a week or so, fasting would just become about not falling to the temptation of whatever I had given up, or finding ways to justify eating or using those things again. But this chapter in Isaiah shifted something in me. This passage is not about what we give up or how we feel or wrestling with temptation as we fast. This Word of the LORD says that fasting is about what you take up and for whom. It’s an invitation to give something up, take something up and draw nearer to the LORD.

The other thing that caught my attention about Isaiah 58 is that it ties fasting to creation care and social justice, not just in the sense of fasting and praying for justice for the earth, but in the sense of social action. 

Is this not 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? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter…?” (v. 6). 

In a previous post I mentioned that one of the aspects of creation care that is lacking in the Church and in society’s current understanding of creation care is that people are not only the administers of creation care, as God’s regents to and stewards of creation (Gen 1:26-28; 2:15), but also recipients of creation care, as ‘fellow-creatures’ in this world. This means that part of creation care is caring for the orphan, the widow, and the resident alien, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and setting the oppressed free. When we fast with this chapter in mind and we take up some practice that brings us closer to the LORD and results in the needs of our neighbors and community being met in some way, the LORD promises that he will guide us always, satisfy our needs, and strengthen our frames (Isaiah 58:11)

I was convicted that morning to not only give up the things I was being led to forfeit (sugar and social media), but to take up service to my community. Two of the places I’ve been volunteering with this Lent are Nathaniel Mission, a mission organization in Lexington, KY, which serves homeless and low-income populations in a variety of ways, including through their Mission Market, which provides free groceries one a month for those in need. The other is called Foodchain, also in Lexington, KY and an organization that works to feed hungry people through meal and grocery delivery services. It is also an aquaponics farm used for community education on local food systems. I’ve also had the opportunity to invite a friend to serve at this location with me and I love that in this way, we are incorporating all of Inspire’s core values in one go. 

This idea of fasting as an invitation to not only give up but take up something is not a new concept to the Inspire Movement. In fact, the Inspire blog post titled “A Closer Walk with Jesus,” which is being updated with Lent 2024 testimonies, says “the season of Lent is not a challenge to give something up but an invitation from Jesus to take up a closer walk with him.” But I think it’s something we need to be constantly reminded of, so that when we fast beyond the season of Lent, it is still an invitation to walk closer with the LORD and to hear his voice more clearly. 

My challenge for you, and myself, is to consider the following questions and take them to the LORD: 

  • How is my fasting this Lent drawing me closer to the LORD? 
  • Is this season of ‘giving up’ and ‘taking up’ leading to opportunities to engage in everyday missions from the LORD? 
  • How can I take up serving my neighbors, neighborhood, or community this Lent? 
  • How can my fasting help meet the needs of others?
One of mine and my husband,Tim’s, favourite views at Natural Bridge in KY


Holy are you, God, Creator and Sustainer of every living thing.
Lord, when you created humankind, you saw fit to make us in your image, to create us as a reflection of Yourself.
Lord, let us never forget that every person we may encounter bears your image and was created by your Hands.
May our thoughts, words, and actions towards others be worthy of your image in us.
Lead and empower us, Holy Spirit, to be bearers of good news to the least and the lost, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and to care for the widow, the orphan, and the stranger among us.
All glory and honor and power are yours, Lord.
Do with us what you will.
In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Amen and Amen.

Songs for Praise and Intercession

The Spirit of The Lord is upon me I’m anointed to bring hope
The promise fulfilled in a moment
We’re still watching it unfold
There’s good news for the captive
A proclamation for every soul
This liberty is for the broken
An invitation to be made whole

Lord, have mercy 
Lord, have mercy 
Lord, have mercy 
Lord, have mercy

Holy Spirit rest upon us 
Teach us how to tend to creation 
Holy Spirit rest upon us 
Guide us from our path of destruction

Now is the year of His favor
Rest for the weary creation
Now bring in the year of Jubilee
Turn now from evil to good
Turn now from evil to good
Then we will dwell in the land as we should
Turn now from evil to good

Kirsten Meadows, Inspire Missioner, ATS mentored ministry student

READ MORE of Kirsten’s reflections on Creation Care HERE

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