Nowadays, folks are fasting from food for various reasons. Some folks are fasting as a form of dieting. All of us may have to fast from food and beverages when we are preparing for certain medical procedures and tests. And of course, there is religious fasting. Most of the major religions include fasting as a spiritual practice. Jewish folks fast on the holy day of Yom Kippur. Muslims fast during Ramadan. And Christian traditionally fast during Lent, which begins this year on Wednesday, February 26.
Why do we fast as a religious practice? In the book of Isaiah, the prophet tells the people of God what true fasting looks like. "Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly" (58:6-8).