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Raymond A. Foss Poems
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Closer to the Cross by Raymond A. Foss

These days, these times,
more focused, more centered,
fasting, praying, thinking about You
about the path you walked, in that testing
at the beginning of your ministry
of the days leading to your passion
to your submitting, to your journey
closer each day to the cross
to the destiny foretold, the prophecy fulfilled
you, the unblemished Passover lamb
your blood poured out
on the lintels of our hearts
the doorways to our spirits
our souls walking with you
these days, this time of remembrance
walked ever closer to the cross

February 21, 2009
based on email Partners in Ministry message
2/20/09 from Bishop Peter Weaver

As we begin Lent, I would once again commend to you the wonderful spiritual discipline of fasting. John Wesley considered it one of the six primary "means of Grace." But I was surprised to read TIME magazine’s cover story (Feb. 23) on "How Faith Can Heal" commending fasting also. "One of the staples of both traditional wellness protocols and traditional religious rituals is the cleansing fast, which is said to purge toxins... Done right, these fasts may lead to a state of clarity and even euphoria." Dr. Catherine Gordon of Children's Hospital Boston is quoted about the positive changes that occur in the body and brain (and I would add, spirit) during a "short-term fast." The "Wesley fast" consists of not eating from after dinner on one day to just before dinner on the next day... giving up two meals over a twenty four hour period. If you have any questions about your health you should check with your doctor first. It can be tough at first, but the members of the congregations I served and I found it to be a great blessing whether used just during Lent, or year around as Wesley did.

There are other forms of fasting, such as foregoing things we think we "can't do without" like television or shopping for non-necessities. The time saved or the money saved can then be put to extra time for meditation or supporting special mission projects. It becomes a plus, not really a minus. Fasting centers us in the Spirit, confirming that strength that is greater than our appetites. It is an exercise in "God's will, not mine be done." What may seem at first to be "denial" becomes "affirmation," and that which at first seems to be "depriving" becomes a fullness of cleansing and clarity. Try it yourself, and commend it to your congregation.

Whatever spiritual disciplines you undertake during Lent, I pray that they will draw you closer to Christ, the Cross, and New Life!”
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