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Raymond A. Foss Poems
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Drawn to New Life by Raymond A. Foss

Study, prayers, fasting
growth through study, meditation
through some sacrifice, some meager change
some discipline, holy, drawing us
closer to Christ, closer to His cross,
to the calling, the cross we are to bear
closer to, drawn to new life, in Him
in his humble message, his radical theology
turning the world right side up
leaving our past, our comfort,
a Peter did, as Paul did
our boats, our tents, our nets unattended
drawn to a new life, in our risen Lord
spending time, precious time
walking with our savior
in these days leading to the palms,
leading to the cross, leading us all
to his resurrection, and our redemption

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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