The readings for this coming Sunday include Isaiah 58:1-12 and Corinthians 2:1– 3:9. Their focus is on right relationship with God and include comments on fasting for status and real fasting for right relationship. Life for most people is best when we are in the space that is right for us, and that space includes being in relationships with God, with others, and with our authentic selves that are right relationships.
A right relationship with God includes gratitude, respect and love on our part. God’s love is unconditional and freely available to us. One comment I read recently spoke of opening our door to God to discover God’s door is open to us. One hard part is accepting that God does not need anything from us, but seems to find joy in our willingness to live life well, enjoying and respecting all of creation including our relationships with others. As a parent I want my children to have good lives, not easy lives, but lives which are richly rewarding and reflective of their gifts and passions. I imagine I am a bit like God in this way.
A right relationship with others includes mutually caring, supportive and respectful relationships including giving each other freedom to life truthfully. It is very difficult to feel connected to God except through our relationships with others and with creation. Right relationships help us feel belonging, important, autonomous and loved, four basic emotional needs. Respect calls for us being careful in developing and building relationships, growing them as we grow our gardens. These relationships need our living authentically if they are going to be sustainable.
Living authentically means being true to ourselves, and discovering this when what we do brings us joy.
True fasting sidelines impulses and self-centredness in exchange for seeking the good of others. This kind of fasting grows right relationships. May the Spirit guide and encourage you as you pursue right relationships.