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SERVICE SUMMARY: In a world of instant gratification and abundant food, fasting may seem like a thing of the past. Or perhaps it’s the latest technique en route to a more realized version of the self. What did Jesus have to say about the practice of fasting, and why does it matter today? Join us this Sunday as we continue to learn from Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount.




It is even more pernicious if I turn myself into a spectator of my own prayer performance … I can lay on a very nice show for myself even in the privacy of my own room.

—Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Some have exalted religious fasting beyond all Scripture and reason; and others have utterly disregarded it.

—John Wesley


The real secret of fasting is not that it is a simple way to keep one’s weight down, but that it is a mysterious way of lifting creation into the Supper of the Lamb…. It is as much an act of prayer as prayer itself, and, in an affluent society, it may well be the most meaningful of all the practices of religion.

—Robert Farar Capon


What mercy could be greater than that which drew the Creator of the heavens down from heaven…so that He, our Bread, might hunger; that He, our Fulfillment, might thirst; that He, our Strength, might be weakened; that He, our Health, might be injured; that He, our Life, might die? And all this [He did] to satisfy our hunger, to moisten our dryness, to soothe our infirmity, to wipe out our iniquity, to enkindle our charity.

—Augustine of Hippo





Isaiah 58:1-11

Cry aloud; do not hold back;

    lift up your voice like a trumpet;

declare to my people their transgression,

    to the house of Jacob their sins.

2 Yet they seek me daily

    and delight to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that did righteousness

    and did not forsake the judgment of their God;

they ask of me righteous judgments;

    they delight to draw near to God.

3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?

    Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’

Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,[a]

    and oppress all your workers.

4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight

    and to hit with a wicked fist.

Fasting like yours this day

    will not make your voice to be heard on high.

5 Is such the fast that I choose,

    a day for a person to humble himself?

Is it to bow down his head like a reed,

    and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?

Will you call this a fast,

    and a day acceptable to the Lord?


6 “Is not this the fast that I choose:

    to loose the bonds of wickedness,

    to undo the straps of the yoke,

to let the oppressed[b] go free,

    and to break every yoke?

7 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 him,

    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,

    and your healing shall spring up speedily;

your righteousness shall go before you;

    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;

    you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’

If you take away the yoke from your midst,

    the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry

    and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,

then shall your light rise in the darkness

    and your gloom be as the noonday.

11 And the Lord will guide you continually

    and satisfy your desire in scorched places

    and make your bones strong;

and you shall be like a watered garden,

    like a spring of water,

    whose waters do not fail.


Matthew 6:16–18

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.




Silent Confession

Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.
Self-control is the ability to reign in our desires and submit them to God’s will.
Confess your sins of gluttony and ask God for self-control.


Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy. Amen.




Put not your hope in the nation;
Put not your hope in a king.
Trust in the only one who opens eyes
and sets the prisoner free.

He is the maker of heaven;
He formed the earth and the sea.
Our help will come from the Lord our God,
our gracious king of peace.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!

He is the hope of the hungry;
He is the Lord of the feast.
Our Father’s house always opens wide
to welcome refugees.

The fatherless find a Father;
The widow rests in His strength.
The heart of God is forever home
to all the poor and weak.

Words & Music by Wendell Kimbrough & Paul Zach. © 2017 Wendell Kimbrough (BMI) & Paul Zach Publishing (SESAC). CCLI #7100100


from Come to Me, released February 16, 2018