Pastor Weedon has a blog on the question of “Is there a Lutheran way to Fast?”. Surprise, surprise, he concludes “Yes”, and, even greater surprise, the way to do it is to go without food.
Glad we cleared that up. Quite different from Catholic fasting, of course. Or Muslim fasting. Or Buddhist fasting. Of course, Buddhist monks fast every day after 12 noon, and Muslims observe a complete fast even of fluids from sun up to sun down in Ramadan, and Catholics in Australia fast only on two days of the year (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) when they are allowed one normal meal and two smaller ones (one colleague once asked a priest what a “small” meal was and was told “A beer and a sandwich”…)
Okay. So there are different ways of fasting, but the same thing is meant. Fast = go without food/drink.
Problem is that Pastor Weedon confuses fasting with abstention, such as the “no meat on Friday” custom. He seems to suggest that Lutherans, faithfully following St Paul and in contradistinction to Catholics, do not make a “distinction of meats”, and don’t fast to impress God. In fact the practice of abstention, especially in Lent, differs among the Lutherans I know almost in no way from that of the Catholics I know. Here in Oz, the “no meat on Fridays” rule was relaxed some time ago, although many continue to observe it voluntarily. My nine year old Lutheran daughter decided on Ash Wednesday that she was going to do a completely non-meat Lent (fish included, however) and in general we have all joined her on this one.
Now I’m not saying that the oven-fried frozen calamari we had for tea tonight wasn’t very nice, but it wasn’t meat. An Australian farm boy notices these things…
Overall, our “meat-less” diet has made us much more conscious of Lent this year than ever before.
And while we are at it, check out this Thomistic argument on the matter of whether you can substitute carob for chocalate during Lent on Ironic Catholic.
Which raises the question, what would the Lutheran confessions have had to say about chocolate during Lent?