Why We Must Fast

The Lenten Fast
There are some in the Church who would opine that one need not necessarily give something up during Lent, but instead it may be beneficial to add something – usually it is recommended to add either some act of charity for the poor (almsgiving) or to take more time for reading the Bible (prayer). It seems that such persons have scarcely realized that the practices of Lent are three: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. It will not do simply to practice one of the three, leaving the others aside.
Indeed, it needs be stressed that, of the three practices, fasting is the most important to consider – for it is the fast which most characterizes the season of Lent. Moreover, while the giving of alms and prayer are necessary always, the Lenten Fast is practiced only for these forty days: How great a folly it would be to miss it!
The above and more is at The New Theological Movement.

40 Ways for These 40 Days

Well, we’re about to embark on Lent 2011: 40 days of prayer, penitence and self-mortification.

Will the next six weeks be filled with trepidation — How will I give something up for 40 days? — or determination — How do I prepare myself for Easter? Lent is supposed to be difficult, but not for difficulty’s sake. Just as we need Advent to prepare our hearts for Our Lord’s coming at Christmas, we need to prepare our hearts for his resurrection at Easter.

What follows are 40 ways to make your 40 days more fruitful. Above all, we should try to abandon the American I’ll-do-it-myself-thank-you-very-much approach and focus more on “being prepared by God.” Do this — setting things aside to listen to God, putting our lives and our days in his hands — will make our 40-day plunge more like a 40-day pilgrimage to Calvary, and hopefully set in motion a path of spiritual growth that carries us long past this year’s Easter celebration…

Read these here.

Bible Archaeology

Circling the Temple Mount Gates – Jerusalem

Via Ritmeyer Archaeological Design

Gil Ronen & Yoni Kempinski report in Arutz Sheva on the monthly Circling of the Gates, which includes a video clip:

Thousands of people took part Sunday evening in “The Circling of the Gates” – Sivuv Shearim in Hebrew – a renewal of an ancient custom that expresses, in our age, a yearning for the Holy Temple.

Sivuv Shearim involves making pilgrimage to Jerusalem, walking around the Temple Mount and stopping at each of its gates.

The event takes place every Hebrew month on Erev Rosh Hodesh, the eve of the first day of the month. The route followed by the participants passes through the Muslim quarter of the Old City. The participants stop at every gate and recite a section of the Tenth Psalm.

The event usually draws about 3,000 participants. Its organizers dream of the day in which 20,000 people take part, placing the Temple Mount on the public agenda for the entire Jewish nation.

It reminds us of two beautiful Psalms:

“That in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your salvation.” (Ps. 9.14 ESV)

“Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.” (Ps. 48.12-14 ESV)

There some nice images of the above (like the one below) here: