Fasting for Justice and Reconciliation

Black lives matter. Black lives bear the imago dei, the image of God. As a community, we lament people and systems that do violence to Black lives, we lament our complicity in those systems, and we cry out for healing and justice. The BCF leadership team has been fasting from food on Wednesdays in order to seek God, in prayer and responsive action, for justice and reconciliation. Here's how you can join us.

"Reconciliation," writes Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil, "is an ongoing spiritual process involving forgiveness, repentance and justice that restores broken relationships and systems to reflect God's original intention for all creation to flourish" (Roadmap to Reconciliation, InterVarsity Press). God created all of us for life and wholeness and rich relationship, both with Him and with each other. Racism (both structural and personal), like all forms of sin and evil, shatters our world and ourselves. It desecrates the image of God in the other. We need to be reconciled--that is, restored and put back together. But we can't do it on our own, because the brokenness exists in each one of us. No one person's efforts, no matter how good, are sufficient to the task of making the world whole, because we cannot even make ourselves whole. Each one of us needs forgiveness too.

The good news is that God Himself, Jesus Christ, came into our mess, showed us how to live a life utterly reconciled to God, died on the cross in order to both atone for and conquer our sin, and bodily rose to life in a decisive victory over all the wrong-doing and brokenness that separates us from the God who loves us. When we place our trust in this Jesus, we receive not only forgiveness for the ways we have done violence to others, we also receive the power and responsibility to follow the example of Jesus' life and be agents of healing and justice in His name (Ephesians 2, 2 Corinthians 5).

So, why fast? There is nothing magical about abstaining from food for a few hours. But it is a discipline that virtually every Biblical figure, including Jesus himself, practiced in times of grief, waiting, or preparation for action. Fasting shapes the heart, much more than it does the body. In our pangs of hunger and weakness, we are reminded of our great dependence on God. Fasting helps us assume a posture of humility, attention, and listening. Fasting frees up time we would have spent consuming or spending money on ourselves for intentional prayer. And prayer leads to concrete action.

So on Wednesdays, please consider fasting from food (whether the whole day or one meal) and intentionally petitioning God to bring justice, healing, and positive peace to the deep injustices and wounds in our country and campus caused by racism, white supremacy, and violence against people of color. Ask God if there are places in your heart that need forgiveness and change. Ask how He would have you respond this week. If you like, you can shape your prayer around this prayer from the prophet Isaiah:

"Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow's cause." (Isaiah 1:16-17)