Should we stop calling Lent a fast, now that true
fasting is rare?
Most effectively this is what Common Worship enables us
to do, because Lent is no longer presented simply as a long and
rigorous fast. The 1662 Prayer Book's "Table" that designated all
forty days of Lent to be "days of fasting or abstinence" has been
replaced by "Days of Discipline and Self-Denial", which cover the
weekdays of Lent.
Discipline and self-denial can embrace many practices besides
fasting and abstinence, and their observance is left to individuals
to work out. The Proper Prefaces take up these keynote themes,
giving thanks for "the spirit of discipline that we may triumph
over evil . . ."; and when "fasting" is mentioned in the Extended
Preface, it is closely linked with "prayer and acts of
The collect for Lent 1 no longer seeks grace to use "abstinence"
in the narrower sense to subdue the flesh, but "to discipline
ourselves in obedience to thy Spirit".
Traditional fasting, rare as it may, be, remains a time-honoured
practice in Lent, but other disciplines of self-denial which find
expression in practical and outward-going ways give an even greater
sense of reality to this season of preparation.
(Canon) Terry Palmer
Members of our PCC are anxious over the behaviour of our
incumbent, who demonstrates what appear to be symptoms of early
dementia. This might simply be tiredness or depression, but is
there any way this matter could be resolved?
Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta
House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.