The Fast

We read in the Bible that from time to time periods of fasting were instituted among the Israelites, but these early lost their significance. True prayer, springing from reformation and devotion, was set aside for form and ceremony. Isaiah, burning with the consciousness of national wrongdoing, exposed the falsity of such ways, urging the people to replace an empty form with a true fast.

Lifting up his voice like a trumpet, the prophet cried: Why had they fasted and God not heeded? Because even at the moment of their fasting they were pursuing their accustomed paths. What could it profit them to abstain from food when they did not abstain from strife and wickedness? An inward yearning after the perfection of God, evidenced outwardly in a turning away from all unlike God, was the prayer that would be answered.

Leaning toward material forms of religion rather than the searching of the heart shows itself in varied ways. Rebuking this tendency, our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, says in her Message to The Mother Church for 1902 (pp. 16, 17), "Fasting, feasting, or penance,—merely outside forms of religion,—fail to elucidate Christianity: they reach not the heart nor renovate it; they never destroy one iota of hypocrisy, pride, self-will, envy, or hate. The mere form of godliness, coupled with selfishness, worldliness, hatred, and lust, are knells tolling the burial of Christ."

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"Unto you, young men"—And Women!
August 24, 1935

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