FASTING . . . Advice from a Historic Anabaptist Believer

The Lord of Isaiah says: “Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists.”
The Historic Anabaptist Believer says: Therefore, my children, love your neighbor heartily, and this with a liberal heart.”
The Lord of Isaiah says: “You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.”
The Historic Anabaptist Believer says: “Let the light of the gospel shine in you,”
The Lord of Isaiah says: “Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself?”
The Historic Anabaptist Believer says: “Deal your bread to the hungry, clothe the naked, and do not suffer anything to remain with you double, since there are enough that lack.”
The Lord of Isaiah says: “Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?”
The Historic Anabaptist Believer says:”And whatsoever the Lord grants you, that possess with thankfulness, not only for yourselves, but also for your neighbor, and seek not your own profit, but that of your neighbor.”
The Lord of Isaiah says: “ Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter: when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
The Historic Anabaptist Believer says: “In short, my children, let your life be conformed to the Gospel of Christ. And the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, that your whole spirit, soul and body may be found blameless unto the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory, power and majesty forever and ever. Amen.”

The scripture passage is from Isaiah 58:4-7. I encourage you to read it in its entirety. The Historic Anabaptist words were written by Maeyken of Deventer (d. 1573) to her children while she was in prison.

I like interweaving scripture passage with words and wisdom of Historic Anabaptist believers. Very often they are reflections of each other; but is not a coincidence nor a serendipitous incident. The Historic Anabaptist believers modeled their faith on scripture and quite often (very often) quoted scripture to one another. In this way their faith was not original but modeled on previous Christian beliefs. But they were unique in that they clung so closely to scripture. Modern Anabaptist/Mennonites have not changed a lot in that. Do not get me started though, beloved, on conflicting interpretations! For now let us just simply read and ponder on their words and beliefs.

May you beloved fast according to God’s guidance and direction, seeking the good and shalom of others. Selah!


About Carole Boshart

I have two blogs on WordPress. "A Simple Desire" which is based on the daily "Sips of Scripture" published and sent out by Third Way Cafe. "Pondering From the Pacific" is based on my reflections on the world - sometimes religious/spiritual, and sometimes not so much.

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