We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Fasting and Feasting

Fasting, prayer and almsgiving are three practices that are highlighted during the season of Lent to help us grow spiritually.

Fasting is a spiritual discipline in which one refrains from eating some or all foods for a specific period of time. As a fast one might reduce portions at every meal, eliminate a daily meal, or refrain from eating altogether. The duration and details of a fast are always between God and the individual, perhaps with the input of a spiritual director. In the Prayer Book, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are appointed as Fasts for the whole Church. (bcp 17)

Fasting has played an important role in the lives of God’s people throughout history. References abound in the Old Testament: fasting for repentance (1 Kings 21:27–29; Joel 1:14–16; 2:12–16; Daniel 9:3–6); for guidance (Ezra 8:21–23); in trouble (Esther 4:15–17). In the New Testament, Jesus himself is our model as he fasted in the wilderness before taking on his public ministry and as he endured his Passion (his betrayal, arrest, trial, and crucifixion) without food and drink. Jesus commended fasting to his disciples, saying, “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.” (St. Matthew 6:16) His words presume that his disciples will fast, while also avoiding the showy self-righteousness of the hypocrites.

Reasons for fasting are many: a conscious uniting oneself to Christ’s self-denying life; humbling oneself before God and acknowledging one’s sins; clearing the mind and body to focus on prayer. Fasting is rooted in the idea that there is a human need as real as physical nourishment: Jesus said, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (St. Matthew 4:4)

Abstinence differs from fasting. Abstinence involves the elimination of a particular food, beverage, or activity throughout the entire season, often something of a “luxury” nature. Abstaining from meat, sweets, coffee, or alcohol are common Lenten practices. Some give up television, games, or social networking for the Forty Days. Others make a deliberate effort to abstain from negative attitudes such as fear, worry, or criticizing others.

Here is an article on how to have a life-changing Lent

Before choosing what you would like to fast from and/or feast on, take a look at our spiritual life and ask yourself:

  • What habits do I engage in that are destructive to my spiritual health?
  • Am I too attached to any material things?
  • Are there any areas of my life that are not in balance?
  • Do I devote too much or not enough time to any one thing or person?

Based on the answers to the questions above take a look at the suggested items below and choose one that you would like to focus on that will help you fast from something that is holding you back, limiting you or taking too much of your attention and then choose one that will help you feast on God.

Fast from

Feast on

Watching television one night a week

Spending time playing a game with the family

Too much caffeine or coffee

Giving the money saved to a charity

Social networking sites- facebook, etc

Social interaction in person

Driving to your destination

Walking and enjoying God’s creation

Eating unhealthy fast food

Making a homemade meal

Leaving critical posts on sites

Leaving positive/affirming posts

Complaining about chores

Doing a chore for someone else

Snacks between a meal-once a week

Helping parents make the meal 1xweek

An unhealthy habit


Running errands for yourself only

Running an errand for an elderly friend

Using foul language

Using positive language

Negative attitude

Positive attitude

Pointing out faults in others

Writing positive notes about others

Eating chocolate

Make a chocolate treat for someone

Keeping grudges

Making amends

Having extra weekend sleep

Using the time to help someone else

Gossiping or being dishonest

Being truthful and honest

Watching violent television/ movies

Praying for peace in the world

Feeling guilty about things you have done

Remembering God’s great love for you

Paying for a babysitter for a night out

Offering to babysit for a single parent

Contributing to the earth’s problems

Expanding your recycling efforts

Just reading about problems in the world

Finding out how you can make a difference