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The Spirituality of Fasting, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

6- Fasting of the whole nations

 

St-Takla.org Image: An illustration by Gostav Dore: Esther confounding Haman صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: صورة للفنان جوستاف دوريه: أستير تجابه هامان

St-Takla.org Image: An illustration by Gostav Dore: Esther confounding Haman

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: صورة للفنان جوستاف دوريه: أستير تجابه هامان أمام الملك أحشويررش

This is collective worship (and is other than special individual fasts).

For in doing this, the people's hearts meet together in self-abasement before God.

As Christians pray together with one soul and spirit offering their prayer to God "with one accord" (Acts 4:24), and also offer well as their private prayers, so it is with fasting:

There are many examples in the Holy Bible of collective fasts in which all the faithful participated, together and with one spirit, presenting a unified fast to God, the same fast for the whole church.

The most outstanding of these fasts was the one undertaken by the whole population in distress, during the reign of Queen Esther, seeking God's mercy (Esther 4:3,16). They fasted in lamentation and dressed in "sackcloth with ashes" until the Lord hearkened and saved them.

Whole population also fasted at a call from Ezra, the priest, by the river Ahava, in humility to God. (Ezra 8:21,23). Together with Nehemiah, they “Assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads.” (Neh 9:1).

In the same way, people fasted in the days of Jehoshaphat (2 Chr 20:3).

The Epistle of Jeremiah tells us of the fasting by the people in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah (Jer 36:9).

There was also another collective fast during the days of the Prophet Joel (Joel 2:12).

Other collective fasts, were “The fast of the fourth month, The fast of the fifth, The fast of the seventh, And the fast of the tenth” (Zech 8:19).

Fasting is also common in every religion where nations fast.

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