Father Andrew spoke about fasting in his homily today, and his words are worth taking to heart. Fasting as a spiritual exercise and good work for those devoted to God is an ancient and honorable practice, not to obligate God in any way but as part of working out our salvation and devotion to God. One of the Homilies of the English Reformation says this about good works and fasting in particular: “The life which we live in this world, good Christian people, is of the free benefit of God lent us, yet not to use it at our pleasure after our own fleshly will, but to trade over the same in those works which are beseeming them that are become new creatures in Christ. These works the Apostle calleth good works, saying, We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesu to good works, which God hath ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10)
The Homily goes on to say,
“Grace,” saith St. Augustine “belongeth to God, who doth call us: and then hath he good works, whosoever received grace. Good works then bring not forth grace, but are brought forth by grace. The wheel,” saith he, “turneth round, not to the end that it may be made round; but, because it is first made round, therefore it turneth round. So no man doeth good works, to receive grace by his good works; but, because he hath first received grace, therefore consequently he doeth good works.” And in another place he saith: “Good works go not before in him which shall afterward be justified; but good works do follow after, when a man is first justified.” St. Paul therefore teacheth that we must do good works for divers respects: first, to shew ourselves obedient children unto our heavenly Father, who hath ordained them, that we should walk in them; secondly, for that they are good declarations and testimonies of our justification; thirdly, that others, seeing our good works, may the rather by them be stirred up and excited to glorify our Father which is in heaven.
So fasting is not about making a show or losing weight, though some practical benefits may result. It is about bringing us closer to God and showing forth our faith in him. Jesus assumed those of us who follow him would fast, but he had this to say about it, too: “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. (Matt 6:16, ESV). See also the Book of Common Prayer at page li for a table and guidance about fasting.
I’ve been slack in this discipline and hereby resolve to up my game. Will you join me?
 An Homily of Good Works, And First of Fasting, https://northamanglican.com/an-homily-of-good-works-and-first-of-fasting/#post-11890-footnote-0 accessed July 9, 2023.