Black eye peas once considered dog food
By Karen Y. Stevens
Black eye peas were considered dog food back in the day by the North.
General Sherman’s Union troops, when raiding the Confederates, felt the peas were not worthy, so they left them behind along with the salt pork.
The Confederates considered themselves lucky to be left with those meager supplies, and survived the winter. Peas became symbolic of luck for the South, because of the good fortune for the Confederates.
Most Christians don’t believe in luck, we believe in blessings, and even though we all eat black eye peas on New Years day, we are just following tradition.
They say the “New Year” is for new beginnings. I say every day, is a day for new beginnings.
We don’t have to wait until the new year to kick start our diet, our attitude, our giving, etc.
If we take the attitude of only starting at the first of the year, then we would be carrying those burdens all year long. But, since the new year is right around the corner, then this is a wonderful place to start. And since we all love traditions, as in eating black eye peas on New Year’s Day, fasting is a long-time tradition as well.
Every year, my church starts out the new year with a 21 day fast. Everyone picks their own fast, and what they are willing, or can give up.
Most try to do a modified “Daniel Fast”. I did a lot of research on fasting. The first mention of fasting in the Bible (Numbers 18:15-16) is Simeon and Anna “fasting’s and prayers” about the baby Jesus. Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in Matthew 4: 1-11. In Joel 2:12, God commanded an emergency fast. The annual “Day of Atonement” required a fast, and several other days of fasting are mentioned in 1 Sam. 7:5-6 and Jer. 14:12.
The purpose of fasting is to take our eyes off the things of this world, and instead focus on God. Fasting is a way to demonstrate to God, and to ourselves, that we are serious about our relationship with Him.
In Isaiah 58, we learn that a “true fast” is a sacrificial lifestyle before God. It’s not a one-time act of humility and denial before God, but it’s a lifestyle of servitude to minister to others.
The book of Acts 13:4; 14:23, records believers fasting before they made important decisions.
Fasting and prayer are often linked together. Too often, the focus of fasting, is on the lack of food, and not on praising God, and asking for spiritual renewal.
I know we are all serious about our relationship with God, but so many times we get lax in how we express it. Let’s make a commitment this year, (along with all of our other resolutions), to fast from something, and diligently pray during that time.
Let’s see what all the fuss is about, and see if it doesn’t change our walk with God.
Karen Y. Stevens is founder of the Orange County Christian Writers Guild