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Fasting is not just about giving up food, it is an attitude of repentance, of obedience and of humility before God. The best analogy for a fast that I know is something that happened to me while I was at work. I work as a police officer and one day, my sergeant asked a colleague and my self to go and visit certain pubs in the area to make sure that there weren’t any problems and that they were shutting down on time. We would enter the pubs at around 11pm speak to the Landlord or Landlady and make sure that everybody was thinking of leaving.

We were tasked to go to a public house in a place called Middlewich. It was a pub that had a little bit of a bad reputation. We had already been in two pubs and hadn’t had any trouble. We walked into the pub and the moment that we went through the doors it was like a scene from a Wild West movie where strangers walk into a bar. The place went silent and everybody turned and looked at us. The place was full of around 30 to 40 men who started to gather around us.

Undeterred we made our way to the back to speak to the Land Lady. As we did so we had to push past people and people weren’t going to move for us. When we got to the back I turned around and suddenly realised that I was at the back of the pub, at the furthest point away possible from the door. The crowd gathered around us and we realised that there was likely to be trouble. One man came up to me nose to nose. He had a large scar, that looked fairly recent, that went all the way from his forehead to his chin.

He looked at me menacingly, pointed at his scar, and said, ’Do you want to find out how I got this.’ I politely replied ’No thank you, I’m busy.’ At this point both my colleague and I were completely surrounded. My colleague was a big rugby player and didn’t take any messing about. I was hoping that he would do anything daft, and fortunately he realised that the situation wasn’t exactly in our favour.

The men gathered around, all of whom were big fighting men, stood around us staring at us. They were making it very clear that if we even tried to clear this pub, we were going to get our heads made to look like mashed potato. We spoke to the Landlady, made some excuse, and made our way out of the pub, having to push through the crowd. As we went back they were jostling us slightly. Thankfully, we managed to get out safely without having to fight, or without having to run and losing all dignity.

At this point we shouted up our Sergeant on the radio and let him know what had happened. Indignant that two of his officers had been intimidated out of a pub in such a way he came with us while we visited the pub once again. This time he had shouted up at least a dozen other officers to join us as well as a rather large snarling police dog.

My self and my colleague entered the pub again and were greeted by the same reception. At this point somebody opened the doors and all of a sudden all those inside the pub could see a line of police cars waiting outside, as well as dog who was frantic to be let off his lead. You have never seen a pub empty out as quickly, quietly or peacefully as it did that night. The same men who moments earlier had been waiting to get stuck into me and my colleague, left the pub with their heads down, and without uttering a whisper.

I want to ask this question. What was the difference between the first time that we entered into the pub and the second time? The answer is that the second time we entered in with real power. You see as officers of the law we had already been given power and authority. We had been given the authority, as...

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