Fasting and the holidays.


As part of the activity of the Monday evening service at St. Paul’s we have decided to make weekly fasting one of the things we would do during Lent. Along with that, we are going to try and put aside some of the money that would have been spent on food that day and send it along to the Community Cupboard ministry at St. Matthew’s Anglican, not far from where I live.

We decided that the fasts would be relatively short, running from sun-up to sundown. While I had observed them during the first two weeks, I found them to be dissatisfying. For while I am fasting, I am also spending most of my time entering numbers into tax forms on the computer and I find that there is little time left for reflection, which for me is something that I have always associated with the concept of fasting.

So, this week, I took advantage of the Louis Riel day holiday and decided to use Monday as my fast day. Having been out until midnight the night before, my fast lasted from around that time until sundown. While I was doing this I spent time during the day working my way through Sharing Food: Christian Practices for Enjoyment, by L. Shannon Jung, a professor at St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City.

I intend to write on this book in the next few days, but what struck me today was the incongruity in reading a book on the way we approach food, while observing a fast. I found it much harder to read than normal, because the lack of food tended to cause my concentration to periodically lapse. At the same time, it helped me to think about what I am doing, and more importantly, what do I intend to do once Lent is over. Am I willing to allow this Lenten experiment to become a life altering experience for me, or am I simply going to sink back into my old habits again.

Furthermore, it raised questions as to what am I going to do to ensure that eating becomes more of a shared experience and not a solitary one? For the answer to that, you will need to stay tuned.

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