Recently, I took up an ancient and widely-used practice ~ I spent one day fasting. I write this not to draw attention to myself, but to draw attention to our God. What I noticed is that I spend a lot of time eating; and if I’m not eating, I am often thinking about what I’ll eat next. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. Whether it’s a meal, a snack, a cup of coffee, a quick dessert, or whatever, I think eating is close to our minds. During that one day, I found myself once in a while thinking about going to get something to eat. But when I did, I was able to immediately turn my attention back to what I was doing. Sure, I was a little hungry, but I was able to experience freedom from bondage to something, even if for just one day.
This freedom is on the one hand. On the other hand, however, I realized something more profound. The day after fasting, I woke up in the morning, and prepared to go running in the same way I prepare every day. I ate the same food, drank the same drink. My run, however, didn’t go so well. I realized, at about the time I was turning around to come home, that I was hungry. And more than that, I realized that my body was weak. My experience was far from life-threatening ~ I’d only gone one day without eating. But I recognized how completely we depend on what God provides us. I recognized, in a small way, what the Hebrew people came to understand as they wandered through the wilderness ~ that all of life, daily bread especially, comes from God.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
With apologies to those who will read the entire article later and in another place, what follows is part of what I've written for our congregation's newsletter:
at 10:25 PM