A Place at the Table: Day 11

Sunday – a.k.a., Feast Day Number 2. As I did last week, I awoke grateful and thankful for a fasting holiday. My wife made me an omelet for breakfast with cheese and sauteed mushrooms. So good!  I had plenty of coffee to go with it, too, and I plan to drink plenty more after church.

Something interesting happened about 15 minutes into worship service: I started feeling drained and slightly woozy. In a week and a half of fasting, I had never felt this way.  I left service momentarily to get a cookie from the reception area in the church office and drink some extra water from the water fountain in the hall. It helped. I’m not exactly surprised it happened; I just find it interesting that it happened on one of the days when I can eat what I want when I want.  Our bodies do adapt, don’t they?

After church I enjoyed a simple potluck lunch with the group that is making their way with me through A Place at the Table: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor. I happily made my way through a plate piled high with beans and rice (fabulous), lentil curry (fabulous), and a slice of that pizza I was dying for the other night. (I only got the one slice, though, because the kids present took out the rest in a flash).  I went home with leftovers that I will need to figure out what to do with. Dinner? Or bonus food to get me through the week?  Probably dinner.

Chris Seay includes a quote at the beginning of chapter one of A Place at the Table from the Rule of Saint Benedict: “Nothing is so inconsistent with the life of any Christian as overindulgence.”  It’s a strong statement, and one that led to a good post-lunch discusion among the group. I’m not sure I would name overindulgence as the most unChristian thing a person can engage in, but this Lenten cycle of fasting and feasting has certainly revealed to me just how much I take food for granted.  And taking things for granted robs me (and all of us) of gratitude, blinds me to the many joys and pleasures of God’s creation, and exaggerates my sense of self-importance.

Hmmm… Benedict may convince me yet.

Lord thank you for the blessings of food and fellowship.  And thank you for the clarity of vision to see them for what they are.  May this newfound gratitude stay with me long after the journey of this Lent is over.  Amen.

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