A Place at the Table: Day 21

Before I get into my reflections on day 21 of my fast, I want to say a few words about my writing process.  I’m a pastor. I’m a husband. I’m the father of 4-year-old twin girls.  Most days are hectic.  So what I’ve been doing is making rough notes of my thoughts as I go through each day, then coming back later to fill them out and turn them into something readable.  Those of you who subscribe to this blog via email no doubt figured this out last week when you received a very short, choppy post entitled “Day 21” when I accidentally hit the “Publish” button rather than the “Save Draft” button.

If I were keeping this journal in a notebook, I probably wouldn’t bother to revise it and refine it, in all honesty.  But since at least a few folks out there find what I am writing worth reading, I am happy to keep doing it.  (And I am honored by the texts, Facebook messages, and emails that some have sent me telling me how much you do enjoy reading these reflections).  Ideally, I’d create a full reflection each and every day – and I am going to try my best to get back to that.  In the meantime, I’ve got some catching up to do.  Thanks for your patience – and for reading.

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Wednesday – Snow!  Or, at least, that was the forecast.  The weather people predicted we might get 4 – 8 inches; but it turned out to be mostly rain as the day wore on.  I worked from home, and brought all of my food “rations” home from church with me yesterday.  I had my customary peanut butter and banana sandwich for breakfast – but earlier than usual. Mid-morning I made a fried rice snack (rice with a little bit of onion). I had chickpeas and rice for lunch.  In the late afternoon, I had a peanut butter sandwich snack – finishing off the last two pieces of bread from last week’s loaf.  (I really wanted to try the new bread, so I opened it; but I didn’t throw the end pieces of the other loaf away – which ordinarily I might have done).

I’ve had plenty to eat today.  It’s been repetitive but tasty and healthy, for the most part.  I feel good that I’ve been able to arrive at a routine that makes my limited budget go far enough for the two meals of the day I am fasting.  I’m sure the budget could go further, and if I wasn’t so concerned with processed food I am sure I could put larger quantities and more calories on my plate.  (If I had even one more mouth to feed besides my own, I would have no other choice.)  Yet, I must confess that I don’t feel as spiritually alive and connected as I did during that first week of the fast when I was hungrier.

Part of this feeling is, no doubt, rooted in nothing more or less than the fact that the novelty of the experience has worn off.  But I think there is a connection between our level of comfort and our reliance on God.  That’s not to say we cannot be comfortable and put our faith and trust in God at the same time; but I think comfort creates a certain spiritual inertia.  We don’t have to rely on God as much when we are comfortable because…well, because we don’t have to.  I wonder if this is one reason why Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor/poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5.3; Luke 6.20).

Lord, may you indeed afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted – for the betterment of us all.  Amen.

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