A Place at the Table: Days 34 and 35

Tuesday – Wednesday: Tuesday was uneventful.  On Wednesday, I broke my fast at lunch – intentionally – after some reflection. Here’s what happened:

I conducted a funeral at church in the morning.  The deceased, Mrs. Bender, was someone I did not know, even though she had been a member of FBCH for a number of years.  She had moved to a nursing home out of town before I became the pastor here.  The service was a small affair, with mostly family in attendance.  Following the service, Mrs. Benders two gracious sons invited everyone to a repast downstairs in the fellowship hall – and they wanted me to be there.  At first, I thought about sitting at the table with everyone but not eating.  However, I knew that would invite questions and, as I was answering those questions in my head, I couldn’t find answers that didn’t ring with self-righteousness.  Jesus’ words in Matthew 6 kept coming back to me.  So, since everyone else present at the service was invited and since it would not cost me any money but it would afford me the opportunity to continue my ministry to the family, I decided it would be better in this instance to eat than not to eat.  But I determined to  limit myself to one plate of food – no seconds (which is no small challenge at a church potluck).

The meal was classic funeral food: ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, mac-n-cheese, salad, fruit, and homemade cake.  Everything was fantastic, and chatting with the family over food was as enjoyable and edifying an experience as I had hoped.  The only thing I wish had been different was the cup of Mountain Dew I had as my beverage.  It was the only thing left when I got to the drinks table.  As far as I can remember, this was my first taste of Mountain Dew in the 21st century – and it is likely to be my last.  It was wretched.  I honestly do not know how (or why) I drunk that stuff in high school.      

The repast broke up between 2:00 and 2:30pm.  I went home to change and then came back to church to work on other things.  I swung by Giant on the way in and spent $2.69 on more half-n-half.  Interestingly enough, I started to become hungrier and hungrier as the afternoon wore on – much hungrier than I normally am, even though the quantity of food on my plate was much greater than what I am normally eating during this fast.  By the time I picked my daughters up from pre-school, my blood sugar was bottoming out.  On the drive home, I started feeling warm, then cold; my stomach was screaming for food.   That has never happened on my pb&banana/stir-fry diet.  I remembered that I had a box of raisins in my backpack (from before the fast started) and I scarfed them down before going into the house just to take the edge off.

This experience takes me straight back to the A Place at the Table film.  It really makes me wonder about the kinds of food we Americans think of as  traditional or even “normal.”.  There was a good bit of protein in the ham, but pretty much everything else on the table at the repast was a processed carb of some kind, no doubt laced with generous  quantities of sodium or sugar (if not both).   It was a very eye-opening evening.    If the goal of this fast is to learn something, then I definitely made the right decision about joining the repast.

Lord Jesus, thank you for teaching us. Help us to be attentive students (i.e. disciples).  Amen.

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