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7:30 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite I (In-person only)

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7:30 a.m. – Holy Eucharist, Rite II (In-person only)

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12:05 p.m. – Healing Eucharist, Rite II (In-person only)

9:00 p.m. – Compline (online via FB)

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A Message from Duncan- February 26, 2024

A Message from Duncan- February 26, 2024

Go on; it’ll do you good!

 A conversation with a friend went like this:

 Me: I heard you do a 24-hour fast every week!  Are you out of your mind?

Friend: Probably.

Me: WHY?  It’s a bit ‘Old Testament’, isn’t it?  Aren’t Christians supposed to be free from trying to impress God with religious rituals?

Friend: You don’t have to fast, we’re not under religious laws.  Neither do we have to pray or go to church.  But we do them because they help us in our faith.  Same with fasting.  The real question is not ‘why should I?’ but ‘why shouldn’t I? – if it’s going to help me.’

Hmm.  I wasn’t convinced.  I’m more so now that I’ve had a few years to think about it (change doesn’t come easy.)

Last week I wrote about two types of spiritual practices – those of abstinence (things we refrain from for a time) and those of engagement (disciplines we take up and add on).  This was in preparation for the next few weeks of articles, which will be specifically about fasting.  Congratulations on still reading!

First, let me assure you I feel your pain.  No one enjoys depriving themselves of life’s great pleasures (like eating), especially when your mind and body (correctly) insist that you will die if you deny yourself for too long.  Fasting runs counter to our most basic human instincts as well as our cultural norm of consumption-for-the-sheer-heck-of-it.  Frankly, it’s plain weird; and a bit like those bizarre ancient saints who meant well but took things way too far.

Second, let me encourage you that there are some excellent reasons for fasting.

No really.  There are.  Try these:

  1. When we fast, we become more aware of our humanity and our weaknesses. Fasting, whether from food or any other pleasure, takes down the scaffolding of our lives.  Without the comfort of the things we’re fasting from we are left to face who we really are.  When I fast from food I often get angry.  This is a normal physiological response to low blood sugar.  But this experience makes me look honestly at who I am and what I’m capable of, when you deprive me of pleasures.  It’s not pretty, but it’s important.
  2. Fasting shows how dependent we are on small comforts. The best advice you can give to someone who thinks they may have an addiction is to tell them to give up that thing for a while and see how their body and mind react.  If the reaction is powerful, then they may have a genuine addiction.  Fasting studies the room and calls on the real idols to stand up.
  3. Fasting changes things in the spiritual realm. I think this is what my friend meant by fasting ‘does you good’.  That friend has practiced this for years but cannot point to a single prayer that was answered, or a single act of God that was performed, or a single grace that was grown in her life as a direct result of her fasting.  However, I wonder what her life would look like now if she had not fasted regularly.  Maybe when she gets to heaven, she will see clearly all the amazing things that happened as a result of her fasting.
  4. Fasting helps us keep nonessentials in their place. When you fast from something regularly you come to realize that the thing that said you needed it in order to cope with life, was actually lying.
  5. Jesus did it. What better reason do you want?

Convinced yet?  Come back next week and let me have another go at persuading you.

Duncan