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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)

9:00 p.m. – Compline (online via FB)

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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- March 12, 2024

A Message from Duncan- March 12, 2024

Expectations are Just Disappointments that Haven’t Happened Yet.

 

Well, that was cheery.  Way to go on the old ‘Lenten solemnity’, there Rector!

I don’t want to be Duncan Downer.  I know that expectations can be really positive things.  But let’s just make sure that what we expect is realistic, shall we?  If you expect the unlikely, then disappointment is a probable outcome, and our moods will become the victims of circumstance.

Nowhere is this advice more needed than in the topic of spiritual disciplines.  So, where better to go for this week’s instalment in our short series on ‘Fasting’ than to a quiet place where we can examine our expectations and check that they have a decent chance of coming to pass.  (Re-reading that, it looks like I have no faith in a powerful God who sometimes does unexpected things.  Sorry.  I do actually believe in the God who surprises, even if it may have sounded like I don’t.)

So, what should we expect as we fast from food?  Well, how about this thrilling list:

  1. Your stomach will lie to you.

“We’re starving!  Eat something before we die,” it will say.  Don’t believe it.  Your stomach is a bit of a diva.  Unless they had a medical condition that made fasting dangerous, no well-nourished person ever died from missing a meal or two.  (By the way, please check with your doctor before you begin a fast, if you are in any doubt about your safety.)

  1. You may become irritable.

The ‘hangry’ commercial for a popular candy bar is not a myth.  When you fast from food you are cutting off a healthy and regular supply of chemical stimulation.  This will affect your mood.

  1. You may become cold.

This is normal.  Feeding yourself increases your fuel load.  Denying yourself food depletes it.  You will have less energy to burn.  Wrap up warm or do it in the summer!

  1. You may get a headache

You are going cold turkey on food!  You are experiencing a significant (but temporary) shift in your body’s chemical make-up.  You can’t switch off the things that your mind and body depend on without that causing some changes.

  1. You may feel sad

I’m really selling this, aren’t I?  I bet you can’t wait for a good 24-hour fast!

Again, the chemicals in your brain will be messed-up.  Don’t expect to experience a rush of happiness when you fast from food.

  1. You may feel a deep sense of emptiness or spiritual pain.

You are entering into the divine struggle with God against spiritual forces.  You are taking on some of the pain and alienation of the world.  You are standing in the gap between God’s good will and the world’s agonizing need.  Why shouldn’t you feel the tension?

But, it’s not all bad!

  1. You may become more alert

Fasting increases your ability to focus and to experience your surroundings.  Deprived of stimulants, our brains are free to do what they do best – think.

  1. You will gain perspective on physical and non-physical things

You see the trivial for what it is.

  1. You will accept suffering more easily

Voluntary hardship builds up your spiritual muscles, so that when you must experience hardship, against your will, you will be able to use those muscles to cope.  Befriending the hunger pangs that come from regular fasting will allow you to miss a meal without anxiety or great suffering.  Hardship is still a big deal, but it becomes less so when it is a regular part of life.

  1. Answered prayer

Who knows how much our prayers are aided and strengthened by our fasting?  I surely don’t.  There isn’t an equation.  But, the very fact that praying and fasting are so often joined together in scripture must mean that they serve and enrich each other.

Happy Fasting!

 

Duncan