Another entry in the Lent diary from my friend who is fasting from food during this season:
Wednesday, March 28, 2018 Wednesday of Holy Week
We are getting towards the end of Lent. I find myself thinking more and more about the feast of Easter and how to do that. My wife and I talked a bit about that last night as far as how to do this well and have our kids take it in like they are supposed to. A lot of it is telling the story, I think. That’s a lot of what Holy Week is about. We will have services on Thursday (footwashing), Friday, Saturday Easter Vigil, and of course Sunday. It’s a lot of stuff and it takes a lot of people to do it, and I find myself very thankful. I am thankful for all the work of staff and volunteers to make it work. I am thankful for the church for participating. And most of all, I am thankful to Christ for dying and rising again for us. This week is so full, yet so amazing.
It’s funny, I had a few things removed from my plate this week. I had a project I was doing (I don’t want to be too specific in order to maintain some anonymity), but it has been several weeks and many hours in the making, and on Monday I found out the whole thing was ruined. A lot of wasted time – apart from the lesson learned. Along with that I am watching sports less, and some of my other hobbies are on a down time, so I began to see the whole thing as God just clearing things away so I can focus where I need to this week. My back is still an issue – I do wish back pain was something cleared away – but I guess that’s not the way it works. It’s about focusing on Christ and the sufficiency of Jesus for me. Is Jesus enough? That’s kind of the whole thing with going without food. I’m 43 days into this journey, and I think that means I’ve eaten 6 days of the last 43. I’m hungry. The medication I was just put on for my back is not good on an empty stomach, so I’m taking half doses. I get really tired much earlier than normal. But, I’m praying 4 times a day. I’m confessing my sins to God in the morning and evening. I’m reading scripture. I’m contemplating the resurrection. And, I really am full of thanks for many things.
I guess one thing I’d like to emphasize for anyone who is reading this and has been following along (God bless you). I’m not a spiritual giant. I struggle with prayer. Being grateful is not a natural thing for me. I’m more cynical and pessimistic. But… but fasting does stuff to me. I guess that’s why I’m so passionate about it. God really works in this in my life. It has impacted me in ways I have not expected. And I am thankful. It really is about the power of God working in me to transform me. I am not doing this stuff by my own strength. I am an emotional eater and have less impulse control than I’d like, and yet here I am fasting. Also, while I tend to be pessimistic, there is one thing that gives me real hope. Hope like nothing else I’ve experienced. I really do have hope because of Easter. I don’t trust this life. There is too much that is unfair. Death happens. Illness happens. Good people get bad diseases. Innocent people have horrible things happen to them. But then along comes the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ to show us that death has been defeated and evil undone. It is possible that the Lord will truly, one day, give back the years the locusts have eaten. Blessed are those who mourn, because someday they will receive back their dead through the resurrection. The Resurrection of Jesus shows me that no matter how bad evil is, no matter how much it steals, no matter how much it hurts, the power of the Living God can undo all of that in but a moment and even transform the scars left behind into signs of glory. I absolutely cannot think of anything more hopeful than that. So I am thankful for fasting, because it helps me be more focused on that event that is of most importance to my life instead of on all the distractions I face.
Prayer for Wednesday from Book of Common Prayer
Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.