Sunday, March 1, 2020

Fast and Furious

No I am not referring to the "Fast and Furious" Movies that focused primarily on street racing.  Today I wish to discuss the subject of today's Scriptures.  Specifically - eating the forbidden fruit - being tempted by the Devil - learning how to willing give up - on food - temptation.  One of the most frustrating aspects of Lent that is mentioned to me time and again - why we have to fast - why we have to avoid meat on Fridays.  What is gained by giving up chocolates - sweets - other food items - smoking and more - just to return to them a short six weeks later - at Easter - jumping for baskets filled with all the goodies that we deprived ourselves of during Lent.  Is holiness really gained or lost because we did or did not give up something - does this deprivation in some magical way make us better people - holier people -  more attentive to the needs - concerns of others?  

First and foremost -  there is nothing fast about fasting - depriving oneself of food or drink.  The majority of most people in this country have access to a lot more food and drink than they really need.  Giving up a meal here and there - passing up that extra drink - barely noticeable to many Americans.  The thought - of not being able to eat - drink - when and where you want it - not because you need it - rather because you want it - causes many to be furious.  There is a big difference between - want - and - need - unfortunately many do not understand this.  During Lent the Church asks each of us to practice - discipline.  To avoid something readily available that we want - and at the time of this recognition - ask ourselves why i am doing this - how can I make this sacrifice meaningful.  In those brief - fast - minutes - a short prayer - in place of food entering our mouths - our lips free to praise Our Lord - to ask help to improve ourselves.  When we willing make this sacrifice - to not be tempted by our wants - we stifle the feeling of being furious at Church's Lenten rules - instead understand that we only should be furious at our own selfishness - desires - to yield to the temptation of seeking - that which we can easily do without.  Adam and Eve gave in to the temptation to fill their bellies with the forbidden fruit - not because it was Lent - rather because God asked them to avoid that one single tree - planted in a field of many other tress loaded with other fruit that would sustain their lives.  We blame the snake for telling Eve it would be OK - the snake was not at fault - he only validated Eve's desire to ignore God's warning - before he spoke to her - she had already desired - given into temptation - waiting for anyone - even a snake - to validate her selfish desire.  We all need validation - for good - not evil - for the community -not for self.  As we celebrate this First Sunday of Lent - we are filled with the food that strengthen us - gives us all that we need - as we nourish ourselves at the table of God - as we receive Holy Eucharist - the Bread of Life.
The rest will be easy - with this Holy Bread inside us. 

Deacon Dale