The going-away party is this weekend. Am I looking forward to it? Or am I dreading it?
I’m not sure.
It’s not for a person. It’s for a house. The family home.
It’s where I grew up with my mom and dad, my brother and two sisters. It’s later where I brought my kids to visit their grandparents. It’s where we often gathered for Sunday lunches and Christmas Eves and watermelon-eating on July afternoons.
And now it’s where we’ll gather as a family one last time to say goodbye before we put it on the market soon for another family to live in.
It’s time to give it up.
But when we give up one thing, we gain another.
Isn’t feasting one of the benefits of fasting?
Whether you’re about to give up chocolate or Facebook or alcohol for Lent, do you know what you’ll be gaining?
What did Jesus gain from the 40 days he spent fasting in the desert after his baptism (Matthew 4:1-11)? We know he was hungry and tempted during that time. But immediately afterwards he began spreading the good news of freedom, that the kingdom of heaven was at hand (Matthew 4:17).
Did he fast for 40 days from the outside world to strengthen his inside world?
That’s why I fast. This Lenten season, in my year of “Now,” I’m choosing to fast the past and future, so I can feast on God in the present.
That doesn’t mean I’ll give up reflecting on past memories or stop planning for future events, but I want to center on the present. Because the present is where the Spirit is active. In this moment. This place. With these people.
So as I gather this weekend with my siblings and nieces and cousins at the house where we spent so much time together, I will reminisce, take photos, and maybe cry a little.
But I don’t want to be consumed by missing what was, or worrying about what might be.
I want mainly to enjoy what is—and that is the presence of the people I love with Jesus among us.
Fasting from past and future, I can feast on the joy that God is feeding me now.
God’s presence with us now is a scrumptious meal and I want to savor every bite.
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Are you fasting from anything this season? What do you want to be more fully present to? Please share in the comments.
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