Every Friday during our Experiential fast we are encouraged to journal about our experience. What has this fast been like? How have you experienced God during this fast? Has anything surprised you? Each week we will share reflections from people in our community across all 3 locations. This week is from a friend at the Somerville location.
I’ve thought a few times about going vegetarian. Vegan would be a bridge too far, but I think I could survive without meat.
I should clarify: I think about going vegetarian like I wonder how I’d live if I somehow lost the ability to see color or use my hands. Dinner without some ex-animal feels incomplete. I look forward to my weekly cheeseburger. The most magical place on Earth is not Disney, but a Brazillian steakhouse called Texas de Brazil. “I love meat,” is what I’m saying. But I can give it up for five days. For Jesus.
Honestly, my struggle has been with #follow more than the #unfollow part of our fast (#hashtag!). I didn’t find the time to try a prayer practice for a couple weeks. My work schedule makes weekday fellowship difficult, but I pretty much immediately shrugged that off as not an option. Didn’t even try it, nor did I look for people to bless. By my actions, God’s importance for the past couple weeks has been somewhere between giving up sweets and making a real effort to change my habits. I don’t say that to see all the sights on a guilt trip, it’s just what happened.
It’s appropriate for me, I think, that this week’s scripture reading is John 12. We see people praise Jesus when he symbolically announces himself as Messiah, but it’s secretly kind of a sad parade. They’re about to cry out for his death. They would have argued that they were checking all the boxes from scripture and deserved to be free of Roman rule. Jesus, whose priority was not rising up against imperial power, was trying to get them to follow God with more than physical display. It’s not about avoiding bacon or winning the religious service attendance award, it’s about growing closer to God and letting that lead us to loving people.
I want to get my priorities straight, and fasting is a reminder that God is the real essential in life. I’ve followed the #follow plan this week and I’m determined to finish strong. If you’re in a similar situation, or if you haven’t tried fasting, I’d encourage you to join me in the last week of our church fast. Not just in denying ourselves excess, but seeking what we truly need.
By the way, I’m counting this as the “share your struggles” experience for this week. #efficientlyfollowing – Patrick H