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

*DJ Intentionally decided to start the fast on Sunday this week. The Experiential Calendar only goes from Monday to Friday and we Sabbath on Saturday and Sunday.*

The first day is always the hardest. It was a long day – up at 6 am, at church to setup and lead worship, encouraging a friend struggling with depression, rushing around town running errands, grabbing a late lunch with the missus, more errands, trying to find a suit for the wedding, meeting a friend who’s visiting from New York, more errands, to the shops to pick up groceries — finally made it home to plop on the couch only to realize, oh yeah, no TV, Movies or Video Games this week. Ugh. My favorite way to de-stress after a tiresome day was taken away. Ok, what can I do then? I sat in silence for a few minutes as I stared into space unsure of what to do. As I sat there, my mind tuned into to each breath as it entered my nostrils, fill my lungs, and then exit my lungs and nose again. Every inhale and exhale. Over and over. It was in that moment of quietness I found peace from all the hub-bub of the day. A sense of calmness my soul was yearning for. Rest had finally come and it brought energy to my soul and body. The lyrics from a song this morning echoed in my ears, “no matter where I run, there I will find your grace, mercy has made us one, never to separate”. How timely! I was running around all day only to realize in such silence what it truly meant. It doesn’t matter where I am, where I go, how far I think I am from people or place or God, He is everywhere and His Grace is timely, provided exactly when I need it, and found in the midst of the chaos. The Beatitudes in Matthew 5 was something I breezed over so quickly time and time again because I’ve read it so many times before and the repetition was quite simple: the basic formula for verse 3-10 is {blessed are the “x” for they/theirs “y”}. But I never took the time to explore what blessed actually meant. I’ve been reading the Amplified version as part of my personal devotions which includes additional words, phrases or clauses in order to provide extra meaning included in the original text or language. So I pulled a side-by-side translation of the NIV and Amplified and quickly saw that Blessed had so many different meanings in each verse. The equation failed to capture the essence of each verse. Blessed in verse 3 meant “spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired”, Blessed in verse 4 meant “forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace”, Blessed in verse 5 meant “inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect”, Blessed in verse 6 meant “joyful, nourished by God’s goodness”, Blessed in verse 7 meant “content, sheltered by God’s promises”, Blessed in verse 8 meant “anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature”, Blessed in verse 9 meant “spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor”, Blessed in verse 10 meant “comforted by inner peace and God’s love”, and Blessed in verse 11 meant “morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness”. This entire time there was a whole ‘nother world and depth of meaning that I had overlooked. Busyness turned into exhaustion which turned into silence which turned into a newfound knowledge — nourishing food for my soul. In the end, the equation failed to capture the most important pieces of The Beatitudes. What equations in life do we follow that overlook those important moments that give us deeper meaning and connection to Our Savior? – DJ Kolapudi 

The Reunion Team