Monday, July 18, 2011

40 Day Fast Day Fourteen: Memorial Day

Hot dogs and flags: two of the traditional foods of Memorial Day.

Holidays! Food is a big part of our holidays, it reminds us of the time of year, of what we are celebrating, and reminds us of the previous year at the same time. I mean, there's a reason that we only really eat turkey once a year, right? Even though it's GREAT! Food is part of our tradition, our bonding. When someone dies, and the bereaved don't want to eat, we take them food when they are too sad to cook for themselves. We remind them that although their loved one has moved on, that they matter to us and we want their company, we want them in our lives. We take food to the sick, or those who have just had a child. We celebrate holy days and days of remembrance with food. And today, Memorial Day, we celebrate by having a barbecue, and eating outside if we can, and remembering that many of the great things in our lives come from the sacrifice of others. 

Like it or not, fasting isolates you from community, at least for a time. Unless, of course, your community is fasting together. But in many ways you are an outsider at the celebration... fasting in the midst of feasting. Even if you don't traipse off into the wilderness, even if you sit at the table during dinner with your juice next to your empty plate, a fast is a time of disconnection from those around you. It makes you appreciate your friends and family a little more, and look forward not only to eating again, but to celebrating life with them again in a short time to come. Fasting creates hope... hope that there is a future feast that you will be a part of.  As Jesus said, we fast while the bridegroom is gone, looking forward to his return, when we will feast together with him!

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