Yesterday was “Fast-a-Thon” for Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen; a day when participants ask those in their network to sponsor them as they fast in support of our Soup Kitchen guests. The fast is a modified exercise: in solidarity with those who come to our doors for a hot meal (which is often the only sustenance they receive on any give day), we are asked to eat only one meal within a twenty-four hour-period instead of three.
Fast-a-Thon predates my arrival at Holy Apostles in 2008. Every year since its inception, this initiative has raised valuable funds that defray our operating expenses. All good—and deeply appreciated–but maybe more important than the result is the process of participating in the fast. It’s not until we make a conscious effort to alter our default patterns that we experience how deeply entrenched those patterns really are!
Of course, semi-fasting for one single day can never come close to replicating the daily reality for so many of our guests. And, as with all such spiritual commitments, the ultimate goal of fasting in any form is connectedness. Feeling just a bit closer to the experience of some of the other humans who walk the earth with us. Gaining new insight into all the ways God is present with us; the unexpected revelation that always accompanies our shifts in perception.
We are approaching the threshold of a new liturgical year. The holidays that arrive during the coming weeks are an unusual time to think about fasting (they are feast days, after all!). But connectedness to others and to God? That form of seeking knows no season. It is woven through the practice of our faith at all times. As we pray through Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas and the liturgical and secular new year, may we be open to both the traditions that sustain us, and the possibilities born of understanding the Spirit’s work in new ways.
p.s. If you missed participating in Fast-a-Thon and would like to contribute, here is a link: