Along with my ongoing vigilance against plastic, I have taken on fasting as my One Thing this Lent. Three times a week I skip lunch and only consume tea or coffee until supper. This came from a sense I have that I have been over-consuming and that I needed the spiritual discipline of enough, to help draw me closer to God. These are early days, but let me assure you, fasting is every bit as horrible as you might imagine. Persistent thoughts of food begin around 11am, which are soon followed by hunger pangs, all of which are augmented by a simmering grumpiness. How is this supposed to make me a better follower of Jesus?
This Sunday’s gospel reading is certainly humbling. We are told that right after his baptism, Jesus is thrust into the wilderness where he fasts for 40 days. Not sure how he could have physically done that but I am sure it was stressful. As the scripture says, ‘he was famished.”
When you find yourself under duress, what do you get tempted by? Food, alcohol, sex, gambling, procrastination, Netflix, social media…? What little addictions numb the pain or quiet the stress within you? Are you aware of how your body responds to emotional pressure and the consequential temptations?
I am interested in reading Martha Tatarnic’s new book The Living Diet: A Christian Journey to Joyful Eating and exploring a Christian reflection on eating. I am not interested in dieting I am interested in my relationship with appetite and emotional stress.
For now, though, I am learning to navigate my own terrain of hunger—a wilderness of sorts of need, yearning and trust.
LUKE 4:1-13 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’” Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.