I am munching on my lunch as I write this. Ironic?
More like realistic. After several months of this regular fast I have some sense of its impact on me, and one aspect is a lack of creativity and energy. If I ever imagined that I could use fasting as a way to gain clarity and insight–and I don’t think I ever did–reality gives a wake-up call because hunger keeps calling!
Still, fasting has its insights. The “For Such a Time as This” Fast began as an act of solidarity and protest. We choose to not eat in order to connect those for whom hunger is a reality. In our country millions are food-insecure, that is, they cannot depend on the next meal just being there. As we consider this reality, all sorts of responses and reasons come to mind. What role does personal responsibility play? What about addiction, low wages, or mental illness? Before we leap to making policies meant to solve the problem, fasting gives us the opportunity to empathize. The hungry are people first. How does the experience of hunger effect their lives, their ambitions and decisions? Spending time being hungry makes the experience real, not just political.
For Such a Time as This: Timing is not an accident
However, we can’t ignore politics. Voluntary hunger means nothing if we are not inspired to action. This monthly fast also serves as a protest against the reality of hunger in our country. While there are many causes for the income inequalities that allow it, hunger exists because we let it. In such a time as this, things could be different. Participating in the fast reminds us that things could be better. They also could be worse, as safety net programs are on the chopping block. Programs impact real lives. Publicizing the fast reminds us of those whose voices are not heard in priorities of our country’s politics.
For Such a Time as This: Getting ready for Christmas
When we fast this month, Christmas will be a few days away. Both generosity and excess characterize the celebration, giving us one more reason to fast: to celebrate thoughtfully. For all its distractions, hunger makes us aware and awareness brings questions: In a world of need, how do we affirm joy? When does celebration become selfish? How much is enough? What message do our Christmas celebrations proclaim? Hunger makes these questions relevant.
The fast will be December 21. Remember that fasting details are up to you: when you begin/end and what you forgo.
What will the fast mean to you?