Monday, March 20, 2006

Fasting and Feasting (or - what having a beer can teach you about the kingdom of God)

As those of us from the more liturgical end of the church know, we are in the middle of the season of Lent. And, of course, with Lent being a penitential season it is customary to fast.
This Lent I am fasting alcohol. For me this fast is a good balance between being something genuinely sacrificial - I enjoy a drink and the two times so far this lent I have been out for a curry it's been murder not to have the customary pint of beer with it (I mean, curry without lager is like Morecombe without Wise, Torvill without Dean or Tom without Jerry - you get the idea!)...Jim (who is also fasting alcohol) and I tried Kaliber (a non-alcoholic beer) with our curry the other week but it was disgusting) - but on the other hand it's not so debilitating that the fast becomes the focus of everything (like it can do when you are fasting food etc.)
Lent is 40 days long and runs from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday - but it doesn't include the Sundays in between: those are feast days.
So we don't fast on Sundays because on those days (even in the penitential season of Lent) we remember the resurrection.
So I have a beer or two on Sundays.
At first I just thought - "great, a day off!" but the deeper we get into this season I have started to appreciate the rich theological resonance created by Sundays being a feast day not a fast day.
Not that I get drunk on Sundays or anything like that! But enjoying a beer or two on Sundays in contrast to the rest of the week when I am tee-total really speaks to me about the celebrative dimension of the Kingdom of God and the 'age to come' (which of course is breaking into this present age). When I have a beer on a Sunday night (I would be worried if I reached over for a beer when the alarm went off on Sunday morning - just cos it was Sunday and I could!) I am reminded of the new, resurrection life of the Kingdom - and I give thanks.


Kyle said...

Feast days are sweet.

Simone said...

Didn't know that, about Sundays not fasting! I'm looking forward to my glass of wine of Sunday!! (Well, if Tim is willing to pay anyway!;)

Ben said...

thanks matt, I've enjoyed my glass of wine today. And thought of you as well as the resurrection