Monday, November 14, 2011
You want me to fast NOW?
Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast (Mt 9:14-15).
We Christians are not yet totally united with the Bridegroom, Jesus, so we fast. We fast, in one sense, as an expression of the hungering of our souls for union with Him. Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our bodies (Rom 8:23). Fasting should stir up this groan—this longing—for heaven; not just a heaven of “eternal rest,” but for the eternal explosion of joy that is union with the God of infinite love.
Fasting shouldn’t be gloomy. We are preparing in joyful anticipation for the Wedding Banquet of heaven! We shouldn’t judge those who use feasting as their way to anticipate the celebration of the Nativity (perhaps God is using this type of joy to lead them to Him), but we shouldn’t be afraid to share with them the concept of fasting as a way of preparing for this feast. Let’s try to share the indescribable joy we experience in celebrating the Nativity after a season of fasting. And if we haven’t experience this joy, let’s fast more intensely, laying ourselves aside and surrendering our will and our desires so that we can welcome the God of the universe into the humble manger of our hearts. He wants to unite Himself to us. He wants us to be ready for the Wedding Feast!