Day 3 Agenda: Thinking About a Mother and About a Son

My one-meal fast this week came and went without much fanfare. The point of fasting, at least in my life, is to clear out some space for solitary contemplation and connection to God; but my life is so cluttered that even my attempts to do this contain far too much intervening stuff. I am going to have to work on this.

Anyway, when my mind was not wandering to the many things that make up my life today, I could not help but lock in on a couple of themes. First is my mother, who continues along in her healing from a car accident last summer. The journey for her has been two steps forward, two steps backward, which means alternating hope and than despair for all of us who are rooting her on. It is particularly dissonant as well as poignant to observe someone, who has helped me and others so selflessly, herself now be so helpless and so beholden to the care of others. I pray for her often, and hope for days that are not filled with medications and hospitals and solitude and procedures, but rather that allow for some semblance of activity and socializing and celebration and happiness.

Second, not surprisingly given the festivities of the week, I have been considering the journey of Jesus. Here is One who knew that the purpose of His living was to die; who came from and would go to a place of ultimate exaltation, and yet in the middle bore the degradation of being misunderstood, condemned, shamed, and executed. I may know the Savior, but I know little of His courage, endurance, or focus, nor of His willingness to trade in self-preservation for the fulfillment of the mission to which His Father had called Him.

I fall very short of a posture that says, "If it is possible, take this cup from me; yet not my will but Yours." I do not often live as though I know the answer to Jesus' question, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?" None other than John the Baptist - a man sold-out for Jesus if there ever was one - felt compelled to say, "He must increase; I must decrease" - and I too want to get myself and my selfishness and my shallow agendas out of His way that my life might consist of weightier and more eternal matters. Which is why fasting is so good, at least for me; it is a physical emptying and filling that evokes a deeper, spiritual emptying and filling. Would that there be more of that in my life, and if fasting can facilitate that, would that there be more of that as well.

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