Reflection for Friday 19th February 2021

The Rev’d Sandra Juniper (Sound only)

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DAILY REFLECTION 19 February 2021
Today’s reflection is by our Associate Minister, Rev’d Sandra Juniper and can be heard on the Website

Hello again. The scripture reading for today is short just two verses full of thought-provoking challenges for us.

READING Matthew 9.14-15
Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

Today’s Gospel embraces a concept that many of us have a difficult time grasping: the act and practice of fasting. The word has quite frankly haunted me ever since I was a young child; it meant that for some odd reason, I was not going to get my biscuit at break time!
Even at a much more mature age, I find the act of fasting confusing. In today’s Gospel reading, we are presented with the scenario of when to fast and when not, or more appropriately, who fasts and who doesn’t. The Pharisees are fasting, for Christ is not the Messiah among them; they do not recognize his holiness, his love, his divinity. Jesus’ disciples, on the other hand, need not fast, for Christ himself is in their presence. They celebrate. They believe.
So now the question arises: “Do we, as Christians in this time, truly believe that Christ is constantly living among us. He is in everything we see, touch, smell, taste, and hear. We allow him to enter into ourselves at the Eucharist. He is alive in us, as we are alive in him. Why then must we fast?”
I am no theologian by any means, but I feel that the answer comes simply. We fast so that we may come even closer to Christ, our Saviour.
As we continue to embark upon our Lenten journey, we place ourselves in a time of sacrifice; a time that represents the Ultimate Sacrifice. Yes, we have reason to celebrate our closeness with the Lord. But this is now the time to recognize that we have sinned through our own faults, in our thoughts and in our words, in what we have done, and what we have failed to do. It is the time to recognize the agony Christ went through, so that we may have life.
We give up food. We give up Facebook. We give up all sorts of stuff. It might be we take on something, by adding a spiritual discipline to our day. Perhaps we take more time for prayer or we strive to be kinder and more loving with everyone we encounter (including those who get on our nerves) But none of it comes even remotely close to what Jesus gave up—His life.
We realize that it is easy to make Lenten resolutions, but it is not easy to keep them.
Jesus wanted John’s disciples, along with his own disciples, to realize that while he was with them, it was a time of joy. This was not a time of mourning or fasting or weeping. It’s simply inappropriate to fast at a wedding feast. No, a wedding feast is a time of celebration. But as bold as this statement is about Jesus’ presence altering everything, we also find a hint that his death will alter everything again, and this time in a much more painful way.
The point: Jesus’ presence, conditions the time; it changes everything; it determines our joy. May we this Lenten season continue to fast, so that we may indeed recognize all that Christ went through for our salvation. May we grow closer in him. The gift is that each morning we have another day to make the effort. What will we choose today?

Holy God,
you know, the disorder of our sinful lives,
set straight our crooked hearts
and bend our wills to love your goodness
and your glory in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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