The Feast Before the Fast

by Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

This day is for joy.
It is for delight.
It is for savoring.
It is for saying–
What tastes and feels good
Can also be holy.

This feast day is sacrament.
It is open table, more than enough.
It is anticipation, preparation
For the restraint that lies ahead.

It is for breathing deep
And making ready.
It is the final bite for now,
The last sweet indulgence.
It is the sacred willingness
To give up the things
We think we love
To discover more fully
The One we love.

This day is the edge
Of the desert place.
We enter by choice,
Led by the Spirit.
But that comes tomorrow.

This is the day for gazing,
With full hearts and stomachs,
At the distance we will walk
Before we feast again,
Grateful for this abundant life
And the journey that leads
Through emptiness
To even deeper abundance.


Lenten Practice: Holy Attention
Daily Act: Eat mindfully and slowly. Savor each bite. Notice the texture, color, and taste of your food, and consider where it comes from. Give thanks for the nourishment that is yours this day.
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.


A Mindfulness Meal Meditation
By Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

“To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation.
When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament.”
-Wendell Berry

We bless this act of eating. The blessing is for us- to see what is already sacred and life-giving- to approach this meal as sacrament. May we savor. May we be awake enough to feel the textures and linger in each taste. May we slow our pace enough to notice the holy in each bite- a communion.


We are mindful of all those in our world who do not have access to food, or who live in places where nutritious food is hard to find. While food is a basic human right, we are aware of how food has also become a justice issue and a matter of privilege. We are prayerful for those who hunger. We recommit ourselves in each act of eating to the cause of abolishing poverty in our own neighborhoods and across the globe.


We consider the devastation to our earth that has been caused by a food culture of separation and convenience. May we make wise choices as we consider the sources of our food and do our best to support, with our hands and wallets, the options most aligned with the thriving of all life. With the food before us now, we ponder the origins of the ingredients and consider the parts of the earth that have been gathered, and the people who gathered them, placed here at our table. What field? What plant? Whose hands? How did the sun warm and the rain nourish and the soil sustain?


We realize our absolute interconnectedness with all life knowing that what physically sustains us comes from the earth. My welfare resides in your welfare. Our very life depends on this complex system of lives of which we are a part. We are in awe and grateful to be alive on this planet. The act of eating humbles us. Each breath- sacred life. Each bite- sacred life.


We focus on hope- knowing that each day we have the opportunity to impact the earth and our local communities in positive, life-giving ways. We pause in reverence for this gift of LIFE that is ours this day. We pray that we will be wise stewards of our bodies and all the other bodies that share this sacred space as neighbors. May we live in ways that contribute to wholeness for all the earth, which leads to wholeness for ourselves.



Come Feast With Christ

Lenten Practice: Fasting
Daily Act: Spend time in prayer with these questions for reflection: 1. How does intentional emptying make more space for God in your life? 2. How does this disruption in your normal routine draw your attention to God and others in a new way?
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.


As we reach the end of our first full week of Lent, here is a poem to prepare our hearts for World Hunger Day (tomorrow). In each emptying and receiving, may you find joy.


By David Brock

They wouldn’t really get
the guilt part
of World Hunger Day,
our thin-armed Third World sisters
who reach weary fingers
to receive a piece of bread,
coconut, or cracker;
our old-before-their-time brothers
who sip the grape juice
or caramelized sugar water
as they feast with Christ
this Communion Sunday.
They just wouldn’t get
the guilt part.

If you came.
If I was there,
they’d find some yam
or tarot root and cassava greens,
free range chickens or one thin goat,
boiled rice and Coca Cola at room temperature.
They’d rustle up abundance
from a crusty loaf and a dried fish.
They’d work a miracle for the visitor.
You, the guest,
and even their thin-lipped kids
would eat well
on World Hunger Day.

If you or I were the face of Jesus
in their hut today,
someone would thank God
for God’s grace and generous gifts.
We’d sing. We’d laugh.
We’d eat to overflowing
and there’d be enough
and to spare.
We’d laugh more, sing more
than any of us has for too long
and those rich moments
would be the greater miracle.
Joy and abundance
on World Hunger Day.
A full-on feast with Jesus
in the symbols of sacrament
and the hospitality of our hungry
Sisters and brothers in Christ.

I keep forgetting the hospitality of the poor.
I simply keep forgetting the hungry:
More than 800 million of them this World Hunger day.
The thousands who’ll die today
The cold calculations that number the
names of the 7 who die each minute,
in whose drawn faces
the light of the eyes
slowly fades and blinks out.

Wars kill, AIDS kills, cancer kills
But nothing kills like hunger.
They wouldn’t get the guilt part
of World Hunger Day.
They’d just share their abundance
They’d be as generous as they could.
They’d give the gift of hospitality
And they and we would experience joy.

[BFW— (advocacy)
Outreach International
Oblation—World Hunger
The Feinstein Foundation Challenge to Students
Joyce Carter, Ken Schnell]

Lenten Spiritual Retreat with Presiding Evangelist David Brock.  March 13-15, 2015 Click here to register!
Lenten Spiritual Retreat with Presiding Evangelist David Brock.
March 13-15, 2015
Click here to register!