Today we Dwell by Mark Bryan
I remember growing up and doing a 24-hour fast at my church. The fast was typically associated with fundraising for those who were in need. I very rarely heard about fasting otherwise. I do remember my mom once talked about praying and fasting for a day when she was praying for someone who was not doing well. That was my experience with fasting.
But in this passage, Jesus makes it pretty plain that there are days of celebration and then there are days of fasting, of having to do without that which gave us joy. Jesus is saying that His disciples are not currently fasting because they are in his presence, but when they are away from him is when they will experience that hunger that others feel. I think, for today, it can be that simple for this day of Lent – to be full, we must dwell in Jesus’s presence. To feel full, to have joy, to be in celebration with one another, to connect with others, to be kind, to recognize the others in need we must dwell in Jesus’s presence.
Matthew 9: 10-17
And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax-collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’ But when he heard this, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’
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, ‘The wedding-guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.’