How Fasting Opens Room for Reflection 

March 10, 2014

Ash Wednesday marked my first Wednesday of fasting as a part of a national fast for comprehensive immigration reform, an action many people at Plymouth are participating in. I offer this reflection in hopes others may join in the fasting or feel inspired to support immigrant detainees who are on a hunger strike at the Tacoma Detention Center.

I expected fasting to be awful. I get grouchy when I’m hungry, so not eating from sunup to sundown seemed like a bad idea for me and for others. Despite this, I felt an overwhelming feeling that this was the season to see what fasting could bring to my life. Wednesday morning, I survived the first two major hurdles; I resisted getting up for a 4 am snack and skipped morning coffee. Before I started getting really hungry, I felt an extra space open up. It was like the place in my head that always monitored how hungry I was and planning what to eat next was suddenly empty. That empty space became larger as time went on, and I filled it with prayer whenever I noticed it — prayers of gratitude, healing and justice. Prayer on-the-go has always been my style, but this brought a new level of intimacy to how I felt God moving through my day of meetings, paper writing and internship. Creating space for God in my life seemed like something that had to be set aside and distinguished from my daily patterns and routines. Instead, fasting is helping me see how spiritual practices woven into spaces that I live can be even more powerful than removed holy moments I often crave.

Jenn Hagedorn, Social Justice Liaison (For more information about how to get involved with immigration work at Plymouth, contact Briana Frenchmore at BFrenchmore@PlymouthChurchSeattle.org or visit the Social Justice Blog on Plymouth’s website.)



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