Here’s what I started to put on twitter today:
“Just made a birthday cake, and didn’t even lick the batter off the beaters. #lifeishard #lent #fastday”
I’m of that generation that default-shares on social media. This is totally something I would post.
What stopped me was remembering the gospel from the Ash Wednesday scripture I heard last night, from Matthew 6, where Jesus instructs us:
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven…When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
This is in the same chapter where we are taught the Lord’s Prayer. These seem like important instructions.
So, my gut told me not to post that tweet on the twitters. It seemed “face-disfigure”-ish.
But I also think that in Jesus’ time, people knew about fasting. Fasting was a thing one did. Fasting was such a thing one did, that one could do it in an obnoxious, public, self-centered way, much like people who post their meals on Instagram every day, and those around one would kind of sigh.
Now? Other than “I’m giving up chocolate for Lent” kind of things, I think mainstream Episcopal faith community doesn’t so much Fast. And, I think we should…or at least, should be aware of what it is, why it is, how it can connect you to the Holy Spirit, how it is linked with prayer, the opportunity for relationship with God it creates.
So I’m going to cautiously, humbly, talk about it, as Eating Liturgically. Not in a “poor me, no cake batter” way – but in an authentic invitation to explore kind of way.
And I’m going to intentionally, with integrity, not talk about it in my face-to-face daily interactions with this world – at work, at my kids’ school, even at church. Not on my personal facebook page, or twitter – not as Erika.
For now, this seems like the way to go. I’m sure I’ll step too far one way or the other as I do. That’s part of the exploration too.