I’m holding off a school assignment by writing this right now, so I’ll make this short.
These past few months, regardless of where one stands politically, have left a rather bitter taste in all our mouths. The obnoxious talking heads of cable news that I used to be able to flip the channel to ignore now seem to all have a universal remote. Where politics had once been just an awkward conversation, politics have now become a part of our very lives.
And if we’re being honest, I am sugar-coating the literal hell out of this mess.
By now, it seems we’ve all but worn out the arguments and ourselves. We have all chosen our sides. And this is the first day of the rest of our lives (kyrie eleison).
Those who know me or have perhaps read my blog (particularly this post right here), know how I feel about the new president. And I think I can pretty safely say, that had the results been reversed, I would not be writing this post or doing this activity right now. But this has truly been an eye-opening season for me in so many ways, and I want to prepare myself for it as best as I can.
So today, I have decided to fast. With the exception of my morning coffee, daily smoothie, and any mid-afternoon caffeine boost I might need to keep studying (I’m not a superhuman, after all), I am not allowing food to enter into my body.
While I, in all honestly, got the idea from someone on Twitter (I think, I’m not even entirely sure), I realized how important this is not just for this time, but for myself both as a follower of Jesus and as a weak and fragile human being.
Fasting is rooted far back into not only the Christian scriptures, but really… pretty much everyone’s ancient scriptures. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, in biblical times, Jews fasted either when they were mourning or when danger threatened, and the Jewish tradition contains several days devoted specifically to fasting (the most notable among them being Yom Kippur). Muslims fast during the entire month of Ramadan (but only when the sun is out) in order to “purify the body and spirit and bring the faithful closer to God”, and it is said that the Buddha fasted both when he was a Hindu and afterward when he, well, wasn’t.
But unfortunately, Christians (or, at least, Western Christians) do not seem to be too fond of fasting. And that’s a bummer, but one I’ll hopefully talk about more on a later date.
But this particular inauguration day, I cannot help but see the necessity in fasting for the sake of my spiritual life. I got very caught up in the presidential race, and am currently having a hard time accepting the reality of today.
But I am a Christian, doggone it.
I should know that my citizenship is not in America, but in Heaven (Philippians 3:20).
I should know that my ruler is not a president, nor a fascist, nor a dictator, nor Caesar, nor a king, but my God who sits on the throne of Heaven (Revelation 7:10).
And I should know that my hope is not found in a mortal leader, but that my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’s blood and righteousness.
And I should know that true greatness is not found in a leader, nor in a nation, nor in anything else in this world, but that the only thing that is great is the faithfulness of God (Lamentations 3:23). I also know that in the upside-down world that is the Kingdom of God, the first shall become the last, the last shall become the first, and the greatest shall be the servants (Matthew 23:11), and that the Greatest Commands that Jesus gave were to (1) love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strengths, and to (2) love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:34-40).
The only way I can ever hope to bring about change in this world is to let him who is the same yesterday, today, and forever come in first to change my heart (Hebrews 13:8).
And so I am fasting as a reminder to myself not to dwell on the ways of this world, but to focus on where my eyes should lie instead: God, and my neighbors.
I am fasting so that I may mourn with those who mourn, and so that I may catch a glimpse of Christ right before he began his ministry. I am fasting to remind myself of my own weakness as well as the frailties of this world, but also, more importantly, on the strength and faithfulness of my God. I am fasting because a humble and prostrate heart is the best defense against a fallen and broken world.
And this world has always been broken. And this world will always be broken, regardless of who’s sitting in the oval office. And I pray that I never forget that.
I pray that I never forget the ones that Jesus remembered. I pray that I refuse to flaunt my wealth and privilege over others–feigning my weariness while begging for the praise of others–but rather, I pray that I seek to embody, to the best of my meager ability, the life of my hungry, homeless, thirsty, cold, and wandering savior, so that I am all the better fit to serve my hungry, homeless, thirsty, cold, and wandering, [Muslim, black, female, undocumented, LGBTQ+] neighbor (Matthew 25:31-46).
And I ask that you join me, as well. Today, and in four years, and in eight years, and beyond.
Thank you for reading. Until next time.