Little Easter

One of the discrepancies in different people’s observation of Lent, is when you stop. You see, the interval between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday is not, as you might think, 40 days. It’s 46. This is why J. Wilson from Beervana did a 46 day fast. He went from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. But most people you talk to, will talk about the 40 days of Lent.

40 is one of the numbers that pops up with significance in the Bible. It rained for 40 days during the flood. Moses was with God on the mountain for 40 days. The Israelites eat manna in the wilderness for 40 years. Goliath taunted the Israelites for 40 days. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness. Jesus remained on earth for 40 days after his resurrection. Women are pregnant (generally) for 40 weeks (not just in the Bible). There are a whole lot more (many measurements are in 40s, as well as reigns, ages, etc).

The above instances are all times of preparation or renewal. And so we use the interval of 40 for preparing for Easter, in this case, 40 days.

But wait, it’s 46 days, right?

Well, between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday there happens to be 6 Sundays. An integral idea in the concept of communal worship (“going to church”) is celebrating, every Sunday, the reality that Easter happened. Easter happening is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Furthermore, in the Biblical narrative, since creation (literally), the seventh day was to be one of rest from our labours. And so many Christians include in their fasting activities a day of “rest” and celebration of the good news of Easter each Sunday, and they abstain from their fast (that’s a double-negative I’ve never used before).

Other believers (and I am in this camp) only fast until Palm Sunday, the day we remember Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem (also, six days before Easter Sunday). This is the day of celebration, foreshadowing the resurrection (even if the disciples didn’t “get it”, we have the benefit of hindsight). In my case, there are two reasons for this: For one, Holy Week (the 6 days preceding Easter) are already ones of fairly rigorous spiritual involvement. The point of the fast is to help focus one’s energy on to spiritual pursuits; in Holy Week, your attention is already drawn. For two, I won’t actually be able to eat much in the way of actual food when I break my fast, and will need to spend a few days weaning myself back into the land of the eating. And I really really love a proper feast, and Easter is probably my favourite. Totally selfish, but there you have it.

But I really love this idea of “Little Easter”, or taking some time to celebrate and be thankful a little bit extra each Sunday.

Here, in no particular order, are some things I’ve been thankful for today:

Erika, Grace and Ben. When I took my vitamin with breakfast it totally made me wickedly nauseous. Erika immediately poured me a ginger ale with a few dashes of bitters to help me out. And they’ve all been equal parts adorable and understanding today, which has made it so much easier.

The Music of Martyn Joseph. I haven’t listened to a single track of his today, but various songs have been running through my head, and it’s been lovely. Here’s a classic:

Apple Juice. In this case, President’s Choice calcium/D enriched stuff (on sale right now). When my head was killing this morning (remnants of a 1-beer hangover from drinking a delicious Great Lakes Harry Porter and the Cherry Hoarder before bed last night with no water), that glass of apple juice was like an elixir.

Today has actually been pretty hard. Between the headache and food at meals looking obscenely incredible it’s been tough. Especially to remember to refocus my thoughts of hunger into prayer. If you’re up for a spot of prayer, that’s where I could use it. Not that I’m not hungry (that’s inevitable), but that I can have the strength to refocus my energy.



  1. Sue Cowan - Minister
    Posted March 11, 2014 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    Dear Chris,
    I heard about your Lenten fast and blog from a fellow in my congregation, Jeff Hall, and was quite intrigued by the idea of fasting from solid foods… literally surviving on a unique Lenten brew! Thank you for your post about how Amsterdam Brewing Co. created your special suds and for today’s post about how you are coping with fasting by listening to music and finding joy in your family… how you are dealing with your headache and nausea, and trying to refocus your hunger on prayer.

    So here, Chris, is a prayer for you, that you might be encouraged and strengthened in the coming days:

    Holy and Gracious God,
    you who are the wind that brings new life and the breath that sustains us
    blow upon this day.
    Inspire the words I hear and speak and sing.
    Sweep away the dullness of my mind that I may
    know you more fully.
    Clear my heart of all things that clutter it that I may love Jesus more deeply.
    Banish from my will any weakness that prevents me from following him more faithfully.

    Be here with me, I pray
    in my desert places and my places of rest…
    my places of play and my places of learning…
    my places of joy and my places of despair…

    Slake my thirst with your living water…
    fill me with your spiritual bread…
    and nourish my soul with you grace-filled presence, this day and in all days.

    In the name of the Christ, AMEN

    Will keep tabs on your blog and pray for your spirit to be blessed by God’s tender care.
    Be strong,

    Your sister in faith and hope,

    Sue Cowan – Minister
    Emmanuel UC, Brampton, ON

  2. chris
    Posted March 11, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers. The knowledge that other people are walking with me through this is a huge blessing as well.

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