Skip to main content

Feasting or Fasting?

Our Narrative Lectionary Reading for this upcoming Sunday is from Mark 2:18-22.  Some people confronted Jesus wanting to know why his disciples did not fast like the disciples of John and the Pharisees.  This was not the only time that people were concerned about the undisciplined behavior of his disciples.  In Acts 2 people were concerned the disciples were drunk in the morning.  Jesus' crew may have been a little rowdy.  Today, some would say they knew how to have a good time. 

It is important to know that fasting was not found as a commandment except for very special days.  It was a common practice for mourning, preparing, or making commitments, but it was not commanded.  Jesus certainly didn't oppose it, he started his ministry by fasting for 40 days in the wilderness.  However, he did come to the defense of the disciples, never one to miss an opportunity to correct those trying to place a heavier yoke on others.

His response is AMAZING! It goes something like this: He tells them that there is a time to feast and a time to tighten your belt.  Now is the time for feasting, look, they are having a good time.  You wouldn't toss water on a bonfire among friends, so don't be such a stick in the mud, this celebration is what God's kingdom looks like!

As he continues he goes on to explain that this kingdom work is something new, so the old practices and traditions don't apply.  New wine does not go in old wine skins, they would burst.  He didn't recruit from among the best Torah students like John and the Pharisees.  He was doing something new, and it required a new kind of disciple. 

May each of you be a new wine skin, prepared to receive the work of Christ in the world today!


Popular posts from this blog

Death Will Lose it's Sting

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. In these verses, Paul reveals a mystery, that in the end some will be transformed, given a new body, instead of facing death.  In other words death is not one of life's two certain terms.  It seems taxes may be the only guarantee.   " this world nothing can be said to be certain, except  death and taxes ." - Benjamin Franklin. Ok, all jokes aside, these verses are difficult to read.  Paul looks forward to a time when death will have no victory, it will have lost its sting.  But today, we are in the middle of a pandemic, surrounded by death.  Many are scared for their lives, or their loved ones, and too many have already been lost.  Death does not seem to have lost its sting at all, it feels as if it is closing in. When I worked in wilderness therapy I remember holding a child who was desperately trying to kill himself.  We cried together as he struggled to end it, and I struggled

Fool for Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 2 Corinthians 5.  Verse 13 stood out to me. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:13a (NLT) John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard churches did a famous sermon called "I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?".  Reading this week's text reminded me of this wonderful sermon.  Wimber's sermon reminds us that, as christians, we are called to something truly radical.  The christian walk is strange and counter cultural.  Jesus once explained this to his disciples in John 15 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. You don't belong to this world, I have chosen you out of it.  That is why the world hates you."   Peter, in a letter to the church, later referred to all of us as strangers just passing through this world.   Do you feel like a stranger?  Do you feel like the world hates you?  Are you a fool for Christ? Here is the thing, you are going t

Deeper Discipleship

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is Mark 10:17-22.  A wealthy man approaches Jesus with great respect and asks what he must do to have the abundant life Jesus has been preaching about.  Jesus reminds him of the commandments, but the man claims to have followed them since childhood.  Jesus looks him in the eye and something changes.  Mark tells us that Jesus loved him in this moment, so he invites him to sell all of his belongings, and follow him.  He invites him to become a disciple.  All of the other disciples had to do the same thing in order to follow Jesus.  They dropped their nets, left their family, and followed Jesus.  In this case, the man could not do it.  The scriptures tell us that he had a lot of wealth, a lot he was unwilling to let go of.  He left that encounter disappointed, because the cost of discipleship was too great.  I notice that Jesus starts with the law as the answer to the question, almost giving a basic book answer.  It is only after