Monday, February 2, 2009

Mormon Monday: Are Sunday's Fast or Slow?

Mormon Monday is my time to discuss things that are important or unique to my faith as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Yesterday, like the first Sunday of every month, was Fast Sunday in my church. We could sometimes wish this meant the day goes by faster than usual! In fact, it often seems to go slower. A Fast Sunday is a day of fasting and prayer. Those members who do not have a medical counterindication to fasting are generally expected to fast for 2 meals, or aproximately 24 hours. In fasting we exercise self-control over physical appetites by going without food or water, and we focus on our need to be spiritually in tune with the Lord. Often a fast is accompanied by particularly fervent prayers, individually and as families or congregations, for specific needs. In addition, the money that would have been spent on food is donated as a "fast offering" to the church, specifically earmarked to administer to the needs of those who cannot afford food, clothing, shelter or other needs.
Church sacrament meetings on Fast Sunday also differ from the normal pattern which includes prepared talks by church leaders or members of the congregation. Instead of a prepared sermon or talk on a specific topic, members of the congregation are invited to stand as they feel moved by the spirit to share their testimonies of the gospel. When those present bear pure testimony of the truths of the gospel and the blessings it has brought into their lives, these meetings can be a time of spiritual feasting.
In recent years, I have not often participated in a full 24 hour fast as I have always been pregnant or nursing or a baby (or both!) and fasting is generally counterindicated under such circumstances. I do however appreciate the greater spiritual depth of fast sundays and look forward to the time when I can again participate fully.


Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Yesterday was only the fifth time since we've been married (14 years) that I've been able to do a full 24 hour fast for the same reason - either pregnant or nursing. I so enjoy Sundays. THe mornings are always a rush trying to get everyone out the door and dressed properly but the afternoons are pleasant and lazy.

Maile said...

I am so glad we finally have morning church again. Last year we had church from 2:00-5:00 and by the time we got home it was always past 5:30 at least. It just felt like we had no time for anything. I love that church now ends at 1:00 and we have time to come home and relax together, right in journals, prepare a nice Sunday meal, etc. So now Sunday is slower but in a very nice way.

I have a friend with diabetes who can't fully participate in fasting, but she told me that she tries to keep her meals really simple on fast Sundays and she chooses to abstain from something else during that period of time, like e-mail. I thought that was an intriguing way to still set that time apart as different even when I can't fast.