The Christian tradition identifies the sacredness of both feasting and fasting and appoints seasons for both of them. The Lenten Season, seven weeks leading up to Easter, is a season of fasting. We eat more simply, sometimes refrain from particular types of foods, and devote ourselves to charity on behalf of others.
But in conjunction with each Christian fast, there is usually a time of feasting. Before and after our fast, we remember God’s abundance by celebrating together. The traditions that have come to be known as Carnival or Mardi Gras proceed Ash Wednesday and Lent and are marked by rich foods, hilarity, and lightheartedness.
One of my favorite theologians, Robert Capon, once wrote this:
“[The] dinner party is a true proclamation of the abundance of being — a rebuke to the thrifty little idolatries by which we lose sight of the lavish hand that made us. It is precisely because no one needs soup fish, meat, salad, cheese, and dessert at one meal that we so badly need to sit down to them from time to time. It was largesse that made us all; we were not created to fast forever. The unnecessary is the taproot of our being and the last key to the door of delight.” -Robert Capon, Priest and Theologian, from “The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection”
When we feast, enjoy ourselves, God’s creation, and one another, but perhaps more importantly, we also proclaim God’s abundance, what Capon calls God’s largesse. We are followers of one who is not stingy but whose love and mercy overflow beyond what we could imagine.
I hope however you spend these last days before Lent begins, that you know the largesse of God’s mercy and love.