Fasting and Feasting into Easter

On a recent Lenten Sunday, worshipers at Willoughby Christian Reformed Church in Langley, British Columbia, arrived to the smell of fresh-baked bread. The warm, crusty loaves were brought into the sanctuary during the offering and placed on long tables stretched across the front of the church for communion.

Martin Contant and bread baker Joshua deGroot set out fresh bread for communion.

Willoughby member Joshua deGroot woke up early to prepare the dough for nine artisan loaves, which were then baked in the church kitchen ovens. As the congregation gathered around the tables to share in the cup, break bread, and pass the peace, they were reminded of the first meal around which Christ instituted this feast.

Fresh bread was just one of many elements that brought to life Willoughby’s Lenten theme. Celebrating Lent has long been a time of fasting from for many at Willoughby CRC.

This year, while not discouraging the fasting, pastors Mark Glanville and Martin Contant challenged the congregation to enjoy feasting together as well. Collaborating with worship team members, they focused messages on meals that Jesus participated in throughout the gospels.

“Lent has been a time where we have extended the radical welcome of Christ,” said Glanville. “The congregation has been challenged to extend a radical welcome to others.”

From lunch exchanges in homes to an after-church luncheon potluck to an “invite your neighbor for lunch Sunday,” Willoughby folk have been fasting and feasting.

The congregation also celebrated communion each Sunday during Lent, varying the way it was served each time, including by intinction (dipping the bread into the wine).

On Good Friday evening, the congregation will view the film Of Gods and Men after sharing a simple supper of homemade soup and bread.

“Our dinner table has been set for many people of all walks of life,” added Glanville. “Christ has offered us a welcome, and we called to extend that welcome to others in a variety of ways and places.”

About the Author

Jenny deGroot is a teacher/librarian in Langley, British Columbia.

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Comments

I have two questions pertaining to Christianity, and moreover, the "authenticity of Christ:"

1) When Jesus banished those evil spirits into the herd of swine - why did he choose swine? If God is omnipotent, and by extension, Jesus is the son of God, and we take into consideration the notion "God is love..." then why did Jesus choose the mammal pig to expel the spirits, as opposed to casting them into rocks or simply "sending them back to hell."

It seems cruel as the pigs subsequently drowned, as the story goes.

2) Why did Jesus "curse" that fig tree? As the scripture goes, it was out of season, and the tree bore only leaves at the time Jesus was hungry, yet, he sought fruit, and upon realizing the fig plant bore no fruit, by His will he withered it. Does that not seem spiteful? Where is the peacefulness of the Buddha, by contrast, in this act, which almost seems spiteful?

I have recently gotten into the writings and philosophy of Russel Bertrand, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, please explain from a religious perspective, lest I abandon my faith altogether.

Kind thanks,
Chris

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