It all began this morning/afternoon… Night Watchers, you know what I mean… day folks, try and track with it…
This “morning,” my alarm went off at 1:00pm. I felt pretty gross when it went off, so I set it for 1:15pm to catch a few more minutes’ sleep. Through a series of events completely unknown to me, I actually ended up awakening at 3:00pm.
This was a problem, because I had a meeting at 3:00. I looked at my clock again to make sure I was reading the time correctly. I racked my fuzzy brain to make sure today was actually Tuesday and that the meeting I was thinking of was actually supposed to happen today. Yes, yes, and yes. Phooey.
I threw on the first t-shirt and pair of jeans I could get my hands on, grabbed a hat, and rushed over to the meeting. Well, first I had two or three runs from the front door back to my room to get my keys, glasses, name tag, Bible, and other important items that I kept forgetting.
Finally I made it over, and while I was late, I wasn’t hideously late. I didn’t see any of the people I was planning on meeting with, and it amused me that, even though I woke up at 3:00, I was going to be the first one who actually showed up. However, as the minutes ticked by and I continued not to see anyone, I began to feel a little less triumphant and a little more concerned. Finally I caught up with one of our group and discovered for sure what I had already begun to figure out — our meeting had been postponed before I even woke up. Oh well; it’s one of those hazards of trying to coordinate a meeting with a group of people from different parts of a continuous 24-hour schedule. Miscommunications happen simply because at least one person from the group will almost certainly either be asleep or on duty when everyone else is trying to connect.
So now it was a short while after 3:00pm, and I had to decide what to do. I knew I had a mandatory fast meeting at 4:00 in the Prayer Roon, but I still had the better part of an hour before then. I began to think of different errands I needed to run, different little tasks I had to get done. But they would all take longer than the time I had. I found myself seriously considering running those errands, and just being late to the prayer meeting. After all, I was a very busy person. I had to get that stuff done. Now would be a great time to do it if it weren’t for that inconvenient meeting starting at 4:00 (Never mind the time that would have been available to me had I actually woken up when my alarm went off the first time…).
I realized that I was actually seriously contemplating and justifying shrugging off the meeting, and then I realized that that’s the whole point of a weekly mandatory fast meeting in the first place. Fasting is inconvenient. Gathering in a solemn assembly is inconvenient. It encroaches upon our time and energy. If I only fasted when it happened to be “convenient,” I probably would never do it at all. Yes, the Tuesday 4:00pm was inconvenient for me today. But that’s the whole point of the “mandatory” part. It’s really a gift that enables me and forces me to actually follow through with what I want to do. I want to give my life to fasting, prayer and worship, and this is a fantastic way to keep my weak, distracted heart on track.
So praise God for mandatory fast meetings. For real.