I Weep With Shame
At the Lambeth Conference a few weeks ago, the Anglican Communion called for September 25, 2008 to be a day of prayer, fasting and witness in conjunction with the “High-level event on the Millennium Development Goals at UN Headquarters in New York" on that same day. The Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation campaign seeks to involve as many people as possible tomorrow to Pray, Fast and Witness as we join in solidarity with communities of faith to change the world.
The goal is a concerted effort to pray with a primary intent for all who live in extreme poverty (poverty that kills); to fast by skipping at least one meal and to witness online through our blogs, personal pages (i.e. Facebook/My Space); and to act with advocacy groups (i.e. EPPN). I committed a while ago to blog about my thoughts on the MDGs and to respond immediately to all calls for advocacy. In addition to praying throughout the day, I will lead noonday prayer at Christ Church Cathedral using the designated Prayers of the People found at the EGR website. Also, I have continued to deliberate about the idea of fasting.
I thought about skipping breakfast because it is one of my most important meals, in fact, it is probably the only meal that I would actually miss, hunger-wise. Plus I just like all the different types of breakfast foods. I didn’t really want to skip lunch simply because lunch is when a group of us meet upstairs to eat together. More than that though, it is a time of fellowship and camaraderie. To skip the dinner meal is not big thing for me. I am always better off not eating in the evening.
All along, as I thought about this idea of fasting, some little something far back in my mind has bothered. About 2:30 this morning, in that wakeful sleep mode that I so often find myself, I suddenly came to full consciousness. The half awake/half asleep state is an irritating condition but one that I frequently find to be an illuminating time. So it was I was lit up in this early morning. What woke me fully was disgust.
Can I speak to the revulsion that I felt within me? Am I able to write exactly how ashamed I was to realize my high podium of privilege from which I found myself inanely pondering? No…no.
The very idea that I would actually think about WHICH meal I might skip – the idea that I have numerous opportunities from which to choose…the idea that after skipping that one I could open the fridge and eat to my belly’s content…the shallow thought that I would consider skipping only one meal for one day...
Meanwhile, how many people whose stomachs are twisting with hunger pangs do I walk by on my way into the Cathedral each day? How many children in this city alone went to bed last night without a meal? How many children throughout the world died from starvation in just the amount of time it took for me to ponder which meal I might ostentatiously skip?
God have mercy on my unearned privileged ignorance…I weep with shame.