Sunday, July 05, 2009

Saying of the Desert Christians: Gentleness 2


We came from Palestine to Egypt and went to see one of the fathers. He offered us hospitality and we said, "Why do you not keep the fast when visitors come to see you? In Palestine they keep it." He replied, "Fasting is always with me but I cannot always have you here. It is useful and necessary to fast but we choose whether we will fast or not. What God commands is perfect love. I receive Christ in you and so I must do everything possible to serve you with love. When I have sent you on your way, then I can continue my rule of fasting. The sons of the bridegroom cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them; when he is taken away from them, then they will fast."

Some thoughts:

One thing we see right off is that when it came to fasting and to guests, practices differed in different regions. But that's not the important point in this Saying, IMO. What resonates with me is that this Abba received Christ in his guests and as a result wants to do everything possible to serve them with love.

In my experience, this is easier said than done, but how I long for the whole world to think this way. I also know that it will only start person by person, one by one. Shall we try to learn this together?


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