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Fasting and feasting

17 July 2013

Ghanaian schoolchildren at lunch  

'Fasting and feasting' the headline read,
and I turned to the page,
curious to discover,
was it an article about Lenten observance perhaps,
or Ramadan,
the rediscovery of ancient spiritual disciplines?
Someone who had lived below the line,
or could it even be a comment on the IF campaign?

I should have known better.
These are not the stuff of weekend magazines.
It's a diet.
The latest, hottest, coolest thing.
Get slimmer and healthier;
Eat what you like, most of the time;
Simply quarter your normal calorie intake two days a week
And you'll lose weight quickly and easily.
And the joy of the Fast Diet
Is that the side effects are all good!
(Though I imagine all that joy stuff,
all the good side effects,
may depend on what your normal calorie intake
actually is.)

But it's very popular, apparently.
The book has roared up the bestseller lists
...if you enjoyed this one, you may also like the other four....

not the bloody Syrian thread unravelling nightly on the screen,
not the harvests blighted by drought or flood,
not the fragile children in makeshift clinics,
not the food aid fast becoming normalised in my rich country,
nothing I can recall has spoken so clearly to me
of our disordered relationships -
with our food
with our bodies
with our economics
with our fellow human beings
with the earth itself.

Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, kyrie eleison
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.

Give us today our daily bread.
Give us parents happy because their children have gone to bed with full stomachs.
Give us farmers who have won their land rights.
Give us the peace of people who can go home at last in safety.
Give us the pride of women who have worked together and got a fair price for their produce.
Give us the hospitality of people who have almost nothing but share it anyway.
Give us the shared pleasure of the meal that breaks a long emptiness, and the feast that follows shared work.
Give us the justice of eating.
Give us the joy of these good side effects.
Give us an 'us.'

Bread is never just bread.
Our Father, give us today our daily bread.

Kathy Galloway, head of Christian Aid Scotland 


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