I have just had a course of antibiotics for an abscessed tooth, and as a result I have abstained from alcohol all week.
This got me thinking...why not ditch alcohol in Lent? OK, I thought, sounds straightforward.
A friend from a few years ago used to give up alcohol every year, but didn't abstain on Sundays. This sounded even better! Sundays are busy in this house, and they are also the evening before my husband's day off. A glass of wine/beer/gin/whiskey is very much appreciated on a Sunday evening.
So I started to think about the Lenten fast a little deeper. Why are Sundays ok? Is it just an easy get out clause for me? Will I not be fasting 'properly' if I have a cheeky Rioja on Sunday nights?
I have decided that for me, the answer to all of these questions (except the first obviously) is no.
These are the reasons for my decision:
1) When I attend a Eucharistic Celebration, Christ is present. When the bridegroom is present the guests do not fast. Mark 2:19-20 "How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the Bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast."
2) Each Eucharist is for me a celebration of Jesus' resurrection. We proclaim "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again". Therefore each celebration, although muted in Lent, is a mini celebration of the Resurrection, a mini Easter so to speak.
3) I will not be abstaining from receiving the consecrated chalice, I receive Christ's blood and as such participate in His once for all sacrifice.
4) As Canon law dictates that communion wine is to be alcoholic. I shall already have (very technically) broken my fast on a Sunday morning. I realise this is the weakest part of my argument as my aforementioned cheeky Rioja is rather different to consecrated communion wine.
They are my reasons, only mine you understand. Your interpretation of the fast must, most importantly be yours, and is like mine, answerable only to God.