Jesus answered, “Can the groom’s friends fast, while the groom is with them? As long as they have the groom with them, they cannot fast.
we now fast for a preferred future
each time we do we find a vision
pushing us to break our little fast
to do what needs doing right now
to live that future into existence
our fast becomes appetizer
for a feast beyond measure
this fast is far more satisfying
than magical thinking of an intervention
that will set everything right
with a transaction exchanging debasement
for a reward of imputed glory
such a fast is strangely unsatisfying
when we forget its boom/bust cycling
The question is set up to have only one response—No.
Look behind a scene with an automatic response and there are additional questions that lined up to be asked.
Ched Myers, et.al, in “Say to this Mountain”: Mark’s Story of Discipleship, notes a critical difference between those with resources sufficient to fast and those for whom hunger was a reality that could not be avoided and thus not a fast. When this is the case, a Pharisaic intention to honor G*D turns into a shaming of neighbor.
This structural critique presents another wrinkle with the way religions “domesticate” patterns of behavior. The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus by Robert Funk, et. al., reminds us:
The custom in Jesus’ day was to fast as a part of regular religious observance. In contrast to the behavior of John the Baptist and his followers, Jesus apparently did not fast, but came to be known as “a glutton and a drunk.” The early Christian community immediately reverted to fasting as a religious practice, but now they are driven to distinguish their fasts from those of their Jewish counterparts by changing the days.
This process of assimilating the Jesus tradition to an earlier established custom is known as the domestication of the tradition.
We do become afraid of unscripted living. It is seen as dangerous or leading to wilderness. As a result, we bring order everywhere we are. Where else might we have drawn back from considering “the bridegroom” always being with us?