Fasting is about solidarity with those who suffer; in our self-emptying, we cry out for Jesus to restore them. He suffered; He now lives to heal the grieving. Thank you for praying alongside of us at DSM/LW as we get low to raise up an army of wounded healers—like Jesus, risen, ours wounds yet visible (JN 20:27; Rev. 5:6).
In the fight, glorious occasions arise that invite us out of the fast and into feasting. I announce to you the birth of my third grandchild, Jacob Andrew Comiskey, born on the Feast of St. Luke, October 18th to my youngest son Sam and wife Chelsea.
The day was as clear and bright as both parents. Annette and I took turns visiting them in the early hours of labor then waited at home. Sam texted that Chelsea was dilating fast: we raced to the hospital and breathlessly entered the delivery room (whether we should have or not) just in time to hear Jacob’s first cry, and to witness his first embrace on Chelsea’s breast. Glorious.
The nurses chased us out of the room where we and Chelsea’s fine parents waited for a few hours until we could spend time with Jacob. I considered how fitting this Feast Day was. St. Luke’s is the Gospel most inclined to expressions of extravagant mercy, from the Prodigal son turning slightly toward the Father who raced to embrace (and so cover) his son’s nakedness (LK 15), the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and hair under the scowl of the Pharisee (LK 7), the gardener who implored the landowner to give him time to make the barren tree fruitful (LK 13). Luke’s stories guide Sam’s story—the God who gave all to bring his wandering kid home. Sam’s Father fought for his fruitfulness.
Sam is a man of mercy because He lives in that merciful flow (JN 19: 34). He releases others through his generous self-giving, and most notably Chelsea. As we watched them marvel over their Jacob, I thought of how the Father blessed Jacob in Scripture with the dream—a stairway to heaven on which angels rose and fell—after which Jacob made his stone pillow an anointed pillar that signaled an open heaven, a portal to the divine on earth (Genesis 28).
As I witnessed Jacob surrounded by love on all sides, heaven opened. I experienced pure joy, as true as pure grief, only better, able to surpass suffering and turn the sorrowful into worshippers once more (IS 61:3). Fasting, we feast.