Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Fat Tuesday is here!
Otherwise known as Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday), today is a long-standing tradition of sinfulness! The idea is simple: sin as much as you want, making yourself "fat" on it, before Ash Wednesday, the day when the Season of Lent begins and you have to start preparing for Easter's arrival 40 days later. I've heard it explained to me this way: "I've got to have something to confess when I get to Ash Wednesday, so I might as well make it something good!" Hmmmmmmm. I'll have to study on that.
On second thought, no I won't. That argument holds no water. That same argument was used by people during the Apostle Paul's time. In Romans 6:1-2, he says it this way: "So what shall we say? Is it possible to go on sinning so that grace looks even better? Absolutely not! We died to sin; is it possible to go on living in it?" (Wood Translation) Grace is a gift freely given, but it was anything but cheap. Events like the Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans and the Carnevale Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil are flimsy excuses to act as morons and live in a shameful way. I want to be free from sin on all days of the year.
On a related note, it's been a long-standing tradition to "give something up for the season of Lent." For most Catholics, it's meat with Friday being the exception when you can have fish. In fact, the name for the Mardi Gras festival in Brazil implies this. Carne-vale - translated "meat goodbye". For the last several years, I've given something up for the season of Lent, but this year I've not really felt the Lord's leadership in any area. (I don't know if that means I'm doing great or I'm beyond hope!) If you'd like to try it, Lent begins tomorrow at sundown.