Mardi Gras and Giving Something Up for Lent

In case you haven't been paying attention, Mardi Gras is this Tuesday.  There will be a myriad of celebrations throughout North America and most likely in your own town.  Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, is the traditional day to eat rich and fatty foods before the fast of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.  It has given birth to the magnificent and wild festivals we now associate with this day. 

Quick digression - this year, Second Presbyterian Church is hosting a Shrove Tuesday (another name for Mardi Gras) jazz concert.  If you are in town, you should definitely check it out.  It is guaranteed to be an amazing concert and fantastic way to commemorate the beginning of Lent (see the ad below). 

As I am sure you are more than painfully aware, Mardi Gras also marks the last day to enjoy whatever activity, food or drink you have decided to "give up" for Lent.  Giving something up for Lent has taken the place of what used to be a complete fast in preparation for Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter Sunday (when the fast was traditionally broken). 

In recent years, I have decided not to give something up for Lent.  I confess that I am horrible at keeping my "fasts" when I do decide to give something up.  I inevitably eat the chocolate, drink the caffeine, or quickly jump on Facebook "just this once".  Then I place some wacky guilt trip on myself because of my weak will power. 

I know.  It all sounds rather pathetic, but it is true.  Maybe you can relate. 

In light of my inability to follow through on my fasts, I decided instead of giving something up for Lent I would follow the advice of others by adding something to my spiritual disciplines during Lent's 40 days.  I must say that I have found a tremendous amount of joy in this practice.  It has helped me focus on the meaning of the season of Lent and prepare my spirit for Holy Week.  I am not suggesting that everyone give this a try.  I am simply providing an alternative to those who, like me, have a proclivity for breaking fasts before their time.

Beginning Ash Wednesday and continuing throughout the season of Lent, the blogs on this page will be focused on the season and will include something you might consider adding to your own journey toward the cross.  Have an amazing Mardi Gras and hope to see you at the Ash Wednesday service on Wednesday, March 9, 7-8 p.m. in the sanctuary (if you aren't around Indy, find a service close to you).


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