Monday, February 12, 2018

Fat vs. Shrove Tuesday

1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery…13You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself. (Galatians 5:1,13-14)

Thoughts: Mardi-Gras, Fat Tuesday is one of the biggest parties in the world.  1.2 million (twice the normal population) will swell New Orleans.  There’s a whole lot of over indulging, and purposefully forgetting of identities.  But ironically it is a decayed piece of Lent.  The Roman Catholic idea was that you were supposed to fast and repent during Lent, so many took that as meaning you do the opposite on the day before Lent.  It is, they would say, the last chance to over-indulge, be overtly consumed with the things of the flesh.  For some, the 40 days of Lent are spent regretting the one night of Mardi Gras!  This is one of the reasons Calvin and Zwingli did not like Lent.  Christians are supposed to be Christian not just during Lent/Easter or Advent/Christmas.  All time and all life belong to God.  Jesus certainly taught nothing that insinuated we should only be holy or seek to follow God at certain times.       Shrove Tuesday (from Shriving Tuesday) got its name from eating up all the foods that would not last the forty days of Lent- especially food with fat in it (Thus the French "Fat Tuesday").  But while this idea may have had religious significance, it came to mean the feast before the fast- or the party before repentance.
      "Shrove Tuesday" gets its name from the English "Shriving": the practice of going through the house and eating up the food that would not last the 40 days of Lent.  This would especially include foods with fat in it (thus the French "Fat Tuesday"= "Mardi Gras").  Obviously even such pure beginnings became corrupt.  So that it evolved/decayed into the feast before the fast- or the party before the time of repentance.  Calvin and Zwingli especially winced at the abuses that went on in the name of religion here. 
     In the passage above that introduces the Fruit of the Spirit it speaks of real freedom.  Real freedom does not mean giving into sin- which we will regret later.  Real freedom means to love.  The Christian view of love stands in stark contrast to the world’s selfish view of love as a type of selfish pleasure.  So, here’s a thought- prepare for Lent by having a little fun.  Come out and support our youth with their pancake dinner (raising money for the Youth Facility Renovation- “The Cove”).  Look for a way today to do something for someone else as you prepare for a time of thinking of the Fruit of the Spirit. 

Prayer:  Lord, may your love that sets me truly free, fill me today.  May I grow in love with you and neighbor every day of the life you give me. 

[Below- Folly and Death at a Mardi Gras festival] 

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