As I write this article, the world is beginning to get ready for... Lent? Or at least they are getting ready for the pre-lent celebration of Fat Tuesday or Shrove (confession) Tuesday; or as they say it in French: Mardi Gras. This is about the carnival celebration beginning after the feast of Epiphany and ending on the day before Ash Wednesday. Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras reflects the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten Season. In New Orleans this celebration really has nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with drinking and lewd partying. The news will usually show us pictures of people drinking and dancing down the streets in New Orleans.
I imagine this celebration is a mixture of the Jewish observation of Passover as they rid their houses of yeast and the Catholics getting their houses ready for their fasting without meat. That is kind of a big stretch. As Christians today, it is not all about rules. Christ fulfilled the law and gives us the freedom to serve him with what we eat or drink.
The Christian Church used to celebrate with Sundays called: Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima Sundays. These were the three Sundays before Lent and they basically mean 70, 60 and 50 days until Easter. In church we heard statements in the liturgy like: “The sorrows of death compassed me: the sorrows of hell compassed be about.” “The LORD will be a Refuge for the oppressed, a Refuge in times of trouble” “Awake, why sleepest Thou, O Lord? Arise cast us not off forever.” “Let the nations know that Thy name is Jehovah.” “Be Thou my strong Rock: for an house of defense to save me.” And “Thou art the God that doest wonders: Thou hast declared Thy strength among the peoples.”
The Bible tells us: “Luke 9:51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” For us, we remember how Jesus knew everything which lay ahead of him up in Jerusalem. And yet he willingly went there. And there he lovingly completed everything necessary for us and our Salvation according to God's Plan. The result is that now everyone who believe in what he did for them is certain that they may have life in and with Him forever in Heaven.
Psalm 116 - I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, save me!”
5 The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
Lent begins February 10th. Join us in worship at 7pm every Wednesday during Lent; and/ or visit us on Sundays for Bible class/ Sunday School at 9:30 and Worship at 10:30 am.