Everyone has heard of Mardi Gras but how many of us know that it is connected to Lent and the Christian Tradition? I best most people don’t make the connection.
You know spending most of my walk with the Lord in modern Evagelical churches I was never really taught much about older traditions in the Church. Having gone to a Lutheran church when I was first saved I have at least heard some of the titles.
Today is Ash Wednesday, it marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is a traditional time of preparation, via repentance, prayer, alms giving and self-denial, for the Holy Week and celebration or Easter or Resurrection Sunday. Mardi Gras literally “Fat Tuesday” was the last chance to eat the rich fatty foods before a period of fasting. A sort of “Smoke ’em if you got ’em” kind of day.
Most people think of Lent as the 40 days before Easter but many denominations count these times differently. (See this article for more information) No matter the duration you observe the purpose should be the same.
No matter which way you choose to observe the season it is a wonderful experience. The years when I have taken is seriously it has been an enriching time of growth. Take some prayerful time to consider what God would have you to do to observe Lent and prepare for the Holiest of day in the Christian year.
There are traditionally three types of Justice to be observed in the Lenten Season: Justice to God, yourself, and others.
(God)Dedicate more time to prayer by giving up: TV, Video Games, sleep or something else that takes up your time.
(Self)What can you do? Many people give up a certain type of food: meat, red meat, caffeine, candy and sweets.
(Others)Dedicate the money you save in doing these thing to give away to others, your local church, homeless shelter or other ministry.