Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Eat, Drink and Be Merry, For Tomorrow We Fast!
1Co 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
This is Ash Wednesday, a day in which many of the Catholic faithful will stand in line for a priest to apply ashes on their foreheads. The ashes are made from palm leaves held over from Palm Sunday the previous year. The purpose for this sign of the cross on the forehead is to indicate that the upcoming season of lent will be a time of spiritual examination and adjustment.
In near mockery of the occasion, Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday is Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras is to get all your sin in while you can before Lenten season is initiated. “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we fast!” Imagine, a religious practice encouraging over indulgence in preparation for fasting and self deprivation.
Now, I am not a part of the Roman religion, but I inadvertently participated in Fat Tuesday. A good friend treated me to the Chinese buffet for a pastor appreciation meal – ah, I love it! It was like Christmas in July, only it was Pastor Appreciation in March! By the way, I think this pastor’s midsection appreciated by about 2 inches on that meal.
Then, for the evening meal, our Chaplaincy Corps became a bit more corpulent as we were treated to a fantastic meal by the People’s City Mission. Wow! I think I may move in down there just for the grub. Not a single chaplain nor spouse were able to finish their meal. The Corps has definitely expanded following that meal.
Now, for my Ash Wednesday confession. Upon getting in my car last evening, my belt broke!!! This Baptist boy done outdid the Catholics for Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras was never taken so literally as it was yesterday by me.
I digress. Ash Wednesday. There needn’t be a calendar day to repent of our sins and examine our lives. We should examine our lives daily and make the proper adjustments to align our lives. Giving up a bad habit or a sin, fasting, depriving ourselves, feeling sorrow for our depravity… these should be a regular part of the Christian discipline. I am not Ash Bashing, but I believe we need to deny our flesh and take up our cross to follow Jesus every day.