Growing up, Fat Tuesday was a day when I would see on the news pictures of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. People would eat and drink in excess, lots of drunken revelry, parades, music, and women would be encouraged to lift their shirts to get beads.
This whole Lenten season has snuck up on me this year, and as what happens when life altering things come into one’s life, perceptions change. It’s so much more than beads and beer.
I’m also learning a lot about Lutherans, Catholics, Christians, the Bible, and history.
I looked up Fat Tuesday and found out it’s also called Shrove Day, or pancake day. People used to use up all of their rich foods like eggs, butter and milk before fasting, and what better to make than pancakes? Some even make doughnuts. In certain places, they have pancake races, and tell a story of a woman who was late to church and when she heard the bell ringing, ran out of the house still flipping pancakes.
That’s the thing. They didn’t have technology back then to know.
But we do have the Bible.
In some faiths, Fat Tuesday was made up for people to eat as much as they can of the things and food they were giving up for the next forty days of Lent. They felt that by fasting, they would be forgiven.
Some Lutherans have started taking part in it, but I think most don’t. Lutherans believe we are already forgiven. We are saved by faith alone in Christ. Doing things that men have added and said to do in the years since doesn’t make you get to Heaven faster.
(It’s also a little strange to say your going to give something up, but first let me eat twenty pancakes, drink a lot of beer, and hey! I’ll give you some beads if you show me some boob.., I don’t think any of the disciples wrote that in the New Testament…)
Yes, Lent is a season to remember the last days of Jesus. How He walked this Earth and suffered so that we could walk in Heaven and celebrate.
But let’s keep the gratefulness in our hearts all year long. Not just for the season.
Every day we breathe we are forgiven.
Our sins have been paid for by His blood.
Spend this season giving more good things to others instead of giving up things you know are bad for you all year long.
Stop blaming yourself and others.
Start treating your body like you want it to be around for years and years to come.
Start thinking about how to make your life and other lives better.
Start reading the Bible and read about the greatest love story ever told.
Someone has died for you. He loves you so much, that He died for you before you were even born.
That’s what this season is about.
Spend the next forty days getting to know Him.
It’s a pretty amazing story.
Today I’ve got work. I’m exhausted from staying out late at a PTO meeting, and reading emails back and forth about chemo between Rob and my doctor. Even one email is hard to read. I still feel like I’m out of body and it’s not really my story. It’s someone else they are discussing on waiting on labwork and deciding doses of chemo and when it starts and going to the cancer center this week.
That’s not me they are taking about.
It’s some other lady.
I talked to a friend last night who had a mammogram and she was telling me how scared she was while the test was happening. She realized that’s my life every day.
I said that’s my life every second when I let it take over.
Someone else said I was quiet the last month whenever she saw me. January was a hard month. February has been too.
But spring is coming.
Last year I felt so much fear about my own diagnosis, as well as pain whenever I thought about Jesus. I came to know Him last year, and truly, deeply love Him.
As much as I love what He did, I feel like I have the pain of His mother in my heart. Mary had to watch her son suffer. The days leading up to Easter are somber and solemn.
I like the part when He surprises everyone and makes the greatest comeback ever.
The original comeback kid.
Today, may we all reflect on how to be better and think about our lives. And if you want to eat a pancake, don’t overdo it.
In Jesus’s name, amen.