Lent, Easter, Mardi Gras, Debauchery

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Synopsis of Lent, Easter, Mardi Gras, Debauchery

Good and joyful morning to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or whatever is your favorite…. We’re about to slice a piece of the bread of life…. The word of God.
And today’s slice comes from: Matthew 28:1

Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to see the tomb. 2 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, because an angel of the lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it. 3 His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4 The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. 5 then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He isn’t here! He has been raised from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. 7 And now, go quickly and tell his disciples he has been raised from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to galilee. You will see him there. Remember, I have told you.” 8 The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to find the disciples to give them the angel’s message. 9 and as they went, Jesus met them. “Greetings!” he said. And they ran to him, held his feet, and worshiped him. 10 then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.
Yes….. I know….. Mardi Gras has already passed for the year 2014, but we are still in the season of Easter Trilogy; and the Mardi Gras and it’s debauchery needs be explained.
In Western Christianity, Lent is the period (or season) from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday (forty days). Holy Saturday is the Saturday before Easter Sunday, resurrection day. Easter always falls on a Sunday between march 22 and April 25, roughly corresponding to the northern hemisphere’s early spring. Ash Wednesday, which can fall anywhere between February 4 and March 10, occurs forty-six days before Easter, but Lent is nevertheless considered forty days long, because Sundays in this period are not counted among the days of Lent. Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, while Lent is a time of preparation for holy week

The forty day period is symbolic of — The forty days spent by Moses and Elijah in the wilderness– During the days of Noah God made it rain for 40 days & 40 nights. –The Jews wandered 40 years traveling to the promised land. –Jonah in his prophecy of judgment gave the city of Nineveh forty days’ grace in which to repent. –Jesus retreated into the wilderness and fasted for forty days of temptation to prepare for his ministry.
Lets examine the customs during the time of Lent. There are traditionally forty days in Lent which are marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance. The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigor during Lent are —∙ prayer (justice towards God), —-∙ fasting (justice towards self), and —-∙ almsgiving (justice towards neighbor). Today, some people give up something they enjoy, and often give the time or money spent doing that thing to charitable purposes or organizations.
Lent is meant to be a season of sorrowful reflection.. In the Roman Catholic church, and many other liturgical Christian denominations, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter form the Easter Tridium. Lent is a season of grief that ends with a great celebration of Easter.

Pre-Lenten festivals — were and are……. Known as “carnival” recognize that it is derived from the word “carnivorous” or eating of meat. Prior to the Christian Church, pagans celebrated carnival by ….. you might say…. “Let it all hang out.” — gluttonous eating, drink, dancing, drunkenness, sex. Although originally it was of pre-Christian content, the traditional Carnival celebrations associated with the season of fasting if only because it is a last opportunity for excess before Lent begins. The most famous of pre-Lenten carnivals in the west is Shrove Tuesday; whose meaning is “confession time –or- Confession Tuesday. Later the French changed it name to or Mardi Gras, pronounced Marrrdi Gras’ in French which is translated to English language Fat Tuesday.

Fasting during Lent was more severe in ancient times than it is today. Socrates Scholasticus reports that in some places, all animal products were strictly forbidden, while others will permit fish, others permit fish and birds, others prohibit fruit and eggs, and still others eat only bread. Current fasting practice in the Roman Catholic Church binds persons over the age of majority and younger than fifty-nine
Fasting during Lent is a way for the Christian to identify with Jesus in his suffering which he underwent for the sake of humans in order to make propitiation for their failure to keep the laws instituted by God

Now, lets talk about Mardi Gras the day before Ash Wednesday. It is the final day of carnival [karnaval]). It is a celebration that is held just la-la-la — before the beginning of the Christian season of Lent.

Perhaps the cities most famous for their Mardi Gras celebrations include New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro, Venice, Bahia; and many other places across the globe. Mardi Gras arrived in north America with the Lemoyne brothers, Iberville and Bienville, in the late 17th century, when King Louis xiv sent the pair to defend France’s claim on the territory of Louisiana, which included what are now the States of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The two explorers eventually found the mouth of the Mississippi River, sailed a while upstream and named the spot Point du Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras point) 60 miles downriver from present-day New Orleans

Lately Mardi Gras has been taken up by several cities in the u.s. As the event brings much needed revenue to city coffers of Mobile, Alabama, it has the longest tradition of observing Mardi Gras in North America, dating back to 1703. It is said to have originated in Mobile. New Orleans probably has the largest Mardi Gras celebration. Their cry is “lessair le bon ton roulet” (let the good time roll)
Being born and raised near New Orleans, I grew up going to Mardi Gras every chance I got. Even when living out of state, I always found a way to be back in New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

As I became a born again Christian the Lord asked me to go to Mardi Gras and watch with the eyes of a Christian. It was my last Mardi Gras. All that I saw was celebrating evil. Don’t believe it? Ask God to show you as you watch the next time you go to or see on T.V. Notice that all of the parades are named after “gods” (notice, that these are all spelled with a small letter “g”. Take a good look at the antics of the crowds. Are they acting wise or as fools? Are they acting lovingly or with indifference; (the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference) which by the way is triggered by fear. After looking with a pair of born again eyes, would you ask Jesus to attend with you!
Ephesians 5:15 So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. Then you will sing Psalms and Hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. And you will always give thanks for everything to God the father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Lets look at it this way…. There are two birds that fly over our nation’s deserts: one is the hummingbird and the other is the vulture. The vultures find the rotting meat of the desert, because that is what they look for. They thrive on that diet. But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals. Instead, they look for the colorful blossoms of desert plants. The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and gone. But hummingbirds live on what is. They seek new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life. Each bird finds what it is looking for. We all do.

That is the essence of Paul’s teaching: in life, there are two birds. … the one bird looks for foolishness and stupidity, ……the other looks for wisdom. — the vultures seek to fill themselves with the rotting flesh of drunkenness and debauchery, — the hummingbird, sobriety, freshness, and the spirit. in the desert of this world you have scavengers who are angry and ungrateful, but you also have those who hum a grateful hymn of thanksgiving. The irony is that you find what you are looking for.

In the fifth chapter of Ephesians Paul outlines proper behavior for good living. In that short passage he admonishes his readers to be careful how they live. He is brief and to the point. Three things we must do: be wise, be sober, and be thankful. It’s a short list but if we can orient our daily lives around these three—we will transform not only our lives but also the lives of our family, friends, church, and neighbors.
The first? Be wise. Wisdom is a virtue that seems to have gone out of our vocabulary. To acquire it, takes too much time, too many failures, too many hard knocks, too much listening, too much being still and watching.
You cannot download wisdom from a computer, so we prefer to move on and do without. Every day we are bomb-barded with choices and wisdom is required to make the most of them.
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