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Tag Archive | "Mardi Gras"

Paczki’s and Ashes 


cs-united-methodist

Pastor Steve Lindeman

Cedar Springs United Methodist Church

140 S. Main St.

Cedar Springs, MI  49319

 

We’ve been seeing advertisements for the past few weeks—“It’s almost paczki time!” If it seems to you that the pictures of the traditional Polish pastries are showing up early, you’re right—Shrove Tuesday comes early this year. Also known as Fat Tuesday, this is the day that some people celebrate by indulging in rich foods. Making paczki’s is the tradition designed to use up any fat, or other rich foods that are in the home, prior to the fasting that is supposed to take place in the days after.

It is also on Fat Tuesday that the celebration of Mardi Gras culminates in a night of parties and revelry. The reason for these holidays is basically to get out our desires to eat, drink and be merry out of the way prior to the season of Lent.

You may not observe Lent in your faith tradition, but you may have acquaintances or coworkers who give something up for Lent. This is done in observation of the 40 days that Christ spent in the wilderness fasting. We seek to give up something in our lives—something that is not helpful to our spiritual or physical wellbeing. Some might give up chocolate or soda; others might give up fatty foods. We give up to deny a physical desire in our lives, so that we might focus upon the spiritual aspects. We give up in recognition that God has created each of us, not only as creatures that inhabit a physical world but as beings created with a spirit that will continue on into eternity.

This year, Lent will begin on February 10, which is Ash Wednesday. With the placing of the ashes on our foreheads, we are reminded of the words found in Genesis 3:19, “… for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

As we begin our Lenten journey this year, let us give up to help us prepare ourselves for the promise of spring, and the even greater promise held in Easter. Let us remember that, although we are in this world, we are not of this world. During Lent, let us focus upon the spiritual aspects of our lives as we walk this path together. Jesus set aside the temporary physical nature of the world through his time of trials—let us do the same.

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