Mardi Gras, has become too much of a cultural party, with no connection to its origins nor to the days which come afterwards. Again, I don't mean to say that having fun is a bad thing. But it does break my heart to see so many exploiting this day for self-centered reasons. If the observance of this "Fat Tuesday" were followed up by an equal dedication to the Lenten season which follows, I would be all for it!
As I have done for practically every Shrove Tuesday in my life - I will gather with other Lutherans for pancakes this evening. We sometimes have parlor games. We have had talent shows. In Chicago there were skits - "Feast of Fools" we called it. The gathering is an acknowledgement of God's goodness, of the fatness of the land and of the rich foods I eat practically every day. But I also hope it is a bit of a covenant-making ceremony. Those who come to UniLu's fellowship hall tonight will be saying to one another that we intend to observe these days of preparation and that we would appreciate some support as we do so. There might even be the request that we remind one another, during these 40 days, of the Lenten journey and our own commitment to the Lenten disciplines.
I don't mean to rob these days of all happiness. What I strive for is a full and complete revealing of the joy which is ours as a result of being connected to the Messiah who enters our world and shares our lives and dies our death.