Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fat Tuesday

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. Hebrews 2:1-4

Today we celebrate Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, the day of seemingly reckless abandon before Lent begins. Church basements everywhere will be filled tonight with people stuffing themselves with pancakes and sausage. The young and young of heart flood the streets in New Orleans, Rio and across the world to participate in the climax of carnival season, the end of Epiphany, the cusp of the time of penitence. The bawdy and gross, the silly and the scary are all a part of the experience. Very few have any notion of the real need for this day or for the season of Lent. The time is coming, and indeed is upon us, when we need to pay close attention to what we have heard. To be beings that not only consume and gorge but which can sacrifice and open our hearts to others because of what God has done for us. Today we celebrate. Tomorrow we repent.

The letter to the Hebrews reminds us how easy it is to stray and fall off the wagon, and how common it is for us to take God's love for granted. When things are full and fat, when times are abundant and healthy, we slap ourselves on the back for our accomplishments. When fortunes reverse, and they always do, we need someone to blame and it's usually God, or one of God's emissaries. God has richly blessed us all, and given us great gifts and miracles in our lives and yet we often neglect to be thankful and grateful for the abundance we have received.

Today, I ask God to help me be completely grateful. May the richness I seek today be an abundance of thanksgiving - a huge pile of gratitude for the love and blessings I have in my life. May I examine my heart today, and know such deep gratitude for my family and friends, that my day might be rich in joy and grace. May we all count the richness we have and thank the author of all and the Creator of love and life this day.

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