Monday, February 8, 2010

Mardi Gras, God and Fasting

Every year millions of Christians fast during Lent. For those of you who think Mardi Gras is just some huge party to get drunk out, you are sorely mistaken. Mardi Gras means "Fat Tuesday" which is the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Lent is a forty day journey to Easter. Sundays are not counted because Christians do not fast on Sundays, unless you can make it the whole 46 days.
What is fasting?
Traditionally, fasting is depriving yourself of food from sun up to sun down. Some people fast for days, even weeks, only taking enough in to survive (water, juice, etc.).
Fasting helps us identify better with the poor and oppressed, it also helps us identify with the suffering of Jesus Christ and finally, when we deprive ourselves of things, we gain clarity to what is really important in this world. It can strengthen your relationship with God as well if done correctly.
As part of Lent at our church, we often ask people to "give something up, take something on".
That phrase is broken down into two areas-
1. Give something up (or lots of somethings up)
Every year Christians here at Grace give up eating certain kinds of food or beverages as part of their Lenten fast. Here are few examples-
A few teens I know gave up- french fries, chocolate, pop, burgers, etc. You can also give up going out to eat, eating at certain restaurants, going to the mall, etc.
You can also give up texting, cell phone use, facebook and lots of other things.
2. Take something on
Serve at Restart, Lee's Summit Social Services, teach Sunday school, volunteer at your local animal shelter, etc.
Lent is a time of prayer, fasting and self examination. It's tough for some of us I know to change our ways. I guess I would ask, for all of you who do the partying Mardi Gras style, what does your party lifestyle signify? Are you moving toward somewhere in your life or are you aimlessly adrift in a life of sin and misery? Some day the party will end and if the next step was not toward God (as with Mardi Gras), then where are you headed?

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