Bishop Ward reminds us that the joy of Mardi Gras and the sorrow of Lent and the journey toward Easter moves us into life in Christ, life abundant, and life forevermore.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Today is Mardi Gras. Tomorrow is the beginning of Lent. Macrina Wiederkehr has wisely observed, “Joy and sorrow are sisters; they live in the same house.” She captures the sense of our presence at this moment on the cusp of the Lenten season.
Mardi Gras is a time of great festivity. It’s a time when people take out of their cupboards the rich food and use it up because tomorrow, the Lenten fast begins and in places like Rio and Venice and the Gulf Coast of the United States, today is a day of festive party and of grand celebration.
After Hurricane Katrina, as Lent approached, I remember a story being shared. A family who had lost their home, who were living in a FEMA trailer, got in the car and went to a Mardi Gras party. They had a wonderful time and as they returned home to their devastated neighborhood, they began to weep, and they observed that returning to their home was indeed the beginning of their Lent. We are in this sort of moment together my friends in Christ.
We begin tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, with a conference-wide virtual service. I look forward to sharing it with you. I hope you will find a little bit of dirt from your garden, or your yard, perhaps some dirt that you have brought from a beach or a mountain top or a special place. I hope you will put it in a bowl and have it ready. We will consider dirt and ashes as we begin the season together. We are ashes to ashes, dust to dust, the scripture reminds us in Genesis and in Ecclesiastes. We know this truth and yet Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, and the long journey toward Easter is a journey toward the promises of God, the fullness of the spirit, the beauty of life in Christ, life abundant, and life forevermore.
I look forward to seeing you tomorrow at noon.