Bishop Ward describes Mardi Gras as a time to give thanks to God for all that has been given to us and then to lay down the decorations and bow before the Lord as we enter the Lenten season.
A Lenten reflection on the topic of “Generosity” will be posted on the conference website daily beginning Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10.
Today is Mardi Gras. Grace and peace to you.
Now I know that Mardi Gras is not a traditional Methodist celebration, but living for eight years in Mississippi, Mike and I learned to love Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is the last day before the beginning of the Lenten fast. So it’s a day for a grand party and celebration with rich and wonderful food and brilliant colors in costume. When the Christmas decorations go down, the Mardi Gras decorations come out – green and gold and purple.
After Hurricane Katrina, a resident of New Orleans told of her Mardi Gras experience. Her entire community had been devastated by the rising flood, and she decided to go to the French Quarter to celebrate on Mardi Gras eve. Riding back home from the Mardi Gras party, she crossed into her neighborhood and began to weep. She turned and said to her family, riding in the car with her, “Mardi Gras is over, now it is time to get back to work.”
This moment in the life of this family, captures for me, the great significance of this day. We, as Christ’s followers, always celebrate all that God has done for us through Jesus Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection. As we move into the season of Lent, it’s appropriate that tomorrow, we lay down the decorations and that we bow before Christ; that we remember God our creator, as ashes are placed on our foreheads. You are made from dust and to dust you shall return. We remember our mortality and we give thanks to God who is with us always.
As you begin your Lenten journey tomorrow, may you be richly blessed. It will be a day of continual prayer across our annual conference, as we join with the entire United Methodist family in preparation for the General Conference in Portland, in May. In this and every way, may Lent be a rich time of blessing for you.