February 27, 2020
Dear members of our Calvary family:
Last Tuesday was Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is the French phrase for "Fat Tuesday" and also known as Carnival and Shrove Tuesday, the last day before the beginning of Lent, a period of fasting and repentance leading up to Easter. Traditionally, it is the day for eating up the last of the rich foods that remain in the house and for having a big party before a long period of discipline and repentance. Today, far less people observe Lent, but more people than ever celebrate Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras can also be called Carnival. Since it’s the day before the beginning of Lent, many people see it as the last day they get to consume something they are fasting from. Carnival is taken from the Latin meaning “to take away meat.” There’s a phrase that goes along with Mardi Gras, that says, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die." Fat Tuesday nowadays has become a day of decadence and immorality.
Fat Tuesday is followed by Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday has its origins in the early Christian Church – somewhere between the sixth and eight centuries. Originally, the idea was that a Christian, as a sign of repentance, would sprinkle ashes on his or her head, reminiscent of the Old Testament Jews. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the somber season of Lent. Lent is a forty day span of time from now until Easter. During this time, we focus on Christ’s battle with sin and Satan that he waged in order to win for us our salvation. The 40 days of Lent do not include Sundays, because each Sunday is considered a “miniature Easter,” a time of joy and celebration of Christ’s resurrection. During Lent, though, even on Sundays, we will be talking about the battles that Christ fought for us on our behalf.
Lent is a time to evaluate yourself in light of God’s Word. It’s a time to abandon the sins you have grown accustomed to committing in your life. It’s a time to receive God’s forgiveness and strength to lead a Christian life. It’s a time to renew your desire to serve God, and to be the Christians that God has made you to be. As you walk with Jesus to the cross this Lenten time, look deep within yourself and acknowledge your sins. And then you look to Christ, who won the battle for you. Know that you have his forgiveness, the forgiveness of sins won for you on the cross. And may this be something you do, not just these 40 days before Easter, but throughout your entire life.
Our church services this weekend will look at Jesus' battle for us against Satan and his temptations. Jesus saved us not just by his death on the cross but by withstanding Satan in our place and for us. May we gather in the Lord's house and give our worship and praise to our Savior for all he has done. Just a reminder that we do have midweek Wednesday Lenten services at 11:00 am. and 7:00 pm. May our Lord continue to guard and keep you.
Pastor Martin Spaude