Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday: A Study in Contrasts

Twenty-four hours separate one of the most outlandish global parties and one of the most somber religious observances on the Christian calendar.

Many of the same folks show up for both.

Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday”, is the last hurrah for those who observe Lent-a time of reflection, self-denial and preparation before Resurrection Sunday.

It’s a giant party-food, fellowship and fun-a wonderful way to celebrate the blessings of this life.

Ash Wednesday, by contrast,  is an invitation to remember that “from dust you came and to dust you will return”.  None of us get out of here alive.

ashwednesday

Even where the Gospel is preached every Sunday there are those who forget this life is hard and often full of pain and suffering.

If your experience so far has looked more like Mardi Gras and less like ashes, well, then-be thankful.

But don’t be deceived.

“From dust you came and to dust you will return.”

For some of us it was a similar twenty-four hour turnaround that upset our world, tossed us headfirst into the waves of sorrow and burned that truth into our hearts, not just dabbed it on our foreheads.

Sometimes I feel excluded from fellowship with the saints because I can’t join in the celebratory spirit of a worship service.

When the hymns only focus on our “victory in Jesus”  my heart cries, “Yes-but perhaps I won’t see the victory this side of heaven.”

When the congregation claps and dances to feel-good songs that celebrate the sunshine but ignore the rain, my eyes swim with tears because I know the reality of a downpour of sorrow.

Because sometimes praise is a sacrifice.

offerings

Church needs to be a place where we can share the pain as well as the promise that Christ will redeem it.

Jesus Himself said,“in this world you will have trouble”.

So I can’t claim allegience to the Church of the Perpetually Cheerful.

I want to create space for the hurting and broken and limping and scared.

How about a new demonination that acknowledges the truth that life is hard.  Instead of the Overcoming Apostolic Praise-filled Ministers of Eternal Optimism I would name it the Trudging But Not Fainting Faithful.

By all means enjoy the “Fat Tuesdays” in life.

Drink them in, dance, celebrate!  But remember that it can change in a heartbeat.  And that it HAS changed for many of us.

There is hope.

All is not lost.

But in the meantime, it’s hard.

will-have-trouble-but-i-have-overcome

 

 

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

4 thoughts on “Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday: A Study in Contrasts”

    1. Our family has been good friends with another family for many years-in fact, this couple came right away and stayed with me the day I got the news about Dominic until my family could all get home.

      Anyway, we live about 1 1/2 hours apart which doesn’t seem far until you factor in large families, farm duties, work schedules and general life! So every time we got together and had to part, I would always think, “One day there will be no more distance/time/duties to separate us from one another! What a glorious day that will be!”

      Now, of course, the idea of no good-byes is all the more precious to me.

      I can’t wait to meet all the brave parents who are choosing to lean in and love even with broken hearts along this broken road.

      Thank you for encouraging me in this journey. It helps me more than you can imagine.

      Love and hugs!
      Melanie

      Like

  1. You have perfectly described my state of being since last October when I too lost a child, a never-ending repentance for unknown sins. I have been drowning in tears. Only Jesus gives a glimpse of hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Johnna, Child loss is not punishment or retribution, it is a tragedy. I know it feels like punishment. It feels like the worst possible punishment. But Jesus took our punishment on the cross, there’s none left to be dispensed. I pray that you feel the Father’s loving arms around you and that you hear Him whisper, “courage” to your spirit. May He fill your heart with His mercy and grace.

      Like

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