I knew about Mardi Gras long before I ever had a clue what Ash Wednesday or Lent were all about. After watching "Easy Rider" in college, my friends and I swore that some day we would celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans. That never happened-- probably a good thing.
You may not know that Mardi Gras marks the end of "Carnival" which literally means "farewell to the flesh." The very next day marks the beginning of a very somber period of reflection in the Christian calendar. As with Advent before Christmas, the period of Lent marks a remembrance of Christ's journey to the cross. We already know the end of the story, and often this familiarity breeds apathy. There is great value in making the effort of immersing ourselves in the story that we might fully understand how it is reflected in our lives.
For many Christians, Lent is the season of giving up, but whenever we create space, something moves in to fill it. Without mindfulness of purpose, the sacrifices we make for Lent become vain. Several years ago I made the effort to read through Psalm 37 during the season of Lent, writing daily reflections on each verse of the psalm. This year I want to revisit this Psalm and post my daily thoughts. Each day between now and Easter, I will share my reflections on the 40 verses of this psalm. I hope this will be an encouragement to others who have chosen mindfulness in their Lenten journey.
As always, if you wish to add your thoughts or comment on any of these posts feel welcome to do so.