With March 5, the party's over
March 6, 2019
Yesterday ended Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), and now we're into Lent. I don't celebrate those myself, so I got information about them at Wikipedia.com.
Tradition says Mardi Gras begins Jan. 6 (when the Magi visited Jesus) and ends right before Ash Wednesday, which just happens to be today.
Celebrating from Jan. 6 to March 5 in 2019 would've been some party! But in most places, Mardi Gras is only the three days before Ash Wednesday.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts until just before Easter as a period of prayer, repentance, penance, self-denial, and related activities. The Lenten celebration actually goes back to early Roman and Greek "Christianity," where the term "fortieth" signified the 40th day before Jesus' death as the beginning of the season. The Bible, which is to be our only guide for life and godliness once for all delivered to Christians, makes no mention of a specific Lenten season (2 Peter 1:3-11; Jude 1:3-4).
There's nothing wrong with having a specific period of prayer, repentance and self-denial (Colossians 2:9-3:4). In fact, Paul said spouses could refrain from marital relations for a period of prayer by mutual consent (1 Corinthians 7:4-6). Prayer was the only legitimate reason I've found for such self-denial, and it had to be by mutual consent. But self-denial isn't necessary for effective prayer, and spouses are to be considerate of each other, rendering their marital duty to avoid temptation and prevent their prayers from being hindered (1 Peter 3:7).
Biblical self-denial refers to putting God on the throne of our life every day instead of ourselves (Luke 9:23). Christians also are to repent and seek forgiveness as soon as we become aware of our sin and rely on God's grace because no amount of penance on our part can atone for our sins (1 John 1:5-2:2; 4:10; Hebrews 2:17; Acts 8:9-24; James 5:13-16; Ephesians 2:8-9). Obedience to God, beginning with faith, repentance, confession and baptism to accept his grace, followed by Christian living, are our responsibilities in our salvation (Ephesians 2:1-7; 2 Corinthians 6:1-2; Romans 10:8-10; Galatians 2:20-21; 5:24; Romans 6:3-8; Titus 3:3-8; Revelation 2:10; I John 5:1-5, 13).
Christians are to have a regular time of self-assessment and re-commitment. Communion, the Lord's Supper, is to be celebrated every Sunday, the first day of the week, with other Christians as the time to remember God's grace and our responsibilities (1 Corinthians 11:23-32; Acts 20:7; Hebrews 10:19-31). Otherwise, while people might enjoy themselves for the time being, at least during Mardi Gras, the party will be over for them when Jesus returns (Hebrews 9:27-28; Matthew 24:36-51).
Have you followed the New Testament pattern to become and live as a Christian, worshiping with others Christians as often as they meet on the first day of the week, including self-assessment and re-commitment by remembering Jesus' death, burial and resurrection for our sins? That's how we get invited to the eternal heavenly party (Revelation 19:6-9) By the way, tomorrow is my wife's birthday. So it's party time!
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan who writes about faith for the Quay County Sun. Contact him at [email protected]