Fat Tuesday and the Beginning of Lent

I’ve been given a work laptop.  Yep.  I’m actually pretty stoked since I never would have gotten this far in my career at my previous job.  However, with great power comes great responsibility, and now I feel compelled to set back up to work again as soon as I get home.  I’ll have to work on finding a work/life balance again.

So, it’s Mardi Gras, and I’m sure that naked people are flooding the streets of New Orleans, beads flying through the air, drunk people becoming celebrities for the upcoming season of Cops….and so on/so forth.  We’re ending our Fat Tuesday with a steak and potato dinner, tiramisu, and a few Reese’s cups before the coming day of repentance tomorrow.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to find somewhere to go to get ashes, but even if not, I’ll keep my spirit and focus in that direction.

It bothers me how Southern Baptists (in general) tend to write off just about every tradition of the Catholic church immediately without paying attention to the history or meaning behind it.  There’s great reason to continue to pay attention to the tradition and liturgy of the Catholic Church; we can’t simply write off the first fifteen hundred years of our faith, you know?  Anyway, here’s a brief explanation of Lent in the event that any of my Baptist friends find it useful.  I think there’s a level of mystery in the Catholic denomination for Protestants on the more fundamentalist side of things.  Although I certainly don’t identify myself as fundamentalist, my circle of friends includes many of them, and the hushed tones in which they say, “s/he’s…..Catholic” is a little funny.  I find the traditions and practices to be pretty intriguing…we can’t really fault them for their shortcomings (perhaps in being caught up too much in traditions and not emphasizing the individual’s direct access to God) when we, as Southern Baptists, have so many of our own (continuing to argue over drinking, caring for animals/the environment, equating Christianity with the Republican Party…).

My, I’ve rambled on so.  Sorry about that…lots of thinking about Catholicism the past few days.  I’ve been trying to figure out what I need to give up for Lent, and the past couple of days, I’ve felt the unhappy tug of something that I didn’t really want to hear.  Sugar.  Sugar???  Yes, Sugar.  It’s become an idol for me, and it’s literally killing me.  So, starting tomorrow, I’m abstaining.

 

Ash Wednesday…

So, this Baptist was found today at Saint Gabriel’s church at lunch, together with a friend from work, attending an Ash Wednesday service and receiving ashes.  It’s the first time I’ve ever done it; I’d talked about it last year, how I wished I had gotten ashes, and this year, when Anne came in the office and hadn’t gotten them yet, I told her that I’d like to go along if she went at lunch.

It was really an incredible experience; the much-abbreviated service was beautiful, very Scriptural, and very reverent.  There were four people, two clergy members and two laypeople, giving the ashes.  There was prayer, responses, and we left during the singing. 

Quite honestly, knowing that the ashes were there really kept my mind focused on Christ today…I found myself pausing before getting too aggravated or having a bad attitude.  We could all benefit from a tangible reminder of Christ’s suffering on our behalf every now and then, I think.

I’m giving up TRU TV for Lent.  For the three of you who are regular readers;)…you know how often we watch that channel; in fact, it’s just about always on when we’re in the house.  So, my reasons for choosing it as my “sacrifice” are twofold:  First, because we love it so much, it really will be a sacrifice for me, so I know that it will often be a reminder to me of  the price that was paid for our salvation…Second, because I know that I’ve been a very poor steward of my time in general, and TV plays a huge part in that.  I’m hoping, not to just give it up for this forty days, but to lose my attachment and to be able to let go of television so that I can focus on better pursuit (schoolwork, cooking from scratch, clearing the clutter in the house, etc). 

I’ve been feeling convicted lately about my own laziness…how I’ll come home, skip the gym, collapse in the recliner and watch TV for the rest of the night.  I’ve been given the opportunity to finish my Master’s while going to work, and rather than take the time that I have to get ahead with reading, I’ll wait until the last minute for no good reason.  I want us to eat a better diet (and we’ve improved here in the last two months), but I don’t take the time that I should take to prepare good foods.

In addition to my Lenten sacrifice, I want to focus on simpler foods to remind us of the poor and suffering people in the world.  Part of the Lenten Diet is abstaining from meat and dairy.  Since I already abstain from meat, I don’t have any changes to make there.  I don’t intend for us to abstain from dairy, but I do intend to abstain from our routine takeout and to eat more simple, bare-bones meals.

Anyway, I think I’ve probably droned on for a little too long.  I’ve just got so much running through my head right now;)

Here’s a Kins for you…distracted by the “Dirty Bug”…

On a tangential note, I had Joey take a pic of me with my ashes, but I have some zits on my chin that scabbed over and are unflattering, and the picture seemed to make THEM the focus rather than the rest of my face, so they are not included;).