March brings several noteworthy events to light. If you ask me what is March’s biggest event, I would say March Madness and the NCAA Men’s Tournament! March Madness gets its name for the surprise, upsets, and craziness of the games played. There is the well-known March Madness Bracket, where everyone tries to guess who is going to win not only the Final game of the tournament, but every game that is played. Of course, Las Vegas gets into the scheme of things as the promote betting for a completely PERFECT bracket, as well as games played leading up to the Final. No one has had a bracket as far back as I can remember.
Another event that happens and has been extended to a two-week period, right here in Galveston- the Mardi Gras. Now there are all kinds of theories about how and what the event is all about. Something it has to do with pagan rituals and the like. I looked up the words Mardi Gras – and it means Tuesday Fat. There is another theory which ties it to the Catholic Church and Lent. Supposedly Catholics were to give up sex and meat for Lent. Now Lent is the period of time before Easter. Of course, Easter is celebrated across the globe, with many different connotations attached to it. Lent is a 40-day season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday. It’s a period of preparation to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter. In Western churches it begins on Ash Wednesday, six and a half weeks before Easter, and provides a 40-day period for fasting and abstinence (Sundays are excluded), in imitation of Jesus Christ’s fasting in the wilderness before he began his public ministry.
You may be asking why he is telling us all this information. Easter or as believers refer to it as Resurrection Sunday is THE BIGGEST EVENT in history! While believers may not participate in the holiday of Mardi Gras or Lent observance, it is significant that so many people do.
Now Mardi Gras is a very festive event, it is also a bit scary especially if you are in New Orleans and walking down Bourbon Street! [I have done this!] The Fat Tuesday is widely known for extravagance and excess in the base nature. Since Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, and the 40-day fasting, there is one last day to get all the partying done before hand. I remember as a child going to elementary school that we always had fish on Friday, clueless that it got its meaning from No Meat on Friday.
While many of us will not observe Lent, there is some challenge to us all from the intended meaning. We are to be penitent about our sins, remember our baptism and desire to walk the way Jesus walked. I know the GBA churches are beginning to gear up for Easter with pageantry and sermons series that will culminate with the Resurrection of Jesus. However, I think it behooves all of us to prepare ourselves not just for Easter, but each day and week for His soon Return. Easter should not be a time where “we clean up our act,” but when we prepare ourselves to engage a world that is really open to the Gospel during this Easter time. I am always amazed how the world wants to deny the facts of Christianity, then turns around and validates it by their observances. Let’s tell the World the TRUE MEANING of Easter!