Happy Fat Tuesday! This day before the beginning of Lent is traditionally a time of celebration, of parties and parades, eating and drinking. The most famous Fat Tuesday celebration, of course, is Mardi Gras in New Orleans. But not this year. As is the case with so much of life in a pandemic, public celebrations of Mardi Gras have been cancelled. Bourbon Street and the French Quarter are shut down. There are no parades, no floats, no throwing of beads into the crowd. But that hasn’t stopped the Mardi Gras spirit. Residents of New Orleans are turning their houses into Mardi Gras floats, as seen in the pictures below.
Of course, the church’s celebration of Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday, has also been cancelled. That traditionally has been a pancake supper, or in our case a pancake breakfast on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. The pancake tradition began when people wanted to use up their supplies of flour, eggs, and butter before Lent began. Most of us don’t give those things up during Lent anymore, but the tradition remains. That is what is for dinner at our house tonight!
I hope you all received the booklet of Lenten readings and pre-blessed ashes in the mail in the past week. I have a couple of other Lenten resources you might enjoy.
The first is Lent Madness, a take off on college basketball’s March Madness. Instead of a bracket filled with 64 basketball teams, this bracket is filled with 64 saints (which this year includes Dunstan!!). If you sign up every morning you will receive an email with information the saintly match up of the day, and you may cast your vote.It is both fun and educational. To sign up go to www.lentmadness.org.
Another resource that looks interesting is 40 Days with God’s Creatures. The official description is this: “Lent presents an opportunity for introspection, reflection, and recapturing a sense of wonder. What better time to discover how faith in Christ shapes our perceptions of animals and how the Gospel messages affects all of God’s creatures?” You may find out more at the website, sarx.org.uk. 40 Days with God’s Creatures is also available as an app for your phone or tablet. You can find it (for free) in the app store.
A final reminder that our Ash Wednesday service will be online at 8 p.m. tomorrow (in place of Compline). If that does not work for you, an abbreviated “Ash Wednesday at Home” service is included with your booklet and ashes. I will send the service bulletin out tomorrow.