Mardi Gras: Shrove Tuesday

A Time for Confession

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:22-23

“What are you giving up for Lent?” someone once asked in my group of childhood friends.

“I’m giving up homework” and “I’m giving up broccoli” drew laughter.

“Nothing.” My answer drew silence. The people in my church didn’t give up things for Lent, and I had never thought about doing so.

Many Christians abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent. New Orleans anticipates the meatless days ahead by celebrating with a Mardi Gras carnival. The word “carnival” comes from a phrase meaning “removal of meat.” The carnival begins on Mardi Gras, that is, Fat Tuesday, which is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday.

Fat Tuesday is also called Shrove Tuesday, which comes from a word meaning “to repent.” When I saw a church billboard advertising a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper, I wondered if they knew what shrove meant. Would they be spending time in prayer and repentance after the supper?

Aside from those who participate in the wild partying of Mardi Gras, many people approach Lent with a business-as-usual attitude, using any extra holiday time to catch up on shopping, spring cleaning, and chores.

But can we truly appreciate Easter if we fail to see our sinfulness? Can we truly appreciate all that Jesus did for us as our Savior if we don’t repent? Originally, Lent was a time to give up something highly valued because of the greater value of Jesus’ sacrifice of His life to save us from our sins.

“What are you giving up for Lent?” Rather than giving up something for Lent, let’s take time this Lenten season to confess our sins and repent. Let us recognize the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus,  confess Him as our Lord and Savior, and receive forgiveness. Then at the end of Lent, we can celebrate the joy of Jesus’ resurrection and victory over sin and death.

DIG DEEPER:

Read Hebrews 10:1-10. The writer of Hebrew said the Old Testament sacrifices were a shadow of the real things to come. What real, once-for-all-time sacrifice made us holy?

Read Hebrews 10:11-17. Where has God placed the Law of the New Covenant?

Read Hebrews 10:18-23. How can we have clean, guilt-free hearts, confidence, and hope as we come before God?

Nancy J. Baker

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