That great festival of Mardi Gras has Christian roots. “Fat Tuesday,” as it’s called, once was devoted to cleaning the lard out of the larder. With Spring on the way in Lent (from the word we get length from, referring to the lengthening of daylight), the warming temperatures meant that the winter stores of meat and lard would soon become rancid. So the village would throw a big feast to consume those supplies all at once, and then hunker down during the early Spring until the first fruits of harvest came in. Prayer and fasting were part of the seasonal ritual: praying for good weather and cutting back on the diet while supplies were low during the g rowing season.
I get why the church often seems irrelevant. After all, our Lenten rituals of prayer and fasting and extra services for practicing those disciplines don’t tie in well with the demands of our day to day life. Good ritual has real purpose in structuring life in a meaningful way. Once the connection between daily life and faith practices is lost, church activities can seem out of place in our quick-paced lives.
Some faith leaders find fault with the culture for ignoring the church. You know, too many weekend sports leagues, too much social media, and so on. Such complaints are not my bag of tea. When we look at the real power of Christianity, we see it transcending the fashions of the culture. Online pastors tweet sermons over Twitter; social media turns out to be a friend more than a foe.
Most especially, Christianity is about relationships. Our relationships with ourselves, our neighbors, strangers, and God.
These days, good ritual seems to tie in with how well it helps us make new relationships and be nurtured in them. Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday and Pancake Suppers might do that, but they’re not the only way. As we Journey with Jesus this Lent in the Wednesday Midweek Prayer Service, we’ll see how Jesus makes relationships through blessings, healings, conversation, and calling.
Come along on the journey. Simple supper is at 6:15 pm and prayer at 7:00 pm:
Journeying with Jesus 2016 Wednesday Lenten Services
- Ash Wednesday 2/10 St. Paul Luke 5:1-11 The Great Haul
- Wednesday 1 2/17 St. Paul Luke 5:12-26 Power to Heal
- Wednesday 2 2/24 St. Paul Luke 5:27-39 Inviting You, Too!
- Wednesday 3 3/2 Faith Luke 6:1-12 Free to Worship
- Wednesday 4 3/9 St. Paul Luke 6:12-26 Prayer Enacted
- Wednesday 5 3/16 Faith Luke 6:27-49 The Way on the Journey
- Maundy Thursday 3/24 St. Paul
- Good Friday 3/25 Faith
Let the drum roll begin for Wayne Tolzman. Having a great, long run as President of the Congregation, Wayne is stepping aside due to term limits. I can’t begin to say everything that Wayne has done over the years. It would be a very long and substantial list. Thank you, Wayne for your time and dedication to St. Paul Lutheran Church!
The new council for St. Paul will elect its leadership, on Tuesday, February 9. On the following Sunday, February 16, new council members will be installed at both Faith and St. Paul.
Grace and peace,
Pr. Russell Meyer