Fat Tuesday—As you probably know, Fat Tuesday (otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday) occurs the day before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday, of course, is the first day of Lent. For forty days (not counting Sundays), the liturgical calendar is purple and revolves around themes of sacrifice and repentance. So if we’re going to be extra sacrificial and sorrowful for six or seven weeks, we have to have a party to prepare for it. I’m not sure I get the real connection, but it seems like a good time would be in order. If I had planned it, however, I would have set the party date for the day after Lent—not the day prior.
So (until I get my way) Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, and all the fun, wild stuff will be just before Lent. I suppose it all makes perfect sense when you consider the day after Lent is Easter. While we want to (and should) celebrate The Resurrection, we certainly don’t want to do it with some of the traditions that have arisen surrounding Mardi Gras (I’ve heard about that bead thing).
Good Friday—This is kind of a strange term. I’ve heard it said, “We can only call it good from this side of the Resurrection.” I’m not sure why, but I have always found Good Friday to be the easiest day of the year to preach. The hardest times for me to preach seem to be Christmas and Easter. I can’t really explain that phenomenon, but that’s the way it seems to fall for me.
If I could take an educated guess, I suppose it would be that Good Friday is so dramatic and stark. It provides it’s own tension and it can be viewed from so many angles. One might argue that Christmas and Easter do the same. In all honesty, I have to say it would be hard to refute that argument. I guess the main difference would be the apparent negativity of the Passion. Maybe I do better with negative messages than I do with positive ones. Go figure.
Easter—After we’ve woven through the days of eating fish, abstaining from sweets, and walking around with dirty foreheads, we get to the prize package. Easter is the best of all celebrations, because it’s for the best of all reasons. While we may not wish to celebrate it with bead necklaces and such, I’m not so sure eggs and bunnies are the way to go either. All of these things, when you get to the heart of them, are pagan symbols. While I’m not interested in ranting on the subject, I would still like to add that I always have a hard time biting into a chocolate crucifix. (This might be a good time to ask the now familiar question, “What would Jesus do?”)
Normalcy—As much as I like the whole Holy Week thing, I’m always glad when it’s over. There’s nothing like getting back to a normal routine (whatever that might mean).