Prayer, Plain and Simple

February 17, 2010

Day 47

Weight: 197 lbs

Weight lost: -9 lbs


Today is Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday.” Eat, drink, be merry!

My wife Jill and I once spent a Mardi Gras in New Orleans. “Wild” does not describe it. It’s a strange celebration, “Fat Tuesday,” this day before the beginning of Lent. Lent is the 40 day stretch of time on the Christian calendar leading up to the Passion of Christ, Good Friday and then Easter. Lent provides a season of fasting and self examination, a time to relinquish earthly passion in order to more soberly focus on those things in our lives the block us from God. “Fat Tuesday” is the storm before the calm, the last night of indulgence before the obligatory repentance.

I did not grow up in a Christian tradition that celebrated either Mardi Gras or Lent. Our stream of faith lived Lent 365 days a year. We were of the holiness strain and our approach to God was always austere and disciplined, more about what we can have than what we can’t. But later in life I became part of a fellowship with a long tradition of celebrating Lent – without much a “Fat Tuesday” however. Lately, I’ve come to appreciate the focus of Lent as a time of special attention to “things that so easily entangle me.”

I’m experiencing “Fat Tuesday” and anticipating Lent in a particular intensity this year because of my “Eucharist Diet.” My “Eucharist Diet” adventure is a six month experiment taking daily communion and tracking and posting the results in my personal life, relationships, health, and body fat percentage. I’m not taking on any other particular austerity, though I do need to drop another 15 pounds at least. I’m simply trying to add in the element of Eucharist…

So on this “Fat Tuesday” I do intend to “eat my fill!” For Lent I’m giving up nothing in particular except that I will continue to take communion each day. And that in itself will necessitate a self examination and a return to rely on God’s grace, moment by moment and day by day. As is, I’m eating my fill, on Jesus. He’ll be my feast and that will satisfy far more than gorging myself at a banquet table.  

“Jesus, you are enough! Today and always. Food is a good and great gift. But you are true food and nothing else satisfies. Today, once again, I eat my fill of your goodness…”

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