Randy Dollins: Don’t be a phony: Fast before the feast | SummitDaily.com

Randy Dollins: Don’t be a phony: Fast before the feast

One of the more interesting slang terms that arose out of the ’90s was “bling,” which is flashy jewelry or adornment. The other day I commented to a friend that he needed to put some “bling” on his skis, maybe a cool sticker or something. In these first days of March, lots of people will be sporting some bling in the form of Mardi Gras beads. I want to lay out a challenge for those who will be partaking in “Carnival” this year: If you are going to enjoy in the feast, you also need to enter into the fast.

Carnival literally means “removal of meat.” Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is the day before the season of Lent begins; this being the 40 days of penance leading up to the celebration of Easter. Christians traditionally did not eat meat or indulge in desserts for the entire season, so they would throw a big party to consume all the goodies, hence the “fat.” The cycle of feast-fast-feast is common in Christian tradition. Partaking in only the feasts and not the fast, is shallow and inauthentic. Do you know anyone who is not Jewish, but celebrates Hanukah just so they can exchange gifts for eight days? What a phony.

March 9 is Ash Wednesday, and many Christians will be attending services and receiving a cross of ashes on their forehead. This outward donning of the cross is a different kind of “bling.” The ash cross sends a message of authenticity, i.e. “I’m in for the fast too, not just the feasts.” Over the next six plus weeks, many Christians will take on penances that will help them detach from the allurements of the world and increase their devotion to the Almighty. What about you?

Yes, enjoy Mardi Gras, but don’t stop there, follow the tradition into Lent, seek out some real spiritual growth, rethink your priorities, and endure a little self-sacrifice. Then, when Easter gets here, you can authentically enjoy the feast.

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