Fat Tuesday was two days ago. It is the day before the season of Lent begins. On Tuesday I ate a Pazcki from Donna’s Donuts (a polish jelly donut—twice the fat, twice the calories, and twice the yumminess of a regular Donna’s donut). Fat Tuesday is supposed to be the end of our self-centered outlook on life. Maybe we should call it FAT CHANCE TUESDAY.
Ash Wednesday was yesterday and is the first day in the season of Lent. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a Christ-focused 40-day journey to Easter. Many people attend services where the imposition of ashes is to remind the worshippers of the words from Genesis 3:19: “For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”
But for the Thursday following Ash Wednesday there is no special name. So I will offer these choice describers for today:
WASH YOUR FOREHEAD THURSDAY
If you attended an Ash Wednesday Service, and haven’t washed your forehead yet you might be calling tomorrow FACIAL BLEMISH FRIDAY. Wipe off the ashes but don’t wipe away the fasting commitments and sacrifices you have promised for the next 40 days.
I am using Walter Brueggeman’s: A Way Other Than Our Own. My friend Jeren Rowell wrote: These Forty Days: A Lenten Devotional. I will be using Dr. Jess Middendorf’s I Am for a Lenten Wednesday Night Bible Study (please join us starting March 8). Any of these books would work great for your Lenten reading.
MAKE-A-REAL-LIFE SACRIFICE THURSDAY
Do you remember God’s words to the people during the prophet Amos’ day who were into showy worship and offering phony sacrifices to God while at the same time they were oppressing the poor? So God bluntly told them:
“I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream (Amos 5: 21-24)
The warning from Amos applied to to the first Thursday in Lent is this: Don’t just fast candy or coffee during Lent so you can tell your friends what a wonderful Christian you are because you gave up chocolate for seven weeks. Care for the poor. Give to the needy. Help a widow or orphan. I wonder if Jesus would look at our “sacrifice” and say: “Chocolate? Seriously? I don’t want you to give up Nestle bars, I want you to give up YOU!” Paul wrote what I am talking about this way: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
The bottom line is this: let today (and every day) be known as I’M-GIVING-MY-ALL-TO- JESUS THURSDAY! It might not be as catchy of a title as “FAT Tuesday” or “ASH Wednesday” but I think Jesus might like it even better.