Today is Mardis Gras. Good old Fat Tuesday. It’s an annual tradition where people feast before Lent begins on Wednesday morning. Well, very few people I know feast before Lent begins. But most of us are aware of Mardis Gras in New Orleans or Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
I’m one of those people who looks at traditions and likes to find the Jesus element and wonder how I can make that tradition relevant to my walk. (Running around drunk and throwing beads at women just seems irrelevant to my walk with the Lord, you know? Plus, I think the whole thing is just gross.) The past few year’s I’ve chosen one day, Tuesday, during Lent each week to observe a fast. I don’t say that to make myself seem more spiritually cool than anyone else, it’s just something I’ve been doing. A tiny sacrifice to remember and prepare myself for Holy Week and Easter.
Since I’m into puns… I always referred to it as Fast Tuesday. (Get it? Mardis Gras is Fat Tuesday. Fast Tuesday? Yeah, I’m corny.)
Last year I started wondering… How could I invite other people into this same observance without making it a big show of “Look what we’re doing!” In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 6, “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Long story short, this is my invitation. If you’re interested in fasting alongside me Tuesday’s during Lent…
1. Chose your fast. I’ll be doing a water and juice fast. That means I won’t eat any food at all, but I will drink water and some juices. I’ll be posting some resources for those who want to do their own research. Trust me, you won’t die.
2. Join the group. Rather than talk a lot about the fast here on my blog [which makes me feel like I’m violating that Matthew 6 teaching] I’ve created a Facebook group for those who are looking for resources, talking about fasting experiences, etc.
3. Participate in the group. I recognize that most of my friends don’t come from a fasting tradition. Evangelicals, by and large, only scratch the surface at any spiritual discipline. So I would encourage those participating to not just join the group, but participate.
4. Invite others to join. Feel free to include whomever you’d like in Fast Tuesday. If you don’t know how to do that, just forward this link to a friend and tell them you’re participating in this and would like them to consider it as well.
5. Observe the fast. Fast Tuesday begins March 2nd.
That’s it. No strings attached. No fundraiser. No hidden cult agenda. (Though I could use the money!) Nothing other than what’s posted here. I’m very excited about the fast beginning next Tuesday. Experiencing something physical during Lent has opened up a whole world of meaning for Lent that I had always missed. I’m hoping you’ll consider it and join in as well.