Archived Story

Fat Tuesday or Ash Wednesday?

Published 11:41am Thursday, March 6, 2014

By DAN PUCKETT

What are you giving up for Lent? That used to be a common question. What action of self-denial are you practicing to signify that you recognize the most supreme sacrifice ever made: the death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary?

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, a day when practicing Catholics will literally take black ash and make a mark in the middle of their forehead. They will wear that mark all day identifying with the spirit of the day and the season.

A day that more people involve themselves in is Fat Tuesday. That is the day before Lent begins. Fat Tuesday is a day of indulgence, when you over-do to make up for the next forty days of self-denial.

The paczki (pronounced “punch-kee”) is a popular item on Fat Tuesday. “Punchkees” are about the most decadent pastry imaginable. They are much more popular and draw in many more people than the ash of Ash Wednesday.

The season of Lent involves imitating what Jesus did in the wilderness when He fasted and faced the onslaught of the devil in very specific temptation. Why would any serious-minded person desiring to be like Jesus Christ limit their self-denial to only forty days? Why not make it a lifestyle?

Others might question the observance of any “outward” action that was not totally heartfelt. Even though we want the inside motive to dominate the visible activity, sometimes it is the action of doing something tangible that “kick-starts” the heart and soul into serious activity.

The most important question in all this is, where are you with Jesus Christ? The greatest gift ever was God giving us His only begotten Son Jesus so that He could die for the sins of the world. We celebrate the giving of that gift during the Christmas season. Resurrection Sunday or Easter represents the full consummation of God’s gift. Jesus was born to die. His death, burial, and resurrection provide eternal salvation for all who believe.

Fat Tuesday or Ash Wednesday: which will most represent your lifestyle? Fat Tuesday is fun, reckless, and extravagant. Ash Wednesday is serious, maybe a little dark, and sacrificial. For our personal lives, our families, and our nation, it will be better for Ash Wednesday to become the norm rather than Fat Tuesday.

 

Dan Puckett works with road team operations at Life Action Ministries in Benton Harbor, Mich.

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