“And when your children ask you… ‘What is the meaning of the decrees and the statutes and the ordinances that the Lord our God has commanded you?’ then you shall say to your children, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand….’”
When I was studying in Israel, one of the things that impressed me the most was the way Jewish children were educated in the faith. It wasn’t enough to hear a story being told, they were often enacted, lived out, felt in the heart and hands while spoken on the lips. Stories like Pharaoh and Egypt and Moses came ALIVE, especially at Passover.
Every aspect of Jewish life seemed this way to me: It was to be lived, retold, and at the forefront of our lives. The prayers and the depth of commitment to the story was overwhelming.
As we celebrate Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday, we do so with a deep sense of time in our lives and time in the church.
This is when “catechesis” can take full form. In order to truly learn, we build it into the calendar, mark it in our lives and in our hearts. And while a King Cake can add to the festivities, it also becomes an opportunity to set today apart from tomorrow. We joyfully embrace today, ending a party that began on Epiphany, Carnival season, and clearing our lives of the sweetness and indulgence of our lives. (This is also an excuse to learn a little bit about New Orleans history, which is a rich piece of the history of America too and the gumbo pot that is American culture).
Tomorrow as Lent begins we embrace simplicity, reverence, and penitential solitude.
I encourage you to BUILD RITUAL into your day, into the life of your family. It is a great instructive tool. And do that tomorrow too.
Happy Mardi Gras, y’all. Have a piece of Kings Cake for me.
For a little bit about the what and why of a King Cake, check out https://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/history/king-cakes