Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 56 - The Round Things of Lent

Mardi Gras which translates into Fat Tuesday is celebrated in many parts of the world but the most  famous are New Orleans and Rio de Janiero.  People dance in the streets, inhibited by nothing. It culminates in the biggest party before Lent season begins.  It's a weird day labeling tradition as start with Fat Tuesday followed by Ash Wednesday.  Then Lent ends with Maundy Thursday, Holy Friday, and Easter Sunday.  This three day period before Easter Sunday is called the Triduum.  The Triduum starts with Holy Thursday (aka Maundy Thursday) which commemorates the Last Supper during Passover that Jesus gave the Eucharist to the twelve disciples. The word Passion describes Jesus's time on the cross which translates to suffering.  If we are so passionate about something, the theory goes that we will sacrifice for it.

Lent is the forty days that start with Ash Wednesday and end with Easter in which we sacrifice something which we are passionate.  So today begins the tradition.  I usually set up a box or some place that I put dimes for every time I "slip up" on my promise.  Last year I gave up swearing and the box was full before the forty days ended. I have two vices: overeating, underexercising and swearing.  Oops that's three.  You get the point.  All of us have bad habits, I could go on about mine but that would take more blogs.  So this year I think I'm going to give up.....well we'll get back to that.

It amazes me that in a six day period we go from the round doubloons of the Krewes of Mardi Gras floats to the round Eucharist of the body of Jesus Christ.  What a diametric!  From Sin to Savior.  Are we only six days away from being saved or from going to hell?  Like Lent the whole thing confuses me.

When I was growing up we would always have fish on Fridays during Lent.  Since I grew up in a town filled with Italian and Polish immigrants there were literally churches on every block, mostly Catholic.  I knew of no other faith.  As I went to college and met others including others from other countries I learned of other religions such as Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism.  Twenty years later I learned yet of another faith, the Bahai' faith.

The Faith’s Founder was Bahá’u’lláh, claimed to be nothing less than a new and independent Messenger from God. His life, work, and influence parallel that of Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Christ, and Muhammad. Bahá’ís view Bahá’u’lláh as the most recent in this succession of divine Messengers.

The essential message of Bahá’u’lláh is that of unity. He taught that there is only one God, that there is only one human race, and that all the world’s religions represent stages in the revelation of God’s will and purpose for humanity. In this day, Bahá’u’lláh said, humanity has collectively come of age. As foretold in all of the world’s scriptures, the time has arrived for the uniting of all peoples into a peaceful and integrated global society. “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens,” He wrote.

As I get older I think that there might be something to this.  The reality is that without "Faith" there is no religion.  My Dad always said, "Religion is a business." And I find as I get older, I have chosen not to put my faith in the people of religion but in the spirituality of it.  The right thing to do for me is to put faith in the spirit of my personal God.  I don't impose my faith on others and I respect others. I even respect Athiests as I never heard of an Athiest extremist...yet.  There are many questions we have as we get older about religions.  I'm still just trying to figure out why we don't have a special name for a Monday or a Saturday yet. I could think of a few...Blue Monday for every monday we have to get up and go to work.  Or Happy Saturday for all the saturdays we don't have to work and we get to do something with another round object....put the coins in the jukebox. All religions dance, right? Which leads me back to my Lent Promise, I'll just give up dancing for forty days.  Everyone around me will be grateful!

A good sacrifice is one that is not necessarily sound but leaves your opponent dazed and confused. ~Nigel Short

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