September 8, 2022
“The rest of the people who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands to stop worshipping demons and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood...”
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“The rest of the people who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands to stop worshipping demons and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, which are not able to see, hear, or walk. And they did not repent of their murders, their sorceries, their sexual immorality, or their thefts.” Revelation 9:20-21
For those without a Catholic upbringing, Mardi Gras (French for “Fat Tuesday”) is the day before the day Catholics observe as Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the 40 days of fasting leading up to Easter.
On Ash Wednesday, a priest smudges the foreheads of worshippers with black ash in the sign of a cross (Reminiscent of the “seal of the Lord” placed on believers’ foreheads in The Revelation). This act echoes the Near Eastern and Biblical tradition of throwing ash over one’s head, signifying repentance before God. The minister offers the worshipper an instruction while applying the ashes, such as:
“Remember, man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:19b
Getting back to Mardi Gras, this celebration basically mocks Lent by communicating, “We are going to gorge ourselves, fat with worldliness before God makes us act humble.” The fact that “Fat Tuesday” is an annual holiday for some people reinforces the insincerity of their Lent fasting. For the Mardi Gras celebrant, Lent is not a voluntary turning from sin but a reluctant duty.
Mardi Gras is celebrated in several cities worldwide, including Rio de Janeiro, Venice, Bahia, Mazatlan, Mobile, Alabama, and most famously, New Orleans.
I bring all this up to focus our attention on post-hurricane Katrina New Orleans. After all the apocalyptic-type conditions we witnessed on television (America’s lowest humanitarian moment), what was the response of the city’s leaders once the dust settled? Was it humility, self-reflection, or repentance? No.
The city’s official response was to get Bourbon Street up and running in time for Mardi Gras. They wanted to send the world a message: The party continues!
What is your response to the Lord’s warnings of impending judgment? Have you determined to abandon your sins and turn to Him? A reckoning is forthcoming. The Bible exhorts us to be “broken” before the Lord in anticipation of His Judgment, so we will not harden our hearts towards Him in response to it.
“The person who falls over this stone (Messiah Jesus, the Cornerstone of our faith) will be broken to pieces, but it will crush anyone on whom it falls.” Matthew 21:44