"When David’s time to die drew near, he charged his son Solomon, saying: “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, be courageous, and keep the charge of the Lord Your God.”
-I Kings 2:1-3
To me, King David is sounding the Mardi Gras theme of reminding us of our earthliness. First, we enjoy the pleasures of our earthly nature (we know that David certainly knew how to eat, drink and dance): we parade and scramble for beads; we sing and dance; we eat and drink (perhaps too much – also like King David at times). Then, the next day – on Ash Wednesday – we acknowledge the limitations of our earthliness as we receive the sign of the cross in ashes: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return”.
The Ash Wednesday sign of the cross is also the baptismal cross we received when we were sealed by the Holy Spirit and made Christ’s own forever. That’s part of the Good News! There is more to us than our physical bodies and human nature. As we follow Jesus through His life to His death we also follow Him to His resurrection. And so, we also follow Him through our own death to our new life as well. At the beginning of Lent we remember that we are dust. At the end of Lent, on Easter, we celebrate that we are more than dust as we hear Jesus greet His disciples and us with: Fear Not!
Be strong. Be courageous. Keep the charge of the Lord your God.
Jesus, you are the Lord of all of our life. As we celebrate this Carnival season we remember that you enjoyed a good party: so, please help us to stay safe through Mardi Gras. Thank you for blessing us in all of our earthly humanity, especially as we bear the ashes of our mortality. Keep us ever in your way with strength and courage so that we fear not – even to the end of our days. Amen.