by Beth Bondurant

"Carnival Season" (Mardi Gras) begins with Epiphany and ends with Shrove Tuesday. 

Today, the custom is to eat a lot of our richer more favorite foods before the Lenten Season begins. Ritual fasting during Lent will continue until Easter when we celebrate a resurrection to new life!

Setting aside specific times to remember... to prepare... to give thanks... to listen for God's call... to seek a fresh start... to put away anger and separation... to wash away the past... to cling to our faith... to be given strength for the day... and hope for tomorrow is a continual process in our spiritual life... as well as our physical well being.

Fruits and vegetables grow "in season"... There's a time to plant... and a time to harvest.  It is a matter of patience and faithfulness as we experience a "time for all things under heaven".

Not being raised on a farm, I rely on the knowledge and experience of those who understand agriculture and love the 'anatomy of the land' and how best to make use of God's creations.  Much as I would love to grow my own food... I am dependant on others to provide nourishment for me and my family.

I have the capability to do-it-myself when it comes to putting food on my table... but without the expertise of others... my family would be undernourished and starved for the goodness of the garden.

Our spiritual life tends to run "in seasons"... and we need God's hand of mercy and grace providing for our continued "blooming". Sometimes we are thirsty and hungry for God's word... God's presence... God's peace.

"Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies."

Forgive me, O God, for being so quick to feed my body but neglect my soul.  I need the nourishment of your grace and peace as much as my desire for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  On this "fat Tuesday"... help me feast on Your goodness.  Lead me to where I can be filled up with Your grace.  Open my heart and mind to seek out the reason for the season in my faith walk.  Help me open your Word and listen for truth and direction.  As I move toward Ash Wednesday... prepare me to be a sanctuary... full of God's love.  Open my heart to welcome others who might provide manna from heaven in worship, service, prayer, Bible Study... gathering as the "people of God" to be nourished and inspired. I long to love you more... to love others unconditionally... to move toward Lent spiritually fed... especially today on Fat Tuesday.