Today is a feast day but honestly, I really don't feel like feasting.
Today is Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. It’s a day of great feasting where we cook up all of the fatty foods in our house in order to empty our larders before the fasting season of Lent begins.
We eat pancakes, sausages, and king cakes. We listen to jazz music and cover our house in brightly colored Mardi Gras beads. We sing, we laugh, we eat and we revel before a season of penitence begins.
But man,I struggled this morning. How do you feast, should you even feast, when our world is being turned upside down with war and death. To celebrate today feels so very wrong.
With a heavy heart, I went into the kitchen to finish the king cake that we will eat tonight. I was so discouraged when I pulled it out of the oven. All of the filling had oozed out and instead of this beautiful tight ring, it was just a big mess. A great metaphor for how I feel right now.
I kept wondering where in scripture we find times of feasting done in the midst of great sorrow. My husband and I talked about it and then he remembered Isaiah 25:6-9.
“On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined. And he will destroy on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
We don’t feast because everything is perfect. We feast as an act of collective will. We feast to remind ourselves that through the mighty acts of Jesus, death has been swallowed up forever and that one day, one glorious day,
“We will feast in the house of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
He has done great things, we will say together
We will feast and weep no more.”