Burning Palms on Mardi Gras

Blow the trumpet; return to the Lord with all your heart, with fasting and weeping …” And, I might add, with the burning of last year’s palms.

Some people celebrate Mardi Gras with parades, food and celebration. I celebrate it in our garage, burning the palms so that we have ashes for the Ash Wednesday Service. Some years the wind is blowing and snow is falling and my hands freeze. This year I was out in a sweater; the winds were calm; the day was mild. I am mindful every year as I do this task, one that has become almost liturgical for me, of just how quickly our best intentions crumble; our resolutions dissolve; our hopes are dashed.

It’s not a downer; it’s reality. Of course there is joy and the hope of resurrection; but there is the fact that life disappoints us and we disappoint ourselves. As I hold the burning palms and watch them be reduced to ashes, it’s a humbling moment for me. I am grateful for blessings; I am also aware of my imperfections.

I hope the season of Lent will bring you greater self-awareness, opportunities for deeper reflection, insights into just how much you are loved.

A blessed Mardi Gras.

Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.