Mardi Gras for the UU

02-13-18 All day

Enjoy your Fat Tuesday!

Be safe and have fun! Associated with Shrovetide celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent. In countries such as England, Mardi Gras is also known as Shrove Tuesday, which is derived from the word shrive, meaning “confess”.

Rev. Melanie Morel-Ensminger’s Mediatation (UU minister – New Orleans)

Spirit of life and love
We feel your presence here
As we celebrate with enthusiasm Fat Tuesday.
We do not see the House of God as a House of Sorrow (*)
A place to whisper faintly and
sadly walk in black with long-drawn faces
between empty walls lined with a few flickering flames.

Yes, there is much grief and sorrow in this world
Yes, we are a stiff-necked people
who forget the sacred and the holy
Yes, we lead busy lives
today preoccupied with falling housing prices
and choosing our Presidential primary candidate.
Yes, we often turn away
and neglect the hollowness in our heart,
Lusting after the illusion of future satisfaction.

Ash Wednesday will arrive soon enough
a reminder of the value of humility, remorse
and the spirit of communion.

These days of celebration before Ash Wednesday
Have a different purpose
Today, we feast on the abundance of life
The delight of hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and touching
In a celebration that unites
the diversity of all races, classes and faiths
at the common table of fellowship

Let us prepare
by enjoying the fullness of today.
Let us feel deeply
our gratitude for the abundance we enjoy right now;

Even as we prepare to reflect on the poverty of others,
the poverty in our own heart
and hear the cry of the poor on our doorstep,
Let our experience of fullness
inspire the offering of gifts and commitments
of greater generosity that feed our heart and spirit.

So may the beads and treats,
the music and song,
the colors and the costumes,
the masks and the surprises,
the pomp and parades,
awake in us an appreciation of
the gracious gifts of being alive today,
gifts we did not earn, buy, steal, own or create.
May the appreciation of these gifts expand our hearts
and make room for more light, more love, and more hope
to strengthen us for the spiritual journey ahead.

(*) borrowed from TS Eliot’s poetry

Related upcoming events

  • 02-28-18 All day

    Purim is one of the most festive holidays in Judaism. Celebrated annually in either February or March, this joyous holiday commemorates the Jewish people's rescue from extermination in ancient Persia.

    Based on the conclusions of the Scroll of Esther (Esther 9:22):  "that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor"

    Purim is celebrated by:

    • Exchanging reciprocal gifts of food and drink known as mishloach manot
    • Donating charity to the poor known as mattanot la-evyonim
    • Eating a celebratory meal known as a se'udat Purim
    • Public recitation ("reading of the megillah") of the Scroll of Esther, known as kriat ha-megillah, usually in synagogue
    • Reciting additions, known as Al HaNissim, to the daily prayers and the grace after meals

    Jewish people all over the world celebrate this holiday, and even if you don't affiliate yourself with all the customs of Judaism, you can still join in on the unique observances of the holiday. Special activities, festivities, and meals are all part of observing Purim.

    Speaking of food, one of the best treats for Purim are hamantaschen: triangle-shaped cookie pastries with fruit or savory filling. The treat is said to look like Haman’s tri-cornered hat or his ears (“oznei Haman” in Hebrew). Sweet hamantaschen are most popular, with poppy seed, chocolate, date, apricot, or apple filling, but some bakeries are getting into savory fillings, like eggplant, mushroom, or different meats and cheeses.