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This past Wednesday, many across our country and others, went to their local churches to have ashes placed on their foreheads, as a sign of repentance. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period that many “give-up” something in preparation for the coming of Easter.

In the French Quarter and other parts of New Orleans, Ash Wednesday starts at 12 am, Wednesday morning when police, mounted on horseback, drive the revelers and partiers from the streets after a week of feasting and celebrations. This partying culminates in Fat Tuesday, or in French “Mardi Gras”. Fat Tuesday is celebrated with parades in a growing number of cities in the US, and with parades and parties in many parts of Europe and South America.

As we think about this past week and as we think about Easter on its way, and as we think about Jesus and His disciples,

the question begs to be asked, “Is this what it means to be a Christian? Is feasting before fasting, parades and parties, and ashes on our foreheads what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Would Jesus even recognize many of the things we do in His name and many of the people who profess to be His followers today? What does a Christian look like? Let me tell you, being a Christian is both easy and hard.

- Matthew 16:13-20


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