Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pastor Shawn on Mardi Gras

I had to post this because Pastor Shawn (from my old congregation First Grace) is shouting out my home city.

It's weird to see people posting pictures from Mardi Gras on Facebook, and not being there. I only celebrated one Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but I still feel like I own it.

But this is well-said. Everyone owns Mardi Gras.

“Your Cadillac ain’t no hipper than my bus stop.”
The gospel according to native son,
Mac Rebennack (Dr. John)
Fat Tuesday People,

And so the story goes (and it may just be that...)
You may not know the name, Paul Allen, but surely you know his business Partner Bill Gates.  The two of them founded one of those little tech companies—Microsoft.  In a chance conversation this week, I was told the story like this…Mr. Allen, who now owns the Seattle Seahawks and just about anything he wants to own, brought himself and 300 of his closest friends to New Orleans the first weekend of 2013 Carnival to celebrate his birthday.  All stayed at a posh downtown, St. Charles Ave Hotel.  So good so far…Somewhere on the first Friday night of parading, Mr. Allen called for limo service for himself and friends.  How do you convince someone from Seattle with a million dollars in his back pocket that no personal treasure can stop a Mardi Gras Parade, but rather that Mardi Gras Parades, and sometimes just one brass band in the street can stop a whole fleet of Cadillacs.  Mardi Gras reality affects us all differently, but at some magical moment we all realize we are just another reveler looking for a pottie.  It’s not that Mr. Allen does not own Mardi Gras—he does.  But, he owns Mardi Gras like a kid with a ladder owns Mardi Gras.  We all own Mardi Gras. 

There is so much more to say, but for now…it is 11:58 PM.  Tomorrow on Fat Tuesday, my nine year old daughter will be dressed up like a “butterfly bird” in a handmade costume (thank you Adrienne Rathert), my 6 year old son will be a “reading egg”, my 29 year old wife is still working on three different costumes trying to decide which will weather the weather best, and I will be “the man in purple.”  Tomorrow we will wiggle our way through a city in which nearly all forms of commerce have been suspended, and static, worldly relational boundaries that no law can change will be gleefully grayed.  Revelers will pose for pictures, children will feel like queens and kings and joy will be the language.   It’s not heaven, but it is Mardi Gras.

Be good to yourself and happy Mardi Gras,
Pastor Shawn