Musings for the time before Lent: Mardi Gras & Fat Tuesday! Music, feasting and celebration.

Laissez les bons temps rouler. ‘Let the good times roll.’ — Unattributed

In the house of lovers the walls are made of songs, the floor dances and the music never stops. — Rumi

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Busy, they were, busy being original, complicated, changeable—human, I guess you’d say. — Toni Morrison, Jazz

Doing the work you’re best at doing and like to do best, hearing great music, having great fun, seeing something very beautiful, weeping at somebody else’s tragedy—all these experiences are related to the experience of salvation because in all of them two things happen: (1) you lose yourself, and (2) you find that you are more fully yourself than usual. — Frederick Buechner

Questions to consider:

  • What would you like to celebrate just before Lent? Will you indulge a bit too much, sip or chew one last time, or do something a while longer? Mardi Gras feasts come, in part, from using up the food items in a home and kitchen that would spoil, once religious observances began prior to Easter.
  • What forms of celebration give you the greatest connection to life-sustaining, exuberant emotions and experiences? Eating? Dancing? Music? Something else?
  • What do you do with overstock when you’re trying to spring clean and pare down, or simplify life?
  • During Lent, do you choose to give up something (abstain or fast in some way), give over something (relinquish control of something to a higher power), give to something (contribute time, attention, energy or resources to a specific cause or issue)? What is your spiritual practice, starting next Ash Wednesday?

Recipes for Mardi Gras

Music for Mardi Gras

Background on Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday

Brief explanation of Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday as a time of celebration prior to Lent, as a time of festival and celebration, including the tradition of using up household oils and fats prior to a season of fasting and abstinence:

Shrove Tuesday (also known … as Pancake Tuesday or Pancake Day) is the day … immediately preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which is celebrated in some countries by consuming pancakes. In others, especially those where it is called Mardi Gras or some translation thereof, this is a carnival day, and also the last day of “fat eating” or “gorging” before the fasting period of Lent.

This moveable feast is determined by Easter. The expression “Shrove Tuesday” comes from the word shrive, meaning “absolve” … observed by many Christians … who “make a special point of self-examination …

As this is the last day of the liturgical season historically known as Shrovetide, before the penitential season of Lent, related popular practices, such as indulging in food that one gives up for the upcoming forty days, are associated with Shrove Tuesday celebrations. The term Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.

On Feasting & Mardi Gras Celebration

Fasting and feasting are universal human responses, and any meal, shared with love, can be an agape. — Elise M. Boulding

We don’t hide the crazy. We parade it down the street. — Unattributed

[The] dinner party is a true proclamation of the abundance of being — a rebuke to the thrifty little idolatries by which we lose sight of the lavish hand that made us. It is precisely because no one needs soup fish, meat, salad, cheese, and dessert at one meal that we so badly need to sit down to them from time to time. It was largesse that made us all; we were not created to fast forever. The unnecessary is the taproot of our being and the last key to the door of delight. Enter here, therefore, as a sovereign remedy for the narrowness of our minds and the stinginess of our souls, the formal dinner…the true convivium — the long Session that brings us nearly home. ― Robert Farrar Capon

… food is not simply organic fuel to keep body and soul together, it is a perishable art that must be savoured at the peak of perfection. ― E.A. Bucchianeri

Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living. All at once. — Chris Rose

The incarnation took all that properly belongs to our humanity and delivered it back to us, redeemed. All of our inclinations and appetites and capacities and yearnings are purified and gathered up and glorified by Christ. He did not come to thin out human life; He came to set it free. All the dancing and feasting and processing and singing and building and sculpting and baking and merrymaking that belong to us, and that were stolen away into the service of false gods, are returned to us in the gospel. ― Thomas Howard

Feasting is also closely related to memory. We eat certain things in a particular way in order to remember who we are. — Jeff Smith

Gratitude can turn a meal into a feast. — Melody Beattie

Leave a little sparkle wherever you go. — Unattributed

Mardi Gras is a state of mind. — Ed Muniz

This mask can’t hide my crazy. — Unattributed

Are you aware that your spirit needs to be fed? Did you know that your spirit would be delighted to partake in a feast of spiritual food? … prayer … maybe a few hours of succulent self-reflection? Perhaps a piping-hot selection … served by the side of a lake or under a tree, would satisfy your spiritual hunger. Can you imagine feasting for a few hours … uplifting music … some forgiveness … topped with compassion? — Iyanla Vanzant

Thoughts on Jazz

If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know. ― Louis Armstrong

… like jazz … is one of those dazzling diamonds of creative industry that help human beings make sense out of the comedies and tragedies that contextualize our lives. ― Aberjhani

I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up in the morning and see the light. ― Miles Davis

To be a jazz freedom fighter is to attempt to galvanize and energize world-weary people into forms of organization with accountable leadership that promote critical exchange and broad reflection. The interplay of individuality and unity is not one of uniformity and unanimity imposed from above but rather of conflict among diverse groupings that reach a dynamic consensus subject to questioning and criticism. As with a soloist in a jazz quartet, quintet or band, individuality is promoted in order to sustain and increase the creative tension with the group–a tension that yields higher levels of performance to achieve the aim of the collective project. This kind of critical and democratic sensibility flies in the face of any policing of borders and boundaries of “blackness”, “maleness”, “femaleness”, or “whiteness”. ― Cornel West

Jazz is not just ‘Well, man, this is what I feel like playing.’ It’s a very structured thing that comes down from a tradition and requires a lot of thought and study. ― Wynton Marsalis

There’s something beautifully friendly and elevating about … playing music together. This wonderful little world that is unassailable. It’s really teamwork, one guy supporting the others, and it’s all for one purpose … for a while. And nobody conducting, it’s all up to you. It’s really jazz … that’s the big secret. Rock and roll ain’t nothing but jazz with a hard backbeat. ― Keith Richards

It was the music. The dirty, get-on-down music the women sang and the men played and both danced to, close and shamelesss or apart and wild … It made you do unwise disorderly things. Just hearing it was like violating the law. ― Toni Morrison

Jazz presumes that it would be nice if the four of us–simpatico dudes that we are–while playing this complicated song together, might somehow be free and autonomous as well. Tragically, this never quite works out. At best, we can only be free one or two at a time–while the other dudes hold onto the wire … jazz only works if we’re trying to be free and are, in fact, together. ― Dave Hickey

WED, Feb 19 – WED, Feb 26 — School vacation through Fri, Feb 21 —

WED, Feb 19

  • Schools closed
  • TUNE UP FITNESS with Laurie McAleer 
    9am • Parish House. 
    Fitness class. Free; open to public. Stretching and fitness workouts with certified fitness coach Laurie McAleer. Exercises can be adjusted to individual needs. Weather-dependent; if school is cancelled, class is cancelled.
  • COUNCIL MEETING
    7pm • JCC Elected church officers, staff, and team representatives meet to reviews church mission and decisions for governance and operations. Open to all.

THURS, Feb 20

  • Schools closed
  • Community Service: WAY STATION
    9am & 5pm • 15 Grove St, No Conway
    Friends, members & staff of Jackson Community Church are among volunteers to staff these shifts. Weather-dependent; if school is cancelled, Way Station is closed.
  • YIN RESTORATIVE YOGA for the Mindful Body with Anjali Rose 9am • Jackson Community Church
    Note: 6 weeks $60. Contact Anjali Rose for more info. Weather-dependent; if school is cancelled, yoga is cancelled.
  • Community Event: TODDLER STORYTIME
    10:30am • Jackson Public Library
  • Community Event: EVENING CRAFT-UP
    4pm • Jackson Public Library
    Bring an existing craft to do with neighbors at the library!
  • AA
    6:30pm • Jackson Community Church, 2nd Floor

FRI, Feb 21

  • Schools closed
  • PASTOR’S DROP-IN J-TOWN DELI HOURS
    7-9am • J-Town Deli
    Come for hot beverage and conversation. Or make a date to go for a walk or meet privately by texting/calling Rev Gail’s cell @ 978.273.0308.
  • Private Class: AVALANCHE CLASS
    8:30am-5pm • Jackson Community Church
    Class for back-country winter skiers and hikers to prepare for survival and response to avalanche conditions.
  • Community Event: SEWING with KATHY
    2pm • Jackson Library
    Special vacation week edition of sewing sweet things with Kathy! Make your own lovebug or lovegrub. Please sign up online or phone library at 603-383-9731 so they have materials prepared.

SAT, Feb 22

  • NHCUCC Event: PREPARED to SERVE
    8am-4pm • Pembroke, NH
    Workshops and training for church programs. Rev Gail attends afternoon sessions.

SUN, Feb 23

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING
    8am • Old Red Library
    Come for poetry, prayer and conversation.
  • BLESSINGS of BODIES, BOOTS & BINDINGS
    9:15am • Jackson XC Ski Touring Center
    Rev Gail provides blessings for staff and XC skiers.
  • POP-UP CHOIR
    10:10am • Jackson Community Church
    Come learn songs early and help as song leaders for congregation.
  • SUNDAY WORSHIP
    10:30am • Jackson Community Church
    * Message: Rev Gail Doktor
    * Music director & instrumentalist: Alan Labrie
  • CUTTING PARTY for MARDI GRAS
    11:45am • Jackson Community Church
    Bring your apron, favorite chopping knife, paring knife, cutting board. Chef Sue will direct our efforts!
  • Community Event: RACIAL JUSTICE CONVERSATIONS
    3:30pm • Jackson Public Library
    Third of 6-part series to hold conversations on racial justice and how our community can become more self-aware and active around this issue. Joint program sponsored by Jackson Public Library & Jackson Community Church. If you haven’t already joined us and want to attend,  RSVP to learn what we covered in the earlier sessions and feel free to join us for as many conversations as possible! Free and open to public.
  • Community Event: CONCERT with Dominique Dodge and Rosie MacKenzie
    5pm • Jackson Library

MON, Feb 24

  • Community Service: WAY STATION
    9am • 15 Grove St, No Conway
    Friends, members & staff of Jackson Community Church are among volunteers to staff these shifts.
  • COOKING for MARDI GRAS
    9am-Noon • Jackson Community Church
    Bring your apron, favorite chopping knife, paring knife, cutting board. Chef Sue will direct our efforts!
  • BARTLETT-JACKSON SCOUT PACK 321
    6pm • Jackson Community Church
    Meet for pack and troop activities. Contact pack organizer Allyn Roberts for additional information.

TUE, Feb 25 – FAT TUESDAY!

  • CLERGY LUNCH
    12:30pm • Brown Church
    Clergy gathering to plan ecumenical services. Rev Gail attends.
  • Community Event: CRAFTERNOON
    Noon • Jackson Public Library
    Bring an unfinished craft to the library and work with others while you visit, too.
  • No more meetings in Feb for the Multi-Church BIBLE STUDY GROUP
    Resumes in Lent, beginning Tue, Mar 3rd.
  • FAT TUESDAY PREP COOKING & DECORATING
    Noon-6pm • Jackson Community Church
  • DAISY SCOUT TROOP HELPS with MARDI GRAS
    Afternoon • Jackson Community Church
  • FAT TUESDAY CELEBRATION
    6-8pm • Jackson Community Church
    Come for jazz music with KHS Jazz Ensemble & Slimpikcins! Enjoy Mardi Gras cuisine and costumes. Come dressed up!
  • Community Concert: JAZZ with HEATHER PIERSON TRIO
    8pm • Stone Mountain Arts Center, Denmark, ME
    Tickets and info.

WED, Feb 26 – ASH WEDNESDAY

  • ASHES to GO
    7-9am • JTown Deli
  • ASHES to GO
    10:30am-12:30pm • Jackson Community Church
  • TUNE UP FITNESS with Laurie McAleer 
    9am • Parish House. 
    Fitness class. Free; open to public. Stretching and fitness workouts with certified fitness coach Laurie McAleer. Exercises can be adjusted to individual needs. Weather-dependent; if school is cancelled, class is cancelled.
  • Community Event: ECUMENICAL ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICE
    5:30pm – Choir Practice • Brown Church, Conway Village
    6:30pm – Worship Service • Brown Church, Conway VillageClergy of the Eastern Slope invite friends and members to attend a jointly-run services hosted at the Brown Church. Rev Gail officates along with colleagues. All welcome!

This Week: MON, Mar 18 – SUN, Mar 24

At Jackson Community Church and Around Town
MON, Mar 18

  • WHITNEY COMMUNITY CENTER OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
    3:30pm • Whitney Center / Grammar School Campus
    Programming team meets re schedule and operations of the Whitney Community Center. Rev Gail attends.
  • DEN MEMBERS from SCOUT PACK 321
    6pm • Jackson Community Church
    Den meeting at church to work on ‘pew holders’ for sanctuary.
  • RELIGION, CONFLICT & PEACE
    Harvard Online EdX course. Self-Paced. Continues 8 weeks • Expect: 4-8 hours of study per week. Registration Link to register for the Harvard Online EdX course.

TUE, Mar 19

  • CLERGY of the EASTERN SLOPE LUNCHEON
    12:30pm • Center Conway, NH
    Lunch and working group for local clergy and spiritual community leaders. Rev Gail attends.
  • DEACONS TEAM MEETING
    4pm • Jackson Community Church
    Meeting of deacons to plan worship, community care and other responsibilities.
  • FULL MOON SOUP & SKI (or SNOWSHOE)
    5-7pm • Jackson XC Center
    Come ski or snowshoe. Jackson Community Church co-hosts and provides selection of hot soups on-site at Jackson XC.

WED, Mar 20

  • TUNE UP FITNESS with Laurie McAleer 
    9:30am • Parish House.Fitness class. Free; open to public. These classes will continue through the end of March. Classes remain weather dependent; if schools are delayed or closed, the class will be cancelled.
  • COUNCIL MEETING (note: time changed)
    5-6:30pm • Jackson Community Church / Second Floor Library
    Church staff, officers and team leaders meet to review admin/operational and mission-based issues for the life and governance of the church. Open to the community.
  • Community Event: THE IMPOSSIBLE CLIMB with Mark Synnott
    7pm • Whitney Community Center
    Presentation starts at 7:30pm. In The Impossible Climb, Jackson’s own Mark Synnott uses his own career as a professional climber, its intersection with that of Alex Honnold and the lead-up to Honnold’s historic ascent, to paint a insider portrait of the elite climbing community, exploring what motivates them, the paradoxical drive to keep the sport pure and at the same time to fund climbs, and the role that awareness of mortality plays in the endeavour. We watch through Mark’s eyes as Alex plots, trains and attempts his heart-stopping free-solo ascent.  This is the story which was also chronicled as a documentary in Free Solo. Books will be available for purchase and signing by the author.

THURS, Mar 21

  • BLISS YOGA with Anjali Rose
    9am • First Floor, Parish House / Jackson Community Church. Beginning stretch, flow and align yoga; safe for new practitioners. Weather dependent; if schools are delayed or closed, the class will be cancelled.
  • WAY STATION TEAM MEETING
    10am • Nativity Lutheran Church admin building
  • Leadership team meeting to review next steps for opening of day resource center to serve Mt Washington Valley’s homeless and housing-insecure population.
  • AA
    6:30pm • Second Floor, Church.

FRI, Mar 22

  • PASTOR’s DROP-IN HOURS
    7-9am • J-Town Deli
    Come for caffeine, conversation. Or make a separate date to meet with Rev Gail by calling her cell (978) 273.0308 or email.
  • PASTOR’s OFFICE HOURS
    9:30-11:30am • Jackson Community Church
    Drop by or make an apt with Rev Gail by calling her cell (978) 273.0308 or email.
  • UCC Event: HORTON CENTER DEANS TRAINING
    Fri-Sat • Maine
    Rev Gail & Chris Doktor attend overnight training for Horton Center.

SAT, Mar 23

  • UCC Event: HORTON CENTER DEANS TRAINING
    Fri-Sat • Maine Rev Gail & Chris Doktor attend overnight- training for Horton Center Deans.

SUN, Mar 24

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING @ OLD LIBRARY
    8am • Old Library. Hot beverages available. Come for poetry, literature, conversation and prayer.
  • CHILDREN & YOUTH PROGRAM
    9am • Jackson Community Church
    Please RSVP to Rev Gail if you will attend our spring children & youth programming.
  • CHOIR REHEARSAL
    9am • Jackson Community Church
    Ellen Schwindt works with church choir. Drop-ins welcome.
  • WORSHIP 
    10:30am •  Jackson Community Church.
    * Story: Rev Gail
    * Accompanist: Alan Labrie