Bible Talk, Holiday Mayhem, I ❤️ JC, Mind, Body, & Spirit, RAW Religion, Review & Reflection, Uncategorized

The Story of Ash Wednesday & Lent

What is the real story about Ash Wednesday? Is it a tradition that man decided to make to observe the beginning of Lent? Is it something Jesus taught about in the Bible? I was extremely curious about what “Ash Wednesday” really is because growing up as a Catholic my family and I always observed by getting ashes on the forehead with a sign of the cross then we would give something up we truly loved for the 40 day Lental period. However I never really understood what this symbolism met nor cared enough to dig deeper into the meaning. Well, now I’m all grown-up and starting to questions about these “traditions” that were instilled in me as a young child by the Roman Catholic Church and family members.

I decided to do my research and this is what I came up with: Ash Wednesday or Lent was not observed in the early New Testament days. Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent started to be observed by Western Christian Churches and other denominations like Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran Churches. Most of these churches did the cross on the forehead to symbolize penance or the death/ sorrow of sins. It was also customary to give up something you “love” to do for those 40 days of Lent or to give back in some way to society. My family and I would normally give up some sort of food we loved or bad habit for those 40 days, while not eating meat on Fridays. It is also suggested that “Lent” may be connected to early pagan holidays, such as the pagan god called Tammuz.

Ash Wednesday and Lent is a nonbiblical observation even though some people do connect it with the 40 days in the desert that Jesus was visited by Satan and Satan tried to tempt him with ZERO success. See the story of this below: from the Gospel of Matthew:

‘Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to the Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John would have hindered him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? But Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffereth him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway from the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him; and lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ – Matthew 3:13-17

‘Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he afterward hungered. And the tempter came and said unto him, If thou art the Son of God, command that these stones become bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him into the holy city; and he set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou art the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and, On their hands they shall bear thee up, Lest haply thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, Again it is written, Thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him unto an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and he said unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him; and behold, angels came and ministered unto him. ‘ – Matthew 4:1-11

In conclusion, it is fine to observe this holiday if you would like however keep in mind this is not what Jesus taught us and as a “born again” Christian this is not observed in most Evangelical Christian Churches. My take on Lent is trying to mix some of the good traditions of Lent such as giving up something bad for you in hopes of not indulging in this unhealthy food item or bad habit for good! While remembering that Jesus got baptized by John the Baptiste in the Bible then he when away in the desert He didn’t eat nor drink for 40 days while Satan tried to tempt Him. Of course, we all know that Satan was unsuccessful in doing so which makes Jesus perfect in every way! This just gives me more inspiration to try to be like Jesus more and more each day.

God bless you all on the start of making yourself more like Jesus!

Credit: What Are Ash Wednesday and Lent? Does the Bible Tell Us to Celebrate These Days?

Fun Events, Light Hearted Fun, RAW Brooklyn, Review & Reflection, Uncategorized

42nd Annual 18th Avenue Feast in Brooklyn

Not one of my first time, but definitely one of the best times I had at the 18th Avenue Italian-American Feast, located between 68th and 75th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. You can smell when the vendors start setting up with smoked sausage, peppers and onions being fried up on the flat top, which was around 6pm on weekdays and 11am on weekends for 10 days in August.

The day after my birthday it started, August 17th and just ended August 27th with carnival-style games, rides for kids, lots of different types of food, drinks, and sweets all around out in the streets.

We went one hot August weeknight around 8pm and the first thing we decided to try was the traditional and deliciously greasy Italian sausages with peppers and onions. Then I had a greasy, beefy Philly Cheesesteak with onions and peppers on warm, crispy Italian bread. Both sandwiches were so delicious and traditional foods usually served at this feast every year.

Other tasty foods served by different vendors were not only Italian foods but also Hispanic and Pacific Island foods. The 18th Avenue Feast also offered plenty of drink options both with and without alcohol, also a variety of sweet treats to choose from. We treated ourselves to the funnel cake and fried Oreos which were dangerously delicious both with a crispy warm cream and chocolate goodness, my favorite treat of the Feast.

After we were done satisfying the appetites we walked around checking out the different types of games and rides that were set up, some traditional carnival games and other surprising scary rides for a street fair that I was not curious to try. There was even a human dunk tank with a smoking Clown who heckles the crowd as they walk by.

The one game we tried was scooping out small ping pong balls with numbers and prizes which suckered us out of $20 with no prize as a result. The games were still fun while they lasted and most reel you in with “first game free” and a promise of some sort of prize at the end.

The 10 days long Italian-American Feast, both people in the neighborhood and around Brooklyn look forward to every year. Many family’s, friends, and lovers come out to enjoy their time with one another and help support and celebrate a Brooklyn tradition. This wasn’t my first time attending the 18th Avenue Feast and it will not be my last. Make sure you come to check it out next summer if you missed it this year. If you did go please share your experience with comments, videos, and photos. Be a part of Brooklyn history and join in on the fun, cheers!

Fun Events, Holiday Mayhem, RAW Brooklyn

New Years Eve 1st Annual Coney Island Countdown: 2015

Frozen fun at Coney Island, we had our own New Years Eve countdown in Brooklyn. Closer then Times Square with a modest crowd of local New Yorkers. Definitely lots of fun despite the bitter winter chill. Hopefully this will be a new start to another historical NYC tradition. Gotta love living in the best city in the world. Anyone else who made the trip share your experience, pics, and videos. Thanks.