Well, I found out something new this morning. Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Tuesday, because it’s the day before Ash Wednesday and the season of repentance. I had to know why pancakes were involved, since I’m not Catholic. My Lutheran church family celebrates almost every season with potlucks or soup suppers. So, the reason pancakes are part of this holiday is thus – since Lent was a time of fasting, folks wanted to get any temptations out of the house, like sugar, flour, butter, eggs – stuff that would lead them to being extravagant. Good idea – yes! I love pancakes.
Today is also known as Fat Tuesday for much the same reason. However, it seems the philosophy of “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you may die” is more in play than giving things up for Lent. Mardi Gras is the traditional time for this in the United States. People imbibe, overeat and participate in sinful activity before turning their lives around the next day – I’m speaking sarcastically here.
The word shrove is derived from shrive which means obtaining absolution. It is a time of self examination, repentance and asking God to help us overcome our sinful ways. Some churches teach that this is a way of getting to heaven. I believe that absolution is a gift from God, paid for by Jesus and that it has nothing to do with what we do. Only God can absolve.
This should be a day of reflection for us – no matter what you call it. Every day should begin that way. When we wake, thank God for giving us another day – an opportunity to share His love with others – praise Him for His love. Then before doing anything else, examine ourselves, ask for forgiveness with repentant hearts and continue our day in confidence that our sins have already been forgiven and we will someday be in heaven with Him.
I miss my past time worshipping with my fellow Lutherans. I found the Lenten journey as a surefire way to keep building my faith.
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I love the season of Lent for just that reason. We cannot on our own, obtain forgiveness. Only God can do that. We need to remind ourselves daily about what a precious gift that is.