Coming Attractions: Shrove Tuesday and Lent
Finding out more about why we do what we do - about our traditions - as always fascinating to me. As we approach the season of Lent, I thought it might be interesting to read about this upcoming liturgical season. On Tuesday, February 13, we will celebrate Shrove Tuesday. The word "shrove" is derived from an Old English verb, to "shrive" which means "to hear confession" or "to grant absolution." To shrive is to make time for the spring cleaning of your soul - all those "things done and left undone, things said and left unsaid" - that are cluttering up your life. Shrove Tuesday, this spring cleaning of the soul, arrives just before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, the season of penitence and reconciliation.
The tradition of eating pancakes and sausage on Shrove Tuesday dates back to the Middle Ages. Eggs and fat were forbidden during the fasting of Lent, so in one meal, the pantry was cleaned out just prior to Ash Wednesday,. In Germany, the day is called Fetter Dienstag. In France and New Orleans, it is called Mardi Gras. You may want to make pancakes for your dinner on this day. St Paul's, Vergennes will hold their annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper again this year at 6 PM.
The season of Lent has been observed at a time of preparation for Easter since about 325 CE. The word "Lent" is derived from a root word meaning "long days," and alludes to the lengthening of days during this time of year. The liturgical color for Lent is traditionally purple, signifying a time of solemn preparation and humility in preparation for Easter.
The season of Lent continues for forty days, significant because of the forty-day fast recorded in scripture for Moses, Elijah and Jesus following his baptism. however, if you count out the days, you will find more than forty. That's because Sundays during Lent are not included in the count of forty days. Every Sunday is a mini-celebration of the Resurrection.
So how will you observe Lent? First, please join us for Ash Wednesday service at 5 PM at St. Paul's, Vergennes OR 7 PM at All Saints, South Burlington.
As you observe the season of Lent, you may want to consider refraining from some activities or "giving something up.". SOme give up chocolate (a terrible day to begin this practice) or another favorite food or activity. however, another perspective you might also consider is using this season as a time to do something more, to adopt a a daily practice or ritual during Lent or to practice some special kindness or generosity.
Each year we are asked by the Presiding bishop to hold a special collection for Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) on the First Sunday or another Sunday during Lent. For All Saints, on the First Sunday in Lent, February 18, an Ingathering for ERD will be held during the service. In addition, special Mite boxes that the children from All Saints have prepared for ERD will; be available in the narthex. The ingathering for these mite box donations will be on Easter Sunday.
Lastly, I hope you will plan to join us for Holy Week services the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. Mark your calendar so nothing werves as an obstacle to these observations. More details will follow.
Whatever you decide to do, use this Lenten season to clean out the cobwebs and remove the dust balls from your faith life. Celebrate this opportunity to begin anew your relationship with God and your neighbors. I invite you to a very Holy Lent!