February, 2015 Page 1


It’s hard to believe that the season of Lent is almost upon us.  So, in order to prepare for the stringent forty days of fasting during Lent, the Church for many centuries would charge its members to “shrive their lard.”  The faithful were required to give up not only meat, but all dairy products.  They would find a way to use up all the milk, butter, lard, eggs, etc.  The English tradition of eating pancakes on “Shrove Tuesday” came about as a way to use up as much milk, butter, lard, eggs, etc. before Ash Wednesday began. 

In France, the consumption of all fats and fatty foods on this day coined the name “Fat Tuesday” or “Mardi Gras.”  Now, all these years later, we maintain those traditions. Few of us fast for forty days, but having the men of the church flip delicious pancakes on “Shrove Tuesday” (named for the shriving process) and wearing Mardi Gras masks and beads, is a great deal of fun as well as a good way to prepare ourselves for whatever Lenten discipline we may choose for our Lenten observances.  Some people give up something for Lent, and some take on extra responsibilities or spiritual disciplines.  Some choose to increase their participation in worship on Sundays and/or Wednesday evenings with our Lenten program and Compline. Whatever one may choose, the Lenten experience is deepened and spiritually enhanced by some form of discipline.  It is a time of repentance, self-examination, self-denial, and meditation in preparation for Easter.  So, before we begin our Lenten journey, please plan to come and join us for our form of “Shrove Tuesday” or  “Fat Tuesday” or “Mardi Gras,” on Tuesday, February 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall. The Gateway teens will also be joining us.

The following day on February 18 at noon and 7 p.m., we will observe Ash Wednesday in which the celebrant makes the sign of the cross on our foreheads in ashes with the words, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” This is a reminder not only of our physical mortality, but also of the very path of Lent itself. For people of faith, this should serve as a somber and sobering reminder, but it should never be a source of despondency or despair. Our mortality is but a part of who and whose we are. Lent may begin with the ashes and leads us through the trials and even death of our Lord and Savior, but it inevitably leads us to the source of our immortal life- the resurrection of Christ at Easter. Though there will be some emphasis on the reality of the inevitability of the end of our earthly lives, the greater emphasis will be on how we are called to be Easter people in this life, living as people redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice and fulfilling our call of our baptism into his life.

I pray that this Lent, you all will find opportunities in your prayer life and your personal Lenten observance to deepen your understanding of the marvelous relationship into which God has called each of us and to discover new ways to prepare for the Glory of the season to follow.  I wish you all a Holy Lent. 

In Christ's love,