Shrove Tuesday: Pancake Day submitted by Cheryl TenWolde

In the Early Church, the Season of Lent began as a special discipline for the catechumens. New Christians were required to prepare themselves for their Baptism on Easter by fasting, study, and prayer. They had to prove themselves worthy to be part of the Body of Christ. Soon other Christians began to join these learners, and by the end of the second century, this custom became part of the Church’s observances. Christians imitated our Lord’s fasting in the wilderness for 40 days, by also fasting 40 days, not counting Sundays. The Sundays are Little Easters, or feast days in remembrance of the Resurrection.

The Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before Lent have many names. One is that this period was known as “Shrove-tide”, or “Shroving Week.” In the Middle Ages, all Christians went to confession before Lent and the word “to shrive” means to confess one’s sins. Our sins are “shriven” and we are “forgiven”. Because all the eggs and fats had to be used up before Lent, Shrove Tuesday is often called “Pancake Day”. In the Eastern Church meat, fish, eggs milk and cheese were banned in Lent. Most Christian Churches have now decided that fasting is a personal decision.

Aside from giving up something for Lent, we could add something to strengthen our personal spiritual life, or add something to help other people and show forth that we are Apostles of Christ.

Be the living expression of God’s kindness;
Kindness in your face,
Kindness in your eyes,
Kindness in your smile.
St. Teresa of Calcutta

Annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper at St. Matthew’s on February 28 at 6 P.M. followed by an Ash Wednesday service at 7 P.M.

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