Party On!

   The three days before Ash Wednesday are known as Shrovetide in the Anglican Church. “Shrove” is an Old English word meaning “to repent.” We still might occasionally hear the past tense “shriven” in reference to someone who has confessed and received absolution. Confession and repentance are still part of our preparation for Lent, which is why we pray the ultimate prayer of penitence, “The Great Litany,” on the first Sunday of Lent.

   Shrovetide was also a time to “party,” and this is still reflected in Mardi Gras, which literally means “Fat Tuesday” (called Pancake Tuesday by some).  The partying traditionally associated with Mardi Gras was a way of ridding the house of all the rich food (like sugar and butter, by making pancakes) before the 40 day Lenten fast began.

All of these Lenten traditions encourage us to simplify and purify our lives, and learn the meaning of sacrifice. As Christians we do not practice sacrifice during Lent to earn forgiveness of our sins, but because we choose the life-giving Way of the Cross, which is rooted in sacrifice. In so doing we follow the One who sacrificed everything that we might have the hope of eternal life.

Yours in Christ, Mother Candace+
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