In this coming week we will move from The Season after the Epiphany into Lent, a profound shift in our Church calendar. The liturgy will shift in tone, the color of the vestments and hangings will turn to purple, and we will give special attention to our need for self-examination and repentance as we prepare for Easter.
Many traditions have emerged over the years for how to mark this shift in liturgical time. For example, before embarking on the penitential season of Lent which often included fasting from decadent foods, Christians would engage in a night of feasting, using up their stores of butter and flour. This is where the tradition of “Mardi Gras” (“Fat Tuesday”) came from and the reason it became traditional to cook up pancakes as a final pre-Lenten meal. Some Christians also used the Tuesday evening before Ash Wednesday to get a head start on their confessing and so would seek formal absolution of their sins, meaning they would be “shriven” hence the alternative title: “Shrove Tuesday.”
We will be celebrating Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday this coming Tuesday evening at the church from 5—7pm. We will have a pancake supper and pancake races (which is not the same thing as a pancake eating race). We will also do our own form of shriving by decorating a banner with the word “Alleluia” and burying that away until Easter. Alleluia is traditionally not said during Lent, and you will notice none of our hymns or prayers on Sundays will include it.
The final thing we will do together is burn palms that were used last Palm Sunday. The ashes from those palms will be used to create the ashes we will use the next day, Ash Wednesday. It promises to be a fun night of activities for all ages and a tasty dinner as well. So please join us and bring a friend! And if you’re interested in volunteering to help us make the event a success, please contact Cathy Lewis.
Following those festivities, we mark Ash Wednesday. This powerful liturgy begins our Lenten season in earnest with the imposition of ashes on our forehead as a sign of our mortality and dependence on God. The liturgy also contains one of the most powerful litanies of penitence in our prayer book setting us on a course of introspection and transformation over the next 40 days. We will have traditional liturgies at 12pm and 7pm that day and a 5pm service designed especially for families but open to all. Please join us for worship that day so we can embark upon a holy Lent together.
Looking forward to traveling through this season with you,