February 2016

February 2016

I love cooking.  Soon I will be preparing one of my favourite meals.  It goes like this. In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt and white sugar.  In another bowl stir together whisked eggs, melted butter and milk.  Proportions are to how much you and others might eat at a meal.  Add liquid to mix and voila, you have a wonderful pancake batter.  Pancakes come in many variations such as adding blueberries or even chocolate chips. Heat a greased grill and in a matter of no time you have mouth watering pancakes.  Add butter, whipped cream, strawberries, maple syrup and then let the compliments roll on in.   The best place I found to make this meal is in the great outdoors over a campfire at Camp Edgewood.  Mmm good.


The reason I begin my article this way is because pancakes have become associated with Shrove Tuesday, which, in 2016, occurs on February 9th.   In other parts of the world, where Mardi Gras is celebrated, this is the last day of “fat eating” or “gorging” before the fasting period of Lent.  For others, Shrove Tuesday is observed by self-examination of life asking for God’s help in their continued spiritual growth.  Shrove Tuesday can be observed both individually and communally.


Following Shrove Tuesday is Ash Wednesday.  It begins the season of Lent and occurs 46 days (40 fasting days, and 6 Sundays, which are not days of fast) before Easter.  It can fall as early as February 4th or as late as March 10th .


Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of taking ashes made from palm branches blessed on the previous year's Palm Sunday, and making the sign of the cross on the foreheads of participants with the words, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return".  I find this to be a very holy time: to know that as Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again.  Death has been defeated so we know that when we physically die we live in the joy and mystery of our creator God.  I find this to be hopeful in my ministry when I am with families who are grieving and are seeking comfort and peace in their lives.


As we begin our Lenten journey, individually and together as God’s people, I invite you to join me in entering this penitential season as time for Spiritual Renewal.  National Bishop Susan Johnson challenged Lutherans of the ELCIC in 2012 to reflect on the following words, Pray, Worship, Tell, Study, Serve, Give, and Read.  Please go to the ELCIC website at www.elcic.ca and in the search box type in Call to Spiritual Renewal for more information.  Bishop Susan has created some wonderful resources to assist us in our Lenten journey.  I have been using some of this material throughout my devotional life since it came out and am willing to challenge myself go over it again in a deeper way in light of partnership with St. David & St. Patrick’s Anglican Church.   What would prayer, worship, telling, studying, serving, giving and reading look like in living out Christian faith?  I am excited about this possibility and again invite you to join me in this endeavour.


Enjoy the pancakes.   Peace be with you this Lent.


Pastor Jeff