Monday, February 11, 2013

Time to head to IHOP

Presbyterians greet Lent with about as much enthusiasm as a boring sermon or root canal. We have the wrong perspective, and we’re spiritually poorer for it.

So pause that yawn and let’s take a quick look at the history of this nearly forgotten season.

From the Old English lencten, Lent means “lengthening days in spring.” It is a time of discipline, reflection and following Christ. It begins with Ash Wednesday and continues for 40 days and the 6 Sundays prior to Easter.

Fat Tuesday
Everyone’s favorite part of Lent comes just before Ash Wednesday, on Shrove Tuesday. Historically, this is when people would confess their sins to a priest and be “shriven,” or absolved from their mishaps. Today, Shrove Tuesday has expanded to include a massive festival in New Orleans. Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday. And among other festivities, you will find hordes of people stuffing their faces with pancakes. In years past, people fasted milk and eggs during Lent, so Fat Tuesday pancakes were their last hurrah. Most of us can’t make New Orleans, but IHOP is one tasty alternative to this spiritual adventure.
Ash Wednesday
Drawing its name from the “sackcloth and ashes” of Old Testament penitents, Ash Wednesday at Sardis includes a service of communion and the imposition of ashes. As the minister places the sign of the cross on your forehead with ashes, you’ll hear, “Remember, man, that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.”

Now that will get your attention if you stop to think about it. The problem is, we’re not thinking about it.

As you pour maple syrup on your pancakes on Fat Tuesday, think about Lent. It’s more than just giving up Snickers bars. It’s a season for doing something before we “return to the dust” some day. What if you decide to spend more time in prayer, sign up for the Lenten Breakfasts Series, or stick with your Bible study?

I know I’ll be at the Sardis House at 6:45am on Wednesday morning to kick off our Lenten Breakfast Series. I hope to see you there!


  1. In Pennsylvania Fat Tuesday is called Faschnaut Day. Faschnauts are fried doughnuts. After we hit IHOP we can head on over to Krispy Kreme. That should give us plenty of energy to do something worthwhile during Lebt

  2. Lenten breakfast has become one of my favorite Lent traditions at Sardis! And that says a lot, I'm not a morning person! :)