Monday, February 11, 2013
Time to head to IHOP
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.
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.
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!