You'll find a 2022 update on this Lenten plan at the bottom of this post.
Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday and of course, Mardi Gras. It’s the one last day to celebrate before Lent begins the next day on Ash Wednesday. Old traditions of using up rich foods like butter, eggs and milk before sacrificing on plainer foods during Lent led to the last-minute pancake feast. “Shrove” comes from the old English word, “Shriven” which means to say you are sorry, or a confession of sorts, which is what you do before beginning the season of Lent.
Several churches in our area have started hosting pancake breakfasts on this day, but with Mardi Gras being such a big deal here (remember, Mobile Alabama was the birthplace of American Mardi Gras, so our schools are on holiday and many businesses are closed), most people focus on the party with Moon Pies and beads rather than a pancake breakfast.
I love a good breakfast, but have to admit not liking to jump into the kitchen first thing in the morning, so I confess, we had this pancake stack as our supper last night. I snapped a few photos because it all looked so pretty. I love having breakfast for supper.
And then comes Lent. Sorrow for what we’ve done, and hope for a fresh start with the beauty of Easter only 40 days away. Giving up something or taking on a new challenge. A task that reminds us daily of the ultimate sacrifice and redemption of Easter.
Refocusing and trying to do better. That’s what I’ve been taking away from church lately . . . do better.
Matthew 5:44 — easy for you perhaps, but I’ve never been a fan . . .
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
So in a world of sickness, disasters, terrorists, and political anger, I’ll spend each day doing better. Once a day, I’ll pray for someone I don’t like. I don’t want to call them “enemies” because I don’t see them that way. They’re just people I know who have gone rancid. They’ve become angry about the world and feel like it’s okay to take it out on others.
I love being around people, but when they become so negative and hurtful, it’s hard. The only thing I know to do (other than to try and choke them), is to pray for them. I mean, there was one person who teased my Dad because he’d had a stroke. What kind of person does that? Doesn’t he deserve to have his tail kicked? And because my best talent, other than twirling the baton, is holding grudge, I’m about to go nuts. Prayer is the only way to save his life and not give myself a heart attack. It honestly leaves a bad taste in my mouth to mention this man’s name in prayer, but the more I do it, the easier it becomes.
Pray for one jerk a day during Lent. One at a time. I’ll have to repeat names, because thank goodness, there aren’t 40 of them. It’s something I don’t want to do, so it will truly be a Lenten journey of growth. I hope.
I’ll let you know how things turn out with my plan. Either I’ll draw closer to God and learn forgiveness . . . or my head will explode. It could go either way. Do you have plans for Lent?
And Happy Mardi Gras to you!
****UPDATE- February 2022 – this story was written on the very front edge of the COVID disaster, and now, I hope I’m writing on the tail end of it. I can report that when it comes to praying for those who have hurt us, it truly works. In each case, God made it clear to me that these people are often hurt or flawed in some way and for whatever reason, can’t really deal with it, so they lash out at others. I remembered the saying, “some people are so broken, they hate those who are whole.” I prayed for them, but I was the one who changed. I truly developed pity for those who are hurting and expressing it inappropriately. — Happy Lenten season 2022!