Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday is quickly approaching. The word shrove is the past tense of the English verb shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of confession and doing penance. During the week before Lent, historically, Christians were expected to go to confession in preparation for the penitential season of turning to God. Growing up in the Dutch area of Pennsylvania, Shrove Tuesday was much anticipated because it was "donut day". For this sweets lover this was the best! There are many other traditions surrounding this day. The popular celebratory aspect of the day developed long before the Protestant Reformation, was associated with releasing high spirits before the somber season of Lent. From what I understand many of these of this are associated with food...like in my current hometown where people gather at churches for "pancake day" feasts.
Preparing for this year's Lent makes me think of not a last hurrah of sugar treats but of the things that we take for granted and for the many things that we have in our lives that are not truly necessary for living. As I write we are experiencing our second major snowstorm in Pittsburgh since Saturday. Many people are without power so their homes are cold and grocery stores are reporting that staples such as milk have been sold out. I know I take my food and shelter for granted and learning of so many neighbors without has caused me to think about this. Additionally this weekend my family welcomed our oldest home from his first mission trip to Haiti. He tells us of the joy for the Lord the Haitians have and are able to express while they don't have so many of the things we consider to be necessary for living. Both of these situations are making me wonder how to approach Lent this year. Granted we will probably continue my childhood tradition of having donuts on Shrove Tuesday, but I will also be thinking of how to approach the mystery of Lent. How do we experience this season properly so we are prepared for the joy of transformation from dying and rising, the joy of Easter?
*Carrot Top Studio stoles for Lent can be found here. It's not too late to order--we ship Priority mail (2-3 business days).