Did you know that Lent began this week on Ash Wednesday? Lent begins 46 days before Easter (40 days not counting Sundays).
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent directly following Shrove Tuesday or better know to some as Pancake Tuesday. And given the Facebook posts, this is a tradition many of you take part in! I particularly loved your whip cream options ;) But do you know why pancakes?
Lent is a time of fasting, moderation, and giving things up traditionally observed by Catholics and some Protestant denominations. So Shrove Tuesday is the last chance to “indulge” and to use up the foods that aren't typically allowed in Lent. Pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent.
But there is a bigger picture of Lent that has nothing to do with pancakes.
Scripture tells us that after being baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights in the Judaean Desert. Let me tell you that after witnessing the starkness and desolate nature of this dry desert with my own eyes, 40 days and 40 nights would have been no small feat.
Why did Jesus go into the desert?
Was it because of the quiet? Was it so that hear could hear God more clearly?
Luke chapter 4 tells us that during this time, Satan appeared to Jesus and tried to tempt him. Jesus having refused each temptation, Satan then departed and Jesus returned to Galilee to begin his ministry.
So by observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus’ sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. No pancakes ;)
During this season of Lent you may decide to fast, eat sparingly or give up a particular food or habit. It’s not uncommon for people to give up smoking during Lent, or to swear off watching television or Facebook or eating candy or telling lies. It’s six weeks of self-discipline. How about this? Sure give up something but how about giving something in return? Six weeks of generosity?
Whatever you decide to do, if anything, I hope that you will take time as we move into the Easter season to spend some time to wonder, to talk with God, to listen and to make choices that will bring you closer to the One who gave it all for you.