Shrove Tuesday

(The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday)

Rev Bosco Peters on his Liturgy website writes: “Shrove” is the past tense of the verb “shrive” – “to obtain absolution for oneself by confessing and doing penance”. In French this is Mardi Gras – “fat Tuesday” – the feasting before Lenten fasting. A time of “carnival” [The derivation of the word “carnival” is uncertain. Possibly it originates in the Latin carne vale, meaning “to farewell meat” or even “to say goodbye to the flesh”. Others posit that its origin lies in the Italian carne levare, meaning “to remove meat”. The Oxford English Dictionary has that “Carnival” is derived from Latin carnem levare (removal of the meat) or carnem laxare (leaving the meat).] In Northern Springtime, I presume that, in order to have chicks etc. one must leave the eggs with the hen to hatch. One stops eating the eggs during this time – Lent. And can start eating them at Easter time – the origin of Easter eggs. In the quaint manner of liturgical developments, not eating eggs during Lent means one gets rid of all the eggs before Lent! Hence, the development of Pancake Tuesday – of using up all our eggs by eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.
This is the last day of the “Alleluias” until Easter. This day may even involve the burying of the Alleluia. (Note: every Sunday in Lent is still a feast day).

We come to God as we are
We come with a history of rights and wrongs
We come with a past of shaky discipleship
We come with the chequered mixture called life.

We long to stay with what is familiar
to cling to the comfortable, the predictable
to hold to the past, however painful
to find our security in a world of our making.

But God calls us to move on
to enter the place of reflection and change
to be confronted and challenged with reality
to encounter the life-giving presence within

So we sift in some flour, regrets from the past
laying to rest what we no longer need
and we add a touch of salt, vital for flavour
provocative sharpness of God’s truth.
We take an egg, symbol of new life,
anticipating God-inspired possibilities
And we take some milk, like our ancestors of old
nourishment, for the journey ahead
We mix it all together, to use up ingredients of the past
ready to move forward through tomorrow’s Lenten beginnings.
And as we share in this food
may we marvel at the glorious creation
which, by God’s grace, we are now and yet will become. Amen.
(Source: Judith Jesop, published in resources for Shrove Tuesday, Wild Goose publications)

Dear God,
Today is the last of the Hallelujahs
before the austerity of Lent.
So I should be shouting and singing: Hallelujah! Praise you, God!
And yet, to be honest, I’m not feeling it.
The work has piled up – again.
People I love are hurting in body and soul.
The systems of this world seem bent toward injustice.
I suppose I can muster a few Hallelujahs,
But they are not heart-felt or enthusiastic—
More Leonard Cohen than George Frideric Handel.
Yet still, I need these praises on my lips
As I prepare to enter the wilderness.
Praise be for the sky, whatever it holds.
Praise be for the appointments on my calendar,
the messages in my inbox. Hallelujah.
Praise be for the pain I feel because I am connected to others in this world.
Praise be for those working to bend the arc toward justice.
Praise be for me, alive, this day.
For the promise of tomorrow.
For the season that awaits us –
Void of Hallelujahs
Yet full of its own baffling praises. Amen.
(Source: Rev. Joanna Harader, Spacious Faith)

Closing words
Thank you for all the good things we enjoy.
Feed us at the feast and sustain us during the fast;
when we are full, help us to remember those who are always hungry.
(Source: Claire Benton-Evans)

A hymn for Shrove Tuesday
Can be sung to any tune
Alleluia, song of gladness,
hymn of endless joy and praise.
Alleluia is the worship
that celestial voices raise
and, delighting in God’s glory,
sing in heaven’s courts always.

Alleluia, blessed Salem,
home of all our hopes on high.
Alleluia, sing the angels;
Alleluia, saints reply;
but we, for a time on this earth,
chant a simpler melody.

Alleluias we now forfeit
in this holy time of Lent.
Alleluias we relinquish
as we for our sins repent,
trusting always in God’s mercy
and in Love omnipotent.

Blessed Trinity of Glory,
hear your people as we pray.
Grant that we may know the Easter
of the Truth, the Life, the Way,
chanting endless alleluias
in the realms of endless day. Amen.
(Source: The Saint Helena Breviary, Church Publishing 2006
Posted on Bosco Peters website)

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Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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