It’s the Tuesday before lent. Known to most as Mardi Gras or simply, a time to party. The term Mardi Gras is French, coming from the terms: Mardi=Tuesday; gras=fat, as in “pate de foie gras”, which is fatty liver paste. Tradition had it that before Lent, or the weeks of fasting before Easter you would get the fat out of your house by eating it.
Growing up Episcopalian I was very familiar with Shrove Tuesday (which is the British term for today) where we would go to church and a have a supper of pancakes. Once again, playing on the English version of the tradition that you would get rid of the fat in your house before the season of lent. “Shrove” comes from an old English term which means to hear the confessions of sins. Something it seems we’ve lost all together for this day.
This brings to mind a conversation I had with my brother Nate at Christmas, that in our day-and-age, we have saved all the party days in the Christian calendar: Easter, Christmas, and the like, but have thrown out all together the times of waiting, fasting, and reflecting in the church calender like Lent and Advent. It just makes me wonder what it says about who we are: Forget the waiting, the quiet reflection, the confessing, a time of restraint; I just want to party. It is my hope that we’re not that shallow.
Blessings on your day of confessing and as you prepare for the time of waiting that begins tomorrow.