Change Font Size:   A A A

Feb 22, 2017

Lenten Primer

Shrove Tuesday is celebrated the evening before Ash Wednesday. The word comes from “shrive,” meaning to repent or make sacrifice. In medieval times, meat, fats, eggs, milk and fish were restricted during Lent and to keep such items from being wasted, Shrove Tuesday became a time to consume any of these items so they wouldn’t spoil.

 

Serving pancakes on Shrove Tuesday is an English tradition and has become standard in many Episcopal churches as a result. In France, the day is known as Fat Tuesday (or Mardi Gras). Throughout Europe, carnival celebrations are held on Mardi Gras or Carnival.

 

For many Episcopalians, the day is observed with prayer, modest feasting, and at times, the sacramental rite of confession. In some churches, this is available following the Ash Wednesday liturgy. The Rite of Reconciliation of a Penitent is in the Book of Common Prayer on pages 447 or 449.

 

Lent is a season of the church year during which Episcopalians seek to simplify their lies, focusing of prayer and growing closer to God. Lent is the 40 days before Easter, excluding Sundays. The season reflects the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert following his Baptism (Matthew 4:1).

 

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and is inaugurated by a liturgy through which we acknowledge our mortality, repent of our sins and turn our lives towards Jesus Christ. We may make resolutions and commit to change our lives throughout Lent so that we might be more like Christ. During the Ash Wednesday service, the priest marks the sign of the cross in ashes on the foreheads of worshipers as a sign of God’s forgiveness and renewal. Ashes are a sign of mortality and repentance and remind us that our mortal bodies will eventually return to dust. In earlier times, when people felt remorse for something, they put on ashes as a reminder that sin leads to a kind of spiritual death.

 

At his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus rode a donkey while people waved palms and cheered. Days later, he was crucified. The palms waved in joy become the ashes of sorrow. Ashes used on Ash Wednesday are made from burning the palms from Palm Sunday the previous year.

 

  SUBSCRIBE TO E-NEWSLETTER

 SUSCRÍBASE AL BOLETÍN ELECTRÓNICO