Ordinary 8 / Mardi Gras

Vicar’s Reflection: Sunday 26th February 2017, OS 8/ Mardi Gras

A change of season is about to happen. Wednesday 1st of March is Ash Wednesday which marks a shift from reflecting on the importance of the message of Jesus for the world (Epiphany), to a change of direction in the light of this message (Lent). The importance of Jesus is not just in words and concepts, it is about making a difference. The Lenten journey is about inner transformation – about seeking to be better people in our attitudes, thoughts and personal behaviour. The Lenten journey is also about changing society to be more just, compassionate, and caring. So, there are three Lenten disciplines Christians traditionally observe. One is to renounce some treat or luxury by observing a fast. Another is to engage in a Lenten study and time of prayer (see notices for details); another is to contribute extra giving that will help someone else. Before this time of discipline, it is also traditional to have a bit of a celebration, hence Shrove Tuesday or in some places it is called Mardi Gras which means ‘Fat Tuesday’ in French. In Medieval times this marked the few days before Lent when all the fat including butter, lard or meat products were used up in a big feast of pancakes and ‘çon carne’ (with meat) dishes – hence pancakes for Shrove Tuesday. Lent meant going without these treats, but more importantly the 40 days of Lent mean becoming more like Jesus.

Alex Czerwonka

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