February 26, 2009

Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras/Fasnacht Day

Tuesday evening was a time of transition as we marked the end of the Season of Epiphany and prepared for the new Season of Lent. Down here, in the shadow of Mobile, the birthplace of Mardi Gras in the US, the pancake supper concept that is so prevalent in the Northeast is a little lost. Yet, we were able to gather as a community of about 45 for A Shrove Tuesday pancake supper and prayers event at St. Paul's.

The evening began, as it should, with lots and lots of pancakes, made from scratch.I then did a quick teaching on the meaning of the day and our reason for giving up the word Alleluia for Lent.
We then processed the Alleluia banners into the Nave and buried them under the altar.Then we opened up time to engage the three prayer stations that marked the transition from light and Epiphany to ashes and Lent. HT to Anne for finding the inspiration.

The first was a station at the font; where, with the sign of the cross, we remembered that though our sins seem monumental, they have been washed clean in the waters of baptism.

The second was at the altar, where we used glow-sticks to write in a pile of ashes words of praise and thanskgiving; alleluia being one of them, knowing that for some people Lent comes just as they are ready to praise God again for the first time.

The third station was a reminder that for some the call to justice and peace is what has gone up in ashes. We took home a bag of ash with a small piece of palm to remind us of our call to work for justice for those who cannot, and that the King of kings has ensured our victory.

We then followed the Bapitsmal Candle outside where we burned palms and alleluias and watched the flames and smoke rise up with our words of praise to God.

Looking back, it should have been a little more joyful and a little less somber, but for a first attempt at marking this important transition, I think we did rather well.

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