Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Have a pancake race and party on . . .
Shrove Tuesday greetings to you all, friends. For those of us observing the Christian calendar, today is the day to go wild, to pull out all the stops. This is the day to grab all of the glutenous ingredients you see in the pantry and bake something delicious (like pancakes), something that you might abstain from in the coming forty days.
Lent begins tomorrow and folks all over this great earth are partying today. I've got friends at Mardis Gras in New Orleans, Carnival is going strong in Brazil; how will you party today?
Why should we party? What's the point? What about if times are tough or the sky is cloudy or we just got bad news? What if our loved ones are suffering or there isn't any money? What if we don't live in New Orleans or we hate pancakes? Why should we party?
I suggest that we should party in spite of all of that. We should party because the Christian tradition gives us the gift of trying again and again. We get the gift of the over and over. Every year we get to try it all again. We get to keep practicing - and I appreciate that especially in a year when things aren't perfect. We can prepare for lent today and then we have more than a month set aside to take a good, long look at how we're doing. And then next year, we get a whole new chance.
I appreciate that I'm supposed to party today! I have to party, to get ready for what we'll do during lent. It's time to throw caution to the wind, and I plan to complete this assignment.
You might say I'm crazy or you might even say I'm cruising for a bruising (as my Mom used to say, though no bruising followed), but tonight my family will have a force-feeding of Shrove Tuesday. Tonight we'll celebrate the eighth birthday of my son. Maybe we're really, really late with the celebration (his birthday was Dec. 10) or maybe it's just all working out the way it should be. Either way, the party is headed our way!
We'll eat pancakes tonight, I'm ready with the goods for the traditional pancake race, we're going to make a mess and there will be screaming! Tonight I'll be surrounded by beings whose main objective is the party, the fun. These guys will have no trouble letting it all hang out tonight, even if everything in the world around them is not perfect. That's not how it is with them. They will laugh and yell and play their hearts out. They'll make a mess and eat too much and run til they fall down in a heap.
They'll help me remember what today is about, and I'm sure that they'll help tire me into realizing what begins tomorrow. Tomorrow I'm given yet another chance to take a long look at me and my life and what God and I are doing together. I'll have forty days and nights to look and listen and think and concentrate and pray. I get that chance again every year; for that I am eternally grateful.
Tonight, though, it's our homework to party. It's our task to clean out the pantries of our kitchens, our minds and our houses; to bring out all of the 'good' stuff and play hard. Mission accepted! We'll do that and the crew of precious, crazy, noisy, funny boys will help us.