The Spirituality of Eating Pancakes


Tonight I will eat pancakes (gluten-free) with my church community to prepare for the season of Lent (lente, in fact, meaning “spring”). We feast to contrast a season that is marked by prayerful practices. Traditionally some people choose to fast, give up certain foods or habits, commit to new spiritual practices, or attend special classes or services. I’ve been working on my own list of things to abstain from (like chocolate, for one) and new practices to take on (like blogging regularly and reading daily devotions). But for now, all that can wait (if only until tomorrow).

Tonight we prepare a feast, eat pancakes, and celebrate this final day before our Lenten journey begins. This traditional meal serves as a way to prepare ourselves for the journey ahead, to mark a difference between one season and the next.

So what, exactly, am I preparing for?   In my personal life, I am preparing to move. In July, my family and I will relocate to a new church, and as we look at the many possessions we have, we realize we can’t take it all with us. We need to purge much of what we have—old clothes, baby-things that our kids have grown out of, books that we will never read again. We have acquired far more things than we need to live happily, and this move forces us to reconsider our needs and priorities and to begin to let things go. As we identify furniture and wardrobe items to leave behind, we are also beginning the process of letting go of past seasons in our lives, recalling cherished memories as we do so.

Today goes by many names: Fat Tuesday (in French, Mardi Gras); Carnival (in Latin, Carne Levare—“letting go of meat”); or Shrove Tuesday (in Old English, Shrive—“to give penance”). Whatever name we choose to call it, it is a day of celebration, of soaking up the excess, of reveling in the joys of life—all in contrast to the Lenten season to come, when we carry out the difficult yet important work of letting go. During Lent, as we journey on the long road from Winter to Spring, let us seek to let go of the things within us that keep us from being our true selves, from being who we really are at the soul level. On this Shrove Tuesday, let us reflect: What are our excesses? What is our abundance? What keeps us from being who we want to be, who God is calling us to be?

Tonight I will eat pancakes, give thanks, and nourish my body and spirit for the long journey ahead.


Categories: Faith

Author:Chris Heckert

Senior Pastor of Haddonfield United Methodist Church Musician, communicator, husband/father, seeker of a better way through reconciliation by the healing power of God's love


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One Comment on “The Spirituality of Eating Pancakes”

  1. oEdith
    February 17, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

    Letting go is hard. How true.

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