“Who is this who was born in Bethlehem and now is steadfastly headed for Jerusalem? This is the one who by being crucified and raised will fulfill all that the scriptures have promised. Before the curtain goes up on the action of a dramatic opera, the orchestra plays an overture that hints at the musical themes to follow; so just before the opening of Lent, the transfiguration presents subtle clues to the content of the Forty Days of Devotion and Discipline and the Great Fifty Days of rejoicing that follow.” – Laurence Hull Stookey, Calendar: Christ’s Time for the Church, 137.
Please join us for an evening of fellowship and fun as we examine the deep theological significance of pancakes…by eating a lot of them!
When: February 17, 2015. 6:00-8:00 PM
Where: The Fellowship Hall at the church.
Shrove Tuesday is an 800+ year old tradition in English speaking churches. It marks the end of the festive season of Epiphany and the beginning of the more somber, solemn season of Lent. To wrap up Epiphany, people would have a pancake dinner together, using eggs and syrup, which they would be giving up for Lent. It was also a time to begin confessing (“shriving” in Old English) sin and focusing on repentance.
Other national cultures produced different pre-Lenten customs (e.g., French Mardi Gras), but as an English speaking church that traces its historical roots back to through the English Reformation, a Shrove Tuesday celebration makes perfect sense for St. Mark.
Remarks regarding Daniel 4: “The Church must seek to be Belteshazzars, men who have the ear of the secular rulers and are ready to help them. But they must speak as Daniels, bringing the Bible and the God of the Bible, and nothing less than these, not vague principles, before the minds of such rulers, however uncomfortable it may make the ruler.” – James B. Jordan (The Handwriting on the Wall: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, 247)
February 2, the fortieth day of the nativity, commemorates the presentation of Jesus in the temple (Luke 2:22-40) in accord with the legislation of Leviticus 12:2-8 concerning the firstborn male. Central to this occasion are the two great worthies, Simeon and Anna, whose patient faith is rewarded by great joy. The attribution of Simeon that Jesus shall be a light for revelation to the Gentiles inspired the custom of having a ceremony of candles at the Mass on this day; candles to be used through the next year were blessed on this occasion, and the faithful were given lighted candles, in token of the light of Christ. Hence the observance has been called ‘Candlemas.’
That the day is commonly known as ‘Groundhog Day’ is more than a source of amusement; it is something of a testimony to the enduring power of superstition even among those who say Christ is their light. News reporters, who have no clue to what the Presentation of Jesus is about, rush to see a furry rodent emerge from hibernation as a presumed omen concerning when winter will end. May this be an indicator of the great difficulty with which the Great Exchange comes into our lives?
– Laurence Hull Stookey, Calendar: Christ’s Time for the Church