Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Time to Shrive

So, it's Shrove Tuesday. According to Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: Tenth Edition

shrive vb 1: to administer the sacrament of reconciliation to 2: to free from guilt

Well, I don't know what that has to do with eating pancakes. The church is having a pancake and sausage supper tonight. It's a bit of a fundraiser. Apparently we're the only church in town doing it this year. I guess I know the origin of the tradition. Use up all the good food you'll be fasting from during Lent which starts tomorrow.

I've never been much of a faster. If you could see my belly you'd understand. My plans for Lent are to cut out snacks and stick to 3 meals a day. My wife conceded some fat free yogurt. It could be construed as a snack but it's healthy and won't necessarily add a lot to my waistline so we're allowing it. I'm also planning to institute an exercise regimen. I bought a skipping rope so I'll start skipping. How's this for a plan? On Ash Wednesday I'll jump rope for 1 minute and each day I'll add 15 seconds so that by the end of Lent I'll be up to about 10 minutes. I don't know how it'll work, whether it'll be too much or too little. I'm really out of shape! I'll also do some sit-ups and push-ups, maybe 10 each for a week and then add 5 each week.

Then I've got some reading plans as well. I'm in the middle of A Year in Provence (don't remember the author right now) so I'll finish that, then I'll stick to theological books for Lent. I've got a bunch on the shelf I haven't read so I don't need to be buying anything new for a while.

Last night we started the first unit of the No Experience Necessary Bible Study that will run for 7 weeks. 10 people signed up but 5 were missing last night. We'll be doing evening prayer services on Wednesdays during Lent. Evening prayer isn't normally a preaching service but the people here like to hear something more than just the liturgy, even if it's read, so I found some sermons on the ELCA website written by missionaries around the world. They also provide soup recipes from the countries where they're serving so we're going to do soup for supper followed by evening prayer. Back in September, if you were reading in this space, we were part of a competition to collect food for the local foodbank. It was only us and another church. Well other churches in the city have taken up the challenge for Lent so it'll run from Ash Wednesday through Maundy Thursday. I told the congregation to think of it as almsgiving, something Jesus encouraged in Matthew 6, so those who want to can make that part of their lenten discipline.

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