‘So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed’(vv3–4)
Today in Britain it is Shrove Tuesday. The word ‘shrove’ comes from ‘shrive’, meaning to confess one’s sins. It is the day before Lent starts, a season of preparation for Easter and the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is popularly called Pancake Day, since in many households, batters will be created and pancakes consumed. The reason for pancakes is symbolic of removing fats from the larder ahead of the ‘great fast’, as Lent is known in parts of the Church. This reflects the instructions God gave Israel to use up all their yeast before the Passover and their departure from Egypt (Exod. 12:15).
Today, we are increasingly used to interpreting Christian practice as we feel most comfortable. Whilst God invites us to take personal responsibility for our spiritual development, there are also useful disciplines and seasons through the year that can create helpful times of reflection. These force us to pause and seriously consider how effectively our life reflects the faith that we embrace.
Lent is one such season; time to consider if what we have in our heart’s larder is feeding unhealthy attitudes or activities that work against God’s desire for how we live. Time to mix up a batter from those things we know can do us no good, and set them aside for this season of Lenten reflection.
SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Exod. 13:1–16; Prov. 28:18–28; Matt. 6:16–24; Luke 15:1–7.
AN ACTION TO TAKE: Pause to consider what things you need to take out of the larder of your life and prepare for this season of personal spiritual formation and growth.
A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, identify to me the yeast that will ruin my life and which I might remove and so prepare my heart to discover more of You through Lent. Amen.’
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