Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Oh Flip! It's Shrove Tuesday.

Today is Shrove Tuesday, the day when traditionally Christians binge on pancakes in preparation for the onset of Lent. Now Lent is supposed to be a time of fasting, when we give up some small vice or luxury. I've never seen the point myself. If you are doing something wrong that genuinely needs looking at, then you shouldn't just be looking at giving it up for 40 days... you should seek to stop completely - otherwise, you are a hypocrite.

Besides isn't it all a little too ritualistic?

I believe so. Shouldn't our actions be determined by God... and not by the calendar? Fasting should always be done out of conviction and personal choice - because the participant believes God has called them to it. It should never be imposed in a ritual manner for a set time every year.
Ritualism is also one of the reasons why you won't find me kneeling at the altar tomorrow, receiving a blob of ash on my forehead. Firstly it feels "grebby", secondly it is again ritualistic and thirdly though it is an obvious public demonstration of faith, it jut looks plain daft. I don't know about you, but if people notice I'm a Christian I would hope it is because they see Christ's nature at work in me as a person... not because I have a blob of damp ash on my head.

Anyway I didn't want to focus too much on heavy stuff today. As I was at work today, I coerced my mother into taking some snapshots of Alcester's annual Pancake Race. Participants in each age group run the length of the High Street flipping pancakes for some small prize.

Okay, okay it isn't exactly the Atherstone Ball Game (a far more vigorous Shrove Tuesday tradition in another local Warwichshire town), but it is a little fun to break up the monotony of the daily grind. If you don't know what the Atherstone Ball Game is... look it up, it's basically a game involving a heavy ball and a boarded up street full of testorone pumped men!

I want to take part one year in the future.... but I just know it'll end in tears - I'd be mashed in seconds. I'm totally weak, I can't possibly fight.

Regards and blessings

N

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