I joke with my family that I can predict the contents of nearly any refrigerator in any Episcopal Church. I simply tell them that no matter what else one might find lurking on those cold shelves, there will always be half-empty squeeze bottles of ketchup and mustard, and a half-empty bottle of maple syrup. Burgers and dogs get grilled every summer, and pancakes every winter. It's universal. It's the way things are.
And true enough, open the door to the Stainless Steel Box at Grace and you'll find all three. (Though we often have "real" Vermont Maple Syrup, which seems to disappear quickly!) We like our grilled stuff, to be sure-and our pancakes. It's the pancakes, or course, that really get our attention right now. This coming Tuesday it's another Pancake Love Feast-also known as the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper. If you want, you can wonder about the point of this universal fuss over pancakes, and if you do wonder simply remember that the tradition is rooted in the practice of cleaning out the pantry and kitchen before the lean days of Lent begin. But regardless of the reasons and fuss, we like our pancakes.
What I've come to see is that there is indeed some purpose with these pancakes. They mark a shift, a change-up, in our seasons-and perhaps in our lives. Lent itself begins the morning after our feast. And the words of our Ash Wednesday ritual are arresting, honest and careful. "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return." My goodness, what a thing to remember! The words, let alone the idea, grab us. They invite us and challenge us to take another look at who we are, and what we are made with and for. The ask us to consider and re-consider the truth we tell about ourselves.
That's precisely what we hope to do at Grace this Lenten season. On Sunday mornings, and Tuesday evenings, and perhaps even in those rare moments of private quiet, we will ask about ourselves-in some way. Take advantage of the opportunities. You'll find here a link to the details of our various programs, but I want to highlight two things in particular.
First, our Tuesday evenings-our Soul School gatherings. We've created 4 evenings that we hope can appeal to lots of us, with a variety of offerings-including programs for kids, so families can participate with greater ease and inclusion. I'm very excited about that-and hoping that Tuesdays will feel like "family nights" for us.
Secondly, we are being given the chance to read a book together. Think about it: what if we all really did read the same book? Just for this short Lenten season, what if we had this common thing to talk about in line at the grocery store or in the Galley on the ferry? It's a lovely, short, rich and honest book. Again, all the information about it is right here.
So, pancakes. And then purpose. Open the door of the fridge and see what's inside. Is it predictable? Open your own doors, and take a look there, too-things buried and forgotten, or fresh and full of purpose?