Shrove Partying

In the last days leading up to Lent, there is much activity going on, according to my Twitter feed - through which I am pointed to many church newsletters and websites advertising the upcoming opportunities for fellowship, feasting, fasting, and other stuff.  There are many pancake suppers happening tomorrow night (Shrove Tuesday) with proceeds funding youth groups or outreach budgets; others are celebrating Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) with jambalaya and zydeco bands.  (My community will combine the two - pancakes and jazz band.)  People are discussing Lenten disciplines.  Some are giving up Facebook; others food items or alcohol.  Some are taking on new prayer and study disciplines.  Many of us have not announced our Lenten discipline yet, not because we plan to make a dramatic display of the thing but because we haven't been able to settle on what that discipline will be.

I love Lent, myself.  In the ten or so years I've seriously observed the season, I've found it always a time of enrichment although in different ways.  I seldom give things up for Lent (I am suspicious of my motives to give up chocolate or wine as a way to lose a few pounds) and instead usually take on both study (a serious book) and devotion (probably also via books as well as committing to daily prayers).  

This year I have a study book (Diarmaid MacCulloch's History of Christianity), and TWO books of Lenten meditations (Small Surrenders, A Lenten Journey by Emilie Griffin and Pilgrim Road, A Benedictine Journey through Lent by Albert Holtz O.S.B.), in addition to online meditations from church.  Perhaps I am overpreparing.  Perhaps I am spending too much time in my head, perhaps I am indulging instead of fasting, book lover that I am.  But during Lent I will be writing and preaching and teaching and I need sustenance for that.  It feels right to put myself in the hands of these theologians for this season, to allow them to guide me and feed me something more substantial than pancakes and perhaps more subtle than jambalaya.  

But meanwhile, let the good times roll for another day or so!  As Wayne would say, Party on!