Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday, otherwise known as Pancake Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent. As per tradition, we partook in pancakes which symbolizes an indulgence before marking the start of Lent, in which Jesus retreated to the desert and fasted for 40 days before his execution. Depending on your religious beliefs, you may have heard of Lent before, or participated before by giving up something just as Jesus fasted. Growing up, I was certainly aware of Lent happening but did not really participate fully. I heard of friends or family giving up something such as chocolate or sweets not really understanding the deeper meaning behind the sacrifice.
I am so grateful to work at the Dale and be welcomed into participating in different seasons. I am learning as I go along, just as many of you may be. I am thankful for my team and community where I feel like I can learn about things like Lent and Advent as an adult and embrace new spiritual practices. Last year at this time, before COVID, I was welcomed to the Church of the Resurrection on Shrove Tuesday. They are a beautiful, feel-like-family partner church to the Dale in many ways, and all of the money from their pancake dinner was going to The Dale. I was invited to share a bit about The Dale with them and thank them for their generosity. That was such a beautiful memory for me, and one in which I had to stand out of my comfort zone by talking in front of a room full of people. I also think that night was the first pancake supper I had ever been to.
Well, this year with COVID restrictions, we had to get pretty creative about what our pancake supper would look like. We decided it would be at 6pm with pancake meals to go (as per our usual these days). Despite being hit with a massive overnight storm and frigid temperatures, we held fast to our commitment and met last evening to prepare. Christ Church St. James took on the task of purchasing food and preparing hundreds of pancakes and sausages, we were given styrofoam containers to put them in, purchased little syrups and butters to add, made cutlery packages, and much more. For two hours we packaged meals, prepared sides, bagged everything, and prepared it all to go outside. We made 100 meals! What a gift of many efforts and hands.
When we went outside at 5:55pm, there were about 5 people in line. You can imagine our slight disappointment considering we had prepared little flyers and handed them out the week before to our community to remind them of our special dinner. However we got to work! We carried a chalk board sign up the street that said “FREE PANCAKE SUPPER!”. We walked up and down Queen Street a few feet each way inviting people to feast with us. Over the next 45 minutes as we stood shaking in our boots, only about 20 more people trickled along. Some were regulars who remembered we would be there, some were new faces that we invited as they walked by, and some neighbours. And you know what? We had the best time! We cheered everyone who came by, gave seconds, danced to keep warm, laughed, and talked from a safe distance. We all had to wear masks, we couldn’t sit and eat together as we long to do, and we had way less people come than we hoped. But we did our best, some amazing people helped make it happen, we saw some friends and made some new ones. I for one had a really great time. It was a feast, just as Shrove Tuesday is intended to be.
I have decided to participate in Lent this year for the first time in my life. Erinn always mentions that it is a time to either give something up that isn’t adding value, or to start doing something that will add value. I have decide to give up social media and Youtube for these next 40 days. These things add value to my life in many ways, however I have also noticed they are habits of endless content consumption that lately have led me down the road of comparison in motherhood and have been a thief of my joy. This Lenten season, I am going to let those things go and practice adding a different kind of value to my days. I will be spending quiet time in prayer, reading or listening to books or podcasts, colouring, writing and cleaning my space. I hope to call out in prayer more when I am struggling, sit and be rather than just keep busy, and do things that bring me joy as Meagan – not mom, wife, or daughter.
This has been a longer blog than intended maybe but thanks for sticking with me if you’re still here. It’s been a while since I’ve sat to write and it’s good sometimes to get it all out there, I think. I hope that next year we can sit and eat a pancake supper together – inside! I hope that whether you are practicing Lent or not, that you find ways to call out to God. I pray that you feel hope and gratitude this season before Easter when we remember the sacrifice that God made sending His beloved Son to die for us. And I pray that you find peace where you are.
Thanks for being here. Peace to you.
I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries. For me, doing this work means inviting others into my journey of ministry – prayerfully and financially. If you would like to support the work that I do at The Dale, I would love to chat. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org