It is, of course, Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Many of us will end the day with a cross on our foreheads in oil and ashes from burning the palm fronds. It’s a good tradition, in my tradition, it is not required, but I think it serves to remind us of the humility that goes with following Christ.
Here, yesterday was Shrove Tuesday, in the UK and much of the Commonwealth it was Pancake day. Both hark back to medieval days when it was time to use up food stock which would not keep through the penitential season of Lent. Remember, refrigeration is something of the last half of the twentieth century. Besides, the flour and foodstuffs from the last harvest would have by now begun to go rancid. In those days, there wasn’t food to waste, and so it was much better to eat it, than throw it away.
In fact, Carneval also comes from this point, meaning the end of meat, as we enter the fast days of Lent. And in Medieval Christianity, fast days were never a shortage item, although food often was. Our forebears were much tougher stock than we are.
But today is Ash Wednesday, and there are plenty of others to tell you about it. I’ll just add this, which I sent it to several of my friends who are facing tough going in their lives for various reasons, this morning by email. It is one of the readings in the Lutheran Historic Lectionary for today.
Bendigedig Ddydd Gŵyl Dewi!