St. Peter Orthodox Church will celebrate the annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper tomorrow night, March 12th, from 6 PM - 7:30 PM.
What is Shrove Tuesday and why do we eat pancakes the day before Ash Wednesday?
The word shrove comes from the word shrive which means to engage the Sacrament of Confession where we receive Absolution (the forgiveness of all that we have confessed) from our Lord Jesus Christ. Shrove Tuesday, then, is all about setting ourselves in the most appropriate direction heading into Great Lent.
The tradition of the pancake supper comes from the physical preparation of those in the Church to enter into Lent. In a time when eggs and fats as well as meats were put away and not eaten during Lent, those in the Church would rid their homes of all such foods. The making of a pancake was a great way to use up these remaining foods so that the house was empty of such fare. It was an emptying of something from the household. So, families and communities would host pancake suppers in this preparation for Lent.
It is the meaning of this action that is of great importance. Just as they would "cleanse" their house of these foods to be set aside during Lent so that the house was purified of them, so we spiritually set our souls to journey with Christ through His Church during Lent in like manner.
As they would cook their pancakes ridding themselves of the ingredients therein, so they would enter into Lent spiritually with a parallel goal; to allow Christ our God to reveal in them the sin and brokenness that keeps keeps them held in bondage that they may come to Christ who lovingly invites all to place our sinfulness and damaged consciences before Him. Why? So that we may be rid of these ingredients within and experience His forgiveness, healing, and restoration in our lives.
Therefore, tomorrow night as we gather together to enjoy our pancake supper, may we all be mindful that it is now time to set ourselves toward Christ who is beckoning us all to come to Him. For it is He who longs in His great love for us to cure the illness within our souls.