As a child, it was my sanctuary - the only time I could 'escape' my mother's demands was to attend Sunday School and choir practice in the village church, we lived opposite. It's the church where my parents married, I was christened, where we were married in 1989, and our first child, Connie, is buried in the churchyard at the back.
The rhythm of Anglican services and seasons are deep in my spiritual DNA... and I find comfort in them (while being challenged/disturbed by the Church of England's internal and external politics, especially regarding woman and gays). For several years now, I have observed both Advent and Lent by using books written for these special 'seasons'.
This year, I have chosen these companion volumes by Paraclete Press, mainly because they're beautiful hardback books with stunning artworks and entries written by several favourite authors like Richard Rohr, Kathleen Norris, Lauren Winner...
My plan is to read each day's entry throughout Lent and respond here - with either an image, a thought, a small stone - hoping to deepen my experience of the season with you, my blog-friends...
And we start here today, Shrove Tuesday - and yes, we'll be having pancakes for dinner :-)
5 things I didn't know about Shrove Tuesday
1. 'To shrive' is Old English to impart absolution.
2. From the Middle Ages on, the 40-day Lenten fast was preceded by some serious feasting and revelry!
3. Mardi Gras means 'Fat Tuesday' - eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we fast ;-)
4. The word 'carnival' originates from the Latin carne levare (removal of meat), which also ties in with the feasting before the Lenten fast.
5. The word 'Lent' comes from the Middle English lente - the season of Spring (which I have on good authority is still the Dutch word!)
Images of these paintings are in the book
'Ra-Ra' Haitian Carnival Scene by Wilson Bigaud
The Peasant Dance by Pieter Brueghel, the Younger