Thought for the day 16 February

Today is Shrove Tuesday. In some parts of the world there are usually large ‘Mardi Gras’ carnivals on this day – but presumably they are cancelled this year, and at most there will be an online event. Often in Britain it is referred to as ‘Pancake Day’ – with pancakes served as main course or pudding, using either the sweet batter that makes ‘Scotch/Scots pancakes/ dropped scones’ or the unsweetened batter that produces crepes and offers the opportunity for pancake-tossing (and a few disasters). The original idea was that on the day before Lent begins people would prepare for the Lenten fast by using up all their eggs and dairy products in the pancake batter, and have a final ‘fling’ of enjoying themselves before Lenten restrictions started. People were supposed to seek forgiveness for their sins before Lent started, being ‘shriven’, from which ‘Shrove’ comes. Traditionally things like ‘confession’ and fasting have not been part of the life of the Reformed church in Scotland, and they are probably not part of the life of the majority of Scots/ Britons/ Western Europeans who have at most an arm’s-length relationship with the Christian faith. That said, whatever our background or views on religion, we all have regrets over things we did or didn’t do, did or didn’t say. Maybe life during the Covid-19 pandemic has added more, or made some seem more prominent. If so, maybe today is as good a day as any to acknowledge them, and if possible do something about them – make an apology, arrange to see someone when lockdown ends or whatever. And in the meantime, enjoy the pancakes

Lord, we all carry around regrets. Some can loom quite large. Help us to acknowledge them, and where possible do something to put them right. We acknowledge that there are many times we don’t live by your values and to your standards. We are sorry, and
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