A press release from the Methodist Church reports that only 17% of people would invite neighbours to share a meal if they had spare food. If anything were a sign that we’ve reduced Shrove Tuesday to Pancake Day, this is it.
All we seem to do on that date (8th March this year) is eat pancakes. It’s another festival where we’ve lost sight of the meaning. Families used to use up spare food and have communal activities (hence even today Mardi Gras) on the day before the sombre fasting of Lent began. Although let us remember that even in Lent the Sundays are still feast days – otherwise you’ll get confused in counting the forty days!
Hence the unwillingness (if it is that) to invite neighbours to a community feast is another tragic loss of our inheritance. It is both a sign of the loss of a Christian value, and a loss of community.
So all praise for the way the Methodist Relief and Development Fund wants to reclaim Shrove Tuesday as not only a community feast, but one that promotes Fair Trade. Their Fair Feast project, endorsed by celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, who has supplied a recipé for pancakes with wild mushroom sauce, is well worth looking at. You can even dovetail Bible study in with a local Mardi Gras event.
How are you going to celebrate Pancake Day Shrove Tuesday this year?