Lenten traditions?

(Phil) #1

Being a member of a non-liturgical denomination, nothing is mentioned of Lent in our church, but I still like to participate in some way as it is a meaningful tradition. Marti Gras on the other hand seems to have a few celebrants. :wink:
How do you guys approach Marti Gras and Lent?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #2

Many of those in my own little church like to think of ourselves (or even Mennonites generally) as recovering some of the liturgical practice that we’ve historically run away from back when protestants were busy running away from each other and especially from those more “high-churchy” Lutherans and Catholics. But now we’ve come to see the value in such disciplines (not for salvation, of course - lest I attract the inquisitorial attentions of the doctrinal police in neighboring threads), but merely for good practices to help us grow in our lives of faith.

Secular society and many protestant denominations (my own included) have a history of poo-pooing all rote prayer or recitation as being non-spiritual, non-authentic, etc. But then rather disingenuously, secular society has been happy to fill that void for us with all manner of the trashiest things you could imagine (how many commercial jingles are rattling around in your brain for instant recall?) I think your examples of Marti Gras and Lent are perfect examples of this. We’ve given the devil all the liturgy. And that forms new habits in your brain that corporate money grubbers have been happy to exploit in us for decades now. I see lent as a more active extension of verbal liturgy - an “active-life-liturgy” if you will. I think I’m also influenced in this by Richard Foster’s “Celebration of Discipline” from many years ago.

[It is much easier to make sober reflection on the accumulated historical wisdoms of older church institutions once we get past our historical flight from them. So I do look with considerable respect to my Lutheran and Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ.]

(Christy Hemphill) #3

I make pancakes for dinner on Mardi Gras. I guess it is an old European tradition to get rich foods like eggs and cream out of the house for Lent. I usually make beignets for breakfast in honor of my husband’s New Orleans roots, but I didn’t this year because all my kids are away at camp. I have a banner I put up by our dining room table that says “Lent: We remember Jesus’ sacrifice.” It has different attachments for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. I usually do Ash Wednesday devotionals with the kids with the ashes on the forehead.

For Holy Week we do a family foot-washing thing on Thursday, and on Good Friday we do some kind of song time and devotional if we aren’t in a place that has a service we can go to (which is usually). We put nails tied in black ribbon by everyone’s place at the table and I put out a crown of thorns around a little cross that we drape in black from Good Friday until Easter morning.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #4

Do Americans have pancake day?

(Phil) #5

Hum, pancakes for dinner sounds good!

(Laura) #6

Whoa, that just triggered a memory from my childhood in the UK. I think we tend to call it “Fat Tuesday” over here, but I’d never thought to connect the two days until now.

(Phil) #7

Pancake day sounds fun!


In the Lutheran tradition the penitential season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. Many parishes will include the imposition of ashes - I do in the parish I serve. Many parishes have pancake supper on the Tuesday before…Mardi Graz (Fat Tuesday) historically connected to getting the house ready for the Lenten fast from meat and dairy.

Lutheran typically will encourage observing the three disciplines of Lent (and historically Advent as well): 1. Fasting. 2. Increased time in prayer and the Word (often observed by special midweek Lenten Services). 3. Almsgiving.

Among contemporary Lutherans it is common to “give something up for Lent.” A food, activity, etc. The idea is to train one self in self discipline and self denial.

In Lutheran circles such disciplines are not required and are viewed as optional - as one sees fit for their own personal piety.

(Phil) #9

Thank you for the information. I was reading one pastor’s story of visiting a newborn in the hospital, and on request of the parents included the baby in the imposition of the ashes. Beautiful reminder of how we are from dust and to dust we return.

(Quinn) #10

As a person who was raised Methodist but is now Pentecostal-Charismatic (though I would still consider myself of Wesleyan-Methodist theology, I consider myself Pentecostal-Charismatic when it comes to spiritual gifts and the idea of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the Word of Faith, but asides from that I don’t really lean far into Pentecostalism such as their view of the Sacraments as I hold a Methodist view of them still but without the idea of infant baptism and I also disagree with Futurism and Dispensationalism as many Pentecostals hold to) Lent (most importantly Ash Wednesday) was a great time to examine oneself and recommit ourselves to Christ. Some of us would give up small things like sweets or soda while some when crazy as one dude who gave up cold showers. Some UMC churches would celebrate Madi Graz. We mainly saw Lent as the foreshadow to Holy Week which was the big show form Palm Sunday to Mundey Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday of them all.

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(Phil) #13

Here is a little devotion from our Catholic brethren: