Summary: A message for Shrove (Pancake) Tuesday.

Feast Devo - Shrove Tuesday - February 9, 2016

[This is a message given at an inner-city mission in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday in 2016]

So...what is special about this day? What’s it called? Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, Mardi Gras. It always happens the day before Ash Wednesday.

And tomorrow at noon we have a special service marking Ash Wednesday upstairs in the chapel at noon. I hope you’ll join us there if you can make it.

What’s the time called between Ash Wednesday and Easter? Lent. And Lent, for many Christians, is a season of reflection, a season of examining our hearts, a season of repentance and of turning back to God if we get the sense that we’ve gotten off track.

In some countries, including Canada it’s celebrated by eating a certain food. What is that food? Pancakes. In some places especially where the day is called it is called Mardi Gras or some translation thereof, this is a carnival day, and also the last day of "fat eating" or "gorging" before the fasting period of Lent.

It’s the last day of indulging in food that we’re planning to sacrifice for the upcoming forty days of Lent.

For those of us who might be interested in language, the word shrove is a form of the English word shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of Confession and doing penance.

In the French Quarter and other parts of New Orleans, Ash Wednesday starts at 12 am, Wednesday morning when police, mounted on horseback, drive the revelers and partiers from the streets after a week of feasting and celebrations.

This partying ends up in Fat Tuesday, or in French “Mardi Gras”. Fat Tuesday is celebrated with parades in a growing number of cities in the US, and with parades and parties in many parts of Europe and South America.

So that’s a lot of information. What matters really, though, is that God loves you, and that God wants you to draw near to Him.

Every chance we have to make a good choice, we need to make it. We need to make it so we keep moving forward in life and not backward.

We have 2 choices in life, to grow and move forward, or to die. Most of us here in this room would choose life. And the best life to choose is the one that Jesus offers you. Jesus said that He came to give us life, and life abundant.

That means a better life. A full life. A life that knows joy and challenge. A life that is better because we live it walking with God.

A life that is better because we live it not focused on our own problems, not focused on always getting what WE want, but a life that is focused on others.

A life that makes a difference in another life. A life that blesses others.

That’s where joy comes from. From being a source of light and life in another person’s life. And it comes from the daily decision to walk with Jesus.

So...who here wants to live a better life? Who here wants to be an encourager of others?

All of us can, and all of can use this time of year, this Lenten period that starts tomorrow to draw near to God, to come clean with our lives, and to live the abundant life that Jesus offers to us as we believe in Him and as we live as He calls us to live. Amen? Amen.

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