This week we arrive again at the season of “pancakes and ashes.” Tuesday, February 12, is Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday. The School of Divinity will observe Shrove Tuesday with a pancake lunch after our weekly chapel service. During the Middle Ages, Christians “shrove” or sought absolution before the start of Lent. Some shrove for an entire season called “Shrovetide.” Shrove Tuesday is known in some parts of the world today as Pancake Day because of the practice of eating pancakes in order to consume the foods restricted during the Lenten fast–sugar, fat, flour, and eggs.
The School of Divinity will hold an Ash Wednesday worship service on Wednesday, February 13, at 11am in Davis Chapel. Ash Wednesday, the day following our Shrove Tuesday pancake feast, marks the beginning of Lent’s Great Fast. The first Christian liturgy we have for the use of ashes on Ash Wednesday is from the 10th Century in Rome. Christian worshippers today mark their foreheads with ashes to mark the start of Lent’s 40 days of fasting. Why ashes? In Scripture, ashes symbolize death (Genesis 18:27), judgment (Ezekiel 28:18), lament (Esther 4:3), and repentance (Jonah 3: 6). Ashes are also associated in the bible with fasting (Daniel 9:3 and Isaiah 58:5). Some burial liturgies include the phrase, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” spoken as dirt is sprinkled into the gravesite; both the ashes and the dust symbolize the finality of death. Both also symbolize life and growth.
I am struck each spring by the coalescence of Lent’s Great Fast and Easter’s Great Feast with the rhythms of an academic semester. The semester ends this year in the midst of Easter’s 50 days but before we arrive at the Feast we travel the uncertain roads of Lenten wildernesses. To undertake this journey while studying theology and preparing for ministry is both challenging and enlivening. Both the academic and liturgical journeys invite us to consider again our work as religious leaders to bring to fruition Easter’s promises of abundant feasts for all people.
Registration for the Fall 2013 term begins April 1. Advising is scheduled for the week prior to that, March 25-28.
|Incomplete work from last term due to instructor||February 14|
|Last day to drop classes (with permission)||February 20|
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Blessings on the week ahead,
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Image Courtesy of http://www.aholyexperience.com/.