Perfect pancakes & Living Lent

In our house we’ve always used Delia’s pancake recipe – pouring in the melted butter into the batter at the end makes it extra tasty, and helps stop it sticking to the pan. Worth a try! And to answer John Bass’s question at Sunday evening’s service, I prefer cheese on mine, rather than the traditional sugar and (freshly squeezed) lemon or orange juice.

Once the pancakes are out of the way tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the start of the season of Lent, which runs up to Easter. There’s a buzz about Lent again these days. See this in today’s Guardian by Rhik Samadder:Pack up your pancakes, because Lent is upon us. In a secular age, the Christian festival of self-denial is weirdly popular. This is because we’ve rebranded it as a sort of liturgical Movember, in which we indulge our vanity with silly juice fasts, as if Jesus spent 40 days in the desert working on his beach body. I’m as bad as anyone. Every year I give something up for the wrong reasons. It’s never: “How, my God, may I draw nearer to thee?” Instead I wonder: “How, when I take my shirt off, can I make it look less like a deflated beanbag?”

The purpose of Lent is preparation for the Christian’s celebration of Easter with prayer, penance, repentance of sins, charitable giving and self denial. So as well as thinking about what you plan to give up for the season – my young son has announced he is giving up My Little Pony for Lent, I think he’d happily give it up for life! – their are active things to think about as well.

At some churches on Ash Wednesday folk have a cross marked on their forehead in ash, made from burning last year’s palm crosses and mixed with oil, a sign of repentance.

casablancaMany Christians follow a book or study course as a focus for Lent devotions. For example Rev Richard Coles says on Twitter his church’s Lent book is Gilead, a story of slavery abolitionists during the American Civil War.

While one home small group at Sutton is following a Lent course based surprisingly on the film Casablanca, called “A Beautiful Friendship!

Whatever you do, or whatever you don’t do, get the best out of Lent this year.

The programme of Sutton Elms church services for Holy Week and Easter will be published shortly.