Do you have lemon and sugar on your pancakes? Or maple syrup? Perhaps you don’t have any at all on Pancake Day, which this year fell on 25 February. Maybe it is a tradition which is dying out, despite the best effort of lemon juice manufacturers to promote it (do you remember the slogan ‘Don’t forget the pancakes on Jif Lemon Day?’).
Even more of a dying tradition is the name ‘Shrove Tuesday’. The word ‘shrove’ means confessing sin and being forgiven by God. It used to be a key part of Lent, the period which follows, and ‘Shrove Tuesday’ was a day to get rid of all the tempting good things in the kitchen – eggs, butter, sugar – so that between then and Easter you could focus on spiritual matters rather than treats to eat. Lent itself is increasingly ignored in today’s world, but it used to be a time of spiritual preparation, forty days to remember Jesus’ own preparation time for ministry and get ready for the big celebration of Easter. Jesus spent that time in the desert, which is why traditionally people gave things up for Lent, though now we are equally likely to take something on and try to do a good deed every day instead.
Times change. And I, for one, am delighted that they sometimes do, since without change we would not have modern dentistry, or medical skills, or the ability to communicate easily with family and friends around the world. Change is not always for the worse. But despite the rapid pace of change in the world there are some constants. The most important of these is God’s presence with us, and his love for us, which never fades (however much we fail to keep our Lenten resolutions). Another thing that doesn’t change is the way our lives are marked in special occasions: people are born, fall in love, and die. Often our village church is involved in marking these events, as it has been for nearly a thousand years. Although the building has seen a few changes over time (like the introduction of new heating which is a definite change for the better) the stones of the walls and beams of the roof have provided shelter for West Kingsdown residents as they have welcomed new life at christenings, celebrated love at weddings and mourned loss at funerals.
At the end of May, St Edmund’s will be holding a flower festival to celebrate the wider role of the church in the community, and we would also like to have an exhibition to celebrate those whose lives have touched the church. Were you, or your parents, christened or married in the church in the woods? Or does one of your loved ones rest in the churchyard or burial ground? Might you have a photo of them that could form part of our display? Or do you have memories of the church that you would like to share? Please start digging these out (and spreading the word to those who have moved away). Next month’s SEKAM will have details of where to send them.
The Rector, Reverend Sarah Corry, can be contacted on 01474 852265, or use our contact form.
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