This week sees pancake day on Tuesday and the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday. In school assemblies over the past few days I have been trying (and failing!) to perfect my technique for flipping pancakes, and reflecting on why the tradition of pancakes emerged for 'Mardi Gras' (French for 'fat Tuesday'), the day before the beginning of Lent.
The idea of pancake day/Shrove Tuesday was to use up the sweet ingredients that people would do without in the six and a half weeks before Easter. There's a tradition of giving something up for Lent - for me this year it's the fizzy drinks that I have too many of - you may have seen me consuming too many of these!
Going without things in Lent is for two reasons: first, to remember the temptation of Jesus in the desert, when He drew deeply from his well of knowledge of the Old Testament in resisting three big temptations; and second to recall his willingness to do without even life itself by dying on the cross for the good of people like you and me.
Giving things up for Lent is about much more than ditching bad habits. It's about reflecting on the changes that God wants to see in our lives. Over the weeks before Easter, I hope you'll take time to consider some changes that would be in order, and then have the strength to put these into practice.