"... remove the yeast from your houses..." Exodus 12.15
Today is the eve of Lent. Lent, from the old English word for "spring", is that 40-day (plus Sundays) season when Christians focus on the suffering and temptation of Jesus, by denying themselves or adopting a spiritually beneficial practice. Shrove Tuesday, from another old English word "shriven", meaning "absolved from sin", finds expression in various traditions. Most exuberant are the Mardi Gras (fat Tuesday) festivals. More sedate, though no less indulgent, is the eating of pancakes. The idea behind both is the enjoyment of that final fling before the exigencies of Lent kick in.
Our faith does not oblige us to perform rituals and observe religious events to earn God's favour. Yet, for some, they can aid spiritual development and, more dramatically, be a catalyst for change - perhaps the kicking of an unhelpful habit, obsession or attitude and/ or the adoption of a more constructive practice - such as prayer, volunteering, education... For the third (and final!) time, I happen to be giving up hair, in order to raise £100 for 10 charities which anyone is free to nominate. And, in response to the earthquake emergency, money raised before Lent (ie in the next 24 hours) will go to trusted organisations in Syria and Turkey. If you would like to add your support, please visit my Justgiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/rory-macleod100for10?utm_term=M85emNaP4.