On Tuesday 5 March, many of our boys lined up in front of the Chapel to be served a pancake and asked the question, ‘What do you know about Shrove Tuesday?’ Also known as ‘Pancake Day’ or ‘Fat Tuesday’, it heralds the commencement of Lent, a period of some forty days before Easter.
The tradition of Shrove Tuesday dates back to the middle ages where Christians in Britain decided to discard the likes of flour, sugar, butter and eggs as they would not be consuming such products during the Lent period as this was traditionally a time of fasting. Thus, the genius realisation that such products formed the ingredients for pancakes, sparked the idea to cook pancakes the day before the Lent period commenced.
Although this is a Church tradition more than a Bible tradition, such celebrations do help to promote a sense of inquiry as to its nature and purpose. The notion of Lent is connected to the forty-day period of fasting that Jesus undertook in preparation for the start of his ministry. The denial of material goods helped Jesus to focus on the essence of his ministry; to love people unconditionally, which would have been a massive undertaking, considering the way Jesus was treated leading up to being crucified.
For the Newington community, Shrove Tuesday, Lent and Easter provide opportunities for our boys to question the significance of the Christian message and how this might influence their lives and how it has influenced the values of our college. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a pancake on their way to class?
Rev Geordie Barham