Today’s Word: ‘SHROVE‘ as in… it’s Shrove Tuesday, so get out your sackcloth and ashes!

“Shrove” isn’t a word we use much anymore. Either is “Shrive” or “Shrovetide,” to say nothing of “Shriving.” But just because these words no longer find a place in our day-to-day vocabulary doesn’t mean there isn’t something powerful at work through it.

“Shriving” is the act of confessing one’s sins, and being granted forgiveness. This takes place just one day prior to the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

And Shrove Tuesday can be quite party. Beth Bevis, a writing instructor at Indiana University reminds us,

“Over time, as the entire season of Lent came to be devoted to the practices of confession and repentance, the imperative to confess before Lent was downplayed, and Shrove Tuesday, along with the preceding week, came to be more focused on feasting and merry making, practices restricted during Lent. In this way, Shrovetide was similar to his European counterpart, Carnival … as a pre-Lenten period of feasting and frivolity, culminating on the Tuesday before Lent.”

Simply put, it’s like this: If you know you’re going to start the Whole30 on a Wednesday, there’s a good chance that you’re going to head to Culver’s for a Cheddar ButterBurger on Tuesday night.

With Fries.

And a Chocolate Malt.

But let’s go back and revisit confession. Confession is a powerful act. Confession is being honest with ourselves about ourselves with someone else. Clearing the air, getting the ‘gunk’ out, creates room for Lent’s work in us. And we do this knowing that forgiveness actually precedes confession and that’s what frees us up to be honest with ourselves, one another and with the Divine. We speak our confession with boldness and confidence knowing that it’s already covered. We speak it out of ourselves, we bring it up from the deep places where we’ve stuffed it way down and we let it fly into the universe where it no longer has power over us, in us, or through us because forgiveness is the first word and grace is the last word.

Shrive on!


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