Monday, February 17, 2014

1st Sunday of Shrovetide: 16 Februar 2014

Today is the first Sunday of Shrovetide, often know as Septuagesima Sunday, because it is 70 days before Easter.  Shrovetide is still part of the Epiphany season, but we mark the last three Sundays of Epiphany as Shrovetide in preparation for Shrove Tuesday and Lent.  In former times many went to the priest to confess their sins and have absolution pronounced (or to be shriven), and the penance that they kept for Lent was assigned to them at this time.  For some, this penitence was necesary before being admitted to communion for some grievous sin.  Lent was also a  time of preparation for those preparing for baptism.  Shrovetide, then for us is a time to prepare for confession if we so desire, and a time to think about how we would keep a holy Lent.

This first Sunday of Shrovetide, then we look at our study habits.  All Christian study essentially begins and ends with the Bible, which is our chief source of knowledge.  We need to study the Bible on our own and in groups.  The more we know it, the more we can use it as a measuring stick.   But it is very important to read it in groups as well, so as to benefit from thoughts and insights of others.

In addition to the Bible, it is a good thing to also be reading the pre-Nicene fathers.  Especially the Apostolic fathers knew the New Testament and Old Testament in Greek and actually knew the Apostles. (

Also it is good to read the history of the church, from the beginning to now, and it is good to understand the early heresies of the early church such as Gnosticism and Arianism. It isn't a bad idea to learn about your own church and churches in the community around you.   To top it off, there are many how to books for Christians.  Steer away from those promoting the prosperity Gospel (just ask yourself how many apostles died rich men?) and books promoting cheap grace. Yeshua did not die for us to continue on in the same way, but he died that we may be transformed into his image.

As in everything, be looking at how your study habits may be changed, not only for Lent, but after as well.   Many  of my habits regarding Church, began in Lent, but continued on after.  Whatever you do, in study, prayer and apostolic action should be something you are capable of doing.  As in all things, begin with what you already do, and add to it.  Don't make it so difficult that you cannot keep to it

May your Lent help you grow in Messiah. 

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