A WORD FOR TODAY, February 21, 2023

Skip to first unread message

Peggy Hoppes

Feb 21, 2023, 12:23:13 PMFeb 21
to awordf...@googlegroups.com

We pray you have been blessed by this daily devotion. If you received it from a friend, you can see other devotions and studies by visiting our website at www.awordfortoday.org.


Blessings. Peg



A WORD FOR TODAY, February 21, 2023


“From that time, Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’” Matthew 4:17, WEB


I made donuts yesterday. I didn’t make my usual type of donuts for today, which are called fastnachts (which means fast night). Fastnachts are a special yeast raised potato doughnut that are deep fried and then covered with sugar or syrup. we are trying to eat healthier, and sugary deep-fried carb units are probably not the best thing for us to have. The recipe I use makes dozens of donuts and we just don’t know enough people who could help us eat so many, so I did something different. I made a small batch of baked cake donuts, enough to share and leave us a few bites. They are delicious. I missed the traditional fastnachts but am happy I could make a better option for our house this year.


The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday has also been called Fat Tuesday. In many places this is a national holiday and is a day of celebration. The parties began on Three Kings Day, January 6 and end with Mardi Gras. The carnival reaches a peak on Fat Tuesday with parades, feasts and costumes. The modern celebration of Fat Tuesday is wild, self-indulgent and sinful, seeming far from the Christian tradition of Shrove Tuesday. However, evidence of the Christian foundations of the day is still found in the fact that the party ends abruptly at midnight when Ash Wednesday officially begins.


This hedonistic party seems more an attempt to an attempt to enjoy oneself as much as possible before the season of fasting. It is like the partiers are trying to get it all out of their system before they have to spend forty days suffering. Lent is a time of repentance, a time of reflection and a time of preparation. Because of the seriousness of the Lenten journey, Fat Tuesday was seen as a last bastion of fun until Easter. After all the partying, the people attended worship to be shriven so that they could enter Lent free from guilt.


I come from Pennsylvania and our tradition for Shrove Tuesday was to eat donuts. My family just went to a donut shop and bought some, but my husband’s family made the Pennsylvania Dutch fastnachts. I use my mother-in-law’s recipe when I make them. The purpose of Shrove Tuesday was to remove all the forbidden foods from the home for the season of Lent from the homes. Lent was a time of fasting. There were lists of food items in times past that were banned for the faithful during this season. The lists varied but among the forbidden foods were meat and dairy products, yeast, flour, sugar, and grease. Many of these items are found in traditional Shrove Tuesday foods. By making donuts, a housewife could use up her entire supply of certain banned foods and clean her house from every trace of them. 


Many people choose to give something up for Lent: some sort of self-sacrifice to better understand the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. Shrove Tuesday is meant to be a day to examine ourselves, to consider the wrongs we need to repent, and to ask God in what ways we need to change. Our Lent fasting is not about causing suffering, but to begin a wilderness period during which we let the Holy Spirit work in our lives, to change what needs to be changed.


I saw a meme this morning with a poem from Pope Francis about Lent. It said, “Do you want fast this Lent? Fast from hurting words and say kind words. Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude. Fast from anger and be filled with patience. Fast from worries and trust in God. Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity. Fast from pressures and be faithful. Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy. Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others. Fast from grudges and be reconciled. Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.


It is good to physically fast in some way, like giving up some food or activity. We should remember, however, that the point of fasting is not to give something up, suffer for seven weeks, then gorge on it again after Easter. We don’t empty our homes of flour and grease anymore, because we understand that the point of fasting during Lent is to draw closer to God. Jesus fasted for forty days in the wilderness to prepare Himself for what was ahead of Him. Will giving up that piece of chocolate or that video game prepare you to do the work of Christ in this world? Note in the poem from Pope Francis that it wasn’t just about giving something up. What will you do to fill the void? Instead of television, will you read scriptures? Instead of indulgent eating, will you share your resources with the poor? As you consider how you will spend this season of Lent, remember that you are walking with the Lord. Engage with Him so that He will increase your faith to daily move forward in obedience to His good and perfect plan for our lives.


How will you fast? What will you add to your day something to help you focus on God and His Light? How will you prepare for Holy Week and Easter? As you party today, enjoying donuts or whatever your own tradition offers, remember that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Confess your sins so that you might begin this Lent looking forward to the light and forgiveness that lies at the end of the journey. Seek ways to empty your life of the things that keep you from a right relationship with God. Even if we do not cleanse our homes of the forbidden foods, it is good to cleanse our hearts so that we can enter into the Lenten journey free to pursue a deepening relationship with God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.





A WORD FOR TODAY is posted five days a week – Monday through Friday. The devotional on Wednesday takes a look at the scripture from the Revised Common Lectionary for the upcoming Sunday.  A WORD FOR TODAY is posted on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Word-for-Today-Devotional/339428839418276. Like the page to receive the devotion through Facebook. For information and to access our archives, visit http://www.awordfortoday.org



Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages