As Lent approaches this month, many minds (or more probably stomachs) will turn to the traditional curtain opener: Happy Pancake Day!
Your favourite variety may be the traditional lemon and sugar, or perhaps you stretch to some Nutella or a savoury concoction, but being married to a Canadian really opened my eyes (mouth?) to a world of pancake wonder hitherto unknown.
First of all, the pancakes in question are smaller than their British cousins, and thicker, and they are best topped with crispy fried bacon, blueberries and maple syrup (of course). When our children make a last minute request for these discs of delight, Erin will whip up the quick version – still great. But should time and energy allow, the egg whites are whipped separately, and folded into the mix. The resulting cakes are melt-in-the-mouth delicious.
Should time and energy allow… two things which are often in short supply as we seek to serve God’s people and share the Gospel with those who don’t yet know Him.
I was struck recently in reading of Paul’s ministry in Acts 18, of the time taken to share the Gospel, and of Paul’s willingness to set down things that weren’t working and try something new. Facing rejection amongst the Jews he went to first, Paul was content to go to the Gentiles, and to invest in them for eighteen months of teaching and training. Not only that, but when persecution arose, Paul remained for many more days still before continuing his work elsewhere.
Over and over again we see the apostles taking far more time than is common today to invest in people – to really work the ingredients of faith into a Christian community. Time and again we see the extra effort made, when it would be easier to do the routine, to avoid the persecution.
And we are reminded that we get to look “to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Lent is typically and appropriately a season of preparation, even of entering into the sufferings of Christ through cultivating our own weakness and need of Him through the simple profound disciplines of fasting and prayer.
It may well be that there is an invitation of the Spirit to you to lay down things which aren’t for this season, and may not be picked up again.
But as you do, can I invite you to consider the potential new ingredient in your personal walk with Christ, in your ministry or leadership, in your service and mission? Take the time, and give the energy, to whip the egg whites this Lent. Most especially take the time with one another, really invest in the community of faith that God has blessed you with.
God is doing new things, and we would do well to join Him in birthing something really, well … delicious!