Lent and Holy Week

Shrove Tuesday service March 1, 2022 

Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent in the Christian Church throughout the world. Shrove Tuesday is a reminder that Christians are entering a season of penance and was originally a solemn day. But over the centuries, in anticipation of the Lenten fast that would begin the next day, Shrove Tuesday took on a festive nature. That is why Shrove Tuesday is also known as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras (which is simply French for Fat Tuesday).

Since Ash Wednesday always falls 46 days before Easter Sunday, Shrove Tuesday falls on the 47th day before Easter. (See The 40 Days of Lent and How Is the Date of Easter Calculated?) The earliest date that Shrove Tuesday can fall is February 3; the latest is March 9. Since Shrove Tuesday is the same day as Mardi Gras, you can find the date of Shrove Tuesday in this and future years in When Is Mardi Gras?


The Origin of the Term

Shrove is the past tense of the word shrive, which means to hear a confession, assign penance, and absolve from sin. In the Middle Ages, especially in Northern Europe and England, it became the custom to confess one’s sins on the day before Lent began in order to enter the penitent season in the right spirit.

Related Terms

From the earliest days of Christianity, Lent, the penitential period before Easter, has always been a time of fasting and abstinence. While the Lenten fast today is confined to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and abstinence from meat is required only on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and the other Fridays of Lent, in previous centuries the fast was quite severe.

Christians abstained from all meat and items that came from animals, including butter, eggs, cheese, and fat. That is why Shrove Tuesday became known as Mardi Gras, the French term for Fat Tuesday. Over time, Mardi Gras extended from a single day to the entire period of Shrovetide, the days from the last Sunday before Lent through Shrove Tuesday.

Fat Tuesday in Other Countries and Cultures

Example: Many Christians celebrate Shrove Tuesday and the coming of Lent, by enjoying pancakes and sausage. In the English-speaking countries, Shrove Tuesday became known as “Pancake Day,” because Christians used up their eggs, butter, and milk to make pancakes and other pastries. In the countries that speak Romance language (languages derived primarily from Latin), Shrovetide is also known as Carnival—literally, “farewell to meat.”

Important Note:

Shrove Tuesday without Ash Wednesday is just another pagan holiday. Tonight, we celebrate life. Tomorrow we will remember both our mortality and sin—and our need to repent of our sins. Remember the ashes tomorrow!

 Ash Wednesday services March 2, 2022

When did Ash Wednesday begin and why do we celebrate it?

Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. Although Ash Wednesday has ancient roots, it does not appear in the rituals of The United Methodist Church or our predecessor denominations until the 20th century. However, the imposition of ashes on the foreheads of Christians to mark the beginning of Lent can be traced at least to the 10th century.

Ash Wednesday emphasizes two themes: our sinfulness before God and our human mortality. The service focuses on both themes, helping us realize that both have been triumphed through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Ashes are an ancient symbol. In Genesis, we read that God formed human beings out of the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7). After expulsion from the Garden of Eden, the first human beings are told by God, “you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19 NRSV). The Hebrew word translated dust, is occasionally translated ashes elsewhere. Throughout scripture, ashes are part of rituals when people seek forgiveness and mourn their sin (see Numbers 19:9, 17; Hebrews 9:13; Jonah 3:6; Matthew 11:21, and Luke 10:13, among others).

In earlier centurie

s, ashes were used to mark those who had been separated from the church because of serious sins and were seeking to be re-admitted to the fellowship of the church. In effect, they were redoing the process of final preparation for church membership along with those doing it for the first time. They were sprinkled with ashes and given rough garments to wear as a sign of sorrow for their sins and their commitment to seek renewal in Christian life through this season. Since the tenth century, the observance of Ash Wednesday has become a general rite for all in the church.

In many churches the ashes are made by burning the palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. Ashes are placed on the forehead, usually in the sign of a cross, in a ritual known as the Imposition of Ashes. The ash cross on the forehead is an outward sign of our sorrow and repentance for sins. As the ashes are placed on the forehead, words such as these are spoken: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” recalling God’s words to Adam in Genesis 3:19, or “Repent, and believe the gospel” recalling the message of both John the Baptist and Jesus (Mark 1:15).

Through the service of ashes on the first day of Lent, we come before God recognizing our humanity, repenting of our sin, and remembering who we are and who we can be.


Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. Find devotionals, activities for families, inspiring stories and information about our faith for the observance of the Lenten seasons.

Friday fish fries. No chocolate. Join a new Bible study.

All these practices have benefits. And all are common Lenten practices. They hint at ways the season of Lent can lead us into more disciplined, focused lives. With that in mind, we offer some other practices that hit at the heart of Lent and excite our spiritual lives.

Lent is the period of 40 days leading up to Easter (note: Sundays don’t count). It is a time of preparation and focus, reminiscent of Jesus’ time in the wilderness before he started his public ministry (See Mark 1, Matthew 4, or Luke 4). We believe that Jesus went to the wilderness to set aside the distractions of normal, “worldly” life and focus on God and God’s will for him. So we attempt to do the same during Lent–though often on a slightly less stringent scale.

So check out these four ways you can “enter the wilderness” this Lenten season and find some focus, too.

Palm Sunday, April 10, 2022 we prepare our souls for resurrection. Resurrection is primarily a changed life in the now so we might enjoy resurrection later. Palm Sunday begins that journey from what is to what should be.

Many believe Biblical Theologians believe there were two entrance parades in Jerusalem that Sunday. Pontius Pilate was entering Jerusalem from the West. He was a violent man and represented the Roman Empire as it dominated the world.  It would have been an impressive sight—marching soldiers equipped with the latest weaponry, horse drawn chariots, and Pilate in the front  upon his noble stead. He traveled there, at best a two day journey, from the government seat and his villa at Caesarea Philippi. The town was a strong Roman military outpost and seaport. He lived there and only went to Jerusalem when there was potential for conflict. That is exactly why he goes now. He goes to Jerusalem because of the celebration of the Passover. He would not observe the feast, but he wanted to be close if the festival became a demonstration against the Roman government.

The religious power and establishment (Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, Lawyers, Temple priests, and the Sanhedrin leaders) would be on the Westside cheering on and celebrating Pilate. IT was Pilate who protected them, kept them in power, and gave them control of the details of local Jewish life. So they want to appease him and make him happy. The Westside is where  power enters.

On the Eastside, Jesus enters Jerusalem. This is the Golden Gate and known first as the Gate of Mercy. It sits opposite of the Mount of Olives and above the Kidron Valley. Closed by the Muslims in 810, reopened in 1102 by the Crusaders, Saladin walled up after regaining Jerusalem in 1187. Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilt it together with the city walls but walled it up in 1541 and has stayed that way. The reason? On the last days, the Messiah will enter Jerusalem through this gate.

Jesus entrance is a caricature of Pilate’s entrance. Instead of throngs of soldiers, Jesus has a crowd of weak disciples. Jesus rides in on a donkey and not a  powerful stallion. Pilate’s entrance is meant to impress with power. Jesus enters Jerusalem humbly.

Jesus’ entrance is intentional. It is not because Jesus could not find a horse or marshal two or three hundred people. By his entry into Jerusalem, he demonstrates that he is a different kind of Messiah than the people expect. He is not going to overthrow the Roman government by political power and physical strength. Jesus rules through love and love’s life-transforming power—transform hearts, souls, and minds. Jesus is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, and the suffering servant.

The crowd’s actions clearly show that they miss the message. They think that Jesus is the strong, muscle bully Messiah for whom they have been waiting for so long. “Hosanna,” they cry out. “Save us, now!” They are looking for Jesus to exercise his power and cast out the Romans like he has done demons across the highways, by-ways, towns, and villages throughout the country.

Jesus doesn’t stop the people from their carnival and their cries for action. In fact, he tells the religious officials that if the crowd were to become silent, the stones would cry out. Jesus accepts where the people are. He knows that they aren’t perfect, nor do they fully understand what is happening.

This points out an infallible truth. Being a disciple of Jesus doesn’t enable us to immediately “get it.” Following Jesus is a life of learning. The first Christians eventually discovered that Jesus was not going to overthrow the world’s governments. They also came to learn that Jesus wasn’t going to return as quickly as they had first thought. As they walked with Jesus, they began to understand how the Holy Spirit moved and how God ruled in our lives.

We (hopefully) learn the same lessons. There are those times when we want God to wield his power—to heal someone we love immediately, provide for financial relief, reverse our parking ticket, or make sure that our lives are disaster-proof. Over and over again, we learn that this is usually not how the Holy Spirit moves in our world and our lives. Little by little, as we walk with Jesus, we understand that God moves and rules differently than the world’s nations and leaders.

His love for people drives him into conflict with the greedy and corrupt. His passion for the world drives him to the cross. His love does more than confront—it overcomes.

Holy week Meditation :

Dr. Phillips will lead a devotion each day of Holy Week at 5 am on YouTube, at Noon on Facebook and on this page

that will include scripture, devotional and prayer.


Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is an alternate name for Holy Thursday, the first of the three days of solemn remembrance of the events leading up to and immediately following the crucifixion of Jesus. The English word “Maundy” comes from the Latin mandatum, which means “commandment.” As recorded in John’s gospel, on his last night before his betrayal and arrest, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and then gave them a new commandment to love one another as he had loved them (John 13:34). This is why services on this night generally include the washing of feet (or other acts of physical care) as an integral part of the celebration.

While John’s gospel does not record the institution of the Lord’s Supper among the events of this night, the other gospels do. Christians therefore keep this night with celebration at he Lord’s Table (Holy Communion) and which may or may not include foot washing before the meal.

Maundy / Holy Thursday service

April 14, 2022

Click on the title above to view the service

2020 Maundy Thursday Service Music available at https://saintpaulsumc.com/music-ministry/

 Good Friday:

It is a good day. It is the day Jesus gave himself so we might have a new relationship with God.

Friday was the day when Jesus said, “It is finished.”

The work of the cross finished the work of God’s redeeming grace.

Good Friday – April 15, 2022

Good Friday 2021 Meditation

Easter Services – April 17, 2022:

We will celebrate Easter with two service at 8:45 am in the Sanctuary and

11 am in Berly Hall this year.

Please attend one of the services or watch the 8:45 am service live streaming on YouTube and from the Sermons page of this website.

Sunrise Service:

In 2021 there wasn’t a Sunrise Service service.

Hopefully we will be able to resume this service April 17, 2022


Saint Pauls UMC normally leads a sunrise gathering

at Litchfield by the Sea on Easter morning.

2023 Activities