Quite Literally Pumping With Excitement

We mentioned last week that we have a now long-running Amicus tradition of eating pancakes a day late – on Ash Wednesday instead of Shrove Tuesday (hmm, Shrove Wednesday?). Whilst I’m sure God isn’t too bothered – others think it’s all a bit weird. Thankfully, Jon Birch has produced an excellent Asbo Jesus cartoon which we can use to justify our position if anyone questions it in the future:

Ash Wednesday Pancakes

Thankfully we didn’t have any pancakes which were burnt that badly. This year we cheated a little (some call it lazy, we call it efficiency) by using ready-made ‘shake and make’ mix – which comes in the best kinda Blue Peter style – just add water. The pancakes turned out pretty well really – accompanied by fizzy drinks after James volunteered to run to the shops. We each brought along our favoured toppings which included white chocolate spread, Nutella, chocolate spread (can you see a pattern emerging?), marshmallows, squirty cream, syrup, maple syrup, lemon and sugar. Mmmmmmm. The biggest contrast between this year and previous pancake-making exploits was the quantity we prepared. As we’re lower on numbers than usual, and as the Dungate “boys” and “the Nicks” weren’t around, we cooked only a tiny fraction of the usual number. Steph was ultra-confident in her flipping, even when a pancake seemed to explode in mid flip she didn’t flinch at all.

Before we stuffed our faces with unhealthy foods we stopped for a while to reflect on the start of Lent. We thought about what we’re giving up and taking up for the 40/46-ish days and why. We started by looking at a cartoon which explores how we often get Lent wrong. Then we viewed a set of cartoons produced by Si Smith which depict Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness – the set is entitled 40 and can be viewed online (although it may take a while to download) and you can read the story behind Si’s series of pictures in this short interview. We progressed through the pictures and included some of the Scriptural accounts of the temptation whilst listening to ‘Sometimes you can’t make it on your own‘ by U2. Read the following reflection on Lent by Maggi Dawn:

It’s a common misconception that Lent is about self-improvement. Somehow a half-remembered custom of giving things up has been mixed in with our society’s obsession with self-help and self-improvement, so that we’ve blurred the true meaning of the fast into a rather individualistic concept, more like a New Year Resolution to detox or de-clutter.

Lent is not about giving up luxuries, not about losing weight or gaining other benefits, not about food per se, not about de-cluttering or Feng Shui or about ay other kind of feel-good, de-toxifying exercise. In the end, it’s about denying yourself some of the essentials of everday life in order to focus on the reality that we depend upon God for life itself; about re-aligning ourselves with God and his purposes in our world; about reminding ourselves that all we have is a gift from God in any case.

And neither is Lent about achievement. We cannot earn God’s love, nor save ourselves. If our Lenten Fast is understood well, it will relieve us of the need to try harder, achieve more, feel worthy. It will ground us in the firm and unshakeable knowledge that we are human – we are but dust, and to dust we shall return – but that to be human is enough, under the loving gaze of God. – Maggi Dawn

NichollsWe were joined for part of the nightby Mark Nicholls (who even makes lumpy “shake and make” pancake mix) and were missing Simon who was in Spain on Business ;o)

We closed the evening with a lengthy session of Volleyball Keepy-Uppy. We struggled a little. At times it was a lack of motivation, ability and lack of breath due to laughing (boy did we laugh – at times it physically hurt). At other times it was for reasons which will remain between us – although the title of the update should give you a little hint (whiff?) of the reason. We were stuck at about 27 for a while, but then in a late flurry of genius we acheived 36, but sadly still fell short of the current record of 40 (hmm a good Lenten number). No doubt we’ll try again in weeks to come – perhaps doing it without a stomach full of pancakes and fizzy drinks will help).

Randomness:

Thought: perhaps we need to have a physical quote book which is ever-present at Amicus sessions.

Reflection: maybe there are potential incrimination issues with the physical quote book idea ;o)

Next Week: Promise Auction Planning – we’ve made a lot of progress, but there’s still a lot to do. We’re looking forward to the final event as it’s shaping up to be fantastic.

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