Prayer, Praise, and Pancakes

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Tomorrow is a wonderful day in the Christian year.  It is a day of preparation, a day of prayer, a day of praise, and a day of pancakes . . . yes, pancakes!  Tomorrow is Shrove (meaning to confess) Tuesday, aka Fat Tuesday (Mardis Gras), aka Pancake Tuesday.  We are rapidly approaching the season of Lent.  And, no, I am not commenting on the stuff we dig outof the dryer!!  This week, on Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, we will enter into the holy season of Lent, the 40 days (46 days, if you include the Sundays) of preparation leading up to Easter.  This season of Lent is marked by the practices of prayer, fasting, and giving alms.  I will talk more about that, later this week.  Today, what you need to know is that before we fast we feast.  Tradtionally, Lent was a time of clean eating -- no meat, no eggs, no milk, no sugar.  So pancakes were a great way to use up a lot of those ingredients that would not be consumed for the season.  

Making and eating Pancakes can be a holy experience.  Really!  It is the feasting before the fast.  It is a time of worship and praise!  I strongly believe that whenever we create, even in the kitchen, we are connectiong with the one who is Creator.  So plan on making, tomorrow, whatever you are planning on giving up for the Lenten Season.  Take time to intentionally celebrate before the fast.  

As for pancakes, as we mix and sift the dry ingredients we are reminded of the sifting that needs to occur in our own lives.  What is it that hinders our relationship with God?  With self?  With others?  With all of creation?  Of what do we need to let go?  What do we need to spend more time on?  Then, as we fold in the wet ingredients, we are reminded of the lavish love of God, the prodigal grace of God that works in each of our lives, washing away sin and enfolding us in God's love and abiding presence.  And because we are loved, we in turn want to share that love with all that we meet.  We want everyone to experiece the presence and love of a prodigal God.  And then comes the topping.  For me, this is the fun, extravagant part.  Whether it is warm maple syrup or a luscious fruit compote, I am reminded of the Holy Spirit poured upon each one of us -- dwelling with us and guiding us throughout our days.   


Recipe for Pancakes for 2

Ingredients:

1 cup flour (white, buckwheat, whole grain -- choose your own adventure)

1 tablespoon sugar (I typically use organic cane sugar; you could also use stevia)

2 tablespoons baking powder (not teaspoons)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tsp of vanilla (we have our own homemade vanilla extract)


Directions:

Set out all your ingredients.

Put a flat pan on the stove on medium heat, so it can be getting ready.

Sift and combine the 4 dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) in a bowl.

Add the almond milk and vegetable oil to your mixture.

Gently fold together ingredients until smooth.

Now the pan should be ready for your batter,  I prefer small silver dollar pacakes and use a teaspoon to gently drop a few pancakes worth of batter onto the heated pan.

The pancake will tell you when it is ready to be flipped.  When you see bubbles in the middle of the pancake and as the edges stiffen, you will know it is time to flip.

Repeat until the batter is gone, and try not to eat them all while you're cooking them.


Strawberry Compote:

All you need for this recipe is fresh strawberries (which happen to be in season in Florida, right now), some sugar (or stevia), and a little water.  In a pan add sliced strawberries.  Sprinkle with sugar and add enough water to come about a third of the way up the strawberries.  Cook down, stirring periodically untill you have a warm fruit syrup.  Also, please note that you can add or subsitute other fruits in this recipe.  I like to then top off the pancakes with fresh sliced bananas.


Let us pray:  Help us, God, to experience You in our abundance.  When we want for nothing, may we be reminded of from where all good gifts come.  When we create, help us to connect with You, the Ultimate Creator.  When we feast, help us to not only to be grateful, but also let us be mindful of those who go with out.  Charge us with caring for the least of these in our midst.  In our everyday tasks, may we be aware of your abiding presence, and experience wisdom and teaching in all that is around us.  May even the joy of pancakes be cause for worship and praise!  May we experience You as we gather at the table.  Be in our fellowship and conversation.  And help us begin to prepare to enter into this holy season of Lent -- surrendered and open to wherever You lead.  In the name of Jesus, love incarnate, we pray.  Amen. 


 

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