By the Rev Ed Hird
-an article for the March 2009 Deep Cove Crier
In many cultures like Brazil, pre-Lenten events like Mardi Gras/Carnival are huge, drawing millions of participants. Locally my former St. Simon’s NV youth pastor, the Rev. Ken Bell, would often put a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper, the night before the beginning of Lent. Mardi Gras, literally ‘Fat Tuesday’, is the French translation for Shrove Tuesday.
So why do many people eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday or celebrate Mardi Gras? The ultimate reason is Easter. Both Easter and Christmas have warm-up preparation periods. Christmas has Advent. Easter has the forty days of Lent. Why bother to prepare for Easter and Christmas? Anything worth doing is worth preparing for, whether that is university education, marriage, or retirement.
Eating delicious pancakes on Shrove Tuesday came from the tradition of using all one’s eggs before Lent. Eggs in those days were seen as a luxury item that should be abandoned during Lent. Part of the challenge with Lent is that people think that you are giving up all enjoyment for forty days. Lent is often seen as very dark, gloomy and negative. That is why Mardis Gras in reaction sometimes goes to the other extreme. Yes, Lent involves self-denial, but Lent is not just about giving up things. Lent is about preparing to become a healthier, more loving person.
Forty Days is a key medical concept, giving us the term ‘quarantine’, an Italian medical expression for isolation during infection. Forty Days is also a key spiritual concept. Both Moses and Jesus spent forty days in the Israeli wilderness. This year we are being offered a creative new way to do Lent. We can take the 40 Day ‘Love Dare’, and literally save our marriages for Lent.
The 40-Day ‘Love Dare’ book http://thelovedarebook.com/ has become a #1 New York Times bestseller. While reading Love Dare on the way to San Diego, I found myself falling more and more in love with my dear wife. The daily concepts are simple, but profound and potentially life-changing. The ‘Love Dare’ book is based on the Fireproof movie, a surprise hit with ‘Growing Pains’ star Kirk Cameron. No one in Hollywood expected that it would become No. 4 at the box office, eventually bringing in $33.5 million.
In the past few weeks, "Fireproof" debuted on DVD and climbed to No. 3 on Billboard's DVD chart, beating out "The Hulk" and "Saw V," among others. Both the Fireproof DVD and the Love Dare book are really striking a chord with many people looking for lasting relationships, especially in marriage.
One husband e-mailed me saying: “I just wanted to thank you for taking the initiative and the time to watch "Fireproof" with me. It has already proven to be an incredible blessing. As you know, I was so moved that I bought a copy for my wife which we watched together. Then, equally moved, she surprised me by buying the Love Dare book and a Study Bible the next day. So now we are taking the Love Dare challenge and reading scripture together daily. And just two days in, the results are nothing less than miraculous.” Another Deep Cove resident e-mailed me saying: I couldn't wait for VALENTINES to watch FIREPROOF. It was excellent. I have already recommended it to my son and his spouse to watch, and one of co-workers at work. Thanks for recommending it.”
You can either rent the Fireproof DVD from your local Video store, order online at http://fireproofthemovie.com/ or pick up Fireproof and the Love Dare book locally at Sign of the Fish bookstore. Marriage is not worth fighting about. Marriage is worth fighting for. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to save a marriage for Lent? It could be your adult child’s marriage. It could be yours. Let the forty days of Lent help ‘Fireproof’ your most intimate relationship.
The Reverend Ed Hird+
Rector, St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver
Anglican Coalition in Canada