This week has seen a LOT of action: a resigning Pope, Carnival and pancakes, the arrival of Lent, Valentine’s Day, One Billion Rising for an end to violence against women!
The breath of the holy spirit?
Even for those who are not Catholic or Christian, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI is a big deal. This huge church in which I grew up has a lot of power still, despite being largely discredited in the eyes of many. Feminist theologian Mary E. Hunt has an interesting take on this at one of my favourite blogs, Feminism and Religion. Click here to read what she has to say about conscience and leadership.
Perhaps, just perhaps, the breath of the holy spirit – seen by many as feminine in nature – might blow away the patriarchal cobwebs of the Vatican and give us all a new church. A church that, as my friend Claire Bangasser puts it, “engages in dialogue with people at the margins”. (I have to say I’m not optimistic, but maybe…)
In Britain, we tend to refer to Shrove Tuesday as Pancake Day, but I prefer the French Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. There’s something around this ancient tradition of feasting before the fasting of Lent that is part of our human inclination to rhythm and seasons.
I was going to make pancakes on Tuesday, but instead had a little family drama when my nephew was taken into hospital. He’s absolutely fine now – was in overnight and had to have a small emergency operation. But it made me reflect on the generous feast we have in the UK with our free National Health Service, where no-one has to worry about becoming destitute because of hospital bills. I have absolutely no objection to paying taxes towards this imperfect but grand institution (which is however under threat by our current right-wing government).
Here is the pancake recipe I would have used!
I always enjoy Britt-Arnhild’s photo reflections over at her House in the Woods, and although this was posted on Friday, for me it has in it the essence of Lent: When life makes her own decision.
And I’m valuing the reflections on Jan Richardson’s Online Journey into Lent and Easter. Not too late to sign up.
Over at Magpie Girl, Rachelle Mee-Chapman has three Valentine’s Day blessings, one for those who are single, one for those who are partnered, one for those who are separated. All are beautiful, and you can read them here.
And while St Valentine (and politics) triumphed in the recent UK parliament vote overwhelmingly in favour of gay marriage, I’m saddened but not surprised to read here that our most senior Muslim politician, Sadiq Khan, has received “credible” death threats after his vote in favour of the bill.
One Billion Rising
And finally, Eve Ensler’s global initiative One Billion Rising also happened on Thursday. Check out the comments on my last post for a link to the event reader Donna was part of. To me, this video of prison inmates rising was one of the most moving. Benedictine Sisters rose, and danced in their refectory.
But perhaps a rising from a good while ago is still the most evocative for me – take it away, Maya Angelou:
Have a wonderful week, everyone.