Sunday, 22 March 2009


The latest in our series of culinary expressions of the liturgical year: Agnes and I have been celebrating the lightening of Lenten discipline with sherry and Simnel cake. The eleven balls of marzipan on the top represent the eleven true disciples and traditionally this was the cake that young girls in service would take home to their mothers on Mothering Sunday. I'm afraid that I must confess to a complete lack of filial piety in this respect; Mothering Sunday was rather overshadowed in my mind by the prospect of cake!
I used to regard Refreshment Sunday as rather a cheat- an opportunity for the same sort of sophistry which leads one to be increasingly creative with dried fruit as Lent progresses. However, the sermon I heard this morning has helped me to realise that there is far more to it than that. First, it allows us the opportunity to refocus our efforts at a point in Lent when many of us are beginning to flag a little in the pursuance of our good resolutions. We have a chance now to refresh ourselves for the rest of the journey towards Easter. Second, it reminds us that Lent is not simply a time of doom and gloom, ash and penitence. All our acts of fasting and prayer are designed to prepare us for the great festival day and season of Easter. Today offers a foretaste of the joy to come: laetare indeed!

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