It’s the maslenitsa holiday in Russia – an entire week dedicated to eating pancakes in the lead up to Lent or Великий Пост as it’s known in Russian. (Seriously, what a great holiday, no?)
Do you observe Lent? I started observing it a few years ago, and have really grown to love the ritual; a tradition and a liturgy built into your calendar; part of the year that’s dedicated to seeking God.
Lately I’ve been thinking about Lent and discipline, and how I want to focus on habits in my spiritual growth. Lent is about prayer and preparation and self-denial and ultimately about change. That’s what repentance is, I guess, a change.
Russia’s a great place to do Lent because it’s so ingrained in the Russian Orthodox culture. Restaurants even come out with special Lent menus and everyone gets it when you say, “Sorry, I can’t. I gave that up for Lent.”
This year, there’s the ubiquitous giving up on sweets, but really I’m looking forward to the daily disciplines of Bible study and prayer, leading up to Easter.
I like this quote from a recent Ann Voskamp read:
“Change takes real intentionality, like a woman bent over her garden beds every day with a spade and the determined will to grow up something good to strengthen the heart.” -Ann Voskamp, ‘One Thousand Gifts’
Are you planning to do anything for Lent?