AN IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION
TO LITURGICAL THEOLOGY
FROM THE DISCOURSES OF REHU-L


As Lent approached in the Winter of 1994, several listmembers joined in an ongoing discussion of Shrove Tuesday. Since this is an open list, and we let anybody on, several Unitarians were utterly confused. What, they demanded to know, is this Shrove business. One member from Australia presented the higly secularized practices of antipodian Shroving. A good conservative Midwestern Lutheran upheld the traditional religious meaning of the Feast.

Thus wrote the antipodian:

Took my baby to the shrive-in
Took my baby to the shrive-in 
Took my baby to the shrive-in
An' we played hunt the shrove

Chased that shrove in the front  seat
Chased that shrove in the front seat
Caught that shrove in the back seat
An' put him in a paper bag

CHORUS

Shrived the shriven shrewish shroves
Shaved the shaven shortish coves 
Cleaved the cloven Clovis cloves 
All in a paper bag

Well, as you see from the above fragment of a traditional Aussie
Shrove-Hunting Song that's how we do it hereabouts ...

Jenny
jhatte@metz.une.edu.au

Respondeth the Lutheran:
Jenny has given us evidence of the extent to which Shrove Tuesday has 
become a secular event in Australia.

Among High Liturgical Lutherans in the Midwest USA, however, Shrove 
Tuesday is still treated with reverence.  On February 28 next, we will 
gather in the court yards of our parish churches, and after the bidding 
prayer will sing

Bringing in the Shroves,
Bringing in the Shroves,
We shall go rejoicing,
Bringing in the Shroves.

We will then form a solemn procession behind the thurifer, crucifer and 
torch bearers and enter the church, waving our Shroves triumphantly over 
our heads and singing

Brightest and best of the Shroves of the morning,
Shrove on our darkness and lend us thine aid:
Shrove of the east, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our Shroves will lead to thine aid.

Once in the sanctuary, we place all of our Shroves in a large metal basin 
(the techincal term for which is the Shrovorium).  When we have shriven
ourselves of all of our Shroves, the torchbearers ignite the collected
Shrovarim (as they are technically called in the rubrics) as we sing,

All God's Children are shriven toda-ay
A-A-A-A-A-le-i-loo-oo-yah!
No more Shroves for days and da-ays
A-A-A-A-A-le-i-loo-oo-yah!
Forty days is not so long
A-A-A-A-A-le-i-loo-oo-yah!
Burn your Shroves, you can't go wrong
A-A-A-A-A-le-i-loo-oo-yah!

We solemnly leave after the last Shrove is consumed by fire, and return 
the next day when ashes from the burned Shroves are imposed on our 
foreheads in what is know as the Grand Imposition.  

It is a beautiful and meaningful part of the ritual life of the Church.  
I can hardly contain my tears as I write about it, and I am sorry that 
our antipodian friends have chosen to ignore the rich religious meaning 
behind the day and have made of it a secular travesty.

GREGORY HOLMES SINGLETON
DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY
NORTHEASTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY                 
CHICAGO, IL 60625
---------------------------------
"All Freedom is Academic"--Pogo

Rejoindeth the antipod:
Oh Gregory, Gregory, how you do misunderstand ...

I quote with commentary from your post:

>Jenny has given us evidence of the extent to which Shrove Tuesday has 
>become a secular event in Australia.

Yes, and with good reason.
...
 ... > singing
>
>Brightest and best of the Shroves of the morning,
>Shrove on our darkness and lend us thine aid:

Can you not see the danger of shrovolatry in this practice?
...
>... when ashes from the burned Shroves are imposed on our 
>foreheads in what is know as the Grand Imposition. 

Not to mention cruelty to shroves! 
>
>It is a beautiful and meaningful part of the ritual life of the Church.  
>I can hardly contain my tears as I write about it, and I am sorry that 
>our antipodian friends have chosen to ignore the rich religious meaning 
>behind the day and have made of it a secular travesty.

After much prayer, meditation and the laying on of shrews, the Combined
Churches  of Australia, while recognising the 'rich religious meaning' of
the original 'shrove hunt' (here of course it is the marsupial shrove), the
waving of shroves and the Grand Imposition (in Australia the Beaut
Benediction), concluded that the ceremony had little Christian meaning left
for the  surfies, cockies, wrinklies, yuppies, New Australians etc. who
make up the majority of the  population.  New Age Shrovist sects were
springing up, including the now notorious Temple of  the Shrove Within, at
Nimbin, NSW.  People were hanging dried shroves from their car mirrors as
good-luck charms.  Manufacturers were making millions selling plastic
shroves to children and teenagers, after the cartoon series "Teenage Lenten
Shrovesons" and the successful advertising campaign:  "Get a life.  Get a
shrove". In the bush, the by now highly profitable practice of commercial
shrove hunting was becoming a massacre.
                The churches dissociated themselves forthwith from all
manifestations of shrovism and shrovolatry, choosing on Shrove Tuesday to
replace the old cermony with a simple service of thanks for the shrove as
representative of all God's creatures.  They successfully campaigned to
have the marsupial shrove declared a protected animal.
        The secular shrove hunt, which had always existed along with the
religious ceremony,  survived:  pure harmless fun, involving the release of
a clockwork shrove within a car, in the dark.  The dubious practices which
sprang out of the original Christian Ceremony are now, I'm glad to say,
dying out.

        I'm happy that in the Midwest the Shrove has retained its original
significance.  I just hope that the ritual's continuation never leads where
it led here.

Jenny
jhatte@metz.une.edu.au


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