Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Theme for Lenten Season this year is a continuation of 2016 Advent Season: Prince of Peace: From the Cradle to the Crown and Beyond (Originally, I had noted the theme would cover 'From the Cradle to the Cross', but of course, the Cross was the beginning, not the end & this is reflected in the adjusted theme.) 

I look forward to having you join me on this journey, which begins today with "Shrove Tuesday".) 

In The Salvation Army, this is the season we observe as "Self-Denial". February 28th is Shrove Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday is always on the day before Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, and it's always 45 days before Easter. 

Where does the word "shrove" come from? It stems from the word "shrive", which means to free or rid oneself from sin. In some countries Shrove Tuesday is known as "Pancake Day", and in the USA it is often referred to as "Mardi Gras," which is French for "Fat Tuesday". Why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday? Historically, the practice of emptying one's home of fattening foods was viewed as a way to remove the temptation to indulge during the self-denial period of the Lenten Season. 

On this day before Lent begins--and the abstinence associated with it--, many folks indulge in fatty foods in anticipation of not eating them again until Easter. The tradition of eating pancakes is believed to stem from the practice of providing families with the means of using up their eggs, butter, milk, and flour in a single dish. 

Do you observe Shrove Tuesday and the Lenten Season? How do you mark Shrove Tuesday? Will you be eating pancakes? Our family will be having our pancake supper tomorrow evening. For those of you observing the Lenten Season, may it be a meaningful time of reflection and spiritual renewal and growth. 

Blessings & Peace 
Elizabeth Hayduk Former Salvation Army Officer/pastor Canada

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Birgit Ljunggren, A Living Legend Promoted to Glory

In memory: Birgit Ljunggren Sweden, and perhaps the world's oldest Salvation Army officer, Brigadier Birgit Ljunggren has passed away at the age of 107.

She was Promoted to Glory from her home in Ekbackens retirement home in Linköping near her beloved Salvation Army corps in the city.

Birgit was born in Stockholm in 1909 and grew up in a foster family in Vasastan. When she finished elementary school Birgit worked as a maid. A Salvation Army officer sold the Army’s newspaper The War Cry to the family where Birgit worked and invited the young maid to the Salvation Army at Tomtebogatan. There, she came to faith. She told how she listened to the ‘slum sisters’ and knew that she wanted to become one.

At twenty-four, she began her officer training at what was then called the Salvation Army War College in Stockholm. As an officer she worked her entire life in social work as a slum sister at the Salvation Army's slum stations and orphanages in many different locations, from Malmö in the south to Malmberget in the north. She retired in 1970. Birgit told of her rich experiences especially among the many children she had known over the years. She continues to have prolonged contact with many of them.

A sharp intellect, a good memory and a great love for our fellow human beings made her something of a living legend.

As a pensioner Birgit moved back to Linköping where she previously served. There she engaged again in the Salvation Army Corps, whose worship she visited up to 100 years of age. She also celebrated her 100th birthday there.

Often she came to the soup lunches organized for the homeless and shared with the guests the rolls she baked. The last time Birgit was 101 years old. As an active slum sister during a bygone era, she was not used to thinking of herself and her own interests, but liked to bake and assist in the work.
 Birgit Ljunggren is mourned by the sons of her foster siblings and friends of The Salvation Army.

Karin Larsson