Lord, help me. The annual St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Pancake Supper is tonight and I’m in charge.
Episcopalians, Catholics and Lutherans are very serious about this time of year. Lent starts tomorrow. Forty days of self-reflection and penitence. We are worms. That is the season. We give up things we like a lot. Many times, I give up hamburgers. That is sacrifice, my friends.
But tonight is Fat Tuesday and St. Paul’s celebrates with the pancake supper, the proceeds of which support the Youth programs. Which is why a few days ago I was teaching teenagers how to cook pancakes.
The mechanics of pancake cooking are fairly simple. You pour the batter. You wait for bubbles to form. You flip the pancake and wait another 30 seconds to a minute. You remove the pancake from the griddle. But you would have thought I was teaching quantum physics.
They gathered around the griddle, staring intently at it as if it would rise up and smite them. “Who wants to try it?” I ask. They continue to stare at the griddle. One brave teen tentatively raises his hand. O.K., good. One volunteer out of 15 or so kids. “Come on, then,” I say encouragingly. “You can’t mess this up.”
He pours. I have miscalculated. There are already bubbles in the batter. He wonders if he should immediately flip this raw mass of liquid goo. “Wait for the BIG bubbles,” I offer. We wait. They appear. He cautiously slips the spatula under the pancake. “Flip with conviction!” I say. The teen regards the pancake as though it were a landmine he was removing from a war-torn battlefield. “FLIP!” I startle him. He flips. He smiles. It is beautifully brown. He has made a pancake.
Thus encouraged, the rest of them step up one by one to attempt the mastery of making a pancake. God is watching over the Otey Hall kitchen at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Franklin, Tennessee. They all succeed. The Lord loves a cheerful flipper.
About 150 people will attend the pancake supper tonight. The ladies of the church have contributed hashbrown casseroles, egg and cheese casseroles, fruit and juice. The Men of St. Paul’s footed the bill for the pancake mix, sausage and bacon. The proceeds will help our Youth go on mission trips in the summer.
And the youth will be flipping fools tonight. Fools for pancakes. Fools for God.