What has Shrove Tuesday got to do with pancakes? What is ‘shrove’, anyway? And how can I get it?
All is revealed in this amusing sketch with a clear gospel message at the end.
The script can be broken into sections if required. In a service, you could use the breaks for songs or Bible readings. In a school or other setting, Jill could talk with the audience about what Jack is misunderstanding.
Also (cue trumpets) now on audio! Click here for an .MP3 file of how it could sound. Many thanks to the awesome Steve Dawson – Enjoy!
And just to prove that we’re fallible, here’s a funny out-take.
- Jack – bit of a twit, has accessories to illustrate chasing, climbing and digging
- Jill – sensible, explains everything to Jack, can have script on a lectern
[Jack and Jill stand centre stage while Jill addresses audience like a lecture. Jack punctuates her speaking with sideways shoves.]
Jill: Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Today we are going to discuss [shove] the festival variously known as Mardi Gras, [shove] Carnival, or [shove] more colloquially, Pancake Day. [shove]
What are you doing? Why do you keep pushing me?
Jack: Well that’s what it’s called, innit? [shove]
Jill: What what’s called?
Jack: Pancake Day – Shove Tuesday [shove]
Jill: No, no, it’s not Shove Tuesday, it’s Shrove Tuesday.
Jack: [higher] Shrove?
Jill: Yes. Shrove.
Jack: [even higher] Shrove?
Jill: Yes. It’s ‘shrove’.
Jack: [making ‘very high’ face and standing on tiptoes] Shr …
Jill: Yes. OK. That’s enough now.
Jack: [back to normal] But what’s a ‘shrove’ when it’s at home? Is it the secret ingredient that makes pancakes reeeally yummy? Oh I love pancakes, don’t you? [to audience] What do you like on pancakes? I like lemon and sugar, or chocolate spread and squirty cream, or best of all … sardines and custard – with just a hint of ketchup …
Jill: Stop, stop. That is really quite gross. And no, ‘shrove’ is not the secret ingredient that makes pancakes so delicious. Although I agree with you about the chocolate spread.
Jack: And the sardines and custard?
Jill: No. Not the sardines and custard.
Jack: Well, if it’s not the secret ingredient for pancakes, what is a ‘shrove’?
[Jack doesn’t listen to the next bit, he is mumbling to himself about chocolate spread and sardines and custard.]
Jill: ‘Shrove’ is an old word for ‘forgiven’. Forgave, forgiven – shrove, shriven.
Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent, so people would talk to God about all the things they were ashamed of, and ask God to forgive them. And God ‘shrove’ them – forgave them.
Then, to get ready for fasting in Lent, they would use up all their rich foods by eating pancakes.
Jack: [suddenly paying attention] Pancakes! Which they ate with custard, yes?
Jill: I suppose they might have. But the important thing was getting ‘shriven’ as they called it.
Jack: They got a Shriven? [Jack not listening again, mumbling ‘I wonder how they got a Shriven? Did they set traps? How can I get a Shriven?’]
Jill: Yes, the people got ‘shriven’, it means ‘forgiven’. When they talked to God and …
Jack: Sorry, can’t listen right now. I need to get a Shriven. I’m going to catch a Shriven for Pancake Day. [runs off stage]
Jill: Catch a Shriven? But …
[Jack enters, dressed like a hunter, eg butterfly net and binoculars]
Jill: What’s all this for?
Jack: I’m going to catch myself a Shriven. I think it’s going to be a long chase. I’ve been checking it out on Google [optionally, reading from a tablet or smartphone] and it seems the Shriven ‘inhabits the wild Scottish moorlands where it feasts upon lush heather and Scotch mist.’ It’s a close relative of the Haggis, apparently, but with longer legs.
Jill: Oh, and I suppose ‘The Shriven is a pretty bird, with hair all long and wavy, which makes its nest in a rhubarb tree and lays its eggs in gravy’?
Jack: Yes, yes! That’s the one!
Jill: It’s amazing what you can learn from the internet! But seriously, ‘shriven’ isn’t something you have to run after and try to catch.
Jack: It isn’t?
Jill: No, ‘shriven’ is more something that grows in our hearts. It blossoms and bears fruit in our lives.
Jack: Blossoms and bears fruit? Oh, I see. So it’s not an animal?
Jill: No, it’s not an animal. It’s more a …
Jack: Sorry, can’t listen right now. I need to get a Shriven. I’m going to pick a Shriven for Pancake Day. [runs off stage]
Jill: Pick a Shriven? But …
[Jack enters, dressed like a climber, eg ropes and hard hat, or stepladder and basket]
Jill: What’s all this for?
Jack: I’m going to pick myself a Shriven. It’s going to be a long climb because I’ve found out that ‘the exotic Shriven is a distant relative of the pineapple, growing far up in the canopy of the remote Patagonian rain forests, fruiting but once every seven years.’
Jill: Have you been Googling again?
Jack: Yes, how did you know?
Jill: Lucky guess. But ‘Shriven’ isn’t something you have to climb up and get, nor something you have to chase after and catch.
Jack: It isn’t?
Jill: No, ‘shriven’ is more something that is a treasure waiting to be uncovered. In the dark, cold cave of guilt, getting shriven is a sparking cavern of hope, glittering with jewels.
Jack: Treasure in a cave? Oh, I see. So it’s not a fruit?
Jill: No, it’s not a fruit. It’s more a …
Jack: Sorry, can’t listen right now. I need to get a Shriven. I’m going to dig up a Shriven for Pancake Day. [runs off stage]
Jill: Dig up a Shriven? But …
[Jack enters, dressed like a miner, eg shovel and pickaxe]
Jill: What’s all this for?
Jack: I’m going to mine myself a Shriven. It’s going to mean a lot of digging. I’ve found out that ‘Shriven, or Calcium Shrivinate, as it is known to the world of science, is a rare gemstone, resembling diLithium in its crystalline state. It is mined only from the volcanic lava beds of Ouagadougou, where a single crystal can be traded for an entire packet of cheesy wostits!’
Jill: You really shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. ‘Shriven’ isn’t something you have to dig up, nor something you have to climb up and get, nor something you have to chase after and catch.
Jack: It isn’t?
Jill: No, ‘shriven’ is ‘forgiven’. It’s not A Shriven, a thing. Getting shriven means getting forgiven.
Jack: Oh, I see. So it’s not a gemstone?
Jack: And it’s not a piece of fruit?
Jack: And it’s not an animal?
Jack: I got it all wrong didn’t I?
Jill: Yes. But you know what? It’s OK. I get stuff wrong too.
And I do stuff wrong. All the time. We all do. And that’s what getting Shriven is all about.
Shrove Tuesday, or ‘Shriven’ Tuesday, is not just about clearing out our fridges. It is about clearing out our lives too – getting rid of all the stuff that separates us from God, saying sorry and getting shriven – forgiven. And God forgives us because he loves us.
Jack: So I don’t have to go digging for it?
Jill: No. Nor climbing for it, nor running after it. We don’t have to earn forgiveness by trying hard. Forgiveness is a gift from our loving God.
Jack: Sorry, can’t listen right now. I need to get Shriven.
Jill: Oh, not this again. I thought I’d explained that it’s not a thing.
Jack: I know that – I’m not daft! But since it’s ‘Shove’ Tuesday, I’m going to ‘shove off’ and spend some time with God. [runs off stage]
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so that we may obey it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so that we may obey it?’ No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so that you may obey it.
But the righteousness that is by faith says: ‘Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?”’(that is, to bring Christ down) ‘or “Who will descend into the deep?”’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: if you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
New International Version – UK (NIVUK)
Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.