The Holiness of “Place”

patmos-monastery.jpg The other day I was talking with a friend about his week-long visit last year to Patmos. While there he of course visited the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1999 by UNESCO, it was established about 1,000 years ago, or about 1,000 years after John did his stint on the island and wrote the book of Revelation. As one tours the cave, some very specific matters are pointed out — this is where John slept, this is where he put his hand in an indentation in the cave wall to help him stand up, and this is where he dictated the book of Revelation.

Peace, Love, & Pancakes

pancake-turtle.jpg …and wishing these to you today, with blueberries. As I mentioned on the weekend, today is the day when the Pancake Turtle brings pancakes to people all over the world.

This Pancake Day, help spread the legend of the Pancake Turtle with joy and maple syrup for all.

So apparently today is not only Shrove Tuesday, it’s also the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Franciscan order. So that’s peace, love, pancakes, blueberries, small animals and birds.

St. Paul vs. Punxsutawney Phil

apostle-paul.jpg Today is the Feast Day of the Conversion of Saint Paul, and I learned that this means we’re celebrating his turning 2,000. Or something of that sort — apparently it’s the 2000th anniversary of his birth. That’s a lot of candles on the cake, so at least part of the celebration will have to be more symbolic than literal. Besides, the issue of blowing out the candles may pose a problem. A quick search on Saint Paul turned up an odd bit of trivia though. Apparently in mediaeval times people believed the weather on St Paul’s feast day was a predictor of their fortune in the months ahead. They had a saying:

Here Beginneth the Advent…. waiting…

Advent Candles

This morning I’ve got my feet up on my desk, my wireless keyboard in my lap. A cup of fair trade organic decaf Peru Panachi sits nearby, freshly brewed and French-pressed. I am taking time to consider Advent. It isn’t that I have time, or that I make time… I haven’t the surplus time today or this week, and I cannot manufacture time. I cannot even manage time — it marches on relentlessly no matter what I may try to do about it. But I can choose what to do with my time, moment-by-moment. And this morning it seems that a bit of reflective time would be wise stewardship of the time — the gift of time that I’ve been allotted today. Yesterday I began reading God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas, and I anticipate a few pages each day through the rest of the season before me, and up to Epiphany. Epiphany — it seems so far off, yet it isn’t. Time will pass and it will be here before I know it. The last year has passed on as well, thanks be to God.

Approaching Advent: A Season of Darkness?

candle-dark.jpg With Advent just over a week away now, Advent resources are beginning to appear online, including Christine Sine’s New Advent Meditation and planned synchroblogs. I organized a synchroblog last year for Advent, and have collected all the post links for reference as well. I’ve also begun to reread some of my past posts for the season, like Bethlehem and Mixing metaphors, and Kicking your way to the Light. There are also collections of Advent resources appearing online as well.

I’m starting to think on these themes just a little, as the SBT Book of Hours project is getting underway. Oddly enough, Lent was subscribed pretty quickly, with Christmas and Advent falling behind. I didn’t have any particular leaning and offered to fill in where necessary, so drew Vespers during the Christmas season as a result. There’s still an opening left under Advent, so I’m considering that too.

Reformation Day

95theses.jpg October 31st is Reformation Day, when we remember the anniversary in 1517 of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of the Schlosskirche (“Castle Church,” or All Saints’ Church) in Wittenberg, at which point it is often said that the Reformation began and ran until 1648. In point of fact, the roots of the Reformation lie further back in history (John Wycliffe, Jan Hus, et al), but the date remains seminal, hence the observance of “Reformation Day” on October 31st when it is appropriate to remember the Reformers of that time — and, I suggest, also consider such present-day ancient reformers who may have been born on this day. As an added bonus, we begin on this day to turn our thoughts toward the impending All Saints Day when we remember all of the saints, both known and unknown.

Happy Thanksgiving

pumpkins.jpg Today is Thanksgiving in Canada, and I thought back to a post I did on the subject a couple of years ago, Purged in the Plough: Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Thanksgiving & Harvest, which reflects on the convergence of various religious traditions for the harvest season, including reflection on the past year and resolve for the year ahead, as is found in Judaism at this time of year. I concluded that post with a prayer of blessing, which I’ve modified slightly for this Thanksgiving day.

May you find the purging of the plough
      for the transgressions of the past;
May you bury them deep in the fresh-tilled earth, dead,
      to be covered with frost and snow in the coming winter.

May you find the forgiveness of others
      and the forgiveness of God;
May you extend forgiveness to others,
      as it’s been shown to you.

May you feast together with those around you,
      giving thanks to God for the harvest;
May you find peace in the present, rest through the winter,
      and new life in the coming spring.

The Transfiguration & The Feast Thereof

transfiguration_raphael.jpg Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration, which is apparently one of the high holy days in the Christian calendar, a “major feast.” Hey, I’m always up for feasting. Odd that this would be considered such a high day and yet I only stumbled upon it by chance through reading a summer post by Phyllis Tickle. She writes,

For us, the Feast of the Transfiguration is one of the church’s 12 Great Feast Days. That is, it’s right on up there with the Nativity [Christmas] and the Feast of the Resurrection [Easter,] at least in religious terms, if not popular or cultural ones. It calls us to remember the apex or culminating event of Jesus’ public life in which, on a mountaintop and in full view of Peter, James, and John, Jesus was transfigured into a radiance beyond their later description. Moses and Elijah were also present during the Transfiguration itself, one on either side of him; and even as the gathered apostles watched, a bright cloud overshadowed them and a voice, speaking from the cloud, said, “This is my son, the Beloved; and with him I am well pleased. Listen to him.” From that moment on, the course of history was set and, in many ways, the church was born.