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.
…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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
I’ve never done much Lent blogging, though I tend to get a bit more seasonally contemplative in the week leading up to Easter. I should be blogging Lent more thematically, but for a variety of reasons, this was not the year to start that tradition — although quite a number of folks asked me about it after my Advent project. Perhaps next year. In the meantime, I’ve decided to give you the preview collection of what I’ve composed for the week, which I tend to review every year.
For the record, there are twelve days to the Christmastide season… let the feasting continue! We should know this from the famous Christmas carol, yet these days most of us may just scratch our heads as to what, when, and why the twelve days are. It turns out that the 12 days song actually has some relation to a variety of theological themes. Coming to the point thought, we’ve moved out of the Advent season and into the Christmas season. In my Advent book, I have included an extra set of daily offices for use during the Christmas season… kind of a bonus for those who made the purchase. Although the Advent synchroblog has ended, the daily office and the celebration of Christmas go on. The extra office is designed to keep the Christmas themes present in our minds throughout the season. In the book, I introduced it this way:
The December issue of Next-Wave is out, with features on Advent. Bob asked me if I had something in connection with my book so I quickly dashed something off, not realizing that Advent: Resisting Christmas was going to end up as a Featured Article. Maybe I’d have put in more effort! The piece deals with rediscovering Advent as a part of reacclimatizing ourselves with the historical habits and practices of the church… like the daily office. I wrote it at the end of the first week of Advent, not realizing that the issue would be another week to release, so the prayers I mention in the article as “coming up” were for the week just passed. As we prayed through last week’s prayers, I think I’m not as happy as I could be with how the evening prayers (vespers) in particular came together, but I think there are some gems for the week we’re in now. Book sales have tapered off, probably for the year — thanks to all who made a purchase, it was a real help to our bottom line for the month. I have already thought some about a revised/expanded edition, but I’m deferring too much thought on it until the new year. I’ve still got that missional book to get back to, and I’ve arranged to trade off about half my time to an ongoing project in the next few months (more about that another time).
This week we’re remembering that Eastertide goes beyond a single Easter-Bunny weekend, and the event we’re celebrating is one that changes everything. Perhaps this would be why Bob Carlton’s Via Crucis Grid Blog runs a week past Easter to include the Stations of the Resurrection. We do well to remember that the message of Easter doesn’t expire with the chocolate.