Tag Archives: Church Year

For Trinity Sunday…

Some parts of the Church observe a “Church Year” or Liturgical Calendar that gives some shape to the topics emphasized through the year. Like Christmas (and the run-up to it, Advent), and Easter. We mark the time between Christmas and Easter thinking about the various events in the earthly life of Jesus, and continue that through Pentecost, which starts the history of the Church. After Pentecost, we think more about how the life, death, resurrection and continuing presence of Jesus affects us in the here and now, culminating with “Christ the King” Sunday, the last one before the cycle starts again.

This Sunday is the first in that “ordinary” time, and is called “Trinity Sunday” where now that we have thought about God the Father, talked for months about Jesus, and last week reflected on God the Holy Spirit, we look at the Blessed “Three-in-One” – The Holy Trinity, which we Christians hold as the fundamental understanding of God.

It is always interesting to me to see what different preachers have to say on this Sunday…

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“Why do we call it “FAST” when it makes the day so slow?”

I like words. And I have an unfortunate taste for stupid jokes, particularly when they turn on double meanings of words. Or homophones.

As such, this has been my response when someone brings up the idea of fasting as a spiritual discipline.

I actually did this decades ago, 1 day every week, and a longer 3 day once a month. Liquids only, but a little V8 juice seemed a good thing. Did that for a year or so when I was in school.

But whatever the virtues there might be, or the lack, it certainly gave me inspiriation for one of my worst word jokes.
But then 2 weeks ago, I pulled it out for a friend at Church (All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Stafford, TX), and he actually took the “why…” as a real question, which had a real answer. And was therefore worth finding out. I admire that. Over 40 years, and I had never done that. I suppose I was afraid it would ruin the joke, as if that were possible.

What he found was the relationship in proto-German to a similar word meaning remain still. I tried to morph it into a more modern “Make fast” as in “Fasten,” but my friend insisted that although that was partial, it was not primary. The earliest would be simply to REMAIN still.
And this opened up something for me, that relates to a previous post about this time of waiting between Ascension, and Pentecost. I called it a gap, with seeming abandonment.

This meaning of “fast” differed from mine in that to “hold fast” seems to refer to a state or condition. Static. To “remain fast” seems more like  a point in a process – like the pause before turning left across a busy street, or a right turn on red. The quite spot between movements of a symphony, the dramatic pause a speaker might use.

Or the Seventh day of Creation – when God “rested” (I wonder about the Hebrew – how the word “fast” might fit there?)

And also this time of waiting, wondering what is coming next. 

Anticipation, Nervous , perhaps even fearful (with or without cause).

But Something is about to start. A change is in the wind.

We are standing fast. 

 

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On Ascension and Abandonment. Gaps

You would think that after 40 years as an Episcopalian, I would pretty much have this “Liturgical Calendar” thing, the “Church Year” down. But after spending my first formative years as a Southern Baptist, I can still find a surprise or two.

As they say, even a blind squirrel finds SOME acorns.

Today, 25 May 2017 is the Feast of the Ascension. Continue reading

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Thoughts on the beginning of Advent; “O Come O Come Emmanuel!”

O come, O come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel;

that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.

 
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny.

From depths of Hell Thy people save, and give them victory o’er the grave

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here.

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night and death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come, and open wide our heavenly home;

Make safe the way that leads on high, and close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might, who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,

 In ancient times did’st give the Law, in cloud, and majesty and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.

My favorite song of this season, Advent, and one I am full ready to proclaim this this year. I need the awareness of Emmanuel (“God with us”) now, as proclaimed in the third verse, to

“Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death dark shadows put to flight.” Continue reading

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