11 August 2011

Lawrence (August 10)

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.  If anyone serves me,  the Father will honor him.  John 12:25-26


From The Treasury of Daily Prayer:
Early in the third century A.D., Laurence, most likely born in Spain, made his way to Rome. There he was appointed chief of the seven deacons and was given the responsibility to manage church property and finances. The emperor at the time, who thought that the church had valuable things worth confiscating, ordered Laurence to produce the “treasures of the church.” Laurence brought before the emperor the poor whose lives had been touched by Christian charity. He was then jailed and eventually executed in the year 258 by being roasted on a gridiron. His martyrdom left a deep impression on the young church. Almost immediately, the date of his death, August 10, became a permanent fixture on the early commemorative calendar of the Church.
St. Lawrence's commemoration coincides with the Perseid meteor shower (August 10-12).  These used to be called "St. Lawrence's Tears."  We did not associate the meteor shower with our remembrance of St. Lawrence, but I thought I would mention it here. The modern man is not in tune with Creation and nature, as our ancestor were.  I do not think it is wrong to associate the natural creation with Redemptive Creation all the time, but it is definitely a temptation to dig into the the traditions of the Church year and arrive at some weird pagan hybrids.  My daughter's godfather cautioned me once regarding misusing or broadening the meaning of  the word "sacramental":
The propensity toward magic is deeply ingrained in the (fallen) human psyche, and I was for a time drawn to it as an adult and hence to Rome. The "God-haunted" world (to borrow from Flannery O'Connor) is just plain more interesting. But the Incarnation isn't about fixing our metaphysics or clarifying our dualism: It's about a saving mission that ends in crucifixion—for Christ, for our Baptism-drown flesh. In the end, "incarnational Christianity" covereth a multitude of very attractive paganism.
Just some thoughts!  Please email or comment if you are ever concerned by the activities I suggest on this site.  I always intend to keep our celebrations "Lutheran"--grounded in Christ and his sacrifice.

If you do view the meteor shower (the very early morning of the 12th is supposed to be peak), read Psalm 8 beforehand. (I prefer KJV since that's the translation I memorized, but any one will do.)

Psalm 8
O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

 2Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

 3When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

 4What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

 5For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

 6Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

 7All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;

 8The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.

 9O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!


Alms: Central to Lawrence's story is the distribution of goods to the poor, and recognizing the poor as the treasures of the Church.  Consider helping someone in your church financially (or with your time).  "Poor" can also mean the the lonely or broken-hearted or troubled (visit nursing homes or volunteer at a pregnancy care center). 

From fisheaters.com: "Given St. Lawrence's mode of death, a barbecue seems a very natural choice. Grill some meats and vegetables, have a nice cooler of beer, and prepare for a late night of star-gazing and recalling the glory of St. Lawrence."  Of course his glory is his martyrdom, and a blessed death in Christ, but Lawrence's ultimate glory is also ours in baptism--Christ! (Sorry if this suggestion offends anyone; I thought it was funny. Other sites say waffles for breakfast)

Coloring page from Family in Feast and Feria.

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