15 August 2011

St. Mary, Mother of Our Lord (August 15)

Happy St. Mary's Day!  I did not have time this week to put together a proper post, but here are some of my favorite paintings of Mary:

I'm realizing, this first year of creating a curriculum of activities around the Church's Year and Feasts, that sometimes it's OK just to talk about who we are honoring.  We sang the Magnificat, but didn't do any particular crafts or traditional baking or even coloring sheets.  It's nice to honor Mary--and talk about her--outside of the Christmas season.  We talked about death (and how for the Christian, death is really just like sleep), and what a saint is.


And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 And being with child, she cried travailing in birth: and was in pain to be delivered. 3 And there was seen another sign in heaven. And behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns and on his heads seven diadems. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered: that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son. 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her son was taken up to God and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, that there they should feed her, a thousand two hundred sixty days.

    7 And there was a great battle in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought, and his angels. 8 And they prevailed not: neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world. And he was cast unto the earth: and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: Now is come salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ: because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of the testimony: and they loved not their lives unto death.

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.

03 August 2011

Joanna, Mary, and Salome (August 3)

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.  Luke 24:1-12

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.        Mark 16:1-8

The angel preaches the Gospel to the scared women, and they in turn run to proclaim it to the apostles, becoming "apostles to the apostles."
Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,  that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise." And they remembered his words.
Remember, Jesus said in John 14, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."  Just a housewife's musings, but it seems to me evidence here that the birth of the Church was at Christ's death, not at Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit immediately "brought to mind" what Jesus had said here at the Resurrection scene, even before he had ascended.

What do you think?  I had suggested in my Pentecost post to make a birthday cake for the Church, but now I'm not sure saying Pentecost is the church's birthday is accurate (not WRONG, just not accurate).  I also am persuaded by the beautiful image of the New Adam's Bride created from his rib (Blood and Water) at his death, just as Eve was made from Adam's rib.  The Church was born when the atoning sacraments spilled forth on the world, and the Holy Spirit immediately began working in her individual members (Peter's sorrow when the cock crowed, etc.)

Ok, back on topic...

  • Older children (or moms and dads) can do a little research on who exactly these women were, and explain the apparent contradiction of the Gospel account (did they go straight to the Apostles or not?)  There are many great resources explaining the different details of the Resurrection story, and how these details in fact do not contradict.  What did you find?  Both the Treasury of Daily Prayer and Lutheran Study Bible would be helpful.
  • Research the practice of anointing the dead with spices in Hebrew and other ancient (or modern) cultures.