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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Palm Sunday: Triumphal Entry of a King -- A Repost from the Archives

We're almost there.

Today, on Palm Sunday of the Passion of our Lord, Christians around the world will jubilantly celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.  Consistent with ancient Near Eastern custom, the people welcomed Jesus by covering the road before him and the donkey he rode, with their garments and rushes.  In John's gospel, we learn that in this case, they used palm fronds, which were a symbol of victory in Jewish tradition.  The donkey represents that he is coming in peace.


He was being greeted as a king,
but, soon, they would turn against him.



Chania - Katholische Kirche - Innenraum
By Wolfgang Sauber (Own work) [GFDL
 (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)  via Wikimedia Commons








That, though, is a subject for later.

Today, we celebrate and shout with the people: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!" ~Ps. 188:25a














Pr. Lucian Mic at the Palm Sunday Procession in Resita- March28 2010 2
By Oana P. [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/
licenses/by-sa/3.0)   via Wikimedia Commons
In many churches, palm fronds are blessed on this day, and then carried by the people in procession.  In colder climates, other types of branches, such as willow, are used.  There is a tradition of making palm crosses with the fronds, which are often kept throughout the year, until the following Lent.  It is from the blessed palm fronds that the ashes, for the following years Ash Wednesday service, are made.

Kreuz mit Palmzweig
By Rabanus Flavus (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Traditions vary somewhat.  In India, flowers are strewn about the church by the worshipers.  In Latvia, Palm Sunday is referred to as "Pussy Willow Sunday" and, you guessed it...pussy willows are blessed and distributed to worshipers.  In the Philippines, full scale reenactments of the triumphal entry, with a statue or priest seated upon donkey in the procession.

Woven palm leaf cross
By BrokenSphere (Own work) [GFDL
 (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)  via Wikimedia Commons

Instructions for making Palm Crosses are here:




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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pearls and English Net and a Future

I put the finishing touches on a bridal veil today. My thoughts were a scatter of distractions -- until I began to sew the freshwater pearls onto the comb.




Pearls on ivory English netting and memories... 

My mother gave me her string of pearls to wear on my own wedding day some 25 years ago.  And so I began to imagine...

Thread looping pearls and silver needle through cotton net and a future. Two young souls at the precipice of life. Joys to come -- and sorrows, surely,-- and hope. Babies and then grandchildren. -- She probably isn't thinking that now.  She likely isn't thinking so far into the future because the future appears to be so far.

I smile. 

Twenty-five years ago, to a girl of twenty one,  twenty five years had seemed a huge canyon of time. Now, I look back over my shoulder and twenty five years was a second.  A pearl and a knot and a pearl and a knot and netting gathers.  And the angels will look down to witness the first steps of husband and wife. The genesis of generations--and the Heavenly host will rejoice.



May God bless their journey.  May godly generations follow.  May there be comfort when sorrows come.  May they hold fast when waves rock them. May sorrows be short and may faint memories of sad times be overwhelmed by a lifetime avalanche of joys.

Pax Christi,
~Michelle

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Peanuts and Prejudice on the Mountain

Outside my window I hear a cacophony today. The squirrels and Stellar's Jays are fussing at one another. You see, we've created a ruckus -- we've put out peanuts.

Squirrels and Stellar's Jays are fond of peanuts. Bears are too, which is why we are breaking the rules of forest life by placing them on our deck rails.  We are watching though.  Taking periodic glances out the windows -- making certain that the forest creatures attracted by our peanuts are of the winged and bushy tailed varieties only. No traces will be left behind. Let's not let forest dweller scrupulosity rob the little creatures of their treats.  Don't you agree?

By Julietfiss (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Peter Trimming [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Oh yes -- the ruckus:

Peanuts are a delicacy, and both birds and squirrels think they are the only ones who know it. The Jays are belting out their raspy screeches in symphonic sound. The squirrels are returning their characteristic piercing chirps. Each feels ownership, you see.

Generally, the squirrels and Jays tolerate one another, and play at an image of coexistence.  They are both forest dwellers, of course. They both love the trees and feel at home amongst their branches -- so one must maintain some image of forbearance.  It's only proper.  But when the peanuts come out, all bets are off.

I wonder if they see it?  That they are both peanut lovers? That they both feel the majesty of the tall Jeffrey Pines that are their common home? That each is overcome with reverence when she gazes down from a 200 foot evergreen perch? That each is a creation of God?  That God speaks to each as she regards the forest's beauty and silence?




Now, the differences between them are not to be minimized.  A squirrel is a squirrel and a Jay is a Jay. Surely. But I wonder?  What if they capitalized on those differences to dialogue? What if they shared a branch instead of hopping higher or lower to keep distance when the proximity grew too great? What if they discussed the glories of peanuts and pines? Perhaps the Jays would learn something spectacular about the forsight of the squirreling away of said delicacies.  Perhaps they would have a peanut epiphany?  What if the squirrels learned from the Jays that a good tapping of the merchandise on the deck rail reveals those peanuts that are a bit too light to be worth the work expended to carry them to a branch for the devouring?

Perhaps?

They would still be squirrels and jays, of course.  Different. Separate.  Unique in their sameness.  Special. With a characteristic culture and history and methodology -- Yet, precious creations of God with a heightened awareness of his gifts and of the tools to live with greater gratitude in his grace.  Children of God, all.  And so terribly much in love with Him.

Yes?

Helsinki Orthodox Cathedral
By Zairon (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Cathedral of St. Michael and St Gudula, Roman Catholic, Belguim
By Pbrundel (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Saint Pierre de Jeunne, Protestant Parish of Strausbourg
By dierk schaefer (Baptisterium) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

St. James Cathedral, Anglican Church of Canada
By paul (dex) from Toronto (St James Cathedral  Uploaded by Skeezix1000) 

[CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


~~~~~~

Third Sunday after Epiphany, Year A, the epistle:
 1 Corinthians 1:10-18:

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, "I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apollos," or "I belong to Cephas," or "I belong to Christ." Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Pax Christi dear ones,
Live in Peace? Shall we?...We've so much to share.
~Michelle

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Facing East

Every Christmas Eve as suspended candlelight flickers through lantern glass in my television from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, I long to be there.  As  Holy Fire ignites from darkness, and expands wildly through the sharing of the faithful, in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre each Pascha, my heart is in another land. We Christians are all drawn powerfully, even perhaps, against our better judgment, to Jerusalem. Yet this seat of the birth of three great world religions is a place of both birth and strife.

The mountain that my family and I live on is considered the center of the world by the Chumash -- the point where everything is in balance. It has been their holy place for centuries. We live here with respect for that heritage and belief. We tread lightly here, in deference to their belief, and in honor of the mountain that they hold sacred.  Yet, our Holy Land is in another place, and -- in many ways -- is truly the center of the world.  It is easy to forget this, living in American comfort and relative safety. All of those prophecies and spiritual events connected with Jerusalem studiously tucked away at the back of ones mind. They can surely be unpacked and confronted at a later time, can't they?  Yet, as I came upon Dateline Jerusalem: An Eyewitness Account of Prophecies Unfolding in the Middle East as a publisher's book review offering, I knew that one must sweep out ones corners and face the reality of sacred history's unfolding.

I was not disappointed. Chris Mitchell, bureau chief for Christian Broadcasting Network, draws upon his years of firsthand experiences and reporting in Jerusalem to deliver an explanation of the events sweeping across the Holy Land and impacting the world in our day. His insights are both personal and well informed. I found the story gripping and exciting -- something that I was not anticipating. I also found myself alarmed at the reality and depth of the conflict between Israel and the extremist Muslim world. Mitchell's elucidation of the connection of current events to Biblical prophecy is immensely informative.

I'm glad I read this book. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in understanding events in the Middle East.  Even more, as a result of having read this book, I have a greater understanding that, as Christians, we are the Middle East in many ways.  Our home is there; much like Mt. Pinos to the Chumash, it is the center of our world.  As Mitchell admonishes, we can pray -- for peace, for God's will, for the unfolding of the Kingdom-- calling upon God facing East, with our hearts toward Jerusalem.

Pax Christi!
~Michelle

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Noise on the Mountain, and Differences

It's noisy on the mountain today.  Vacation rentals have filled and once-or-twice-per-year vacation home owners have arrived, rendering our little oasis more of a neighborhood than a secluded mountain paradise. Holidays are like this. People come.

It causes me to grapple with my weaknesses. I'm possessive of this mountain. I prefer deer and bears to two legged creatures who leave trash behind and trample our baby pines.  I'm horrible; I know.


Life is like that, I suppose.  We're placed here with a bounty of strangers.
Strangers who have life experiences on which to draw that differ from our own.

At the beginning of this school year, the staff of my school district was given a presentation by a former gang member and drug dealer who is now a school administrator with a Ph.D.  Among other very powerful and accurate demonstrations, he approached one of the teachers in very close proximity with an aggressive body posture and loudly said some of the things that we often hear parents say in our school district. It was familiar.  We see it every day. (I work in what some might call "the 'hood."  While personally very sheltered from it, I grew up in that sort of neighborhood too.  Surprised? You might be.)


Anyway, he went on to explain that the imaginary person communicating in that fashion had been instructed to do so from a very young age by a loving parent who knew that child would be in a disadvantaged position in life and would need to compensate. "You don't ever let anyone get up on you," the parent instructed through the lips of the speaker.  "It is moral code from a parent, you see," the speaker explained.  It can't be broken.

Suddenly, the behaviors of all of those kids and teenagers from my growing up years made sense-- the aggressive ones who scared me.  And all of those parents who threaten me so often in meetings as they seek to advocate for their children and themselves -- the ones that we keep a sheriff's deputy close at hand for -- I get them now.  Not completely, but better.



We're all coming from the same place, I suppose. We're all a little afraid, aren't we? Afraid of not being accepted?  Afraid of being without? Afraid of not being loved? And so we reach for what we know and we use it to protect ourselves. The complicating factor is that we all know different experiences. We've all been taught different moral codes.  And so we huddle together with the ones whose experiences and codes are most similar to our own and we build a wall around ourselves to protect us from those we don't understand. You know which ones I mean, - the threatening ones; the scary kids on the block -- the ones who are scary to us while we are being scary to them.



There is, at this moment, some sort of music I can't even identify blaring from off the deck of the vacation rental adjacent to our home. And there is yelling.  They're having a great deal of fun, on their New Year's vacation in the forest, on my normally silent mountain.  I'd be lying if I tried to deny that it's a bit disconcerting. Still, I'm sure they are seeking peace-- the same peace that our family came here in search of.  Peace and safety from fear and loneliness. An escape from stress.  An assurance of love.



And so, I'm going to put my shoes on and go for a stroll through the forest 6000 feet above the Pacific and pray that they find that peace and that their souls are nourished and healed while they visit our mountain. Maybe they'll think of praying for me; God knows I have a lot of growing to do.

Pax Christi dear ones,
May you be filled with the peace and safety of our Lord's love,
~Michelle

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Second Week of Advent

Life isn't particularly easy. Have you noticed? Surely you have, because none of us seems to slip by, unscathed by life's difficulties. We all have periods of challenge and periods of plenty. Yet, there is reason to hope and there is work to be done. We are Kingdom people.


I suppose that since I'm old old enough now to be mother to some of you, I'm old enough to be preachy (you know, in the way that middle aged women do -- telling you something that you already knew, as if you didn't, and feeling smug about it.) The difficult times come and go, but the important part is that they always go, yielding to periods of lightness and joy. There's no point in dwelling on them. One ought just push through to the end, because there will be one. My Mormon pioneer ancestors would have said, "Put your shoulder to the wheel; push along." We will reach Zion, you see, with God's help.

So then, take heart.  That tiny flame floating warm on wick atop wax of purple -- it speaks of Zion. It speaks of Almighty God approaching to enter our physical world -- God with us.  He is coming as a baby born to save us from ourselves, as a Savior returned to usher in the Kingdom, and via the Holy Spirit to enter our lives today in relationship with our Lord -- soon. As fire leaps from wick to wick amid the weeks' passing -- he approaches. We have hope. Take heart; sense peace; put your shoulder tot he wheel, push along, never forgetting that without Him we can do nothing.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Bring us your Peace.

(To listen the video, first click the pause button in the upper right hand corner of the sidebar to silence the blog music.)


Pax Christi friends,
~Michelle

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Everything's Coming up Purple!: 2013 Advent Veil Giveaway


Welcome to the first giveaway of the Advent Veiling Project! 

We are excited to have you join us. We have a tradition here at Liturgical Time of giving away purple veils during Advent and Lent.  The problem is, we have three purple veils in the shop right now, and couldn't decide which one to give away.  So, we decided to let the winner choose! Our winner may choose one of any of of the following veils:

Choice One:

A silky soft purple Eternity Veil with lace trim:





Choice Two:

A mantilla style chapel veil in the same silky soft purple lace:







Choice Three:

Or our classic purple Eternity Veil:






International entries are welcome, although we cannot be responsible for an international winner's veil once it leaves the United States.
Entries close at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on December 4, 2013

Without further ado, here the giveaway:
Good Luck!


Our Winner is : Annie, who has already been contacted via email.
Congrats!





 

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