13 December 2005

Advent III Worship

Sunday's shindig, Guadete Sunday, went better than expected. The music sounded great, folk were overall in a good mood and my sermon was short and off-centered.

Advent has been frustrating for me, just havent been able to get the sermonic activity going. Advent iv, xmas eve and xmas look better though.

This week ones can celebrate Ember Days. I think these ancient Celtic seasonal celebrations copted by the Christian Church as days of fasting and abstinence are quite cool. Hawk gave the following description:

According to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (every
Anglican leaning Baptist needs one of these in their bookcase), ember
days are four groups each of three days, in the church year, viz., the
Wed., Fri., and Sat. after St. Lucy (13 Dec.), Ash Wednesday,
Whitsunday, and Holy Cross Day (14 Sept.) respectively, which are
observed as days of abstinence and fasting in the Churches of the West.
The name is perhaps a corruption of quatuor tempora which in Latin means
'four seasons'. Their early history and original purpose is obscure,
but they seem to be tied to seed time, harvest, and autumn vintage. The
connexion (Oxford spelling, not mine) of the days with the crops has now
been largely lost, and they are associated to-day almost entirely with
the ordination of ministers.

On a practical matter, Bishops typically use the Ember Days as
opportunities to check up on their postulants and candidates for Holy
Orders. While in seminary I was required to write a letter to my Bishop
on or around an Ember Day and he would respond on or around the
following Ember Day. As for fasting and abstinence I don't know of
anyone who still practices this on the Ember Days.

The Anglobaptist offered this:
hen I was at SWTS I befrinded a bishop who served as one of the
trustees. I
actually sent him an ember day letter once. Mentoring makes sense and
baptists forget that sometimes.

How would you go about it? Is your EM bishop-ish? Pastoral? L. G.
is our EM, I would have sent him an Ember Day letter had he been
serving while
I was in seminary.

Look like a tradition worth reviving, minus the focus on bishops and ordination. Perhaps they could serve as parish wide days of preparation for xmas-epiphany.

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