Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Faith Works 1-14-06
Jeff Gill

Calendars, Kalends, and Keeping Track

Have you ever heard of the "Proclamation of the Date of Easter on Epiphany" in worship? It dates from the days when people didn't have calendars built into every electronic device they used, since they . . . didn’t have electricity!

It also served, and serves now where it is still held as a living tradition, as a reminder of what is the central point of Christian Faith. Liturgical traditions like Catholic Christian and some Protestant Christians (mainly Episcopalians and Lutherans) have used it.

And traditionally it would be sung as chant, the way of speaking the parts of the service that – before electronic volume enhancement! -- all should hear, since the singing (or chanting) voice carried farther and more clearly.

You would hear, echoing through the church, something like this:

[begin ital]
Dear brothers and sisters,

The glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of His return. Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.

Let us recall the year's culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: His last supper, His crucifixion, His burial, and His rising, celebrated between the evening of the thirteenth of April and the evening of the sixteenth of April.

Each Easter — as on each Sunday — the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has forever conquered sin and death.

From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the first of March. The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on the twenty-fifth (or twenty-eighth) or May. Pentecost, the joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the fourth of June. And this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on the third of December.

Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christ in the feasts of the holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed.

To Jesus Christ, Who was, Who is, and Who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise forever and ever.

[end ital]

Now, I don’t come myself from a very liturgical/formal worship tradition. But there is a beauty to starting the new calendar year with a clear affirmation of what the anchor of the year’s services is with the date of Easter (remember, first Sunday after first full moon after Spring Equinox, but let’s not fight any more wars about it), and then calculating all other major feasts and festivals from it.

Or, at the next worship committee meeting, you can let American Greetings or Bob’s Filling Station ("Our Gas Keeps You Going!") tell you in their pocket calendar what you’re going to do. But where did Bob, or his print shop, get the date?

At any rate, you see above the actual dates for those worship celebrations for 2006; for federal holidays, check at the Post Office.

Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio; tell him about your favorite liturgical observance through disciple@voyager.net.
Notes From My Knapsack 1-15-06
Jeff Gill

What Would Vince Do?

If I were Vince Young of Texas, Rose Bowl and National Championship winning quarterback, and I were thinking about my senior year of college. . .
C’mon. I know I should say "finish your college education, set the basis for a career that lasts the rest of your life, not just a few more years, and then play pro ball and rake in the cash." That’s the careful, responsible answer.
Or is it? This is where economic calculations become complicated even with strong moral and idealistic influences added in.
Compare these two situations: deep in Vince’s knee, a small piece of ligament has a worn, thin spot. Given a certain move or pressure, it will tear, likely in the next twelve months.
He can sign a contract now, worth $2 million a year for five or more years whether he plays or not, deal with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as they come, go through rehab (on his team’s nickle, no less) and maybe get back into a starting slot.
Or propose the same injury in the second game of his senior year at Texas, not play the rest of the season, get drafted late in the second round with a two year, $250,000 per contract, going into training camp as second string competing with another ten year vet even for that place on the roster.
Got it? Same injury, same date: scenario one a minimum of ten mil in the bank, scenario two maybe half million tops.
Add in the fact that Mr. Young appears to be a thoughtful, intelligent fellow who likely will finish his current degree (among others in years to come, I’ll bet) during springs and summers anyhow, and the calculus is not complicated.
The only argument I can muster for why I wouldn’t myself encourage him to go professional is the ol’ athlete example question. Should he do it – run the risk of losing nine and a half million dollars by staying in school – to show young men and women the importance of school for 99.9999 percent who will never make a living even for a short time out of athletics?
The best thing I can say about Vince Young is that if he does stay a Texas QB one more year, that will be the reason he does it. But I’d understand all too well if he doesn’t.
Contrast our old friend Maurice . . . y’know, I really hate to give him any more publicity, even on our modest little pages of the Booster. Getting arrested for a dopey "armed" robbery on the eve of the Fiesta Bowl in a grubby alley of Columbus makes me wonder: did he time it on purpose, semi-subconsciously? His classmates celebrate an amazing four years together back to Tempe, and there he is, out of the spotlight, so he swings it back the only way within his reach?
And why the series of poor choices that led him behind a sleazy bar named "Opium" (now doesn’t that shout trouble?), and away from the pro contract that likely did await him after at least another year or two of college? Well, a version of the same flawed economic logic that just barely might be true for a Vince Young, but rarely is the case for anyone else at all, magnified by personal circumstance and social injustice.
Clarett’s family is, from uncle to grandparent to neighbors even, deeply impoverished. What does even the $250,000 payoff look like? It looks like groceries and electricity and a car, not even necessarily a hot ride, either. You know that $250,000, after taxes ($180,000 if he’s got a good accountant, but there goes another $12,500), and an agent’s $25,000 leaves say $142,500. Give mom half, buy two uncles $30,000 cars, and you have left . . . about $10,000, which is about what you’d make at MickeyD’s working the drive up window.
But he just saw the zeros, and not the emptiness behind them.
Does Vince owe the future Maurice’s another year in college? I don’t think he owes it to anyone, except maybe to Martin Luther King Jr.'s memory.
But it would be quite a gift, to all of us. And I’ll root for him whoever and wherever he’s playing next year.

Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio; contact him at disciple@voyager.net.