Friday, November 30, 2007

The End of the Church Year

St. Andrew

If you would like to celebrate his feast, have bread and fish for dinner, since Andrew, Peter's brother, is the one who in John 6:8-9 says to Jesus

There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

He is also remembered for having called out this prayer (in Latin called O Bona Crux), when he saw the cross upon which he would give his own life as his witness to Jesus Christ:

O GOOD CROSS, made beautiful by the body of the Lord!
Long have I desired thee, ardently have I loved thee, unceasingly have I sought thee, and now thou art ready for my eager soul.
Receive me from among men and restore me to my Master, so that He, who redeemed me through thee, shalt receive me through thee. Amen.

Advent Eve

We have no particular festivity for the end of the church year; we look forward to the first day of Advent instead. But the Jewish people from whom we inherited our liturgical year, observe it in a lovely way in the Simchat Torah.

Since they read the Torah straight through each year (where we follow the life of Christ), they get to the end of the roll. On Simchat Torah, in temple, they ceremoniously and festively re-roll the Torah back to the beginning, singing and marching around the temple. Little kids get flags or banners to wave, to add to the festivity. During the re-rolling, the empty Ark is filled with candles because God is the True Light. They sometimes read the last verses of Deuteronomy

And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great and terrible deeds which Moses wrought in the sight of all Israel.

and the first verses of Genesis

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. And God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.

one right after the other, to signal that the reading of Scripture is never at an end.

I'm jealous, frankly. We just take the Year I Lectionary to the sacristy and get Year II off the shelf.




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