February 25, 2014

So this morning dawned bright and chilly, with just one cat still sick, but at least coming out of the closet now, so he’s on the mend.

robertsOur commemoration for the Episcopals is about John Roberts, a priest known for his missionary work among the Shoshone and Arapahoe Natives, who began two boarding schools and a variety of congregations. Having recently read about Natives who were forced to attend boarding schools to improve their “modern” education, I was quite ready to doubt the “history” being provided, but actually found a book from the Native perspective that showed that John Roberts was one of the few missionaries who honored the traditions of the Native tribes, finding the commonalities with Christianity, without eliminating the culture, language and traditions in the process.  That would be my kind of priest. 🙂

Moving forward, we are coming up on times important in a couple of religions. 🙂  Tomorrow begins the time of Ayyám-i-Há (okay, that’s cool – I ayyamihacopied the word to get the accents in the right place, and if you hold your cursor over the word, it tells you what the holiday is) for the Baha’is.  These are the intercalary days which are spent as a time of service to the community, gift giving and celebration before the time of the Fast.  The Fast begins with the Baha’i month of Alá (meaning Loftiness), which goes from the Julian calendar from March 2 through March 20.  During this time, Baha’is fast from sunrise to sunset (with lots of very practical rules and exceptions as needed – i.e., construction workers may not go without water; pregnant and nursing mothers are not to fast, but to say extra prayers; women on their period are to eat as they need and substitute days at another time of year for those days missed, travelers are to ensure they have at least water to drink, etc.), spending the time in contemplation and prayer, “feasting on the love of the Divine.”

Similarly, liturgical Christians have the time of Lent, the timing of which is determined by when Easter falls.  Some people are not aware that Easter is determined to be the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox lent(generally some time around March 21).  Once easter is determined, Lent is determined to begin 40 days prior to that.  This year, Ash Wednesday will begin March 5.  HT will be following the Lenten program sponsored by the Society of St. John the Evangelist, which is a daily 2-minute video, followed by a question to contemplate throughout the day and write down answers at the end of it.  I’ll be keeping the daily blog for the church so people who want to participate but can’t make Sundays to take part in discussions can do so.  This program seems a bit more on the positive side of Lent than others I’ve seen in the past.

I’m one of those strange people who appreciate the extra focus on the spiritual, knowing that there are others all over the world doing the same thing at the same time, and, for a time, changing the energy and focus of the Earth to one closer to God.  Christianity is both the most widespread and populous religion in the world, with the Baha’is being second in most widespread (although nowhere near as populous ) – so to me, there are people in every nation and place on earth focusing on God with all their hearts, minds and spirits.  That’s a pretty humbling thought to realize.

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