Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Lenten meditation from the Vicar of Baghdad


Lent begins today, Ash Wednesday, and ends on Easter Eve (this year on 30th March). Many Christians treat this time as a way of preparation for Easter, but most of the country will be oblivious. Lent has fallen way down the multi-faith league tables – certainly beneath Eid and Diwali, but still a little way above Whitsun. In the public consciousness, it is fused with scoffing pancakes and giving up chocolate. But there’s scarcely a schoolboy who could explain its origins or significance: it isn’t on the National Curriculum, you see.

To mark the launch of the Reflections for Lent 2013 app (how cool is that) from Church House Publishing, Canon Andrew White, the vicar of St George’s Church, Baghdad, has written a special reflection. It focuses on how Lent is a special time to refocus on God.

Pause for a moment, right now, just for a few minutes, before you flit off to find the latest inane drivel on the Pope’s abdication. Read slowly, reflect and meditate:
Again we are about to enter the time of Lent, the time when we remember the time of Jesus fasting in the wilderness and the approach of Easter. For many it is the time they will give up something; hopefully for all followers of Christ it will also be the time they take up further spiritual reflection. Apps, books and e-books such as Reflections for Lent help us regain our right focus.

For those of us here in Iraq, Lent is longer and has a very real focus. Here Lent is preceded by two further important events. First is the fast of Jonah, three days with no food at all. Many will not even drink in this period. This remembers Jonah in the belly of the whale when he did not eat or drink. Then we come to the fast of Nineveh for 10 days leading into Lent. This remembers the fasting of the Assyrians, when they turned from their evil ways to the Almighty. The fact is that to this day all the Assyrians are Christian and all the Christians of Iraq come from Nineveh .

So for all in this land Lent is combined with the fast of Nineveh and is an intense time of giving thanks to the Lord for sending us a miserable evangelist in a submarine, but also a time of suffering and glory. In the midst of our immense suffering we remember the suffering of our Lord, culminating in his intense suffering on the Cross. That time though was also his greatest time of Glory and also our greatest time of glory. So this is a time when we all draw near to God and He draws near to us. There is no better time to do this than to find time to reflect.

Canon Andrew White, Baghdad
The app is available from iTunes and contains daily reflections on Bible passages by four leading authors – the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell (Bishop of Chelmsford), the Rt Revd Steven Croft (Bishop of Sheffield), the Rev’d Barbara Mosse (tutor and lecturer) and the Rev’d Mark Oakley (Canon Chancellor of St Paul ’s Cathedral).

His Grace commends it to you – at £1.99, it costs less than a horseburger.

40 Comments:

Blogger denis said...

I like wot u say !
Lent is not understood at all here in multifaithless bradford,yorkshire on mud. I just watched the film about OBL 30 zero something, very tense film, but the islamists seem to be wrecking the world. The resurrected Jesus seems hidden. Keep up the good work!

13 February 2013 09:42  
Blogger bluedog said...

A brilliant use of social media, Your Grace, and some wonderful comment by Canon White.

If there is a VC for Anglican clergy, Canon Andrew White must rank as an outstanding candidate.

Although one suspects that Canon White would decline any award.

13 February 2013 10:46  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

It is good to reflect on the withdrawal of Jesus to prepare Himself, by fasting and overcoming temptation, for His Messianic mission.

This lifts us above the political intrigue and theological differences within and between all the Churches who claim to represent Him.

To think, this Easter there will be a newly enthroned Archbishop of Westminster and the possibility the Seat of Peter will remain vacant.

Speaking as a Catholic, it would be wonderful if the election of our Pope was concluded in time for Easter Sunday and a Cardinal from the persecuted Churches in Middle Ease was selected.

13 February 2013 10:51  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

God's Holy Day Calendar or Man's?

From Ash Wednesday to Easter, many religious folk solemnly mark their foreheads with ash, “fasting” (or abstaining from certain foods or physical pleasures) for 40 days. We are told this is done to presumably imitate Our lord Jesus Christ’s 40-day fast in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-2). Some will give up certain meats, alcoholic drink, chocolate, smoking, television, over-eating or swearing. These people will vow to give up anything, as long as it prepares them for Easter.

People who observe Lent may be very religious, dedicated and sincere, but they are sincerely wrong.

We should always get somethings true meaning from the Bible’s perspective, not from the “traditions of men” Mark 7:7-9

7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

Lent/Lenten is a forty-day period of time that proceeds the Catholic holiday commonly called Easter in which many observe Lent by fasting, performing penance, giving alms, abstaining from amusements.

The Catholic Encyclopedia defines Lent:"The Teutonic word Lent, which we employ to denote the forty days' fast preceding Easter, originally meant no more than the spring season "The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

But as Lent means Spring and Lent now begins and is primarily in the Winter, where did it really come from?

Ash Wednesday is the Wednesday after Quinquagesima Sunday, which is the first day of the Lenten fast.

The name dies cinerum (day of ashes) which it bears in the Roman Missal is found in the earliest existing copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary and probably dates from at least the eighth century. On this day all the faithful according to ancient custom are exhorted to approach the altar before the beginning of Mass, and there the priest, dipping his thumb into ashes previously blessed, marks the forehead (Ash Wednesday. The Catholic Encyclopedia).

13 February 2013 11:31  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

People will notice from the above admission that Ash Wednesday was not an original observance of even the Church of Rome but is another one of the many changes that church adopted that has no biblical apostolic authority from scripture.

The God-ordained religious festivals mentioned in The Bible as occurring in what is the Spring season of the year include Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost.

4 ‘These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.
5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover.
6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread.

The above were clearly observed by Jesus, the Apostles, and the early Church.

Leviticus 23:15-16

15 ‘And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed.
16 Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord.
The Greek term, used in the New Testament, is Pentecost, which means 50th, from the practice of it being the fiftieth day from the wave sheaf offering. The above are all the religious periods that the Old Testament mentioned that occur in the Spring (none, other than the weekly Sabbath, occur in the Winter season).

Of the several mentioned in scripture that 40 days of fasting were done (Deuteronomy 9:9, 1 Kings 19:8-9, Matt 4:1-2) one thing that all the above fasts had in common is that the participants did not eat at all for forty-days and at least one of them did not drink anything then either. The 40 day fasts in the Bible did not resemble Lent, they were not any type of annual practice, and the apostles never observed one as far as can be determined.
The Lent Catholic encyclopedia states;
We may then fairly conclude that Irenaeus about the year 190 knew nothing of any Easter fast of forty days...And there is the same silence observable in all the pre-Nicene Fathers, though many had occasion to mention such an Apostolic institution if it had existed. We may note for example that there is no mention of Lent in St. Dionysius of Alexandria (ed. Feltoe, 94 sqq.) or in the "Didascalia", which Funk attributes to about the year 250 (Lent. The Catholic Encyclopedia).

A Catholic Saint Abbot John Cassian (also known as Cassianus, monk of Marseilles) in the fifth century admitted:

Howbeit you should know that as long as the primitive church retained its perfection unbroken, this observance of Lent did not exist (Cassian John. Conference 21, THE FIRST CONFERENCE OF ABBOT THEONAS. ON THE RELAXATION DURING THE FIFTY DAYS. Chapter 30).

13 February 2013 11:34  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

While the Bible does endorse that Christians should fast, no forty-day period is ever proscribed. Here is what Or Lord Jesus Himself taught:

Then they said to Him, "Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?" And He said to them, "Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days" (Luke 5:33-36).

Thus apparently Christ's disciples did not fast much while Jesus was alive and would fast after He was to be taken away. However, as even Catholic scholars admit, there is no evidence that the apostles initiated any type of forty-day fast.

Now, Lent does not come from the Bible, nor was a forty-day Lenten fast the practice of the early Christian church. Certain Protestants are unknowingly admitting that they are relying on tradition and the authority of Rome (which they often claim does not exist) and not Sola Scriptura for their observations.

E S Blofeld

ps

The Bible says that we are purified—cleansed, set apart and made pure in God’s sight—by the shed blood of Jesus Christ (Heb. 9:11-14, 22; 13:12). This, along with faith (Acts 15:9) and humbly submitting to and obeying God (James 4:7-10) through His truth and prayer (John 17:17; I Tim. 4:5), makes us clean before God. No amount of fasting, abstaining from physical pleasures or any other form of self-denial can purify us.

Turn to Rome if you want to but this old fella is 'not for turning'! ;-P

13 February 2013 11:34  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Ernsty

So I guess you disagree with Canon Andrew White, the vicar of St George’s Church, Baghdad, who is not a Roman Catholic, when he writes:

"In the midst of our immense suffering we remember the suffering of our Lord, culminating in his intense suffering on the Cross. That time though was also his greatest time of Glory and also our greatest time of glory. So this is a time when we all draw near to God and He draws near to us. There is no better time to do this than to find time to reflect."

Did you, "Read slowly, reflect and meditate", as Lent "is a special time to refocus on God."

Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a reminder and celebration of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God.
This practice is common in much of Christendom, being celebrated by Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, and some Baptist denominations.

It marks the start of a period which is an allusion to the separation of Jesus in the desert to fast and pray. The period of repentance is also analogous to the 40 days during which Moses repented and fasted in response to the making of the Golden calf.

Ash Wednesday does have a long tradition. Christians who had committed grave faults performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop sprinkled over them ashes made from the palms from the previous year. Then, while the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the church because of their sins - just as Adam, the first man, was turned out of Paradise because of his disobedience. The penitents did not enter the church again until Maundy Thursday after having been reconciled by the toil of forty days' penance and sacramental absolution. Later, all Christians, whether public or secret penitents, came to receive ashes out of devotion. It follows the example of the Ninevites, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes for offending God. Our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth.

As one claiming to be a biblical scholar and expert on Church history, you will know there is plenty of references to sackcloth and ashes in the Old Testament and also in the early Church as a mark of repentance.

It seems the first clearly datable liturgy for Ash Wednesday that provides for sprinkling ashes is in the Romano-Germanic pontifical of 960. As early as the sixth century, the Spanish Mozarabic rite calls for signing the forehead with ashes when admitting a gravely ill person to the Order of Penitents. By the beginning of the 11th century it was customary for all the faithful to take part in a ceremony on the Wednesday before Lent that included the imposition of ashes. Near the end of that century, Pope Urban II called for the general use of ashes on that day. Only later did this day come to be called Ash Wednesday.

You say potato and many Protestants and Catholics choose to say potato.

13 February 2013 12:33  
Blogger Anon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

13 February 2013 12:45  
Blogger Anon said...

Thank you, I always have time for Canon Andrew White.

Should £1.99 be a little much in these austere times perhaps I may humbly submit www.40Acts.org.uk as a good alternative.

Kind regards,

Joe.

13 February 2013 12:48  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Dikkie

"So I guess you disagree with Canon Andrew White, the vicar of St George’s Church, Baghdad, who is not a Roman Catholic, when he writes:

"In the midst of our immense suffering we remember the suffering of our Lord, culminating in his intense suffering on the Cross. That time though was also his greatest time of Glory and also our greatest time of glory. So this is a time when we all draw near to God and He draws near to us. There is no better time to do this than to find time to reflect."

Ernst said..."People who observe Lent may be very religious, dedicated and sincere, but they are sincerely wrong.

We should always get somethings true meaning from the Bible’s perspective, not from the “traditions of men” Mark 7:7-9". I had read what he had written and dealt with this statement within my above sentences?! It's fairly obvious to those with half an intellect!

Do you even read fully what Ernst writes, ever?

"Ash Wednesday does have a long tradition." Indeed but if you read Tertullian, you would know that he alludes that this head 'ashing' with a sign as from the Mithras way of anointing male soldiers by placing the sun cross on their heads, prior to the time Ash Wednesday suddenly appeared in Christian Rome?

The Apostle Paul invoked keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread:

7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)

Thus, while the Apostle Paul specifically endorsed the observance of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread, he did not do so for something called Lent.
Second century early church fathers such as Polycarp and Polycrates of Ephesus observed Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread per Eusebius (Eusebius, Church History, Book V, Chapter 23-24).

The original practice of the earliest Christians were to observe Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Christians, like some of the observant Jews, purged their homes of leaven prior to to sunset on the 15th of Nisan. And Christians avoided leaven for those seven days. This is something that the Bible teaches and early Christians practiced.

Do read the early fathers..It's enlightening but it is strange that about 350 ad their sayings are basically discarded by Rome unless people from 'The Church' like to go back and take a few sayings that they make agree with their dogma but then it's usually out of context!

Blowers

13 February 2013 13:30  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

" Christians who had grave faults performed public penance."

So Dodo..what do you have planned for yours? Hair shirt and thorns perhaps? Where ?... and do you require an audience?

13 February 2013 14:14  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

That my dear Ms Cressida de Nova, is between God, my confessor and myself.

Ps
I was unaware you had such unorthodox tastes. What mystery lurks behind those glasses?

13 February 2013 15:07  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Ernst

If you read the OT you will see the use of ash as a sign of repentance, individual and national, has a very long Jewish history. The paganism of Mithras inserted by Rome - indeed!

13 February 2013 15:12  
Blogger John Chater said...

The Holy Father (still) today said the following about Lent, which explains some of its context and meaning. Go on Ernst, give it a go:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today, Ash Wednesday, we begin the liturgical time of Lent, forty days that prepare us for the celebration of Holy Easter, it is a time of particular commitment in our spiritual journey. The number forty occurs several times in the Bible. In particular, it recalls the forty years that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness: a long period of formation to become the people of God, but also a long period in which the temptation to be unfaithful to the covenant with the Lord was always present. Forty were also the days of the Prophet Elijah’s journey to reach the Mount of God, Horeb; as well as the time that Jesus spent in the desert before beginning his public life and where he was tempted by the devil. In this Catechesis I would like to dwell on this moment of earthly life of the Son of God, which we will read of in the Gospel this Sunday.

Read the rest here:

http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-pray-for-me-and-the-future-pope-the-lord-will

13 February 2013 15:28  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

John

What a brilliant homily. Here's some more of it:

"First of all, the desert, where Jesus withdrew to, is the place of silence, of poverty, where man is deprived of material support and is placed in front of the fundamental questions of life, where he is pushed to towards the essentials in life and for this very reason it becomes easier for him to find God. But the desert is also a place of death, because where there is no water there is no life, and it is a place of solitude where man feels temptation more intensely.

Jesus goes into the desert, and there is tempted to leave the path indicated by God the Father to follow other easier and worldly paths (cf. Lk 4:1-13). So he takes on our temptations and carries our misery, to conquer evil and open up the path to God, the path of conversion.

In reflecting on the temptations Jesus is subjected to in the desert we are invited, each one of us, to respond to one fundamental question: what is truly important in our lives? In the first temptation the devil offers to change a stone into bread to sate Jesus’ hunger. Jesus replies that the man also lives by bread but not by bread alone: ​​without a response to the hunger for truth, hunger for God, man can not be saved (cf. vv. 3-4). In the second, the devil offers Jesus the path of power: he leads him up on high and gives him dominion over the world, but this is not the path of God: Jesus clearly understands that it is not earthly power that saves the world, but the power of the Cross, humility, love (cf. vv. 5-8). In the third, the devil suggests Jesus throw himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple of Jerusalem and be saved by God through his angels, that is, to do something sensational to test God, but the answer is that God is not an object on which to impose our conditions: He is the Lord of all (cf. vv. 9-12).

What is the core of the three temptations that Jesus is subjected to? It is the proposal to exploit God, to use Him for his own interests, for his own glory and success. So, in essence, to put himself in the place of God, removing Him from his own existence and making him seem superfluous. Everyone should then ask: what is the role God in my life? Is He the Lord or am I?
Overcoming the temptation to place God in submission to oneself and one’s own interests or to put Him in a corner and converting oneself to the proper order of priorities, giving God the first place, is a journey that every Christian must undergo. "Conversion", an invitation that we will hear many times in Lent, means following Jesus in so that his Gospel is a real life guide, it means allowing God transform us, no longer thinking that we are the only protagonists of our existence, recognizing that we are creatures who depend on God, His love, and that only by “losing" our life in Him can we truly have it. This means making our choices in the light of the Word of God.

Today we can no longer be Christians as a simple consequence of the fact that we live in a society that has Christian roots: even those born to a Christian family and formed in the faith must, each and every day, renew the choice to be a Christian, to give God first place, before the temptations continuously suggested by a secularized culture, before the criticism of many of our contemporaries.

The tests which modern society subjects Christians to, in fact, are many, and affect the personal and social life. It is not easy to be faithful to Christian marriage, practice mercy in everyday life, leave space for prayer and inner silence, it is not easy to publicly oppose choices that many take for granted, such as abortion in the event of an unwanted pregnancy, euthanasia in case of serious illness, or the selection of embryos to prevent hereditary diseases. The temptation to set aside one’s faith is always present and conversion becomes a response to God which must be confirmed several times throughout one’s life."

13 February 2013 15:38  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Here's the rest:

"The major conversions like that of St. Paul on the road to Damascus, or St. Augustine, are an example and stimulus, but also in our time when the sense of the sacred is eclipsed, God's grace is at work and works wonders in life of many people. The Lord never gets tired of knocking at the door of man in social and cultural contexts that seem engulfed by secularization, as was the case for the Russian Orthodox Pavel Florensky. After acompletely agnostic education, to the point he felt an outright hostility towards religious teachings taught in school, the scientist Florensky came to exclaim: "No, you can not live without God", and to change his life completely, so much so he became a monk.

I also think the figure of Etty Hillesum, a young Dutch woman of Jewish origin who died in Auschwitz. Initially far from God, she found Him looking deep inside herself and wrote: "There is a well very deep inside of me. And God is in that well. Sometimes I can reach Him, more often He is covered by stone and sand: then God is buried. We must dig Him up again "(Diary, 97). In her scattered and restless life, she finds God in the middle of the great tragedy of the twentieth century, the Shoah. This young fragile and dissatisfied woman, transfigured by faith, becomes a woman full of love and inner peace, able to say: "I live in constant intimacy with God."
The ability to oppose the ideological blandishments of her time to choose the search for truth and open herself up to the discovery of faith is evidenced by another woman of our time, the American Dorothy Day. In her autobiography, she confesses openly to having given in to the temptation that everything could be solved with politics, adhering to the Marxist proposal: "I wanted to be with the protesters, go to jail, write, influence others and leave my dreams to the world. How much ambition and how much searching for myself in all this!". The journey towards faith in such a secularized environment was particularly difficult, but Grace acts nonetheless, as she points out: "It is certain that I felt the need to go to church more often, to kneel, to bow my head in prayer. A blind instinct, one might say, because I was not conscious of praying. But I went, I slipped into the atmosphere of prayer ... ". God guided her to a conscious adherence to the Church, in a lifetime spent dedicated to the underprivileged.

In our time there are no few conversions understood as the return of those who, after a Christian education, perhaps a superficial one, moved away from the faith for years and then rediscovered Christ and his Gospel. In the Book of Revelation we read: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me"(3, 20). Our inner person must prepare to be visited by God, and for this reason we should allow ourselves be invaded by illusions, by appearances, by material things.

In this time of Lent, in the Year of the faith, we renew our commitment to the process of conversion, to overcoming the tendency to close in on ourselves and instead, to making room for God, looking at our daily reality with His eyes. The alternative between being wrapped up in our egoism and being open to the love of God and others, we could say corresponds to the alternatives to the temptations of Jesus: the alternative, that is, between human power and love of the Cross, between a redemption seen only in material well-being and redemption as the work of God, to whom we give primacy in our lives.

Conversion means not closing in on ourselves in the pursuit of success, prestige, position, but making sure that each and every day, in the small things, truth, faith in God and love become most important."

13 February 2013 15:41  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
Mr. Integrity has given up commenting for lent. Hurrah I hear in the back ground.
Blast, I’ve broken my vow already.

13 February 2013 16:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...



Lent was / is / and will be only for the adequately fed pious. One recalls his father, who grew up in depression hit Ireland of the 1930s - “We had nothing to give up but survival” That self same situation can only be the lot for many of the world’s faithful today.

He was stick thin then, father. There is a group photo of him holding a hurley. The young fellow could be differentiated from the thing because he was the taller.

Keep your Lent, and you can keep Jonah too. Surviving inside a whale for three days with nothing but plankton – really ! What do you take the Inspector for; a gullible believe anything fool ?





13 February 2013 18:07  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Dikkie and John

If you are going to do the correct fasting then you must do it as done by those in biblical 40 day period. so that means strictly NO FOOD and possibly no drink.
Either do it right or not at all.

You both can do it, can you, to follow biblical practice?

"If you read the OT you will see the use of ash as a sign of repentance, individual and national, has a very long Jewish history." What on earth has this to do with Roman Catholic introduced practices that were unknown in both OT and NT? Where exactly is Lent in Scripture?

Blofeld

13 February 2013 18:42  
Blogger Owl said...

Thank you YG for giving us the words of Canon Andrew White.

I agree with you that a little reflection on the more important things in life is, most likely, overdue.

13 February 2013 19:03  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Ernsty asked ...
"Where exactly is Lent in Scripture?"

I was pointing out it was not a season introduced from a pagan mystery religion as you incorrectly claimed.

Now, where in scripture does it actually say the New Covenant in Christ requires the strict following of biblical texts - Old and New Testament? The test, surely, is whether the season of Lent contradicts scripture or is in keeping with it?

Inspector
The only requirement for Ash Wednesday is that it is a day of fasting and abstinence. The remaining days of Lent are up to the individual to observe but we are asked to focus especially on God and what He expects from us.

13 February 2013 19:19  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo, the Inspector is somewhat sick of ‘abstaining’, if you catch this man’s drift. One hopes it’s worth it...

13 February 2013 19:26  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

It is Inspector, keep your pecker up.

And for our American cousins, the phrase means to remain cheerful and keep one's head held high.

13 February 2013 19:46  
Blogger non mouse said...

Your Grace: Hmmmmm. Here's a thought about possible significance in the timing of that lightning strike on the Vatican --- so close to Ash Wednesday:

Ashes to Ashes; Dust to Dust . . . REMEMBER, MAN, that thou art dust; and to dust thou shalt return.

13 February 2013 20:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

13 February 2013 21:21  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

There's probably some small benefits in exercising self-control by giving something up but it seems to me that fasting ought to be accompanied by extended periods of contemplation and that's hardly likely for working people in a society like ours. One can hardly contemplate life's mysteries on an empty stomach as (say) a till operator in WH Smith or a bus driver in Croydon.

13 February 2013 21:22  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Single working people need to be exempt. One finally gets his butt down about 9 pm. Isn’t that load enough ?

13 February 2013 22:14  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

It is voluntary Inspector so no exemption required.

13 February 2013 22:40  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Lent.A word from Old English meaning Spring so along with Easter eggs some pagan influence.

14 February 2013 03:18  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Dikkie

"I was pointing out it was not a season introduced from a pagan mystery religion as you incorrectly claimed." Take it these 40 days that started on Wednesday are spring (Spring starts March 21st) are they and not winter? Dear bird, you have to be argumentatively desperate?!

"Now, where in scripture does it actually say the New Covenant in Christ requires the strict following of biblical texts - Old and New Testament? The test, surely, is whether the season of Lent contradicts scripture or is in keeping with it? " Not answering correctly old Ernesto's question, are you but do look above for your answer!.

Ernst did not ask for the 'word' but the 'practice' of Lent in scripture. Because people ate bread stated in biblical verses does not mean they were celebrating the Lord's Supper, does it! It is the specific practice in context that gives you an answer.
The definition of Lent from Rome and protestant denominations NOW is 40 days of menu like fasting/pick or mix abstinence for penance and/or reflection...Where is this exact type of defined practice in scripture, anywhere. NONE!
You quote of people in biblical texts that actually FASTED, not abstained from certain personally selected foods or behaviour.

If Ernst had asked, where is soteriology in scripture, surely yu would not have gone away and said ' There is no mention of of the word soteriology in scripture'

Would you like old Ernesto to show you from Roman Catholic history that it has varied in length and meaning throughout it's infallible description of christian practice and custom and was not known by early church and it's fathers?

Ernesto

14 February 2013 10:51  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

So what are you doing to prepare for Easter Sunday - or is this non-biblical too borrowed from a pagan mystery religion?

14 February 2013 11:15  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Oh Ernsty, I did look and nowhere does the bible say the Christian Church is bound entirely by the written word. Indeed, quite the opposite.

14 February 2013 11:17  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Dikkie

"So what are you doing to prepare for Easter Sunday - or is this non-biblical too borrowed from a pagan mystery religion?"
Ernst has no special duties or refocusing on Christ and His love for me over the next month or so leading up to the remembrance of His passion, death and resurrection for ernst and others.

Ernst has a daily loving obligation to his Saviour of acknowledged devotion and studying scripture not reserved solely for a given period within a specific time period.

We can never “earn” God’s love with acts of penance and fasting, because it’s not dependent on what we do. In truth, the Bible tells us that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
In God’s eyes, we are worth the best that heaven could offer—the gift of His precious Son.

"Give us this day our daily bread" is laid forth as the forth of the seven petitions in the Lord's prayer we are to make as believers (the first three address our God, regarding who He is to us and what we can expect if we follow Him, the second four are prayers related to our needs and concerns) and is what Ernst lives by 'DAILY'.

Ernst

ps

"Oh Ernsty, I did look and nowhere does the bible say the Christian Church is bound entirely by the written word. Indeed, quite the opposite. " Thought you RC's believed that 'tradition' was that which was performed visually or orally by the acts of the apostles then written down, codified, for us in the scripture as examples and dogma...Do make your minds up. There was NO 'tradition' on show in the scripture that is visible or orally handed down by them that shows they 'traditionally' did Lent or anything like it!!!

14 February 2013 11:54  
Blogger non mouse said...

From long before Chaucer's day, I think, Christan society understood that the whole calendar from Advent to Easter served to remind us of the events in Christ's life. In this last forty days, that is to say, we would mentally move with Him from winter - the time of His Passion and Death; and then into spring - the time of the Harrowing of Hell, His Resurrection, and our Redemption.

In such a light, Lent is a season for moving from death to rebirth: to renewed life and hope. It is, then, most spring-like.

If eggs and little runny babbits serve to enhance the imagery -- who knows -- perhaps Gregory the Great would have approved!

14 February 2013 18:42  
Blogger non mouse said...

"Christian" - sorry for typos; this library's keyboard is awful!

14 February 2013 18:44  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Ernsty> said ...
"Thought you RC's believed that 'tradition' was that which was performed visually or orally by the acts of the apostles then written down, codified, for us in the scripture as examples and dogma."

You silly chap, Sacred Tradition is that which has been passed on through the Church and is not written down.

"There was NO 'tradition' on show in the scripture that is visible or orally handed down by them that shows they 'traditionally' did Lent or anything like it!!!"

Well. no. That is rather my point. It doesn't have to written down. And really what's to stop the Church introducing acts of worship and devotion?

14 February 2013 21:19  
Blogger non mouse said...

Mr. B: There was NO 'tradition' on show in the scripture that is visible or orally handed down by them that shows they 'traditionally' did Lent or anything like it!!! I expect you're right in talking about the inchoate Church and strictly Biblical text.

However, am I entirely wrong in understanding that, in calling Christ "The Lamb of God," we reference the Passover? I've tended to think, consequently, that the Christian Liturgical Calendar of this season developed from, and paralleled, the Jewish.

Naturally, I believe we should not forget what Bede* tells us of the earliest days of Christianity in GB. Speaking of AD 603, he reports: "Now the Britons did not keep Easter at the correct time ... Furthermore, certain other of their customs were at variance with the universal practice of the Church" (II.2. 104). So there was a Calendar. What's more, in those days, the Irish were chief among the protestors to it. Many of them returned to Ireland after losing their case at the Synod of Whitby in AD 664, (Bede III.25 and 26. 188-93).

Later, of course, English/germanic scribes recorded the term "Lent" outside of specifically Biblical writings, so it probably also had a history of oral use in GB. Old English Dictionaries (e.g. Clark Hall) cite textual examples, to wit from homilies by both Ælfric (circa 955-1010) and Wulfstan (d. 1023). These people preached and taught in the vernacular-- to the People.

Bryhtferth of Ramsey (circa 970-1020) also used the term "Lenten."** The writers of the Benedictinregel***, like Chrodegan in his Rule****, referred to the period as lenctenfæsten.

After that, the Normans got in the way, but surviving English manuscripts (originally preserved in monasteries) indicate that preaching to natives in the ever-changing vernacular did continue. So, while I'm no Wiki-ite, I suspect they have something right in claiming that, once Late Mediaeval vernacular emerged, the Anglo-Saxon term "Lent" replaced Quadragesima in the vernacular calendar.
______________________
*Bede. Ecclesiastical History of the English People, with Bede’s Letter to Egbert, and Cuthbert’s Letter on the Death of Bede. Ed. D. H. Farmer. Rev. Ed. Trans. Leo Sherley-Price, Rev. R. E. Latham. New York: Viking Penguin, 1990. [The Venerable Bede's dates are AD 673-735.]

**Bryhtferth's Manual. Ed. S. J. Crawford. Early English Text Society, 1929.

***Benedictinregel. Ed. A. Schroer, Bibl. der Ags. Prosa vol. 2, Cassell 1885-8. [Benedict lived c 480-547.]

****The Rule of Chrodegang. Ed. A. S. Napier. Early English Text Society, 1916. [Chrodegang lived in the eighth century.]

Cont'd...

16 February 2013 03:25  
Blogger non mouse said...

Cont'd...

Further still, The Canterbury Tales, refers to a pilgrimage that begins in the Season under discussion:
"Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
The Droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;" (Chaucer, General Prologue 1-4).

If that's not about re-vivification after 'drought,' I don't know what is.

The so-called "Father of English Poetry" goes on to use the precise word "Lente" elsewhere:
"And so bifel that ones in a Lente--" ("Wife of Bath's Prologue" 543)
"Myn housbonde was at Londoun al that Lente" (Ibid 550);

In "The Clerke's Prologue," the Host asks the Clerk to tell a merry tale:
"But precheth nat, as freres doon in Lente,
To make us for oure olde synnes wepe," (12-13).

In his tale, the Parson speaks of a kind of Penitence ("solemne"):
"As to be put out of hooly chirche in Lente for slaughtre of children, and swich maner thyng" (103).

In short, there is no doubt that the word "Lent" has been used for a long time --- and in our English Christian context.

_______________
Chaucer, Geoffrey. "The Canterbury Tales." The Riverside Chaucer. Ed. Larry D. Benson. 3rd Ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987. [Chaucer lived circa 1343-1400].

16 February 2013 03:59  
Blogger len said...

Canon Andrew White is a truly remarkable man.I do not have a lot of time for many of those within 'religion'but this man I take my hat off to he really is 'at the sharp end'of things and shows remarkable courage and conviction in what he is doing.

16 February 2013 08:11  
Blogger Hauptmann Dodo said...

"I do not have a lot of time for many of those within 'religion' ... "

That's nice ...

16 February 2013 18:48  

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