lentblog 2007

This is my post on Neal's lentblog. It almost didn't happen, so thanks to Neal for the IT help & to B for the encouragement.)

I discovered the church calendar fairly recently, within the last few years. Every year, I discover a new holiday, and realize that Christendom has gone before me, anticipating a need for a holiday before I even knew I wanted to celebrate. Last year it was Advent. This year, Epiphany. We threw an Epiphany party; we had a King Cake, we made Magi crowns, we wore them out to a nearby field for stargazing. My own mother dressed up like a Wise Man and appeared at my door wearing a bathrobe and false beard. (Sorry mom!) It was great. I got hooked. It was my gateway drug for the church calendar. Now, I want more.
Enter Lent
I have never known what to do with Lent. It has always seemed so Catholic, and fraught with un-Protestant theology. It seemed about 3 steps away from Indulgences and Stigmatas and Jesus in the Tortilla. ( You will understand why I would jump to these crazy conclusions when you know that my church upbringing was so far removed from the 'bells & smells' of high church that hymns other than 'Amazing Grace' & 'Holy, Holy, Holy' were considered faintly.... stuffy, therefore circumspect and therefore of a "dead tradition". Heck, we thought the Baptists were too liturgical!) Now, however, as an adult, I find myself drawn to the vast collection of writings, songs and traditions of those who have gone before me in the faith.
So there I was at the Shrove Tuesday service with Camille & Angel (Lent Eve). I think it was there that I decided to give up caffeine for Lent just to 'try it out.' I was curious to see if Lent, like Advent and Epiphany before it could inspire me in some manner; could help prepare me for Easter. .....
Hippity, Hoppity
Easter, the gladdest and most high Holy Day of our year, looms on the horizon. I usually feel unprepared for the celebration that Easter is supposed to be. It's either all bunnies and chicks and saccharine cuty-wootie or it's this strangely cold, waxy white funeral lily and Easter Bonnet & Baked Ham day. I don't know how to properly prepare my heart for the true meaning of it's coming. Again the church has anticipated me and given me Lent, to help. But it h elps in an odd manner. In preparing for this gladdest of days, we are told to give up, to go without, to fast. We spend 40 days in want, denying ourselves. It seems a funny way to start. And not a holiday I would invent, if I was trying to garner followers. "Woo-hoo! A holiday about fasting that lasts for 40 days! Sign me up!" The church in Rome obviously had few PR people working for them at the time.....
Ashes & Crowns
I think that's why I never really 'got' Lent before. It is counter-intuititive. You have to get sad to get happy. You have to wear the ashes before you get the crown of beauty; you must mourn before you can drip the oil of gladness (Isaiah 61). I have my ashy moments, I am wispy, dried up and long for renewal. I come to Lent, and look to Jesus. I see him praying in the garden, sweating drops like blood, I see him falsely accused, beaten and ridiculed; carrying His cross up to Golgotha, misunderstood until he took his last breath. The ashiest moment in human history. The world waits, shrouded like He is shrouded in the tomb. It is the Sabbath (though God is at work) and the women rest in ashes & mourning, waiting with the perfumes and spices to anoint their Master. What will happen? Here is where the 'turn' occurs, (Tolkien's eucatastrophe*) the part that makes you catch your breath; for very early in the morning, we see the Risen Lord, the firstborn from among the dead.

'Were not our hearts burning within us?'

dicentra formosa Western Bleeding Heart

*eucatastrophe: the 'Consolation', the ultimate Happy Ending, the part in the story that gives you Joy, and speaks of heaven. "The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man's history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation.The story starts and ends in joy."- JRR Tolkien (Tree and Leaf)


nealb said...

fear not..! its all fixed..

.. and thanks for extremely beautiful reflection!

Anonymous said...

stepping into the sweet spring morning of your words is the best wake-up I've had for a while.
p.s. H.I.G.Y.?

Rosa said...

Thanks Neal!

B-you know I've always loved leaving you something to read in the morning!
(H.I.G.Y.? It's been almost 8 years and yet I still have no idea what that means!)

Rosa said...

Oh, you told me.....

Camille said...

thanks for giving me another 35 cent word for my vocabulary and for writing laugh-out-loud comments on my blog. There needs to be more good cheer on the internet. Thanks for the sparklies, thanks for the great poetry, and especially, thanks for the Chucky the Squirrel book. :)

Rosa said...

Cam-You & Chucky needed to come together. I can't wait to see what you'll do with it-to see to what great heights of Art Chucky will be raised.

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.