This Friday, September 30th, at 7pm is the Diocesan Gathering for Truth & Reconciliation. You can join via Zoom or you can head to Emmaus if you’re in the area.
Saturday, October 1st is the annual conference for church leadership. This is also available via Zoom or in person at Emmaus. If you would like the Zoom link for either or both of these events, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Next week I’ll be telling you about the memorial of St. Francis of Assisi but, since we have a Sunday in between, I thought I’d put in this reminder:
Tempting but, Please, Don’t Do It: Marking the memorial of St. Francis of Assisi (below) with a blessing of animals is very popular. It is important to remember, as I’ve mentioned a number of times , the usual Sunday feast of our Lord Jesus Christ does not get bumped for others except on a very few occasions throughout the year (and only those connected with Jesus’ life and ministry). Perhaps this doesn’t seem like a big deal to switch up the usual Sunday service for a minor saint or for a secular occasion but, over time, this instills a mindset into the congregation that other things are just as important as the paschal mystery of Christ. Having an additional service on Sunday, or a service right on the day of the saint, is the way to go.
Armegeddon and Apocalypse
Armegeddon and The Book of Revelation: As NASA prepares to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid to practice moving these massive rocks off paths that would see them crash into the earth, the news network I was watching referred to this as being like “Armegeddon.” This brought to mind one of my biggest “pet peeves”…the misunderstanding of this word and the word “apocalypse” leads to some very bad theology.
Let’s start with “apocalypse”: This is the Greek word for our English word “revelation” or “unveiling”. The Book of the Revelation (apocalypse) to John is the revelation of God’s plan to purge the world of all evil and brokenness to bring about the full revelation of God’s perfect kingdom. People really do not understand the book of Revelation very well – it takes work to dive into obscure references because the Old Testament looms large throughout Revelation and, in general, we are not so incredibly well-versed in the Old Testament. Misunderstanding and lack of understanding have led to the prevalent mainstream thinking that this book is about the end of the world. The word apocalypse, therefore, has become synonymous with war and destruction. People who have studied the Book of Revelation with someone knowledgeable will know that this book is absolutely not about the end of the world. This brings us to the word “armegeddon.”
Armegeddon: This word also has come to mean war and destruction. Most people vaguely know that it is talking about some great battle. Well, the word “armegeddon” is our English translation of the Hebrew words “Har Megiddo” which means the “mountain of Megiddo”. Megiddo was an ancient city in Israel. This place is mentioned just once in the New Testament at Rev.16:16. It is to be the gathering place of all the evil of the world ruled by Satan who will try to destroy those people who follow God. It may surprise you to learn (unless you studied Revelation with me a couple of years ago) that this great battle never happens. In Rev.20:9 we read: “And they [all of the evil ones] marched across the broad expanse of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them.” God takes care of business simply, seemingly easily and matter-of-factly – no battle necessary.
So “armegeddon” is the place where no great battle takes place (instead we witness the power of God to purge the world of evil) and “apocalypse” is the revelation of God’s kingdom on earth as in heaven.
For Your Devotions:
Monday, September 26th is the commemoration of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, who died in 1626 (I love his name – it reminds me of Sir Lancelot of Arthurian legend). Andrewes is one of the greatest Anglican scholars – he knew 15 languages and contributed greatly to the King James Version of the Bible. You can read more here: http://prayer.forwardmovement.org/the_calendar_response.php?id=400926
Thursday, September 29th is the Holy Day of St. Michael and All Angels (Michaelmas). When this day falls on a Sunday, it is one of the very few days that actually takes precedence over the weekly feast of the Lord – our Sunday celebration of the Paschal Mystery. Michaelmas is also known as “Goose Day” since a well fattened goose was eaten to protect against financial disaster for the coming year. Scottish people cooked St. Michael’s Bannock (a large scone cake) on a lamb skin (thank goodness my mum left out that part of the tradition). Scottish people also had the tradition of allowing you to steal your neighbour’s horse on the Eve of Michaelmas, ride it all the next day, and then return it. Those Scots! 🙂 Blackberries had to be picked before “Old Michaelmas Day” because you couldn’t eat them after that – it has to do with Lucifer having a bit of a temper…To find out more: https://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/Michaelmas/
Friday, September 30th is the memorial of Jerome, Teacher of the Faith, who died in 420. Jerome is known as one of the most learned of all of the Latin Church Fathers. You may have heard of his Latin translation of the bible which is called the Vulgate. Jerome was born into a wealthy Christian family and was well-educated. He tried his hand at being a hermit for a couple of years then agreed to be ordained – as long as no priestly functions were forced on him. Hmm… He spent many years travelling and learning from various greats (like Gregory of Nazianzus) then ended up in Rome as secretary to Pope Damasus I. However, his fiery preaching – reprimanding Roman clergy, lax monks, and hypocritical virgins – created such controversy that he left for the Holy Land. He spent the remainder of his life living in a monastery he’d formed in Bethlehem. To read more: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Jerome
In the hope of Christ,