Wednesday, December 28, 2016

to lighten up!!!

Early, clock on this laptop reads Wed 3:47 AM, a moment ago I saw total whiteout at the Beck window and confirmed sitting here at my 7H living room window on the Bay, so another seasonal fog whiteout. Monday the fog did not lift until late morning. Winter fog deserves to be complemented with a chill in the air, but I’ve not been out on the porch because Linda is asleep in the Bay bedroom and the curtain drawn for darkness, and in this room without a light it’d be necessary to slip by the Christmas tree to get to the door, incurring a chance of either pulling the tree down or tripping and falling. 64°F says, high today 74° and 80% chance of rain tonight. But for now, it's that fogged in I can’t see even one red or green navigation light on the Bay.

Coffee black but temporarily no dark choc by this chair. 

What’s on mind is Luke’s annunciation and nativity scene and things I’ve learned about from reading and from other people whom I respect. Couple of verses. 

One being Luke 2:7, “and she brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the καταλύματι  - - noun, dative, neuter, singular, 1 occurrence, of κατάλυμά  - - noun, nominative, neuter, singular, 2 occurrences, Mark 14:14, Luke 22:11 - - , “guest room” but which at Luke 2:7 has been rendered “inn” and given us the Christmas vision of the holy family in a stable perhaps out back, into which we’ve stirred the magi from Matthew’s nativity narrative. It makes for the “third gospel” compact, unified creche that we love, but that the photographer for the Bethlehem Bulldog could not have captured to print with the front page story. The kataluma was the guest room in the upper chamber of a house where the animals couldn’t get to, the storytellers say nothing about a stable: the holy family’s accommodation would have been the ground level space where the animals were brought inside and kept for overnight safety from thieves, dogs and wolves, maybe lions. What animals? goats and sheep perhaps, maybe not bovines, IDK. Inside the house, not an outside open stable. Like so:

However, considering the likely historicity of the traditions themselves, this really is only significant for being culturally more accurate. If one prefers the creche, fine, it’s come to be our image of the storied event.

The other stories in mind are Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-38. Facilitating religious doctrine and somewhat but not necessarily absolutely in contrast to apparent customs of regional culture at the time. When a couple were matched up by their families for future marriage, there might be a ceremony of betrothal. After which the woman returned to her parents’ home and the man returned to work, while, in his spare time, preparing a home for the betrothed couple to live in. Sabbaths, let us say “weekends,” he might visit his betrothed wife including conjugal relations. Perhaps in the κατάλυμά, IDK. In fact, I know nothing, I’m only passing along what I’ve read and been told about customs of the day.

The man might take weeks or months to finish preparing their new home for his wife, during which time he might often visit her on weekends, and apparently it wasn’t all that unusual for the woman to be great with child by the time their new home was ready, and they had the marriage ceremony, and he took her from her father’s house into their new home to live together. 

As I understand it, that was the way life was. Doesn’t seem all that different from life today anymore. And to me, with all due creedal devotion, seems more earthy than something about the Holy Spirit, or than sexually-obsessed nonsense about an eighty-year-old Joseph, and surely more sense than absurd literalist speculation about a passing Roman soldier. But again, with a nod to differences between Geschichte and Heilsgeschichte as an understanding of history stressing God’s saving grace.

What put me on this, the week after Christmas instead of last week when we were singing Christmas carols? First, last week was Advent, whereas we are only now in the Christmas season. Second, last week I was muttering about other stuff, including cars and such. 

Third, I’m thinking about long-term engagements. That for anyone who might want to consider it, we have a liturgy, a religious ceremony to recognize, honor and celebrate that. It is not the second part, called The Marriage. It’s the first part of the liturgy for Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, the so-called Declaration of Consent:

The Declaration of Consent
The Celebrant says to the woman
N., will you have this man to be your husband; to live 
together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love him, 
comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health; 
and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you 
both shall live?
The Woman answers
I will.

The Celebrant says to the man
N., will you have this woman to be your wife; to live 
together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her, 
comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health; 
and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you 
both shall live?
The Man answers
I will.

The Celebrant then addresses the congregation, saying
Will all of you witnessing these promises do all in your 
power to uphold these two persons in their marriage?
We Will.

If there is to be a presentation or a giving in marriage, 
it takes place at this time. 

A hymn, psalm, or anthem may follow.

See, this can be done. It’s a proper betrothal. The Marriage may take place soon after, or long after, or never. In an ancient day and age it made everything respectable and lovingly committed in a way that today’s living together somehow does not quite.

Time!!! for the exclamation points!!! to lighten up!!!


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