Lucy Jane and I are history fanatics. We watch a lot of history documentaries about anything that happened after 1066 A.D. together—she leaves the Biblical stuff to me, though I can get her interested in anything Egyptian. We are actually fascinated with the Elizabethan and Renaissance eras. As we watch the many shows, it is amazing to me how life revolved around the church and the church calendar. Even during the Victorian era, people celebrated a variety of festivals and commemorations that we no longer know about and keep.
In our weekly liturgy, I have included the commemorations for the week in a list at the end. I do not create this list, it comes from the ELCA, but I think its good to see. A brief history of the person is given, but what is missing? The past traditions of the celebration. Like, the special cakes made on certain days, or the traditions involving dinners, prayers, etc. that were kept by people for generations. I know that many of you are familiar with St. Lucia Day, and the traditions involved around that celebration. But did you know that practically every saint had something that people would do, and still do in some places around the world, to remember them and their witness to Christ?
Faith is not meant to be a cerebral exercise. Faith is meant to be experienced daily, through our thoughts and physical actions, through our grace over foods, through remembering our past and the early church. I think one of the reasons the church has seen a decline is because of the move to have less “church stuff” done in our homes. It is good to remember that holidays evolved from the words “holy days” and people kept them through a variety of ways, and by doing so—keep the traditions and lessons alive.
This Sunday, we are celebrating a holy day in the church calendar. The Ascension of Our Lord. It’s the day we read the writings from Luke about Christ’s Ascension, and we wait for the Holy Spirit’s arrival on Pentecost. The Ascension is celebrated officially 40 days after Easter (this year, Thursday May 13).
I have not heard of any Ascension traditions for the home, and a quick Google search didn’t give me anything, either. But that’s ok—traditions have to start somewhere. This year—I am asking my baker daughter to make an angel food cake with a thick layer of seven minute frosting. I will call it an Ascension cake, and imagine the clouds that Jesus went into that day almost 2, 000 years ago. Maybe next year, we can all celebrate together after worship and eat cake, too.
I like that thought very much.
Blessings and peace to you all,