“New Birth”-day Parties
Shea: The new “Feast!” series is turning out to be very enjoyable and inspiring! So many details that get lost in translation—it’s good to see them surface in our discussions.
Tim: I agree. We often forget that even as our faith transcends time and place, many of its customs are rooted in times and places very unlike our own. Some things that we hardly think about—like bread, for instance—were loaded with meaning in the early days of the Church. That was the big a-ha in last week’s study. And this week’s will be similar, I think.
Shea: How so? What are we looking at this week?
Tim: It turns out we’ll be meeting on All Saints Day, which creates an invitation that’s too good to turn down. There couldn’t be a better day to talk about the longstanding Christian tradition of feast days.
Shea: And what is that?
Tim: Very early on, the Church embraced a practice of commemorating its martyrs by designating the date of their deaths as feast days. They envisioned their last day on earth as their birthday—or new birth-day—when they were born into everlasting life.
Shea: So these saints’ days are really new birth-day parties.
Tim: Exactly. And as we’ve said all along, in the Christian tradition—well, actually, in all faith traditions—feasts are typically associated with rites of passage: baptisms, weddings, funerals, and other events or rituals that change someone’s status.
Shea: Having your life taken from you because of your beliefs… that certainly qualifies as a change in status!
Tim: While the first Christians no doubt grieved the losses within their beloved faith communities they adamantly chose to celebrate those who were preceding them in death. So they designated the anniversaries of their executions as feast days in their honor. That’s how we get St. Stephen’s Day and St. Teresa’s Day and so on.
Shea: And this tradition continues.
Tim: Yes, it does. All of these thousands of years later we continue to beatify and commemorate folks who’ve literally or effectively given their lives for the gospel of Christ. So new saints are added to the list all the time. For instance, earlier this month the Catholic Church designated one of my personal heroes, Archbishop Oscar Romero, a saint.
Shea: Deservedly so, since he was a leader in liberation theology and assassinated while standing at the altar following a sermon in which he pleaded for soldiers refuse to participate in the wholesale violence and repression of the El Salvadoran regime. His courage and conviction knew no limits.
Tim: And his feast day will be March 24, the anniversary of his murder—or in Christian terms, the celebration of his entrance to new life.
Shea: I want to say, “Tell me more.” But we’ll have to wait until Thursday night.
Tim: Yes. It will be the perfect study for All Saints Day!
Join us this Thursday, as we continue our study series, “Feast!” at L!VE Café, 163 S. Oak Park Avenue in Oak Park. Doors open at 7:00p, the study begins at 7:30p. If you can’t be with us in person, join us via Facebook Live.
We need your help!
As we think about the future of Gather, please let us know what gifts you bring and would like to share with the community. There are many roles that have to come together to make Gather happen every week. This includes setup, technical support, worship, managing handouts and information, coordinating drinks, and teardown. We need your help. Please let us know what type of service you’d be interested in!
Watch God Work,
Tim & Shea
As we prepare to become a vibrant worshipping community, we invite you to enjoy a Spotify playlist that captures the kind of worship we hope to embrace. Give it a spin while you’re driving. Make it your workout jam. Add it to your devotional time. Most of all, feel yourself becoming part of a sacred village of believers who love their God and one another!
Check out the Gather Worship Playlist here.