Feasting & Fasting

The Church Calendar is textured by periods of fasting followed by periods of feasting. For most 21st century Christians both seem pretty weird. Though my guess would be that you think you know your way around feasting—we are a culture of conspicuous consumption, after all—but fasting is anathema to the world we live in. Why… Continue reading Feasting & Fasting

Our Church Calendars

Israel had a cycle of a weekly Sabbath, seven feasts a year, a sabbatical year every seventh year, and a Jubliee year every seventh sabbatical year. Their days were patterned for them, and it was wisdom to follow them. They function how the Church calendar was designed by our Christian forbears to function for us—now… Continue reading Our Church Calendars

The O Antiphons

In the western liturgical traditions the last seven days of advent include singing these seven chants—they would be largely unknown to churches like mine whose hymnody owes more to Hillsong than ancient Latin verse. Except, I bet you recognise them. They’re the content of the only advent hymn most of us know, O Come O… Continue reading The O Antiphons

Feasting at Christmastime

This is a time full of feasting. Everywhere you go it seems you’re offered a plate of mince pies or piece of stollen, perhaps with a glass of mulled wine. You can’t escape it—biscuits and coffee at church become wine and cake week after week. Or at least that’s normal in the UK, I’m told… Continue reading Feasting at Christmastime

A Pillar of Salt

This is a nostalgic time of year. I’ve written this ahead of time so I don’t know what Christmas TV we’ll be treated to but I expect it will include a Christmas special or two from something that hasn’t been on the screens for a few years, and a bunch of old favourites being shown.… Continue reading A Pillar of Salt

Learning the Calendar’s Wisdom

The church calendar is anathema to our tradition. We wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. Except for Christmas obviously. And Easter. And Mothering Sunday (though it’s no longer about Mother Church). But otherwise, yuck. Advent is about chocolate and Lent is the rankest popery. Ok, I’ve got that out of my system. That’s my… Continue reading Learning the Calendar’s Wisdom

We are made of stories

Our world is made of atoms, of spinning particles of energy careering around one another in a fabulously chaotic and surprisingly ordered way. Or so the story goes. I don’t mean to suggest that I doubt the scientists whose work informs our understanding of physics and matter; I have no reason to do so. What… Continue reading We are made of stories