Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

My dad is a guy who wouldn't think of doing anything in the garden without consulting the almanac. Probably before I was old enough to read I knew "You plant things that grow below ground (like potatoes) in the dark of the moon, and things that grow above ground in the light of the moon." You wean livestock from their mothers when the "sign is in the knees or below." You castrate livestock "when the sign is in the feet." You will get opinions on the validity of this ranging from sheer hokum to the Gospel truth--but there's no doubt, my dad's life in garden, farm, or field are connected to the almanac in a way that cannot be denied.

Well, and some things have been happening to me lately that makes me realize that the liturgical calendar may have that sort of power. I've had more than my share of "parallel shared spiritual experiences" in the past year and a half.

My friend Sue and I freak each other out all the time. She and her husband and our friend Andy have very broad and interesting spiritual discussions at the dinner table all the time. Sue and I will hit a topic, enjoy the discussion, and a couple days later, the VERY SAME THING will be the verse in Forward Day by Day, or our vicar will say something in his homily that will be in almost the EXACT same way we worded it. We just look at each other and do the theme from "The Twilight Zone" at each other.

I've had similar experiences with both my priests. We both thought of something separately and days later, were chatting on the phone or in person, and one of us said, "You know, the other day I was thinking..." and the other goes, "Uh...when did you think that?" and it's the same day. I could name similar types of experiences with at least 1/2 dozen of people I consider "in my inner spiritual circle."

Then, on Sunday, I put my personal "Ascension Sunday" experience here on my blog, and later that night did a little blogsurfing and found this post on Elizabeth Kaeton's blog, "Telling Secrets." Cue the Twilight Zone theme song! We were both coming to a similar conclusion about the meaning of "ascension" in parallel time zones on the same day, not too temporally apart from each other.

Well, my theory is, "It's the liturgical calendar." All of these people in which I have these shared parallel experiences are psychologically "in tune" to varying degrees to the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church. All of us are people who in some way, study and read the upcoming texts for next week or are some way aware of "where we are in the church year". Some are clergy, some are lay people; status doesn't matter on this.

So I decided to broach my theory with the vicar. I asked, "Wallace, is it possible, as one becomes more “in synch” again with the liturgical calendar, that OUR innate psychological rhythms start matching the liturgical calendar, much in the way two female college roommates start having their periods about the same time? Could it be that part of how God connects us to others is that as people grow in their faith, they become more connected to the liturgical calendar, and thereby we all become more connected to each other?"

I asked this almost half cringing, expecting the grand "Huh?"...but his response was, "It's a very real idea. It helps us become more aware of our psychological/spiritual rhythms." (Ok, so there's a reason my nickname for him is "The Dali Lama.")

Maybe this is one of the ways the Eucharist links us one to another through the body and blood of Christ. Maybe this is how our connection with God connects us one to another in a deeper and more solid way. Or, even in a totally non-theistic bend, humans by nature are creatures of ritual, and perhaps linking one to another through the use of ritual is simply a broader dimension of our humanity.

It doesn't matter how a ritual starts, or why it started, rituals become entities in themselves. My friend Cole and I were joking about this when he and I attended church at a different locale, and we were not used to not "putting our hands up" to get the host. At Trinity, we are used to putting our hands up in the air a little when we receive the host. Well, that is simply because we have a 6 foot 7 inch priest with three blown lumbar disks and are helping him out a little. Cole and I got to laughing while imagining Trinity 100 years from now. People would still be putting their hands up in the air. People would be saying, "Why do we put our hands up?" and the answers will probably be some hoo-haa about lifting up our hands to God in praise or something. Meanwhile, Cole and I will be sitting where light perpetual shines on us, yelling down, "NO, you bozos! It's because a hundred years ago we had a tall priest with a bad back!"


And to bring the almanac and the liturgical calendar together, never plant your spring garden until after Good Friday, no matter when it falls. OK?

There are reasons for the seasons.

That was easy this year, because Easter was TOO DAMN EARLY!!!!!!

Of course, in Kirksville (or, as I call it, the annex of Iowa), you can have snow a month after Good Friday.

ms. cornelius, that is soooooo true. We still talk about the Easter Sunday Snowstorm of 1976. We had flurries on Easter this year (but it was the earliest Easter would be for 80 some years this time.) It makes for interesting gardening. You don't buy the "northern varieties" of seeds or plants b/c they will be roasted out of existence by July. If you buy the "southern variety" of seeds or plants, you have to be Karnak to predict whether they'll get frosted or not. They sell a lot of black plastic trash bags in April here, just to cover the plants! can have snow a month after Good Friday.

Did I say how far after Good Friday?



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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