baptism-of-christ

10

UFO’s depicted in centuries old works of art.

1) 1100’s. Images from the 12th century manuscript “Annales Laurissens”

2) 1485. “The Madonna with Saint Giovannino” by Domenico Ghirlandaio

3) 1710. “Baptism Of Christ” By Aert De Gelder

4) 1486. “Annunciation with St. Emidius” by Carlo Crivelli

5) 1350. “Crucifixion” at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Mtskheta, Georgia

6) 1500’s. Tapestry located in the collegiate church of Beaune, France

7) 1400’s. Crucifixion, a fresco in the Visoki Decani Monastery in Kosovo

8) 1566. A woodcut by Hans Glaser describing a mass UFO sighting/battle over the town of Nuremberg, Germany on April 4th, 1561. Gazette of the town of Nuremberg stated there were balls “approximately 3 in the length, from time to time, four in a square, much remained insulated, and between these balls, one saw a number of crosses with the color of blood. Then one saw two large pipes, in which small and large pipes, were 3 balls, also four or more. All these elements started to fight one against the other.”

9) 1566. Woodcut by Samuel Coccius, depicting a UFO sighting/battle over the town of Basel, Switzerland on August 7th, 1566. Coccius wrote in the local paper that the spheres appeared at sunrise, “Many became red and fiery, ending by being consumed and vanishing

10) 1538. “Summer’s Triumph” a tapestry created in the town of Bruges, Belgium.

Ceiling mosaic of the Baptistry of Neon in Ravenna. It depicts the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, with a personification of the river to the side of the scene. A procession of apostles proceeds around the mosaic in two directions, ending with Saint Peter meeting Saint Paul.

Hidden Herstory: Harriet Powers

A quilt can be a powerful medium for communicating stories, and were a rich tradition among African American enslaved women. Harriet Powers’ Bible Quilt is an excellent example and one of very few surviving narrative quilts made by an African American during the late 1800s.   

Photo: Bible Quilt by Harriet Powers, Kenneth E. Behring Center, Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. 

Powers stitched her Bible Quilt in the mid-1880s and exhibited it at the 1886 Athens Cotton Fair. While on display, the quilt caught the eye of Jennie Smith, a young internationally-trained local artist. Of her discovery, Smith later wrote, “I have spent my whole life in the South, and am perfectly familiar with thirty patterns of quilts, but I have never seen an original design, and never a living creature portrayed in patchwork. … The scenes on the quilt were biblical and I was fascinated. I offered to buy it, but it was not for sale at any price.”

Photo: Bible Quilt by Harriet Powers, Kenneth E. Behring Center, Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. 

Four years later, Powers and her family fell on hard times and she contacted Smith to sell the quilt. Before turning over her precious creation, Powers explained each of the eleven panels of the design. Briefly, the subjects are Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, a continuance of Paradise with Eve and a son, Satan amidst the seven stars, Cain killing his brother Abel, Cain goes into the land of Nod to get a wife, Jacob’s dream, the baptism of Christ, the crucifixion, Judas Iscariot and the thirty pieces of silver, the Last Supper, and the Holy Family.

this poem will send me to hell

I remember the night
I built a home for him
in my heart
I lit a candle I wouldn’t
let the devil woosh out

my youth group sang songs
under the moon
next to the frio river
in southwest texas
three hundred sixty six
miles
&
five hours (ish) from
my bedroom

I missed the bus sunday morning
my father drove me there with work the
next day so I could spend my first
week away in nature, my first
week away from everything
I’ve known
that day my father showed me
what being a man means

my entire life I was taught
that I was a bad person
I was unclean
I was a sinner
I wasn’t good enough
I wasn’t pure
I wasn’t going to heaven
unless I repented
unless I was immersed
so that night
I sang
I cried
I accepted that
I was broken
I was ugly
I was nothing
wishing to be
something

/time out from the poem
I was turning something like
twelve, going into 7th grade
it was the beginning of summer
how the fuck is this type of mental abuse
not child abuse? How the fuck
is this allowed?
to threaten children with flames
to guilt trip them into thinking
a man died for them two thousand
years ago and needs you to be
fully immersed in fucking water?
/rant
back to poem

the next afternoon we went
further up the river from
our singing site to a swimming
site called the blue hole
the older kids, the badass kids
would jump from a clearing
in the valley side and swim
down to the bottom
&
touch the bed, it was
something like thirty fucking
feet deep
crazy
one time I belly flopped
because I was chubbier
&
almost knocked myself out
I got hugs and high fives
&
I was a hero
until dinnertime

I wore an oversized blue
shirt
&
swam out to my youth minister
there were no birds
the sun shone below to the
bottom of the bed
we stood on an underwater shelf
the silence of the birds
the muted smiles of the group
the steady breath of my minister
his heavy hand on my shoulder
like an exclamation point of
stillness

he asked if I believed jesus
died for my sins
I confirmed
so in the name
of the father, who abandoned me
of the son, who didn’t know me
of the spirit, who never entered me
I was saved
then he dunked me into
a shade of blue I wasn’t
ready for

I eventually left the church

the same youth group who cried
&
hugged me abandoned me at a movie
one night and laughed in my face
the next day

it was a congregation that taught
me that my friends who weren’t
church of christ
would be punished and sent to
hell, because their church
didn’t have the same fucking
letters on their sign

the private university who turned
their back on me
the way we had certain fridays
when the food tasted better
when daily chapel was
more like a fireworks show
the visiting seniors completed
their applications thinking
at this place they could
change the world
but the real foundation of faith

isn’t sin
isn’t salvation
isn’t grace

it’s a semester increase
in fucking tuition bulging
from purple and gold
pockets
&
a money basket with
a guilt trip hole in
the bottom

I left the church

the father
the son
the spirit

are just fucking magic tricks
&
I finally learned

the secret

3

Eastern Orthodox Romanians celebrate on January 6th the Baptism of Jesus Christ.

Known as Boboteaza, this holiday holds a special place in the religious calendar, and is traditionally considered the coldest day of the year.  

Days prior to this date, priests go to bless people’s households with holy water; in some regions, groups of boys come to people’s houses to wish them for this occasion, a custom known as Iordanul, coming from the name of the river (Jordan) in which Jesus Christ was baptised; 

On 5th and 6th, special religious masses take place, priests sanctifying water; usually, people who attend the mass take holy water (agheasmă) for them, their families and households. 

Traditions, beliefs and practices regarding this holiday are aboundant in every region of the country. A popular custom is the throwing of a wooden cross in the water (river, sea) by priests, while men compete, swimming to find it, thus the one who manages to recover it, is considered to be blessed the entire year

On this night it is believed that unmarried girls who put basil under their pillow will have a dream about the man who will become their husband.

The following day, Saint John the Baptist is revered; people named John, and derivatives from this name, celebrate their name day (it is considered to be the most popular saint name in Romania), and thus, officially, the religious winter holidays come to an end. 

Holy Saturday – 15 April – The Lord’s descent into hell 

 The Creed proclaims “He descended into Hell.”    This homily for Holy Saturday from the 4th Century treats of the “harrowing of hell” and the rescue of Adam and Eve.  Note the parallels between Adam and Eve’s sin, which lost paradise for us and the passion of Christ, which won for us not simply an earthly paradise, but eternal life.   It was to the Limbo of the Fathers that Christ descended, a place of the dead that was emptied through His Passion, Resurrection and Ascension and no longer exists.   By this “Harrowing of Hell,” as His Descent is sometimes called, the doors to Heaven were swung open so that those who die in a state of grace may enter in, alleluia!   Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, the good thief on the cross — all the righteous were illuminated by the Presence of Christ in the place of death, making Sheol itself a paradise.   They remained there with Him until His Bodily Resurrection when the the “bars of Hell” were broken down and they were later able to enter into Heaven itself with His glorious Ascension.

“What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.

Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam’s son.

The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: ‘My Lord be with you all.’ And Christ in reply says to Adam: ‘And with your spirit.’ And grasping his hand he raises him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.

‘I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison: Come forth, and those in darkness: Have light, and those who sleep: Rise.

‘I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.

‘For you, I your God became your son; for you, I the Master took on your form; that of slave; for you, I who am above the heavens came on earth and under the earth; for you, man, I became as a man without help, free among the dead; for you, who left a garden, I was handed over to Jews from a garden and crucified in a garden.

‘Look at the spittle on my face, which I received because of you, in order to restore you to that first divine inbreathing at creation. See the blows on my cheeks, which I accepted in order to refashion your distorted form to my own image.

‘See the scourging of my back, which I accepted in order to disperse the load of your sins which was laid upon your back. See my hands nailed to the tree for a good purpose, for you, who stretched out your hand to the tree for an evil one.

`I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side, for you, who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side healed the pain of your side; my sleep will release you from your sleep in Hades; my sword has checked the sword which was turned against you.

‘But arise, let us go hence. The enemy brought you out of the land of paradise; I will reinstate you, no longer in paradise, but on the throne of heaven. I denied you the tree of life, which was a figure, but now I myself am united to you, I who am life. I posted the cherubim to guard you as they would slaves; now I make the cherubim worship you as they would God.

“The cherubim throne has been prepared, the bearers are ready and waiting, the bridal chamber is in order, the food is provided, the everlasting houses and rooms are in readiness; the treasures of good things have been opened; the kingdom of heaven has been prepared before the ages.”

A reading from an ancient homily for Holy Saturday – prepared by Pontifical University Saint Thomas Aquinas, Rome.   While it appears that this comes from a Holy Saturday homily written in Greek dating back to the fourth century liturgy (PG 43, 439, 462f), the author of this text is unknown.

Note:

For our Edification – what does Hell mean?

Christ is in His tomb. Rather, His Body is in the tomb but when His Soul left His Body, He descended into Hell to “free the captives.”    “Hell” here refers to the place of the dead in general (“Sheol” in the Hebrew, or “Hades” in the Greek), not to the place of torment with which the word “Hell” is most usually associated with today.    The world “Hell” in the loosest, earliest sense includes:1.     the Limbo of the Fathers, the place for those who were righteous by charity and faith in the coming Messiah and who died before His Coming

2.     the Limbo of Infants, where, possibly, those who are sent who die without personal guilt but without Baptism after the time of Christ, or who died without charity and faith in the coming Messiah before the time of Christ.    This would be a place of beautiful, natural happiness, no punishment and no sensible suffering.

3.     Purgatory, where righteous people go to be cleansed of the temporal effects of their sins

4.     Gehenna, the “Hell of the Lost,” the eternal place of punishment for the damned, the place we usually refer to as simply “Hell” today