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Thursday, March 03, 2016

Shall We Gather?

 Singing to a Baby

With the birth of a new granddaughter there was a new birthday to add to the calendar - like a new nova added to the cosmology! - and I had time to play with calendars and traditions. I think I already have written that she was born on the 6th day of Jumada 'l Ula, which is one day after the birthday of Lady Zainab, who was a nurse to many people.
This aspect of Nursing reminded me of Mary nurturing Jesus; I prayed a lot of Aves for the protection of Mary in her role as a patroness for mothers, and particularly for childbirth. Now I've switched to Mary as a patroness for mothers of toddlers. She went through it and I feel certain she understands.

Since I was brought up RC (Roman Catholic), Mary has a distinctive position in my life. I mean, aren't our experiences of Dasein,  or Being-In-The-World, formed through our early years, just as Language is so formed. (Please note that I only deal with the philosophy of Heidegger when dealing with Dasein and Language and Language-like activities!)
However, I do not exclude the experience of Sayyida Zainab, for example...

I can only try to describe it as follows:  the Holy is a Shining of white light, and white light consists of all possible colors...
When one looks at white light, one cannot differentiate the red from the yellow from the blue; that can only be done if we send the light through a prism and create a rainbow of colors.
(Our reason acts similarly like a prism, and breaks up the Holy into differing "colors" or powerful influences.)

Further, the birthday was 6th Adar of the Hebrew year 5776 (my calendar calculations may be off... this is to be a year año embolismal completo of 385 days... I think.)
I think of Sarah, the wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac, for my daughter is 40 and that is somewhat older than normal for childbearing, although my daughter's maternal grandmother had children (12 of them!) at least into her 50s.  Isaac came into Sarah and Abraham's life a bit later than usual. (I think the figure is 99 years!)
And my daughter is beautiful, much like Sarah who was more beautiful than Abishag, the Shumannite, who came to King David. And to complete this whole Megillah, I consider my daughter intrepid, a heroine like Esther!

Simeon Meets Mary and Jesus at the Temple

Finally, Russian Orthodox New Style February 15th is the Meeting of the Lord, or The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. It was at this time that the Temple priest Simeon took Jesus in his arms
and having given thanks to God, he uttered...
"Now let Thou Thy servant depart, O Lord, with peace according to Thy word, wherefore hath mine eyes beheld Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to the enlightening of gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel" (Lk 2: 29-32).
Righteous Simeon said to the Most Holy Virgin: "Behold, This One is set for the fall and rising up of many in Israel and for the sign spoken against, and for Thee Thyself a sword shalt pierce the soul, so that the thoughts of many hearts might be revealed" (Lk 2: 35).

(This passage is interesting. The word for sword is rhompaia, which was used by the northern barbarian Thracians, and only appears again in Revelations, where it seems to be frequently translated as "two-edged", but the actual rhompaia had a triangular cross section with one sharp edge at the apex.)

At last we come to the fact that a new-born has to be carried about and sang to, at least I think so. So I had to review my song repetory; I really did not want to have Mary Olivia Adenike growing up thinking Stephen Foster wrote "Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me; starlight and hum-hum-hum-didily-dum!"

As I did this, I reviewed my favorite hymns.
I found that as I was doing Shall We Gather At The River, a sudden intense perception of enduring life - even after death - sort of grabbed me in an enveloping hug. I had never quite felt the power of the concept of the Resurrection in this way...
It was as obvious as the training I had as a child playing Cowboys and Indians: when you were shot by a bullet or an arrow, you hit the grass, dead, and after a suitable passage of time - the battle not slowing down one bit for your personal obsequies - we children just rose up and continued the game.

So it was like that: to rise was the normal, logical, final end { actually, an Unfinal Unending} of - well, everything. And the notion of end forever was unheard of. Suddenly, the endless nature of our lives became part of my being, not a belief, but an intimate component of Me.
And I thought just a we learn language as children, perhaps we learn other great things...
And just as many of us allow our language skills to become humdrum and mediocre - if not to vanish altogether! - so may we allow that which is most close to the divine fall by the way.

I was bloody surprised, cried a tear, and went to hold the baby.


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