Seasonal Christmas Easter etc

The Evils of Mincemeat

It could have your reported to the authorities.   Hanging mistletoe, stringing garlands,  performing a Christmas play,  closing your shop over Christmas,  and attending or presiding at a  Christmas service could each get you in hot water.  A simple two word message was sent out across the land courtesy of town criers –  “No Christmas. No …

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Shrove Tuesday – Pancakes or Football?

How should Lent begin, with a Shrove Tuesday no-holds barred football match?  How about beginning with a pancake race? This is how two English communities celebrate Shrove Tuesday, and their celebrations are linked to Church History. It’s the 12th century.   French-born Henry Plantagenet is on the throne of England.  He’s fiery, ambitious, and knows what …

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A Jewel of a Christmas Message

We admire preachers who can preach off-the-cuff.  We lean forward when preachers interact with us.  We get drawn into well-crafted and researched sermons.  Few of us respect a preacher whose message was taken off the internet or borrowed from another preacher.  Yet in early Anglican History,  canned sermons or “homilies” were not only common, they …

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Chalking the Door

It was January 6, Twelfth-night after Christmas, better known as Epiphany.  In a home somewhere in the parish,  a priest climbed  ladder inside the home to reach the lentil above the front door.  The members gathered around. The priest pulled a stick of chalk from his pocket, balanced himself and methodically wrote  20+C+M+B+11, praying under …

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The Origin of Maundy Money

They washed, wiped, and kissed the feet of the poor – it was Church tradition.  As early as the 4th century   washing the feet of beggars was part of the Maundy Thursday service.  Popes did it.  Bishops and priests did it.  And so did England’s sovereigns. The monarchs followed a two-part ritual.  They handed out …

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The Boxes of “Boxing Day”

December 26th is St Stephen’s Day, the patron saint of casket makers, deacons, bricklayers and stone masons – due to his execution by stoning (see Acts 7). At some unrecorded point in Church History, December 26th  also took on another name   – “Boxing Day.” While  the term “Boxing Day” suggests post-Christmas sales in big-box stores, …

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