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Blessed Feast of the Meeting of our Lord in the Temple

Watercolor painting by Jennifer Bascom, Copyright 2017, all rights reserved

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. Luke 2:29-32

Blessed Feast! May the peace of our Lord be with you.

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May Christ the Incarnate God be with You

This week Morningtide friends who signed up for our Advent Read-along will finish our study of On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius of Alexandra.  Going into this I didn’t know what to expect. The book looked thin enough to finish during the season of Advent. Reading the first few paragraphs made me think that the task would not be too difficult. Finding an audio version on You Tube, I knew I had a means to get the material into me should reading fail me. However, it’s never as easy or as doable as you think when you set out to do something, is it?  At least for me my eyes are always bigger than my stomach so to speak.  Thanks to my Morningtide friends I got through it, as imperfectly as it was, and the experience drew me closer to God.  I saw Jesus in a new way. I saw myself in a new way. I saw others in a new way. To God be the thanks, and to my Morningtide friends for taking this journey with me.  Here are a few thoughts from the book that I will meditate on for a very long time.

On our Facebook group, Nov. 27, 2017, I shared, ” I keep thinking about the theme of re-creation, that Jesus is Creator and Re-Creator, that He didn’t just come to wipe away my sins (which He did) but also to re-create me in His image. I also keep thinking about in which ways I am participating in that re-creation process and in which ways I’m of no help at all, actually working against it. Oh Lord, help me to participate with re-creation and not to work against it.”

On Dec. 4th I shared, “I was pretty blown away with the idea that the Creator was contained in a body, yet not constrained. He continued to hold all things together and was everywhere present while in His body. That’s mind blowing. My understanding of Jesus is becoming much more than it was before I began reading On the Incarnation.”

On Dec. 11th I shared, “I’m struck by the matter of fact statement that St. Athanasius shares about the courage of the faithful in the face of death, that even children and women bravely faced death rather than deny Christ. I find myself facing many trials right now, and I’m not at all brave about them.”

Later in December, “My favorite portion of this section was the illustration of the stubble, fire, and asbestos. Though I don’t know the science behind what he’s talking about I imagined what he said and it gave me a good picture of death being soaked up by Life, the Life of Christ in me. This was very helpful, especially when I don’t “feel” the Life, I can imagine the Life of Christ soaking up everything that is vulnerable to death in me. This is a very helpful illustration.”

Finally today’s share, “In the feats of the saints St. Athanasius recounts, I am reminded of what it looks like to be a Christian, one worthy of the riches of the Kingdom of God. My prayer, “Lord have mercy on me a sinner, and God grant me many years that I may repent. Lord, I want to be like you but the road is so long. Be with me on the journey and finish the work that You started. Amen.”

May Christ the Incarnate God be with you in 2018. Happy New Year! “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

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On the Incarnation to end of Ch. 5

The discussion is happening on the Morningtide Facebook Group.  Jump on over and join in.

Advent Readalong Week 3, The Death and Resurrection of Christ (in my book it’s the rest of Ch. 4 and Ch. 5)
Some passages to jump off discussion:

“it was not consonant with Himself that He should avoid the death inflicted by others. Rather he pursued it to the uttermost…”

“He accepted and bore upon the cross a death inflicted by others, and those others His special enemies, a death which to them was supremely terrible and by no means to be faced; and He did this in rder that, by destroying even this death, He might Himself be believed to be the Life, and the power of death be recognized as finally annulled.”

“He had come to bear the curse that lay on us; and how could He ‘become a curse’ otherwise than by accepting the accursed death? And that death is the cross for it is written ‘Cursed is every one that hangeth on tree.'”
“it is only on the cross that a man dies with arms outstretched? Here, again, we see the fitness of His death and of those outstretched arms; it was that He might draw His ancient people with the one and the Gentiles with the other, and join both together in Himself.”

[of death] “It is bound hand and foot, all who are in Christ trample it as they pass and as witnesses to Him deride it, scoffing and saying, “O Death, where is thy victory? O Grave, where is thy sting?”

[on whether Christ is alive or not] “Deeds and actions that energize others belong only to the living…The Savior is working mightily among men, every day He is invisibly persuading numbers of people all over the world…to accept His faith and be obedient to His teaching…how is it that He makes the living to cease from their activities, the adlterer from his adultery, the murderer from murdering, the unjust from avarice,…”

“We are agreed that a dead person can do nothing; yet the Savior works mightily every day, drawing men to religion, persuading them to virtue, teaching them about immortality, quickening their thirst for heavenly things, revealing the knowledge of the Father, inspiring strength in the face of death, manifesting Himself to each, and displacing the irreligion of idols;”

“He it is Who has destroyed death and freely graced us all with incorruption through the promise of the resurrection, having raised His own body as its first-fruits, and displayed it by the sign of the cross as the monument to His victory over death and its corruption.”

Personal reflection: In what ways do I fear death? How can I adjust my attitude toward death? Where do I see Christ alive in me and in those around me? What can I give thanks for in those places I see Christ alive in me and those around me?

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On the Incarnation Ch. 1-2 Discussion

Advent Read-along Ch. 1-2 Discussion. 

Some passages to discuss:

Ch. 1 Creation and the Fall
1. “The renewal of creation has been wrought by the Self-same Word Who made it in the beginning.”
2. “to deny that God is Himself the cause of matter is to impute limitation to Him.”
3. “it was our sorry case that caused the Word to come down…so that He made haste to help us and to appear among us.”
4. “when they lost the knowledge of God, they lost existence with it.”

Ch. 2 The Divine Dilemma and its Solution in the Incarnation
1. “It was impossible, therefore, that God should leave man to be carried off by corruption, because it would be unfitting and unworthy of Himself.”
2. Regarding repentance as a means to return to incorruption he says, “repentance would not guard the Divine consistency, for, if death did not hold dominion over men, God would still remain untrue.”
3. “He alone, being Word of the Father and above all, was in consequences both able to recreate all, and worthy to suffer on behalf of all and to be an ambassador for all with the Father. For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God entered our world.”
4. Speaking of us men, Jesus by taking on our body, would “make them [us] alive through death by appropriation of His body and by the grace of His resurrection. Thus He would make death disappear from them as utterly as straw from fire.”
5. “by virtue of the Word’s indwelling in a single human body, the corruption which goes with death has lost its power over all.
6. Speaking of Jesus that He, “might rescue those who all their lives were enslaved by the fear of death.”
7. “By man death has gained its power over men; by the Word made Man death has been destroyed and life raised up anew.”
8. “Now, therefore, when we die we no longer do so as men condemned to death, but as those who are even now in process of rising we await the general resurrection of all, ‘which in its own times He shall show,’ even God Who wrought it and bestowed it on us.”
 
A few personal reflection questions come to mind.
 
In what ways do we impute limitation to Him in our lives, in our sanctification, in our becoming like Him?
 
In what ways do we forget the Incarnation and Resurrection of Christ and continue to fear death?
 
When have I acted out of fear (of death or discomfort, etc.) instead of faith?
 
How can I return to a mind and heart remembering the Incarnation and the Resurrection of Christ in my everyday life?
 
Thoughts, prayers, and questions for chapters 1&2 welcome in the comments.
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The Presentation of Mary

I would like to send my greetings to my Morningtide friends for a blessed feast of the Presentation of Mary.  I love this story of the Blessed Virgin so much, and this hymn.

Today the Theotokos, the Temple that is to hold God,
is brought into the Temple of the Lord,
and Zachariah receives her.
Today the Holy of Holies is glad,
and the choir of Angels mystically keeps the feast.
With them let us celebrate the feast today,
and with Gabriel let us cry aloud:
“Rejoice, O full of grace, the Lord is with you,
He Who has great mercy!”

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The Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin

Oh, the marvelous wonder!

The source of Life is laid in a grave,

and the tomb becomes a ladder to heaven.

Rejoice, Gethsemane, holy shrine of the Theotokos!

Let us, the faithful, cry out with Gabriel as our captain:

“Rejoice, O full of grace, the Lord is with thee,

He that grants the world great mercy through thee!”

-Hymn for the Feast of the Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin

Today we remember and give honor to The Virgin Mary, who carried within her God Incarnate, making her the source of Life. Her tomb became a ladder to heaven, as she passed from death to life at her falling asleep.

On this feast we read from the book of Ezekiel, “And the Lord said to me, ‘This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut,'” which reminds us to honor the Virgin Mary for her saving dedication to our Lord as she saved herself and wholly dedicated herself to God as an honorable vessel and throne for our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.

In this image you see that the Virgin Mary has fallen asleep and Jesus is holding a little baby.  The little baby represents Mary’s soul. Just as Mary carried within her Jesus, now Jesus carries the soul of Mary. This is why we call Mary the greatest example of a Christian because we as Christians are called to carry the Lord within us, and Mary shows us that we can follow her example.

Morningtide to Eventide would like to wish all our followers a blessed feast.

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Promise me you’ll be an artist

“Promise me you’ll be an artist,” he said.

“I promise,” I replied.

A week later I dropped out of college and moved to another state, fairly confident I disappointed my Color and Design professor.  I even wrote him a lengthy letter trying to relieve my guilt by telling him I was “following my dream,” which was a bunch of (ahem) BS.  In reality I was scared, scared that there would be something I couldn’t draw perfectly, scared that I would hear a discouraging word and want to cry or give up, scared to put that paint to the canvas.

I always procrastinated my projects to the last minute.  I began the sketch for my first piece for Color and Design class at 8PM the night before it was due.  Armed with the big guns, The Cure Complete Box Set with plenty of b side tunes to keep my creative juices flowing, I worked through the night and arrived to class just as it was commencing.

My professor began the class with announcing that we students were to come up to the front in turns and display our art pieces for he and the other students to critique.  I not only procrastinated doing my project, but I also procrastinated showing my project to the class.  I waited until the professor called out, “is there anyone else…anyone?” while looking at me.  I bashfully and slowly walked to the front with my art piece covered, took off the cover and hung my head as I walked back to my desk expecting the guillotine.  Surely my professor would metaphorically chop off my head for waiting until the last minute to make my piece.

“Gasp,” I heard my professor suck in his breath audibly. I was so afraid of what was to come next.

“It – is – beautiful!  I could hang this in my house today and enjoy it for years.  I want everyone to take a close look at this piece. This is truly a piece of art.”

You would think that I would be encouraged by that response and the lengthy critique that followed pointing out my unique and beautiful color and design choices. I can still picture that piece, a sunrise in different shades of orange and strategically placed turquoise, done in Canson art paper.  I was actually quite embarrassed and I was still last or second to last to display my pieces after that with the same amount of fear and trepidation each time. Yet, each time I was given very encouraging words from my art teacher until finally he made me promise that I would use my life as an artist.  I promised, but I wasn’t all in.  I didn’t like the way people were telling me I needed to get used to bragging about my work and that I wouldn’t make it in this dog eat dog world unless I could sell myself as an artist.  I got so sick of the artist culture that I quit college and eventually I quit painting and drawing all together until last year.

Last year I took up the brush again, a Walmart paintbrush and some Walmart watercolors and I painted a leaf.  I was pretty happy with it, so I painted some more nature pieces, a bird, another leaf, a few seeds, a duck.  I started to fall in love again and without the presence of the “art community” I could paint for enjoyment and without the pressure.

Shortly after I started painting again the proposal to design a homeschool planner with a focus on the seaons of the Christian Year fell into my lap, thanks to a suggestion from Emily Kiser of A Delectable Education.  I give thanks to Emily and my friends at Charlotte Mason Soirée for encouraging me, I give thanks to God for the opportunity to paint again, and I give thanks to my Color and Design professor. Though I can’t remember your name, I remember you and the impact you had on my life resonates to today. Thank you for making me promise to use my life as an artist. I am finally fulfilling that promise.

In the last few months I’ve painted scenes from 9 Christian Feast Days and the peacock cover of our First Edition Morningtide Homeschool Planner.

It is my pleasure and my joy to share these images with you in the contents of a planner in which I have also poured out my heart to provide intentional elements bringing about planning peace of mind.