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Chrism Mass

Yesterday the Episcopal clergy of Iowa gathered for the Chrism Mass at St. Paul's Cathedral.  During the service Bishop Scarfe blessed the oil used for baptism and anointing of the sick.  We also renewed our vows as clergy.  I enjoyed being with other clergy, many who are becoming good friends.  Bishop Scarfe also gave us an update on a conference he attended with the arch-bishop of Canterbury.  I have to admit I didn't listen as carefully as I should have.  My car was parked on a city street and I was pretty sure the meter had run out.  I didn't want to get a parking ticket.  Many years ago I had gotten a parking ticket and didn't pay it.  A year later I was on the farm and a deputy sheriff paid me a personal visit.  I never forgot that experience. 

Anyway, I am including some information from Wikipedia on the history of chrism.

Multiple early Christian documents discuss the "ordinance" or "several ceremonies...explained in the Apostolical Constitutions" of "chrism", including documents by Theophilus (d. 181) and Tertullian (d. 220).
The most detailed version of the practice is by Cyril of Jerusalem who details how ointment or oil was "symbolically applied to the forehead, and the other organs of sense" and that the "ears, nostrils, and breast were each to be anointed." Cyril states that the "ointment is the seal of the covenants" of baptism and God’s promises to the Christian who is anointed. Cyril taught that being "anointed with the Holy anointing oil [Chrism] of God" was the sign of a Christian (Christos means "anointed"), and a physical representation of having the Gift of the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost), and it retains this meaning in Catholicism and Orthodoxy today. He says, "Having been counted worthy of this Holy Chrism, ye are called Christians, verifying the name also by your new birth. For before you were deemed worthy of this grace, ye had properly no right to this title, but were advancing on your way towards being Christians."(On the Mysteries 3.5)[2]



Palm Sunday

Yesterday we had a wonderful Palm Sunday Service.  The service has such a rich tradition of processing into the church with palms and singing hymns.  Then of course there is the drama of the passion.  Everyone takes a part.  I was Judas...again.  We had twenty good souls at the service and Father Walker was our priest.  We also had a new family visit our church and I think they felt at home with us.  Our congregation does a good job of welcoming new people to the church.  I know every church says that but I honestly believe we do.  I have visited churches that were standoffish (probably not a word)  and I know how awkward that feels.  I hope we are never like that.

Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week.  Today I went to St. Paul's Cathedral for the Chrism Mass.  I will say more about it tomorrow.  Its bedtime and before I go to bed I need to meditate. 

Good night and pleasant dreams,
Deacon Fred

John's Funeral

My cousin John's funeral at Sacred Heart Catholic Church was a good experience for those in attendance and a fitting service for a guy so many of us cared about.  I especially enjoyed Father Chris's homily which was peppered with bits of humor.  John would have liked that.  John was always proud of the fact that he was half Irish and he said that half is what gave him his sense of humor.  His daughter Barb asked me to say a few words at the lunch that was served afterward.  I shared a few stories and some others added some of their own. 

I will miss that old guy and I will raise a glass to him on his hundredth birthday in October.