Friday, February 02, 2007

Feast of the Presentation

Another time snafu in our liturgical calendar, the feast of the presentation of Jesus in the temple, occurs on the second of February, marking the official end of Christmastide. (If your outside Christmas lights are still burning, it's really time to take them down, never mind how pretty they look.)

As we near the end of another "creativity week", today's service was a Morning Prayer/Mass combination at the very civilized hour of 8:00 am. Another priest, who often celebrates for us on Friday, rang the doorbell at 7:00, then realized he wasn't celebrating today because he had a meeting to go to.

I was asleep when the doorbell rang (I shut my alarm off at 5:00 and rolled back over into dreamland.)

In my dream I had just narrowly escaped being crushed by an overpass. (New York was having landslides and I was beneath the Westside Highway.) Before that I was part of a work crew cleaning up the Holland Tunnel from flooding. When the doorbell jolted me awake, I swore... thinking I had overslept. But it was only 7:00. An hour to go before mass. What luxury!

I was exhausted from the dream. I'd been working hard bailing out the tunnel and was covered in mud from the landslide. My fellow sister had lost her granddaughter's baby bonnet and had gone back to some hotel to look for it. She was covered in mud too. Don't go, I thought. Forget the baby bonnet. Stay here, where it's safe.

Where do these crazy dreams come from? I was relieved that I was not covered in mud afterall, and that my sister was right next door in her room. Relieved that I had plenty of time to make my bed, drink a cup of coffee, prepare for the day in leisure. How was Mary's day? ...the day they took the Christ child up from Bethlehem to Jerusalem to be presented?

Had she overslept? Was her new baby fussy or placid? Did he howl when he was circumcised? In my own internal chronology, the wisemen are still in transit when all this is happening. They have not yet visited Herod, and their questions have not yet placed all Bethlehem infants in danger.

Yet Simeon's prophetic words: and a sword will shall pierce your own soul foreshadow the life she faces as the mother of God. She may narrowly escape the sword of Herod's soldiers, but there will be many more to come.

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