Theology Update for the Week of March 9

Dear friends in Christ

Before I turn to the classes, I have a perhaps offbeat Lenten item. In my evensong sermon on Sunday, I mentioned the lady with seven feet. (If you’d like to read or listen to the sermon, it’s here.)

A friend has written since written to me this information: “…on the Lenten Lady with 7 feet that Susan would make every Lent for the children: It turns out this is a long standing custom in the east. The Lady (called “Kyra Sarakosti” or “Lady of Lent”) is made from posterboard, or even made as a doll or a very large cookie to be placed at the family icon center.

“The Lenten Lady has: eyes closed because praying; no mouth because fasting, a cross on her forehead or on top of her head, arms folded for prayer (sometimes shaped like a pretzel) and, of course, the 7 feet. The 7 feet were sometimes decorated with the types of seeds that could be eaten in Lent.

“The doll’s primary purpose was to mark the 7 weeks of Lent (the tradition started before everyone had calendars on their phones!) Each Saturday a foot would be chopped off (or turned under). The last foot was chopped off on Holy Saturday. In some areas, the feet were kept and hidden in an old tree for children to search for on Easter morning—the one that found the “feet” was especially blessed.

“A google search will turn up several illustrations of the Lenten Lady, all of them charming.”

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This week’s classes:

Sunday, March 9, at 10am, repeated Thursday, March 13, at 12:40pm: The Sick People in the Bible class will discuss Jesus raising people from the dead. Visitors welcome, always; coffee and tea available, usually!

Tuesday, March 11, at 6:30pm: The Rector’s Christian Doctrine Class this week takes up The Ten Commandments: Life after Baptism. The class asks about life after baptism, and to what extent (and how) the ten commandments should inform a Christian’s life. As always, anyone interested in the topic is welcome.

Wednesday, March 12, at 6:30pm: This week I begin a new study in Christian ethics. Using Oliver O’Donovan’s latest book, Self, World, and Time, this study will show the connections of ethics and spirituality, for instance, how ethics is not about external conformity but rather a prayerful closeness to God. This week’s topic is “moral awareness.” We will meet twice in March (12 and 26), twice in April (9 and 30), and finally on May 7. Again, anyone interested in the topic is welcome.

The following week:

Should a Christian Sell Everything? In the spring theology lecture, Professor Stephen Hildebrand of Franciscan University will bring insights from the Fathers to this question on Wednesday, March 19, at 6:30pm. It has always been one of Jesus’ hard teachings; in that sense, the early Christians were no different than us. But they have interesting things for us to think about. No reservations needed; the lecture will be given in the church and a reception (with book signing) will follow in the living room. Our bookstore has some of Dr. Hildebrand’s books on the early church theologian Saint Basil the Great.

In April:

Antigone by Sophocles will be discussed at the next seminar in the Christians Reading Greeks series: Monday, April 7, at 6:15pm.