Our Wandering Wise Men – December 29

Gaspar, Balthasar and Melchior heard bells ringing in the distance and headed in that direction.  “This can only mean that Bernie has found the actual shepherds!” said Gaspar sagely.  “Why is that?” asked Melchior, who was getting frustrated by their journey.  “Because every time a bell rings an angel gets their wings!” said Balthasar.  “Is that ancient arcane knowledge from your land?” asked Balthasar.  “Kinda,” said Gaspar, “I saw it in a movie?”

Today’s Quote:  “The medieval Christian idea of time builds on an old Jewish idea of time.  We read in Genesis that God made the world in six days, and on the seventh day he “rested.”  This does not just mean that God went on vacation.  For six days, God made the heavens and the earth for his own enjoyment.  On the seventh day, when he had finished the job, he moved in.  Jesus was the moment, the new creation, the healing and feasting Sabbath itself, the fulfilled time that all of history had been waiting for.  Echoing this, medieval Christianity became patterned after the holiness of time.  The Christ story was notated, like a beautiful piece of music, and this song has rung from the belfries and steeples of Europe for nearly two millennia.  Bells were the most popular public timepieces of the Western world.  Churches and monasteries rang their bells, calling the faithful to pray; the sound filled the villages and hamlets.  Our word clock  comes from the words for bell in medieval Latin (clocca).” (Tyler Blanski)

Today’s Microchallenge: Set the alarm on your phone to pray at various times throughout the day. (Ps. 119:164)  David prayed seven times a day.  You can use the old monastic liturgical hours, or some schedule of your own devising.  But let your phone do what church bells used to, as Tyler Blanski writes, “The call to pray was announced by church bells, which punctuated the day for not only the monks but the townsfolk.  Time was sacred, an arrow pointing to God.”

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