When we were done planting the 10 shade trees I went to my favorite home away from home, the church cafeteria/basement. The liturgy ladies were a little nervous when i showed up, they didn't want me to walk into the tomb that they were preparing for the Easter Morning vigil tomorrow at 4:30 AM, because of the mud i was covered in. I was coming to see if there were any jobs left to be filled for the morning vigil. The only job left was to blow the RAM's Horn, liberated and free, jubilee from sins. I wanted to swing the incense again, but I suppose you can't get the best job every year.
(Catholic interpretation: the person swinging the incense is called a Censor. The incense is swung inside a beautiful metal carved and shaped wizard container called the censor. The parishoners try to censor you if they don't like your swinging).
The Censors swing the censors for prayer and blessings. It brings us all into the tomb a little more to smell preservation, the art and science of embalming.
"For burning incense you shall make an alter of acacia wood, . . . on it Aaron shall burn fragrant incense. Morning after morning, when he prepares the lamps, and again in the evening twilight, when he lights the lamps, he shall burn the incense. Throughout your generations this shall be the established incense offering before the LORD. " (exodus 30:1-9).
During the liturgical season of Lent (the 40 days from Ash Wednesday until Easter) Father Michael blesses us with incense during the entrance antiphon, the procession of the cross and holy items during the beginning of mass. THis builds up until Easter when we Baptize people with Water, and then we transition back to the water blessings thrown at us with the whipping boxwood branch from Father's Hand during the entrance antiphon. This blessing of holy water is to remember our baptism.
I was going through my notes from last year's lent and I came across this, the blessing of water in "Celebrating the Eucharist"--Feb.6-April12,08.
Paschal (passover) blessing of the Water:
L-rd our G-d,
this night your people keep prayerful vigil.
But with us as we recall the wonder of our creation
and the greater wonder of our redemption.
Bless this water: it makes the seed to grow,
it refreshes us and makes us clean.
You have made of it a servant of your loving kindness:
Through water you set your people free,
and quenched their thirst in the desert.
With water, made holy by Christ in the Jordan,
you made sinful nature new in the bath that gives rebirth.
Let this water remind us of our baptism;
let us share the joys of our sister and brothers who are baptized this Easter.
We ask this through Christ our L-rd.
I am grateful it is raining for all the seeds and transplants I planted this week (sweet peas, carrots, cilantro, brassicas, lettuce, turnips, radishes, beets, mexican sunflower, cosmos, poppies, tiger lillies). Tomorrow morning Bill will be baptized and he will be blessed with incense like a living corpse to be born again through the living giving force of resurrection. Keep raining.
The onion sets peeped their heads out of the earth on Thursday.
The incense swingers have the absolute best job. On Easter Morning each of the 8 incense swingers hold their own censor connected to its chain swinging with one hand and holding the chain's end with the other, like the Byzantines. Your job is to smile, and let our prayers rise like the incense that is burning within the swinging censor, welcoming the community into the rebirth and resurrection. On Easter morning the incense swingers (called Censors) are allowed to swing "round the worlds." As I am writing this now I have realized that a few people censored me in my Censoring. They didn't know its a.o.k. to do round the world on Easter, but Father Michael does it every Easter in his wizard's wardrobe outside the church doors. Its fine. The Censor swings the censor all the way around like a foxtail, cowboy, or arborist swinging for a branch to set her rope for the climbing.
tomorrow morning the rock will be rolled away letting the morning light come into the tomb, but wait, I don't know that yet, i am cold and clammy, in a wet hole.
the church sages tell us that we are to find ourselves as a character within the easter story-- to live spiritually grounded and connected this weekend. I have decided that i am the wet and moldy cave walls inside the tomb, overcome by incense. can you smell me?