Every week I post a Word for the Weekend with comments on and links to the scriptures for the coming Sunday's liturgy. Last fall I remember drawing attention to the approach of Advent and a new liturgical year, referencing the ordinals of the Sundays in Ordinary Time, leading to the 34th or last Sunday, the Solemnity of Christ the King.
If readers at the time detected some level of excitement and anticipation on my part, they were reading accurately!
What can I say? The calendar of the church year is an important one by which I live. The civil calendar and the "calendar" of the seasons in New England also chart my days, weeks and months - but the cycles of the liturgical year shape my ministry, activity, rest, prayer, diet and even my moods.
Of course, there are other calendars by which folks make their way through a year. On the sports calendar, a very important season just came to an end with the Super Bowl - although for some the end came earlier as their team dropped out of the running to play in THE Game.
For others, a new season began yesterday.
Since I don't read the sports section of the paper every day, this is the first year I've been aware of a Boston ritual known as Truck Day on which the Red Sox equipment van leaves Fenway Park to deliver all manner of baseball paraphernalia to spring training camp in Fort Meyers. FL.
This rite includes a gathering of several hundred Red Sox faithful, at the doors of the Temple of the Diamond and around the Ark of the Bats and Balls:
A cantor leads the assembly in a Litany of Cheers:
And the 1500 mile pilgrimage to Fort Meyer begins:
Gotta tell you: this sort of thing mystifies me. I've never been one whose affections or moods have been swayed by a team's record of wins and losses. (The crashing sound you just heard was my Notre Dame diploma falling off the wall over my desk.) But Truck Day is a lesson for me in calendars and rituals and their meaning in peoples' lives - and the different lights by which our daily lives are guided, our paths charted and our spirits elevated or depressed.
Of course there are faithful religious people who are also faithful sports fans but I'm not one of them. One calendar colors my life in shades of violet, rose, gold, white, green and red while the other is a palette ranging from beige to bland.
While my heart's not in Truck Day, it holds a place for those for whom this rite is a sign of spring. On my calendar, I'm looking for Lent and its promise of new life. For Sox fans, Opening Day 2011 is April 1 - on my planner, it's March 9: Ash Wednesday.
Whether one or both seasons augur spring for you: bring it on!
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