03 August 2012

Commemoration of the Myrrhbearers

This day our calendar commemorates the Myrrbearing women.  From the Treasury and our website: 

Known in some traditions as “the faithful women,” the visit of these three persons and other women to the tomb of Jesus on the first Easter morning is noted in the Gospel records of Matthew (28:1), Mark (16:1), and Luke (24:10). Joanna was the wife of Cuza, a steward in Herod's household (Lk. 8:3). Mary, the mother of James (the son of Alphaeus), was another of the women who faithfully provided care for Jesus and His disciples from the time of His Galilean ministry through His burial after the crucifixion. Salome, the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Mt. 27:56), joined with the women both at the cross and in the bringing of the spices to the garden tomb. These “faithful women” have been honored in the church through the centuries as examples of humble and devoted service to the Lord.

Chemnitz wrote of them:  "But God exalts them by revealing to them the resurrection of His Son, which is an excellent article of our faith.  Indeed, He even sends them to the apostles to share the message of Christ's resurrection with them, so that they becomes, as the ancients say, like "apostles to the apostles."  (Treasury for Aug. 3)

Prayer:  Mighty God, Your crucified and buried Son did not remain in the tomb for long.  Give us joy in the tasks set before us, that we might carry out faithful acts of service as did Joanna, Mary, and Salome, offering to You the sweet perfume of our grateful hearts, so that we, too, may see the glory of Your resurrection and proclaim the Good News with unrestrained eagerness and fervor worked in us through our Lord Jesus Christ, who rose and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

13 comments:

Chris said...

The absurdity of the LCMS calendar strikes again: Why are they commemorated on August 3? It makes no sense. It would make far more sense to put the commemoration on some Sunday close to Pascha.

William Weedon said...

Sigh. Christopher, God bless you, but the scorn you continue to heap on Lutherans for not being Orthodox wears terribly thin. Think, my friend, of the fact that Lutherans are remembering and thanking God for the love and devotion that the myrrh bearers showed our Lord's most holy body and how they became witnesses to the resurrection, and the fact that we commemorate them on a different date than the Orthodox truly becomes a thing of insignificance, no? How is it showing devotion to our Lord to criticize fellow baptized for not observing your calendar when we are not part of your discipline? I suspect that their commemoration (so near to Joseph of Arimethea) was done in August to be near other feasts of love - such as St. Lawrence. But whatever the reason, I'd invite you to repent of this hyper-criticism and rejoice instead that fellow baptized are commemorating these blessed saints.

Chris said...

Double sigh. Fr. Will, I asked a simple question as to why the myrrh bearers are commemorated here. You responded telling me that I'm full of scorn and that I should repent. I will do no such thing as I have done nothing wrong. I don't care what calendar you use, but please tell me what sense it makes to commemorate them today. What is the rationale? Was August 3 the only day open? If it's so near to Joseph of Arimathea, then why is he commemorated at this time of year? St. Lawrence is commemorated on Aug. 10 because that is the day of his martyrdom and that makes perfect sense.

William Weedon said...

Chris,

Your "simple question" began with an assertion:

"The absurdity of the LCMS calendar strikes again."

The calendar has always only partly been chronological, as you well know. We celebrate Christ's birth on Dec. 25; the Holy Innocents on the 28th; yet the visit of the Magi on Jan. 6. We celebrate St. John's birth on the 24 of June and a week Later the Visitation which happened prior to the birth. You do not call these absurd, I suspect, merely because they were done long ago.

William Weedon said...

P.S. As to why Joseph is commemorated this time of the year, you'll have to ask the folks who put together the Menaion!

Jackson said...

Chris,
I'm a long time lurker, first time poster on this site. The last few times I've seen you post, you insulted the new art in the the international center, said Lutheran architecture was ugly, and called the inside of a Lutheran church "stark and bland" when I thought it looked rather nice.

I think that is why Fr. Weedon's patience grows thin.

Peace.

Jackson

Jeremy Loesch said...

Will, and everyone else, Dr. Just had a very good conversation on Issues, Etc regarding the myrrh bearers. I suspect you've listened to it.

And your conversations on the parts of the liturgy have been very good!

Jeremy

William Weedon said...

Thanks, Jeremy! I missed that, but I sure am planning on listening.

Chris said...

Fr. Will,

The Lutheran calendar does have a lot of absurdities. How the Lutherans can claim a western-catholic heritage and yet repudiate large parts of the calendar is beyond me. Still, I noticed that you still cannot give a justification for why the myrrhbearers are commemorated today. As for Joseph of Arimathea, he died on July 31 according to the Church's tradition.

As far as the feasts you mention, there's a big difference between 1600+ years of unbroken tradition vs recent innovation.

Jackson,

I've known Fr. Will for a long time. He knows my scruples. At the same time, I didn't realize that I was required to give affirmation to art that I deem non aesthetically pleasing. I've been in a lot of Lutheran churches, in Missouri, in Kansas and here in Nebraska (all places I have lived) and very few times is the architecture worthy of praise. Too often the building looks like a big isoceles triangle. Inside, there is no artwork of good quality, generally. So, It's not like I'm spitballing or making baseless assertions.

William Weedon said...

Chris, I'll leave you with a paraphrase of the words of our dear Lord: "the Church is not made for the calendar; the calendar is made for the Church." And as such the Church has this weird thing called FREEDOM to adjust the calendar to suit her needs - adding, subtracting, moving. It's been going on since the beginning of a calendar (which wasn't observed at the beginning). My suggestion: let Lutherans be Lutherans - and remember us in your prayers. We'll let Orthodox be Orthodox and not expect them to be Lutherans and we'll remember you in our prayers.

Jackson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jackson said...

Chris,

Never said you were "required to give affirmation" to art that you don't like. Don't know where you got that idea. How would you feel if I walked into your house and started criticizing everything in sight? Would you think I was rude? Even if my assertions might have some truth to them?

Peace.

Jackson

Thomas Pietsch said...

Chris,

The rationale, as I understand it, is this. Most Orthodox churches commemorate the myrrhbearers, or at least one of them, on 22 July. In the conversion from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, this washes up at 3 August (or perhaps 4 August). So in the Gregorian calendar, 3 August is the day.

I was at an ecumenical conference on the day, and led them in Lutheran vespers with this commemoration and TDP reading from Chemnitz. My Antiochian friend checked his calendar and they too were celebrating the myrrhbearers (or at least one of them) on 3 August - their calendar having been adjusted to Gregorian time too.

God bless you in the sharing of their proclamation of our risen Lord.

Pastor Thomas Pietsch
Geelong, Australia

PS A colleague pastor (un)helpfully suggested we rename it as the commemoration of the myrrhmaids.