08 September 2010

Just so's you know...

...in my German Bible, published by our own Concordia Publishing House in 1921, there's a list of the minor festivals and readings in the back.  Today happens to be marked:

Am Tage der Geburt Mariä.

On the day of the Birth of Mary.

The readings assigned are an epistle from Sirach 24:22-31 and the Gospel is Matthew 1:1-16.  Although the day did NOT make it into LSB's commemorations (sadly!), I do note that in Liturgies et Cantiques Lutheriens (think French LSB), the day is listed.  The propers include:

Isaiah 61:7-11; Gal. 4:4-7; Luke 1:(39-45) 46-55.

The collect appears to be the same one that LSB prescribes for the Day of St. Mary, August 15.

So there is both Lutheran precedent and current Lutheran practice observing today as the Nativity of the Blessed Mother.


Scott Larkins said...


Past Elder said...

Smile when you say that, pilgrim!

8 September is the traditional feast of the birth (or nativity, if you will) of the BVM (a common papist acronym, sorry, old habit, at least I don't start my posts with JMJ) and nobody has the slightest clue why 8 September although the feast is centuries and centuries old.

It is also found on the Sanctoral Calendar available on the Lex Orandi site, which I think is Loehe's, who is absolutely The Man in my book (well so are Walther and Barnes, but hey).

It has Lutheran credentials galore, which are only ignored as the remnants of previous American Lutheran infatuations with American Protestant numbers winning trends.

"New measures" I think they were called, before the same stuff got new names and seemed new.

Old Errors, New Labels.

Past Elder said...

Which, speaking papistly, is the title of a book by Bishop Sheen. I'm writing a sequel, "Old Errors, New Labels, Judas Priest" and soon as PTM coughs up an advance to support myself while I write it, so it may be a while.

Chris said...

The Eastern churches celebrate this feast also on Sep. 8. For us, this is the beginning of the New Year and our sanctoral cycle is sealed by the birth and death of the Theotokos (as well as by the martyrdom of St. John the Forerunner on Aug. 29). In the WEstern churches, did the New Year always coincide with Advent or was it maybe moved there later? It makes sense to keep the Nativity of the Theotokos today for us but I'm too at a loss why it would be retained the same on the western calendar.

Past Elder said...

Advent ain't nuttin like it usta be. It was a full blown 40 days of purpose just like Lent, each of them a quadragesima, 40 days. Started right after the feast of St Martin 11 November. A penitential season of preparation, which is why both use purple. So Advent was more like the Nativity Fast of the East in origin.

In my most humble opinion, all that stuff is just Christianed over end of harvest cycles, which cycles are not the same everywhere, hence different times. Complete with blow-outs before the fast hits -- the old Advent had its equivalent of Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.

Not to mention the Julian/Gregorian thing, from which you get an October Revolution in November, or two guys dying on the same date but not the same day (Shakespeare and Cervantes).

Not to mention the whole fast/feast thing, again in my humble opinion self-induced glucose deprivation being one of the curioser works to which spiritual merit is ascribed.

But now Advent has lost its 40 days and pretty much all the penitential fasting stuff, hell you don't even see purpur any more, the focus is all on anticipation, hence blue.

Not to mention the start of a calendar year and a functional year are not always the same, ven in the secular world, fiscal and calendar years being different.

Not to mention it's a long comment for so many not to mentions.

Paul said...

Honor your Mother:)

Rev. Dr. Benjamin T. G. Mayes said...

Regarding the beginning of church year, all the Lutheran postils from the 16th century begin with Advent 1. If I recall correctly, medieval collections of sermons do so too. Interestingly, though, Martin Luther thought of the civil calendar as starting on Christmas. So Christmas Day and New Year's Day were the same, even though the New Year began with a few days of December left. I don't know when that changed.

Jon said...

I think the whole concept is cool, but I just saw a small gramatical point that makes it all the cooler:

"Am Tage der Geburt Mariä"

Geburt is feminine, therefore taking the feminine article "die", which in the genetive becomes der -, so we then have the "On the day of the Birth of Mary". But instead of writing "der Geburt Marias", the writer takes a germanized latin formulation of Mary's name, by taking a and adding an umlaut "ä", which is essentially the same as the Latin ae, which puts feminine nouns in the genetive case.

Trent said...

"The bush on the mountain that was not consumed by fire, and the Chaldean furnace that brought refreshment as the dew, plainly prefigured thee, O Bride of God. For in a material womb, unconsumed thou hast received the divine and immaterial fire. Therefore we cry aloud unto Him who was born of thee: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou. . . . Inspired by God, the divine choir spoke of thee in prophecy as the Mountain, the Gate of heaven, and the spiritual Ladder: for out of thee was hewn a stone, not cut by hand of man; and thou art the gate through which passed the Lord of wonders, the God of our fathers. . . . The preordained tabernacle of our reconciliation with God now begins to be. It is she who shall bear unto us the Word, appearing in the material substance of the flesh. He has brought us from not being into being: His praises do we sing and we exalt Him above all for ever. Ann's barrenness was transformed, thereby destroying the world's barrenness in good things; and this wonder plainly foreshadowed Christ's coming to dwell with mortal men. He has brought us from not being into being: His praises do we sing and we exalt Him above all for eve. St John of Damascus

Anonymous said...

I suppose I will catch flak for this...

President does not mean necessarily mean good practice.

How and why is the date set for Mary? - We celebrate the 'graduation' of saints into heaven, a day more important than a birthday (though if we had a baptismal dates - that might be different). Only our Lord's Birthday and by default, John the Baptist's, have a b-day on the church calendar. And I much preferred celebrating John the Baptist's beheading, I know the youth in my congregation did.

btw I don't like the commemoration dates falling on birthdays in the LSB calendar either.

gnesio-lutheran said...

I have my great-grandmother's German hymnal, likewise published by Concordia in the 20's, which also lists this commemoration. I always found it odd that Mary's Nativity was celebrated, but her Dormition/ Assumption was not....

123 said...

"The earliest document commemorating this feast comes from the sixth century. St.Romanus, the great ecclesiastical lyrist of the Greek Church, composed for it a hymn (Card. Pitra, "Hymnogr. Graeca", Paris, 1876, 199)... Evidence is wanting to show why the eighth of September was chosen for its date. The Church of Rome adopted it in the seventh century from the East"


A possible reason for September 8:

"The Church calendar begins with the Nativity of the Theotokos celebrated on Sept. 8/21. This holy day corresponds closely to the date of the Jewish New Year, which to the Hebrews signified the beginning of a new era in their lives. Similarly the early Church, which generally followed the Old Testament celebrations of the Hebrews, proclaimed the new Christian era by announcing to the world the birth of the Holy Virgin Mary. She was to be the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, by His birth was to bring a new era into the world - the era of Christianity."


That, together with the following may have led to a 'compromise' date:

"It is generally believed that the date of September 8 was chosen to celebrate the Nativity of Mary since the civil year began in Constantinople on September 1. Scholars believe that this date was chosen since it was symbolic that the "beginning" of the work of salvation should be commemorated near to the beginning of the new year."


And there is, of course, a more pious reason given in the West for September 8:

"The church of Angers in France claims that St. Maurilius instituted this feast at Angers in consequence of a revelation about 430. On the night of 8 Sept., a man heard the angels singing in heaven, and on asking the reason, they told him they were rejoicing because the Virgin was born on that night (La fête angevine N.D. de France, IV, Paris, 1864, 188); but this tradition is not substantiated by historical proofs."


I wonder if the literal eighth day of the year is part of the reason why September 8 was chosen. There are all sorts of 'eights' that could be seen as types, fugures, etc.: circumcision in the OT, naming of a child in the Orthodox Church, the eighth day without end...

Interestingly to some:

"The Copts in Egypt and the Abyssinians celebrate Mary's Nativity on 1 May, and continue the feast under the name of "Seed of Jacob" 33 days (Anal. Juris Pont., xxi, 403); they also commemorate it on the first of every month (priv. letter from P. Baeteman, C.M., Alikiena)."

123 said...

Regarding the 'eighth day' hypothesis:

"The eight day is the day of the Transfiguration of the whole world... The eighth day won’t come after the history of mankind, it already exists now. It’s the parallel world; it’s the world of the Kingdom of God which we don’t see with physical eyes, which we can’t touch because our eyes are closed by the sin; but the reality of the Divine world doesn’t become less and isn’t gloomed by anything. This world exists and each of us, like the Apostles is given a chance to touch this world already in this life... we touch the eighth day of creation, the Kingdom of God not by physical eyes and hands but by our hearts."


And since the Theotokos is the 'beginning' of Christ's work culminating on Pashca:

"the eighth day is the day of the new creation. Every Sunday is not only the first day, but it's also the eighth day. We break out of the temporal week, seven days, and break into the new creation, which is on the eighth day, which is the day of the Resurrection."


PrDLH said...

Hello Pastor Weedon,

It is interesting you bring these points out about the BVM.

A question for you. In the past 2 years a numerical comparison of the amount of scripture covered by the one year and three year lectionaries was given. Do you remember this? If so, do you remember or have the information about how much of scripture is covered by each? I really appreciate it. If you want to contact me directly that would be great!! Or if someone reading this might have the information that would be great as well!!

Darian L. Hybl

William Weedon said...


I've not seen that data that I recall. I would point out, though, given folks regularly missing on Sundays that using the 3 year series you could have six or nine years go by without some basic texts being presented. That's problematic.

Past Elder said...

Not to mention, until the recent "movements" of one kind or another, how much of Scripture is being used is of no concern in the lectionary, but rather that Scripture be used in the annual cycle of the church year to tell the story.

The Bible is studied, but the lectionary is not a Bible study curriculum.

X said...