This week we continue reading the Wisdom of Ben Sira / Sirach. What is your experience of reading through the apocryphal / deuterocanonical books? Not so much unlike the time between Christmas and the new year, for me this literature truly feels like an unusual space in which I experience religion differently than I normally do.
We celebrate Epiphany and the weeks that follow it, and while those weeks are often known as the beginning of ordinary time, that they are referred to as the Sundays following Epiphany brings to mind things beyond the ordinary. Susan Foster invites us into the prayer craft of Star Gifts in this season: “A star gift is simply a star-shaped piece of brightly colored paper with a word printed on it. Every person who comes to church on Epiphany Sunday receives a star gift and is asked to reflect on that word for the coming year. The people are invited to ponder what significance this word might have in their lives, and how God might be speaking to them through that simple message.” Read the entire article for more specifics on this practice.
Print out this Star Words for Epiphany PDF (or part of it) from RevGalBLogPals if you need some ideas and inspiration. This could be a fun and enlightening practice for your whole family, church, or other group of which you’re a part. Spend some time reflecting daily on your word and its meaning for your life at this point in time.
This week we begin Part 2, “Managing Your Time,” Chapter 3, “Do You Suffer from the AACL?” of The Lifelong Activist. The key insight for me: “The biggest problem with the AACL [Average American Consumerist Lifestyle] is that it acts against your Mission. The AACL pretty much demands that you take a high-paying day job; and that job, when combined with the overall busyness and stress of the AACL, will leave you little or no time and energy to do your activism. In fact, people who have bought into the AACL tend to view non-money-making activities such as activism with deep skepticism.”
In this season following Epiphany and before Lent, are you clear on what your Mission is? Does how your livelihood is structured provide you with enough time to live into your Mission? What observations do you have about your life in relation to your Mission?
Check out the Find Your FBCO Map to find your local faith-based community organizing affiliate and connect with the people who are working together to live out their dreams of a more just world! What’s going on in your living of the Gospel? Let us know in the comments, in our e-mail discussion group, or on social media.
- “‘Apocrypha’ in the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, Abridged Edition.” Bible Odyssey, 2009. http://www.bibleodyssey.org/HarperCollinsBibleDictionary/a/apocrypha.
- Breed, Brennan. “Bible Basics: How Was the Bible Written and Transmitted?” Bible Odyssey, n.d. http://www.bibleodyssey.org/tools/bible-basics/how-was-the-bible-written-and-transmitted.
- Burnette-Bletsch, Rhonda. “Bible Basics: Why Does the Bible Look the Way It Does?” Bible Odyssey, n.d. http://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/tools/bible-basics/why-does-the-bible-look-the-way-it-does.
- Crenshaw, James L. “The Book of Sirach” in The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary; Volume VI: Esther; Additions to Esther; Tobit; Judith; 1 & 2 Maccabees; Book of Wisdom; Sirach; Introduction to Apocalyptic Literature; Daniel; Additions to Daniel. Abingdon Press, 2015.
- deSilva, David. The Apocrypha. Core Biblical Studies. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2012.
- Foster, Susan. “Star Gifts: Words to Ponder All Year Long.” Reformed Worship, September 2009. https://www.reformedworship.org/article/september-2009/star-gifts.
- Luther Seminary. “Enter the Bible,” n.d. http://www.enterthebible.org/.
- Rettig, Hillary. The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way. New York, NY: Lantern Books, 2006.
- Rettig, Hillary. “Do You Suffer From the AACL?” in The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way. New York, NY: Lantern Books, 2006. http://lifelongactivist.com/part-ii-managing-your-time/3-do-you-suffer-from-the-aacl/
- RevGalBlogPals. “Star Words for Epiphany PDF,” n.d. https://revgalblogpals.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/star-words-for-epiphany.pdf.
- Tunseth, Scott. “Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach” The Peoples’ Companion to the Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010.