Saturday, April 11, 2015

The truth is stranger than fiction

I came across this rather quirky item on underwater weddings, which would be the last thing I'd attend or officiate at.
   Beach weddings have always been popular on Alabama's coast and now a reef-focused nonprofit is taking it to another level.
   On Thursday, a shell-covered concrete cross is being deployed at the nearshore reef called "Poseidon's Playground." Once it's in place in about 38 feet of water, 3.5 miles off the coast of Orange Beach, it will begin serving as an altar for underwater wedding ceremonies, according to Vince Lucido, president of the Alabama Gulf Coast Reef and Restoration Foundation.
   "Weddings seem to be a big industry here and we're going to offer wedding venues for anybody that has a desire to do underwater weddings," Lucido said.
   Read the whole thing here.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Maundy Thursday-what's in a name?

Today marks the foot washing of the disciples
Painting by Hanna Varghese, Last Supper
by Jesus as a symbolic act of humble service. It was also on this night that Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper. The sacrament of the altar/the Eucharist/Holy Communion-whatever this meal is called by the various traditions and denominations-I believe was originally intended as a sign of unity among the followers of Jesus. Yet, to this very day, it remains a sign of the opposite, a sign of division. Moreover, the arrogance, acrimony, and know-it-all attitudes among far too many theologians and clergy is a scandal, and I believe, likely the cause of much grief for Jesus himself. 
   Where does the word Maundy come from and what does it mean? Well, down through the centuries there have been at least three interpretations. 
   First, there is the Latin word mandatum, which means "command," and is associated with the words of Jesus in John 13, when he gives his disciples a new commandment to love one another. Others associate it with the synoptic gospels and Paul's account of the Lord's Supper when Jesus says, "do this." 
   Second, there is the Latin word mundo, which means "wash," and again is associated with John 13, where Jesus washes his disciples feet.
   Third, there is the word maund, which means "basket," and on Maundy Thursday the poor were given  food baskets. The poor were also given specially minted coins called maund money.