This Week: January 13 - 17

Published: January 13, 2014

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter. 

– from T.S. Eliot, “The Journey of the Magi”

So we begin again, taking our first steps into the Spring Term 2014 during what some traditions call the Season of Epiphany, the season of magi journeys, illuminations, revelations.  

The season of Epiphany. After Christmas. Before Ash Wednesday. A time of expanding daylight. During Epiphany – during January – nature’s light daily grows stronger. Days are longer, nights shorter.  Though January is still here and the possibility of winter snow touches skies and clouds, we catch sight of the promise of spring’s new life.  Christianity includes three traditional Epiphany stories:  the visit of the sages, the baptism of Jesus, and the wedding feast at Cana.  Through each, we celebrate emerging promises – the revelations of a winter-becoming spring – of the growing awareness of God’s grace. 

This semester’s opening chapel will be on the first day of classes, Tuesday, January 14. As part of this chapel service, we will share in an Epiphany ritual called “chalking the door.” Early Epiphany practices that continue today in some communities included gatherings at homes or places of work to ask God’s blessing on those dwellings.  Chalk, an ordinary and temporary substance, was used to mark the doorway of the dwelling with the letters C, M, and B. These letters stir memories of names given by tradition to the magi—Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.  Some communities note that the letters also stand for “Christus Mansionem Benedicat,” or “May Christ bless this dwelling.”

So we begin again. I hope to see you in chapel on Tuesday to “chalk the door” as we enter into a new semester. May our journey through winter and into the spring be full of new insights and deepening if not rediscovering of familiar insights. 

. . .were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.        

– from T.S. Eliot, “The Journey of the Magi”


Academic News

Last Day to Add Classes, with permission Tuesday, January 28
Incomplete Work from Past Term, due to instructor Wednesday, February 12
Last Day to Drop Classes, with permission Tuesday, February 18


>> View the full edition of This Week online.


Blessings for the week ahead,

  Jill Crainshaw
  Associate Dean for Academic Affairs




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