Remembering the Roots of Thanksgiving

I am grateful for a day in which we, as a people, pause to give thanks. And who do we have to thank for this holiday? Your answer is likely “The Pilgrims.” You would not be wrong, but then not completely correct, either. Certainly, Thanksgiving and the religious response of giving thanks to God is as old as time. When one considers enduring cultures, one always finds men and women working out their relationship to God. There is almost always a fourfold purpose to our acts of worship: adoration, petition, atonement, thanksgiving. Such worship is part and parcel of life. And yet, there is still a very human need to specially celebrate and offer thanksgiving on key occasions and anniversaries. Since medieval times, we have very detailed records of celebrations marking the end of an epidemic, liberation from sure and certain doom, the signing of a peace treaty, and more. Continue reading

Stay Awake

This coming Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent. In yesterday’s posts we considered the pastoral concerns of the gospel; concerns that sometimes get lost amid all the attention to an “apocalyptic” fervor around the reading. In today’s post we’ll look at Matthew’s emphasis that the disciples will not know the day – no one knows – but that does not remove the need to stay awake – a key theme of Advent. Continue reading

Resolution D Passes Critical Vote

I know you have been waiting on pins and needles for the Resolution D vote by International Bureau of Weights and Measures.  Resolution D was a vote to abolish the “leap second”, an adjustment has 50 years ago that was devised as a way to align the international atomic time scale, in use since 1967 and derived from the vibration of cesium atoms, with the slightly slower time that Earth keeps as it rotates. In effect, whenever atomic time is one second ahead, it stops for a second to allow Earth to catch up. Ten leap seconds were inserted into the atomic time scale when the fudge was unveiled in 1972. Twenty-seven more have been added since. Continue reading