[Rough Draft]

A weblog about god, doubt, insomnia, culture, baseball


making (in)sense

so guess who gets to be the thurifer for easter vigil @ st. peter's? yup -- lil' old me. which prompts a couple of questions: (a) why do episcopalians use incense, anyway? seems like a lot of people claim they're allergic to it (and, no doubt, some are) or that it screws up their noses or heads or whatever, but i love it. the church of the advent website reports:

The tradition of using incense in the liturgy dates back to ancient Hebrew worship, as recorded in the Psalms: "Let my prayer be set forth in Thy sight as the incense" (Psalm 141:2). As this verse suggests, incense symbolizes the prayers of the faithful rising up to heaven as the smoke rises to the rafters. Incense also appears in the Bible in association with visions of the Divine, most notably in the book of Isaiah and the Revelation to St John. The smoke itself is associated with purification and sanctification; thus, we cense the consecrated elements of the Eucharist to show that they are set apart, and when we cense people we are not only symbolically "purifying" them but also acknowledging that they are set apart by their Baptism.

so there! and the second question -- (b) i wonder whether, over the entire course of christendom, the little thingy that holds the incense (can you tell i'm a newbie?) has ever flown off the end of the chain and struck a parishioner, icon, stained-glass window, priest, chorister, organist, body of christ, et cetera? the advent webpage has a section on safety, but they don't go so far as to answer that question, now do they? perhaps there are legal implications. that might be a good project for me to study during my anglican year, yeah?


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