Today in a small village in southwestern France, the people were having a ball... really. They were in period costumes. They were singing and dancing and celebrating the Assumption of Mary.
In my days of self-imposed exile from the Episcopal Church, I would host what I called "The Assumption Party". I would invite all my friends over who were ex-Roman Catholics (I have many of them!) and we'd have wine with wafers (and chips and dip) and they'd compare notes on what they knew of the Virgin Mary. Some of them knew a lot more than others. Some would argue the finer points of another major Mary holiday, the Immaculate Conception. All would grouse about where the RC Church went wrong in their lives and why they weren't attending any more. This would lead to one of my favorite games of the Assumption Party: famous assumptions made throughout history by the popes of the Roman Catholic Church. Among them:
- Nobody will ever question this scheme of selling indulgences;
- Henry VIII is just bluffing about that whole divorce thing;
- If we keep talking about Mary, the feminists will be satisfied and will shut up and be good mothers
The parties were fun and irreverent. I don't host them any more, mostly because my ex-RC partner has converted to Judaism... and it just seemed to have run its course. But I do always realize that today there are people dancing and celebrating the life, and assumption into Heaven, of the woman who gave birth to God incarnate. And, as one who is Christian, I am always grateful that a teen-aged girl responded, "Here I am!" and not "I'm outta here!" to the message from Gabriel. A reading from Galatians assigned for her day:
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a child, and if a child, then also an heir, through God.--Galatians 4: 4-7