Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Holy days

We get into a really dangerous place when we start confusing our myths and our holidays. Memorial Day honors the memory of those who gave their lives serving the United States in its military, many of them making the “ultimate sacrifice” (in the state’s view) in service to the nation. That’s fine. The state needs holidays like this to support its grand narrative and mythology, just like any community of persons. The Church, however, has its own “sort” of “Memorial Day.” In fact, our celebration of the Christian “Memorial Day” spans two days: All Saints Day and All Souls Day, November 1 and 2, respectively. These are the days that Christians celebrate the lives of those who have gone before us giving their lives specifically as followers of Christ, many of them making the ultimate sacrifice as martyrs on the way of the cross.
-from this very good post at Catholic Anarchy.

There are a few ideas that I'm just beginning to understand: 1) America has a kind of civic religion; 2) This religion is in many ways at odds with Christianity; and 3) Calendars and rituals are important. So, choose this day whom you will serve. All Souls Day and All Saints Day or Memorial Day? Independence Day or Pascha? President's Day or the Feast of the Ascension? I don't know if these are completely at odds, but I'm beginning to think they are.


Dutch said...

an interesting, thought-provoking book that addresses this subject is Jesus for President. I just read it a few weeks ago, and though I don't necessarily agree with everything, it had some good points about America v. Christianity

Lindsey said...


katietracy. said...

I think this is a realization that has been dawning on me over the past 10 months or so. I think what's most concerning is that somehow the American church has bought into this American civic religion and now equates Patriotism and Nationalism with Christianity.

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