Liturgical hair: Ember Day during Advent

Head and shoulders of a woman with dyed purple hair with red stripes sprayed on.So far in Advent I’ve been puprle, purple, and purple. There have been a few optional white days for various saints, but they aren’t ones we normally keep at St Andrew’s.

Today is what is known as an Ember Day, and I thought I’d do some red spray-on stripes to highlight it.

According to Wikipedia, Ember days are four separate sets of three days within the same week — specifically, the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday — roughly equidistant in the circuit of the year, that were formerly set aside for fasting and prayer. These days set apart for special prayer and fasting were considered especially suitable for the ordination of clergy. From that article it appears that Ember days, or Embertide, is very old indeed, and that the purpose has changed somewhat over the years.

I’m not sure why Common Worship has the Advent Ember Days a week earlier than other Western Christian churches or indeed than the BCP. Perhaps it’s to avoid clashes with Sapientiatide (more on that nearer the time)? These days, most people don’t fast, as such on Ember days, and indeed many people don’t have much awareness of what they are. But Common Worship suggests in Times and Seasons that Ember Days “may be kept [...] as more general days of prayer for those who serve the Church in its various ministries, both ordained and lay, and for vocations.”

So, that’s what I’m keeping today, Friday and Saturday — though I will also give a nod to Lucy on Friday, as I have a little bit to write about that is relevant, and perhaps also St John of the Cross on Saturday. And then of course Sunday is Gaudete, which means pink rose, which will be interesting for the carol service at St Andrew’s at 5.30pm.

Here is a CW collect for use during Embertide:

 Almighty and everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified:
hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in their vocation and ministry
they may serve you in holiness and truth
to the glory of your name;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The organ fund has collected over £1200 through Liturgical Hair — I will continue dyeing my hair in liturgical colours as long as sponsorship goes on, up until Pentecost 2014. You can donate at my JustGiving page, or text “ORGN99 £10″ to 70070. Thanks so much.

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