I have many times started a post about Waldorf education. I never quite seem to finish it to my satisfaction. I am going to attempt again, as I was inspired by the homily this morning. This past weekend was one full of beauty and joy. More than I can grasp, or attempt to communicate. Sunday morning service was such a calm experience, as only a small number were able to make it down the icy, winding roads to our church. The power was shorting out so there were no lights, and the chairs had been removed in anticipation of the crowds coming to venerate the icon. I felt very present in the service that morning. Then today, we celebrate the end a season. We prepared for Christ's birth many long weeks, celebrated it joyously, gloried in the beauty of Theophany, that moment of Christ's revelation of himself to the world, and now today the season ends with one more reminder of the Incarnation. Christ, as any other child, was presented forty days after birth to be brought into the temple. The beautiful hymn which is sung every evening at Vespers echos that day "Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which You has prepared before the face of all people ..." Blessed Simeon, whose life was extended because of his doubt in the virgin birth, had waited his whole life to see the Messiah. He held in his hands the child who was God. Because of that incarnation, because God became man, we are saved. The Incarnation is what allows us to use icons within the Orthodox Church. Because God became man, we can depict Christ in his physical form. The Incarnation teaches us that the physical is important. We are not called to despise the bodies God created for us, as they were made in His image. We are not called to reject the physical world, as each part of its beauty is a small bit of His divine love revealed to us. I think that is why Waldorf education often appeals to Orthodox homeschoolers. While the spiritual philosophy behind Waldorf is not acceptable to the church, the reverence for God's creation is very much a part of the Orthodox church. We constantly appeal to the whole person throughout the liturgy. We are whole humans, and each of our senses was given to us that we might glory in God's love revealed to us each day.
"...Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Phillipians 4:8