The weeks of summer fly past. Trips, training, gardening, canning and cooking consume every moment. There is a seeming lull in the liturgical year, as if all energy was expended throughout the marathon of Lent and the Apostles Fast, and we collapsed into exhausted celebration with the feasts of Ascension, Pentecost and the Apostles. Life seems to pull at us - with fewer added services, life in our home takes on an agrarian rhythm. Everything builds around the harvest, whether from our own garden, or the weekly CSA box, or the Farmer's Market, I spend much of my time considering what foods must be frozen, canned or cooked. Enjoying parties with family and friends, breathing deeply the humid air, a feeling of indolence and joy at letting go of a few responsibilities. I suppose that is the way the end of the year should feel - hot, heavy, with thoughts turning to the next year...school plans...the liturgical gauntlet of September with its many services. So it is good to have a sobering time. A time to call ourselves back from the carefree days of July, to ease us back.
For that, the church offers the Dormition. We end the church cycle as we begin it, with she who was permitted to hold God both within her and in her arms. So many names......... she is the ladder of Jacob..... the burning bush of Moses....the cloud of glory which contained our Lord. She is the ark, the tabernacle - holier than the Holies. She gave birth to the light which illumines the world, and the stone cut from a mountain by no human hand. She is the gate that shall ever remain shut - for the Lord, the God of Israel has entered by it. She is the very temple veil she stitched, and the golden urn which carried the Manna. She is the rod of Aaron, which sprouted the Flower of Immortality, and who gave birth to the Rod of Jesse. She is the holy altar who bore the bread of life, the branch of the unwithering vine, and her prayers are the sweetest of incense to her Son. As we enter the season of the dormition, may we remember the most holy Theotokos, and beseech her prayers on our behalf - for what better mouth to voice our needs to the ear of the Son of God............. than those of his Mother.