IT’S NEVER *JUST* A TUESDAY
(Tuesday, May 9)
It’s Tuesday! And this morning I’m grateful for this delightful fact. Because it’s never *just* a Tuesday, if I choose to pay attention to all the faith-inspiring meanings of this weekday offered to me, traditioned to me, via our language, Holy Scripture and other aspects of church-tradition.
Tuesday is named in English after the Germanic god of war, Tiw, (equated with the Roman god Mars, which is why Tuesday is named after Mars in the Romance languages, e.g., *Mardi* in French, *martedì* in Italian, etc.), and this factoid reminds me *not* to deify war as if it comes not from us but from some deity who demands this bloody sacrifice. Instead, I embrace the biblical meaning of Tuesday, which is The Third Day (*Triti* in Greek and *yom shlishi* in Hebrew), and I remember that on The Third Day God “doubly blessed” His creation, saying “it is good” not once, but twice. This is why in Jewish folklore Tuesdays are considered lucky or “doubly blessed.” In Orthodox church-tradition, Tuesday is also the day of St. John the Baptist, so I bring out and place on the bookshelf next to my desk an icon of the Forerunner of the Lord, and pray a bit for his intercessions throughout my day. He exemplifies for us a very different kind of “force” or “violence,” than does Tiw in Germanic mythology: John the Baptist, not a deity but a servant of the living God, is one about whom Christ said, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses… And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force…” (Matt 11:7–8, 12) St. John the Baptist exemplifies a “violence” that is a forceful, unambivalent decisiveness, to choose truth over falsehood, good over evil, and the kingdom of heaven over the kingdom(s) of men. This godly “violence” is not a murderous or destructive one; it is not inflicted on human beings or on any kingdoms of this world. It is a “violence” or force and decisiveness by which we are called to “take” the kingdom of heaven.
I can participate in at least some of these meanings today, fill my Tuesday with them, direct my life towards them, and not first and foremost toward the oft fear-inspiring meanings of whatever will be going on in today’s news-cycle. “Holy and great John, Forerunner of the Lord, pray to God for us today!”
(For more on praying the weekdays, get my new little book, Praying in Time, available here at the Gift Shop of our website, in paperback and Audiobook versions.)