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Oh, for simpler times

From Juliet du Boulay’s marvelous ethnography-through-the-eyes-of-liturgy, Cosmos, Life and Liturgy in a Greek Orthodox Village:

…if the tribulation of the man in the fields, fulfilled in the wheat harvest, is parallel to the self-offering of Christ, fulfilled in the liturgical bread, this gets to the heart of why it is the man’s labour which, in spite of its being universally portrayed as the punishment for the fall, has at its heart ‘a blessing’. These mediating ideas are not openly expressed, but they surface in intuitive conclusions such as the final words in a discussion about whether or not to buy bread ready-made for the eucharist: ‘I don’t know. I’m just a stupid toothless old woman, but I say that the farmer himself should produce the corn from his own land to make the liturgical bread. That is what is good.’

The liturgical order thus brings in a series of transformations which overturn the fallen world, not only moving from women’s work being ‘cursed’ to the housewife being an icon of the Panaghia [the Mother of God], but also from man’s work being the punishment for sin to its ‘having a blessing’ in bringing forth the bread which is the body of Christ (pp. 333-4).

For some reason I’m reminded of a recent post of the Ochlophobist’s — but in any event, these are the kinds of things that make me think to myself, at least for a few seconds, “Yeah, we moderns are pretty much screwed.”

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