Theologian's Almanac for Week of October 27, 2019
Welcome to SALT’s “Theologian’s Almanac,” a weekly selection of important birthdays, holidays, and other upcoming milestones worth marking - specially created for a) writing sermons and prayers, b) creating content for social media channels, and c) enriching your devotional life.
For the week of Sunday, October 27:
October 29 is the birthday of quilt maker Harriet Powers, born into slavery outside Athens, Georgia, in 1837. Her quilts used a combination of hand stitching, machine stitching, and appliqué to form small detailed panels telling a larger story, like a graphic novel. This storytelling style of quilting has roots in West African coastal communities, and likewise, Powers’ artistry mirrors the complex rhythms of African-American folk music. Her quilts record legends and biblical tales of hope, perseverance, and divine justice. Her Bible Quilt, created in 1886, now hangs in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Powers' work is now considered among the preeminent examples of Southern 19th-century quilting.
October 31 is Halloween, or “All Hallow’s Eve.” Here’s SALT’s “Brief Theology of Halloween.”
November 1 is All Saints' Day, a festival celebrating all the saints, known and unknown.
November 2 is All Souls’ Day, honoring those who have died (especially relatives).
All three of these days - October 31 through November 2 - are sometimes collectively called “Allhallowtide.” And in communities of Mexican heritage, many celebrate this three-day period as the Dia de los Muertos, “The Day of the Dead,” a time to gather to pray, remember, and commune with friends and family members who have died.
November 1 is also the day Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling was first revealed in 1512. Michelangelo had worked on the ceiling for four years, illustrating themes from the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, including the famous panel, “The Creation of Adam” (though “The Creation of Eve” is actually the featured, centermost image). The German writer, Wolfgang von Goethe, wrote that without seeing the Sistine Chapel ceiling, “we cannot know what a human being can achieve.”