Today is the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (died first century), and the first of three Ember Days for this season of the year. Today is also the International Day of Peace, and today is Earth, Wind, & Fire Day.
The son of Alphaeus and also known as Levi, Saint Matthew lived at Capernaum on Lake Genesareth. He was a Roman tax collector, a position equated with collaboration with the enemy by those from whom he collected taxes. After his call, Matthew invited the Lord home for a feast. On seeing this, the Scribes and the Pharisees criticized Jesus for eating with tax collectors and sinners, but Jesus explained that he had come “not to call the just, but sinners.” Matthew’s Gospel is given pride of place in the canon of the New Testament, and was written to convince Jewish readers that their anticipated Messiah had come in the person of Jesus. He preached among the Jews for 15 years; his audiences may have included the Jewish enclave in Ethiopia, and places in the East. Like the other evangelists, Matthew is often depicted in Christian art with one of the four living creatures of Revelation 4:7. The one that accompanies him is in the form of a winged man; Matthew’s gospel starts with Jesus’ genealogy from Abraham, and represents Jesus’ Incarnation, and so Christ’s human nature. He is the Patron Saint of accountants and bankers, and, by extension, of table games dealers. Today is also the first of three Ember Days for this season of the year. Ember days (a corruption from the Latin Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073 – 1085) for the consecutive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after December 13th (the feast of St. Lucy), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday (Pentecost), and after September 14th (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. Today is the International Day of Peace. It is dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access. The day was first celebrated in 1982, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and peoples. To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters (in New York City). The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents except Africa, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan, as “a reminder of the human cost of war”; the inscription on its side reads, “Long live absolute world peace”. Finally, today is Earth, Wind, & Fire Day. Their hit single “September” begins, “Do you remember the 21st night of September? / Love was changing the minds of pretenders / While chasing the clouds away.” It was written by Maurice White, Al McKay, and Allee Willis, recorded during the I Am sessions, and released as a single in 1978. Featured on the band’s album The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1,”September” reached number one on the US R&B chart, number eight on the Billboard Hot 100, and number three on the UK singles chart.
Last night I started re-reading The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde.
I woke up at 9:00 am and started the Weekly Computer Maintenance before I did my Book Devotional Reading. I then posted to Facebook that today was the International Day of Peace, and posted to Facebook that today was Earth, Wind, and Fire Day. I read the morning paper while eating my breakfast toast. Next, I did my Internet Devotional Reading. The Weekly Computer Maintenance had finished, and I started the Weekly Virus Scan.
Leaving the house at 11:15 am, my first stop was Cash Magic, where I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing (and won $3.00 from my previous batch of tickets). I then headed down to the Hub (again). At the Breast Center of Acadiana I called my Ob/Gyn’s office to have them fax my orders for mammograms over (I had lost the order that my Ob/Gyn’s office had given me), and had my appointment at 12:50 pm for my regular Mammogram and my Ultrasonic Mammogram. I then went to Piccadilly Cafeteria, where I ate a late lunch and continued reading Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen.
I arrived back home at 3:45 pm; the Weekly Virus Scan had finished. I watched Jeopardy! at 4:30 pm, and then spent the rest of the evening working on my Weblog photos. Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb. And I will now end this Daily Update and do some reading.
We have no Saints to honor tomorrow. However, tomorrow is the Autumnal Equinox, and it is Hobbit Day, the joint birthday of Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins. Tomorrow is the birthday of Richard’s niece Aimee, the middle daughter of his sister Juanita in Georgia (1989). The Autumnal Equinox will arrive at 9:21 am. I will get my salad supplies, make my lunch salads for Saturday and Sunday, and pick up a shrimp poboy at Twisted Wings for my lunch.
Our Wednesday Evening Parting Quote comes to us from Kofi Awoonor, Ghanaian poet, author, and diplomat. Born in 1935 in Wheta, Gold Coast (now in Ghana), he was the eldest of 10 children in the family. After preliminary education he went to the University of Ghana, where he wrote his first poetry book, Rediscovery, published in 1964, calling himself George Awoonor-Williams. His early works were inspired by the singing and verse of his native Ewe people. He managed the Ghana Film Corporation and founded the Ghana Play House. Awoonor then studied literature at University College London, and wrote several radio plays for the BBC. He spent the early 1970s in the United States, studying and teaching at Stony Brook University (then called SUNY at Stony Brook). While in the United States he he wrote This Earth, My Brother, and My Blood, a cross between a novel and a poem. Awoonor returned to Ghana in 1975 as head of the English department at the University of Cape Coast. Within months he was arrested for helping a soldier accused of trying to overthrow the military government and was imprisoned without trial and was later released. The House by the Sea, a book of poems published in 1978, is about his time in jail. After his release Awoonor became politically active and he continued to write, but mainly concentrated on nonfiction works. Awoonor was Ghana’s ambassador to Brazil from 1984 to 1988, before serving as his country’s ambassador to Cuba. From 1990 to 1994 he was Ghana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, where he headed the committee against apartheid. He was also a former Chairman of the Council of State. He taught African literature at the University of Ghana, and in 2006 wrote The African Predicament: Collection of Essays. Awoonor was among those who were killed in the September 2013 attack at Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, where he was a participant at the Storymoja Hay Festival, a four-day celebration of writing, thinking and storytelling, at which he was due to perform on the evening of his death (died 2013): “On such a day who would dare think of dying? So much Freedom means that we swear we’ll postpone dying until the morning after.”