For most of us Ember Days go unnoÂticed. With the excepÂtion of semÂiÂnarÂiÂans writÂing letÂters to bishÂops telling them of their progress, Ember Days have all but disÂapÂpeared in the life of the Church. Even in farmÂing comÂmuÂniÂties livÂing closer to the earth and to the cycles of seed-time, vinÂtage and harÂvest there is preÂcious litÂtle attenÂtion given to Ember days. Such is our loss; for knowlÂedge of the seaÂsons has much to teach us and not just for lessons about the soil. Last week on SepÂtemÂber 18th, 20th, and 21st the Church’s calÂenÂdar rubrics noted what used to be the “vinÂtage” Ember days””that is the seaÂson of the grape harÂvest. As a native CalÂiÂfornÂian I rememÂber it well””the grape harÂvest that is not the Ember days.
What brought this to mind was our latÂest dioceÂsan Clergy Day. Not that we in the DioÂcese of South CarÂolina are in what I would call a “vinÂtage season”””though cerÂtainly some may feel this past year they have been like grapes in the wine press trodÂdened and squeezed. No, as I looked out on the assemÂbled brothÂers and sisÂters, rather than seeÂing brethren in the vinÂtage month, what came to mind was that more than a few had passed through or perÂhaps were still in a falÂlow season.