Warning: reading this blog may result in your pausing to cross yourself at every stop sign. Proceed with caution and read at your own risk.
Octogon=from Latin "octagonos", from Greek okta+gononos = "eight-angled".
Genesis 1:1-2:3 states that God created the world in six days and on the seventh day He rested. “The Sabbath” = Hebrew, shabbat (שבת) the day on which we are “to cease” from work-- falls on the seventh day of the week, Saturday, and thus the Jewish people worked for six days and worshiped and rested on the seventh.
Enter Jesus! As Christians we “rest” and celebrate our Sabbath on Sunday because it is the day of the Resurrection! The day on which Jesus rose from the grave! Hallelujah!
But get this…
Sunday is considered day one of a seven-day week, the first day of creation. But because Christ came and put an end to death, RE-CREATING the World, making all things NEW, the ancient Christians called this NEW FIRST DAY OF CREATION…THE EIGHTH DAY! THE HOLIEST DAY OF ALL DAYS!
“Sunday looks not only backwards but forward. Looking toward the Resurrection means looking toward the final consummation. With the Day of the Resurrection coming after the Sabbath, Christ, as it were, strode across time and lifted it up above itself. The (Church) Fathers connected with this the idea that the history of the world as a whole can be seen as one great week of seven days corresponding to the ages of a man’s life. The eighth day, therefore, signifies the new time that has dawned with the Resurrection…In the liturgy we already reach out to lay hold of it. But at the same time it is ahead of us…”To symbolize this eighth day- people liked to build baptisteries and Churches with baptisteries in octagonal shapes. “This was meant to show that Baptism is a birth into the eighth day, into the Resurrection of Christ and into the New Time that opened up with the Resurrection.” (From my new favorite book: The Spirit of the Liturgy by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger--also known as Pope Benedict XVI)
BOOM! Super cool! Now when you hear the Beatles sing…”Eight days a week…I looo-o-oooo-ooo-ove you… Eight days a week...is not enough to show I care…” You can sing along in full voice knowing that this is just how Jesus feels about YOU! He comes and makes ALL THINGS NEW! He died and rose again… just to show you how much He cares! Hallelujah and Amen!
So each time you see a stop sign…STOP! And think about this!
“The one who sat on the thronesaid, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ Then he said, ‘Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me, ‘They are accomplished. I [am] the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water.’” Revelation 21:5-6
Wow! You just never stop amazing me at how wonder-full You are! The more I know, the more I love You! Thank You for Re-Creating all things. For Re-setting the clock, and giving this sin-sick world a fresh start-- a do-over. Thank You for RE-setting me, wiping the slate clean, not only in the waters of Baptism but every time I come to You in confession. Thank You Lord that You are the Alpha and the Omega. You are Love. And I can never come to the end of You or Your love…because You are constantly re-creating--making all things new. Bless me as this truth sinks deeper and deeper into the very center of my (octagonal shaped?) soul.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The top photo is of St. John's Baptistry in Florence, Italy. The photo above is of one of the very first house churches (domus-ecclesia) build on top of the remains of St. Peter’s home in Capernaum in the Holy Land where Jesus lived as an adult while in Galilee. The Octagon shaped Baptismal font was in the east apse and decorating the floor at the very center of the Church was an octagonal mosaic of a peacock, the symbol of eternal life. A pilgrim who visited Capernaum around 570 A.D. wrote: "Item venimus in Capernaum in domo beati Petri, quae est modo basilica", i. e.: "We came to Capernaum in St. Peter's house, which at present is a basilica".