Christian Apologetics Society

Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God."
- Matthew 22:29

Isaiah 55:11
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it
Gen 1:3
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light
Matthew 26:26
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body."
Malachi 1:11
My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations," says the LORD Almighty.
John 20:23
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.
James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 2:14
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Luke 20:38
For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.
Rev 21:27
Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
1 Cor 3:15
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Psalm 51:5
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.
John 3:5
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Titus 3:5
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
1 Timothy 3:15
but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Acts 22:16
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Easter Food Blessing - An Ancient Polish Custom

Last night, at the end of our Good Friday service, our pastor, who happens to be Polish, mentioned that there was an old Polish custom of gathering one's Easter meal into a basket and bringing it to church to be blessed. He said that he would be doing the traditional Polish blessing on Holy Saturday at Noon.

Well, having sat through a very beautiful Polish Christmas Mass, I decided, why not? Why not learn more about another culture and tradition? So this morning I set about locating an small laundry basket. I tossed in some bags of potatoes and onions for the potato salad that we are bringing to our extended family's Easter gathering at the farm. I had some time, so I dashed out to feed and water the chickens, and also to collect any last minute eggs. I hurriedly washed the eggs and put the cartons in the basket. My basket now weighing 20-30 pounds, I heaved it out the door and into the minivan. It was now 10 minutes to Noon and I just knew I was be coming in the door of church just as everyone else was coming out. After all, how long does it take to pronounce a blessing over baskets of food?

Arriving at church. I thought maybe my clock was way off. I was expecting most of the small parkinging lot to be full and was surprised to only find a handful of cars. Also, there was only a few people in front of the church, half of them children clutching small Easter baskets. So I whipped the minivan in, popped open the door, and heaved my laundry basket of spuds, onions, and eggs out and into the church. A few folks stared and made some quiet comments among themselves. I assumed it was because either they don't know me since I'm not Polish and or that the laundry basket was very pink and feminine looking. Approaching the front of the church I realied that there was a third possibility that I hadn't anticipated. It was the size of the basket. There lined up in a single horizontal row were about a dozen dainty looking Easter baskets. I placed my basket down on the end where it immediately looked like an 18-wheel Mack truck parked next to a row of Volkswagon bugs. Somewhat embarrassed to find myself being the Ugly American, I humbled myself and slipped into a pew behind everyone. The pastor appeared by my side shortly after and handed me a blue sheet of paper explaining the Polish tradition, including the use of small baskets containing not potatoes and onions, but bread, eggs, kielbalsa, salt, bitter herbs, and a sprig of greenery. Oh!

The pastor soon reappeared in an alb and stole and started the blessing. While I have no experience with Polish beyond attending a single church service, I do know that we started with the sign of the cross, "The Lord be with you - and also with you." There was a scripture reading in Polish followed by the reading of what seemed to be an Easter letter in Polish. I caught all the "Christos" and "Alleluia's". Then the pastor approached the baskets, stretched out his hand and pronounced the blessing on our baskets. This was followed by sprinkling the baskets with blessed water and then sprinkling the congregation with blessed water. I recognized this as a reminder of our baptism and recalled my baptism vows. The sprinkling was followed by an exchange between the pastor asking a series of questions and the congregation responding the same each time. The pattern seemed to match the Catholic tradition of renewing one's baptismal vows each year at Easter, although that usually occurs at the Vigil and all Easter Sunday services, so I don't know for certain what occured. The service concluded with a blessing on the congregation and a dismisal.

I lugged my doomsday supply of spuds, onions and eggs back to the van and drove off thinking: "Next year. Next year, I'll bring a dainty basket lined with a lace doily, sans spuds, and looking like we're going for the blue ribbon at the county fair. Yep. That's what we're gonna do. Next year."

For those that would like more information on Swieconka, the Polish American Center has a Swieconka page with photos. The definitive Swieconka page is maintained by Ann Hetzel Gunkel. Ann provides histories, videos, English summaries of the blessings, and a Diagram and list of Swieconka basket contents and symbolism. Ann does mention on her page that "Older generations of Polish Americans, descended from early 19th century immigrants, tend to bless whole meal quantities, often brought to church halls or cafeterias in large hampers & picnic baskets." Wish I had known all of this sometime after dawn this morning. Ah well. Next year.

    Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
    John 6:35

Source: Swieconka

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Blogger Cadyly said...

We did this at our parish too, although it wasn't billed as a Polish custom. When they said, "Easter basket" I took this as meaning your Easter basket. You know, the one with all the candy and stuff. So while everyone else was getting their bread and eggs and sausage and whatnot blessed, I was sitting there, "Please bless my chocolate bunnies and chickies...." :)

8:58 PM  
Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

Timothy, you haven't been back, but you're received some responses to your post here.

6:42 AM  

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