The Feast of St. Barnabas – June 11th

 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet. – Acts 4:36-37.

Son of Encouragement!  Bless St. Barnabas, I rather need encouragement this time of year.  All the end of school year craziness hits just as my work picks up with preparations for the youth mission trips (Boston and Costa Rica this year) happening next month.  Just this week I declared Monday a “fragile” day instead of “Fierce” due to overwhelm…and that pretty much continued all week long.

Barnabas’ exploits are sprinkled all over the book of Acts.  He’s the one who sought out Saul/Paul, and who defended him to the early church back in Jerusalem.  Imagine for a moment how different our church would be without Paul!  Barnabas was part of the process where it was decided Gentiles could join the early church without having to adopt Jewish practices – again, how different would our church be without this?

Barnabas, Son of Encouragement, is the patron of Cypress and Antioch, and is traditionally invoked to protect from hailstorms and as a peacemaker.  I’m going to invoke him on Monday, however, as an Encourager – not only for myself personally in this incredibly busy time, but also for our church.  Every congregation I’m exposed to is pondering what to do with dwindling attendance, what to keep and what to let go of in our traditions, how to proceed forward without losing who we are.

St. Pantaleon Icon
Christian Iconography
Church of St. Barnabas, Cyprus

If Barnabas could sell his land and start fresh, could travel forsaking the help and companionship of a wife (1 Cor. 9:12), could suss out in the Council of Jerusalem how to reconcile these Gentile followers of Christ with the traditional Jewish early church – well, we can do what we need to do as well.  Be encouraged!

One of Barnabas’ symbols is an olive branch – the sign of peace – I assume because of his reconciliation of Gentle and Jew.  You can see him holding an olive branch along with a cross in the Icon pictured.

Thus, for my Feast Day, I’m going to prepare two, no, three olive-y recipes.

  1. Olive martini.  Because it’s delicious.  I may spring for the blue-cheese stuffed olives.
  2. I’m going to make Pimiento Cheese spread, and am going to use Trader Joes olive tapendade instead of pimientos.  In this strange land of Yankees I find myself in, pimientos are not always easy to find, and I tried substituting the olive tapenade to great success one Derby Day.  Yum!
  3. I’m going to try this Olive Oil Cake recipe from Bon Appetit.  Feast Days need Cakes, I think.

May Monday’s Feast Day be a day of celebration and encouragement to you all.

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