Monday, February 15, 2010


Every year, it seems, the beginning of Lent brings with it trials and tribulations. This past week I've been to the emergency room, everyone in my house has been sick and my youngest has been admitted into the hospital twice, once to the ICU. Thank God everyone seems to be okay, but I am always amazed at how the metaphysical plays itself out in the physical. With this in mind, the following hymn, sung at the cusp of Great Lent, caught my attention:

The stadium of virtue is now open; those who wish to compete, enter therein, girded for the good contest of Lent, for those who compete according to the rules shall receive their laurels rightfully. Taking up the full armor of the Cross, let us do battle against the Enemy. As an impregnable wall, we have the Faith, prayer as our breastplate, and acts of mercy as our helmet. Instead of sword, there is fasting, which cuts every evil from the heart. He who does this shall attain a true crown from Christ, the King of all, on Judgment Day — Lauds for the Sunday of Forgiveness

This hymn is based upon the words of St. Paul from his Letter to the Romans:

Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day — Romans 13:12-13

This reinforces my own understanding that the language of Scripture and the Church is full of metaphors. This allows us the freedom to plug in moments and events from our own lives, times and contexts into the stories and poetry of the Bible. For my own part, this freedom allows me to apply these metaphors to the way I game. Once again, I marvel at the genius of the early versions of RPGs — at how wide open and inviting they are to metaphors and applications of all kinds. I could play more modern games and apply Scriptural metaphors to them, but why go to all that effort when I can do the same thing with such ease when playing with older rulesets and the retro-clones that emulate them?

At any rate, for those who are about to undertake that great journey known as Lent, good strength and good travels.

1 comment:

Travis Miller said...

You might look into Old Norse kennings. They are metaphors, almost riddles, used in skaldic poetry. Examples ; Whale Road or swan's road= ocean, ring giver =king or lord, bane of wood = fire, worth of the mind= honor, headland of swords = shield, feeder of ravens = warrior

There are hundreds of them. Many having to do with battle, swords and gold