This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1 -- Feast of Aaron the Patriarch

"Pardon your servant, Lord.  Please send someone else."
Where's Aaron?  

Then The Lord's anger burned against Moses and he said, "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite?  He is already on his way to meet you and he will be glad to see you.  You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and teach you what to do.  He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.  But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”

That's from Exodus 4, where Moses sets the example for every tactful cleric tapped to be a bishop: make at least one pass at declaring that you are not worthy.  Of course, in Moses' case, it is obvious that he means it, and since he probably doesn't know his brother Aaron, he can hardly be comforted by the promise of support.  From that point on, Moses and Aaron are pretty much a team, though of course Moses gets all the credit.  Think of the film The Ten Commandments.  Was Moses "slow of speech and tongue?"  Picture the scene where he was haranguing Ramses.  Was this the inarticulate rube from Exodus 4 who needed his brother to do his talking?  [Quick quiz: who played Moses in Cecil B.  DeMille's The Ten Commandments?]. 

And when Pharaoh replied in the film, he said, in a voice suffused with weary patience, "Moses, Moses.  Are there no serpents in Egypt at you have come back to make serpents out of sticks or cause rabbits to appear?"  [Quick quiz part two: who played Pharaoh Ramses?]  In Exodus 5:4, Pharaoh answers them as a team, saying, "Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor?"  Awkward, perhaps, but so much more courteous.
Aaron?  No, it can't be. I'm sure I would remember.

Perhaps you knew that Charlton Heston played Moses and even that Yule Brynner played Ramses, but here's the quiz question that makes my point:  Who played Aaron?  Sure, I remembered that Vincent Price played Bacca the Overseer and that Edward G. Robinson out-creeped him as Dathan the assistant overseer, bur I couldn't come up with John Carradine as Aaron.  The casting was perfect!  They got a guy whose career spanned  60 years (Tol'able David in 1930 to Buried Alive in 1990), has 340 titles, including Grapes of Wrath and Stagecoach on his filmography, and I still didn't remember him.  That pretty much captures Aaron the Patriarch, doesn't it?  

The balance of Aaron's contributions to the Exodus aren't so good.  Sure he was Moses' mouthpiece, a necessary if not glamorous role.  But when big brother went back up the mountain for a conversation with God, little brother stayed down among the rebellious Hebrews and cast the Golden Calf.  That cost him -- and everyone else of his generation -- their shot at going home.   More desert wandering, drinking bitter waters, etc etc until Aaron's staff sprouted leaves when stuck in the ground.  Too bad for Moses and Whatsisname that they couldn't be there to enjoy the Sack of Jericho..  

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