December 2011

Summon in the Spirit

Recalling a bit of etymology may prove important as pastors move through Advent and into the celebration of the Incarnation.

There’s strong evidence that St. Mary’s of Bethlehem, an ancient hospital in London noted for its care of the mentally ill, is the source for the word bedlam, meaning chaos and cacophony. The account has it that the word Bethlehem underwent the process of contraction common in English until it became cockneyfied into bedlam. The name for the town where Jesus was born gradually decayed into a word synonymous with the cries of the mentally ill.