third month’s blessing

The name March is attributed to the Roman god of war, Mars.
As the long time first month of the year—
the first month after the winter,
March was the beginning of military campaigns.

Etymologically though, the word “march”
goes back to the Middle French verb, marcher, “to march,”
or “to walk with a regular tread,” and even further back
to Old French, “to trample underfoot.”
Do you hear the consistent sound and imagery of soldiers?

There are two possible older sources to the Middle French,
one coming from Germanic
meaning “borderland”—
the territories of danger and threat;
the other coming from Latin, marcus, “to hammer.”

I’m not a big fan of martial imagery
when it comes to God and church.
So may this month bring
all the rich possibilities of the borderlands,
the between places,
areas of likely encounter with the stranger and the other—
yet as opportunity
for something other than war—
as opportunity for hammering out constructive alternatives
to destruction,
and for marching together
through a month
of vast potential
to begin something utterly new.


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