The new church year has begun. Happy New Year! The church calendar flipped the page onto a new cycle of readings and messages and music beginning last Sunday.
I love following the church year. The rhythm. The pattern. The framework for learning, listening, and being shaped by God.
The church year calendar forms around the events in Jesus’ life. Then we too can center our lives, our worship, our spiritual formation around the lessons learned from walking and talking with Him.
I love seeing the colors in worship change with each season of the liturgical year. Purple, white, green, black, red, pink, gold and others decorate the pulpit and altar creating a reflective atmosphere and setting the stage for pondering our God. The change of colors invites me to consider how is God changing/transforming me.
The rhythm of the year reminds me of God’s ever presence no matter the season or time in my life. The ever changing, yet evolving and growing cycle of birth, service and death brings me comfort, order, and hope in a deepening faith.
The new church year begins with the first Sunday of Advent, the time of preparing for the birth of Jesus. And we will begin anew the ancient pattern of days, the circle of the Church Year. We follow the way to Bethlehem during Advent. Then we celebrate the birth of the Jesus on Christmas. We remember the stories of how he grows from a baby into a man throughout the stories of the season of Epiphany.
During Lent we turn again to preparing, but this time not for his birth but for his death. And then thankfully there is Easter to celebrate. And we do that until the day of Pentecost, 50 days after Easter. The day we remember that Jesus did not leave us here high and dry but sent the Holy Spirit amongst us. And then we hit the LONG season of the Season after Pentecost. It is almost impossibly long.
This season is sometimes called Ordinary season since the Sundays are numbered as in an ordinal pattern. But I also like to remember the lessons during this time are focused on how we live each ordinary day as followers of Christ. How am I growing to be more like Jesus in the moments, everyday interactions, and in our routines, habits, and normal day to day living?
Pentecost amounts to a whole lot of Sundays. Like half the calendar year of them. It seems that someone had the wisdom to know that it would take us an incredibly long time to grow into the mysteries of Christmas and Easter. For 27 Sundays in a row, we hear stories inviting us to grow into a bigger understanding of the Kingdom of God.
I see our spiritual journey like a spiral, coming round and round to some of some spaces over and over again, but hopefully at a different point on the spiral with new insights and perspective. God continues to shape all of us – a little pruning there. Some new clay added on one side for strength and growth. Gentle molding of our lives and hearts to be more like the Master Artist always full of grace and love.
Do you follow the church year and how does it impact your faith?