Something I spent a lot of time exploring, studying, and writing about early in my ministry was the liturgical calendar. It was a new and exciting thing for me, a former non-denominationalist who (at most) only ever celebrated Advent, Christmas Day, Easter Day, and occasionally Good Friday. That the entire year could be redefined according to the Gospel was a breath of fresh air – the chilly muddy months of late winter and early Spring could instead be known as “Lent”, and the Easter celebration could actually be just the beginning of something larger, leading to the Ascension and Pentecost – the latter of which I’d at least heard of, but the Ascension was almost completely new to me (apart from an obscure reference to it in the Apostles’ Creed). Add in the fact that my Christian peers at the time were also unfamiliar with the liturgical calendar (and generally uninterested in my new “discovery), and you got an enthusiastic me tapping away at his blog yammering on about the calendar without them.
It took me a while to settle down and get to know the actual Prayer Book calendars, undiluted from my initial experience with the calendar in a Roman setting. But when the dust cleared I came out a calmer-but-resolved advocate for the Calendar of the Christian Year. And the payoff here has been, according to some of the feedback I’ve received, that a number of readers have learned things about the calendar and the seasons that they never knew before, especially novus ordo folks discovering the differences in the classical prayer book calendar.
If you, or someone you know, needs a refresher in the most basic question – “why a liturgical calendar at all?” – I would direct you to this lovely recent article: http://northamanglican.com/a-cruciform-calendar/ It lists ten bullet-point reasons at the end, but also explains some of the relevance of having the Gospel shape our accounting of time rather than the Government, the realities of all time being in God’s hands, and our roles as co-creators under God, making something with the time he has given us.
Furthermore, if you’re new to following this blog, or just want to peruse the past year and see where we’ve been, here’s a list of entries I’ve already written, in outline of the church year.
- the Advent season
- Old Advent 1
- Christmas Day and Sunday
- Epiphanytide (traditional)
- Epiphanytide (modern)
- Transitioning toward Lent
- Ash Wednesday
- Lætare: the 4th Sunday in Lent
- Passion: the 5th Sunday in Lent
- Holy Week
- The Triduum
- Holy Saturday
- Easter Week
- Eastertide (traditional)
- Eastertide (modern)
- Reading Acts in Eastertide
- Eastertide: 40 or 50 days
- Ascension Day
- Ascensiontide: the disciples were not scared
- The Pentecost Octave or Whitsundays
- Trinity Sunday
- Corpus Christi
- The “Proper” Sundays after Trinity
- The Last Epiphany
- Christ the King Sunday (history of the modern observance)
- Christ the King Sunday (versus the Sunday Last before Advent)
- Transitioning to Advent