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Wonderful Time of the Year

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” (everybody sing!)

Seriously, this is absolutely my favorite time of year. School started, the weather promises to get cooler (eventually), fall clothes rock! And it has so many things that I love in it – the All-Church Retreat, Thanksgiving, getting ready for Christmas. AND, I finally get back on a regular schedule after the more erratic schedule of the summer. This past summer was one of the busiest summers I can remember, all good, but still crazy-busy. As much as I enjoyed the change of pace, I prefer a schedule. I thrive on a schedule. And I think I am not alone.

The church follows a calendar much like the one the rest of society follows. It helps shape our worship and our faith. It facilitates the sharing of our common story of Jesus coming to earth, living and ministering among us, dying and rising again. It helps us to remember all that God has done for us. For those of you who are not familiar with the Christian calendar, or who might appreciate a refresher, here is a concept map (I’m learning about concept maps in 8th grade science) of the Christian year:

Anne-Calendar

 

 

 

 

Two great feast cycles, each with a season of preparation, the feast celebration itself, and a closing festival day. These cycles celebrate the major events in Christ’s life and have been celebrated by the church since almost the very beginning. Interestingly, the Easter cycle is the older of the two, because Christ’s resurrection is much more integral to the faith than Christ’s birth.

Add up the number of days that we celebrate these feast cycles, and it comes to approximately 135 days of the calendar year (each year it fluctuates because Advent starts as early as November 27th and as late as December 3rd). That leaves 230 days each year that we call ordinary time (OT), not because it is “of no special quality or interest, commonplace, unexceptional,” (dictionary.com) but because it is not part of either feast cycle. Ordinary time is when we explore Christ’s teachings apart from those that are associated with Christmas or Easter.

This year during our ordinary time observance, I pray it will be anything but ordinary. We are in Luke’s gospel this cycle, and that means we get to hear some of the best-known and most-loved parables, as well as some that may make us want to tear our hair out. We get to tell the stories of Jesus we love to hear. Ooo, another song. Maybe we could do a mash-up of the two. Or not. Either way, I hope to see you at our not-so-ordinary worship during this season of ordinary time.