What is the Liturgical Year

 

1.   (From A Pilgrim People:  Learning through the Church Year, by John Westerhoff)

Advent

Advent is a time for hope, for dreaming of new possibilities, a time set aside to rethink  the ways in which we choose to live our lives.  Advent is a time of anticipation, of watching and waiting, and of transformation. 

Christmas

During Christmas, we celebrate God’s coming to be with us here, to share our human nature. We celebrate because Jesus has come to live as one of us, to lead us into a new life.  Jesus will also experience suffering and death as each one of us will.   It is in the context of Jesus’ death and resurrection that we celebrate the miracle of his incarnation.

Epiphany

Epiphany opens with the Feast of the Three Kings, and so we begin our season of journeying, as the wise men did.  Epiphany is the season of the longings of the human heart, the invitation to go on a journey led by God, a journey full of mystery, a journey over which we have no control, a journey which we cannot fully comprehend.  Epiphany is the season of revelation, as we become more and more aware of  the true identity of Jesus, the Son of God.  Our faith is deepened and strengthened. 

Lent

During Lent we take on risks, journeying through death toward life, entering a wilderness where both God and the evil one are present.  We open ourselves to suffering.   Lent is a time of growing into our true identities, as we accept ourselves, with all of our weaknesses and shortcomings and examine our consciences.   Through penance we open ourselves to becoming whole again, and we make amends for the damage we have done to ourselves, to others, and to creation itself. 

Holy Week and Easter

The story of Easter is the story of God’s victory, a time of consummation, when now and not yet come together through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.  All of creation becomes new, God transforms us, and redeems the whole world.  We see that, through God’s redeeming love, we have been made saints.  God’s reign is here, is still in the process of becoming, and  has yet to be.  God is always in the process of making all things new.

Ordinary Time

After Easter,  Jesus’s ascension into heaven, and the coming of the Holy Spirit  to us at Pentecost, we accept responsibility for being and becoming Christ’s body in the world.  We are called by Jesus to live in community, our lives together guided not only by the example of Jesus, but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  As we live our lives in the Spirit, we “explore the implications of Easter and endeavor to live into our baptisms” (John Westerhoff, A Pilgrim People:  Learning through the Church Year)   

2. Church Liturgical Year Table   

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