Tuesday, December 29, 2009

why liturgical calendar: [from the draft file/2009]

I continue to battle sinus headaches that are making it almost impossible for me to enjoy my two favorite loves: reading and writing. There's so much I wanted to try to articulate in this blog-forum but am just not well enough to attend to the task. If you don't mind, I thought I'd publish several rough posts that never made it out of my draft file this past year. Please be gracious, the words are unedited, unfinished and, frequently, half-baked. But in an attempt to put something out into the world (and working my way backwards), I offer you unedited draft #3...

This post had me formulating a whole post in my mind; never got to the post but this excerpt is pretty self-explanatory:

"The church year is set up so people will remember each event, rather than just hoping that they will pay attention to each one on their own. The reminders are perfect for families and children, as they are sensual: We see the colors, we smell the incense or holy water or anointing oil, we taste the food, we hear the bells, we touch the crucifix or other holy objects. It is also physical in that we do something with our bodies as we pray. There are particular passages of scripture that are read for particular holidays, there are songs sung on those days. These all help teach and tie together what and who each celebration or memorial is about, so that we get a better understanding of it.

Our children especially have enjoyed the ways we have brought the Church Year home. This is not just something we do at church, it is something we live each day, in our homes and lives. Our family has been blessed to travel a bit more lately than we have over the last year, and in that time we have visited other churches. Although we have enjoyed the services (for the most part), they were not liturgical, didn't follow the Church's calendar and afterward we found ourselves having a greater appreciation for that Church year. Rich commented to me after one of our visits to another church that he was so glad that we had the cycles of the Church year to anchor our daily life. We didn't have to try to come up with something to prepare ourselves at the last minute, each day was a preparation for the next day, the next holiday, the next season.

The Church, in her wisdom provided Lent to prepare for Easter, so we didn't have it sneak up on us, we don't have to cram all of Holy Week and Good Friday into Easter Sunday, when we should be rejoicing in the resurrection, not recalling the crucifixion. Our Christmas season begins with Christmas day, not the day after Thanksgiving, focusing on the Incarnation and Nativity, not the Macy's window or how many presents are under a tree. In much the same way, Pentecost is a reminder of the Spirit which empowers each believer as well as the authority given to the apostles (and their successors, the bishops) and the Church. It is the close to Eastertide. Ascension day (and the eight days following it) is a mini-season within the Paschal season, but it is Pentecost that empowers us to go forth and do as Christ commands." 

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