Among the many gifts of the Anglican Way of following Jesus is the liturgical year, the way in which we keep sacred time. “Whereas many world religions seek salvation as an escape from time, Christianity proclaims salvation as a redemption of time” (Joshua Steele, The Church Calendar: A Rookie Anglican Guide to the Liturgical Year).
If you remember, our liturgical year begins in Advent with preparing for the coming of Jesus, moves into Christmas as we welcome him into our lives, and steps into Epiphany revealing Jesus to all humanity. We enter the forty days of Lent on our knees, humble ourselves before the Cross during Holy Week, and then stand upright with joy throughout the fifty days of Eastertide in response to the Resurrection of Jesus. Forty days after Easter we remember Jesus’ Ascension to the Father’s right hand, and then ten days later (for a total of Fifty!) we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, empowering the Church to be the people of God, in union with the Trinity and each other, proclaiming the King and the coming Kingdom, and bringing God’s healing into the world.
And that propels us into the Season after Pentecost (sometimes called “Ordinary Time”), the time between Trinity Sunday and Christ the King Sunday – “the time in which the Church is to live out its calling in the world, fulfilling the mission of God” (Steele again, quoting Simon Chan’s Liturgical Theology). This summer, for Immanuel, an important part of living out our calling is prayer. You’ll hear more from me about that in the weeks to come.
Today, I want to mention a few changes you’ll notice in our services. The color of our banners and stoles is green (as is the banner of this email!), symbolizing the life and growth that the Father cultivates in us through Jesus by the Holy Spirit. In place of the Kyrie and the Gloria, we’re introducing a sung version of the Trisagion (Greek for “thrice holy”), the words spoken by the angels who stand before God (Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8) combined with a confident request for mercy. Before and after the Gospel we are singing a Gradual (from the Latin gradus meaning “step”), using the verses as a prayer to prepare our hearts for receiving words of life from Jesus. (Listen for his voice speaking in the Scriptures and beyond my words in the sermon.) And we are once again bringing our financial gifts to the Table at the end of the Offertory, acknowledging in this way that everything we have is a gift from God. (The Offertory, by the way, refers not only to our financial gifts, but to the gifts of bread and wine as well. That’s why you see me praying and lifting the elements to the Lord at this point in the service.)
As it is in our Sunday service and in our keeping of the liturgical, may it be for us in each moment – that our walk is worship, participating in the life of Jesus every hour, every day, every week, every month.
Your Pastor in Christ,