Auld Lang Syne* - Reflections - 11-16-16

 Gloria Dei's texts for
 Sunday November 20, 2016
 Created by High School Class

 Christ the King
 Gloria Dei stepped out/added to the  lectionary this Sunday to consider the big  picture.

 Mark 1:1-7a; Luke 2:1-7; 
 Matthew 3:13-17; 
 Mark 15; Luke 24:1-7; 
 Acts 1:8, 2:1-3

My systematic theology professor in seminary, told us that Christians live with one foot in the present and one foot in eternity -- looking back on God’s promises and actions from the beginning forward to…well, infinity and beyond!  And since we know “the end of the story” (God wins) our present moment is different. We are free from fear and insecurity to serve others.

That image of two feet serves me pretty well when I am mindful of it…. which is another way of saying I get distracted often. One of the best ways to help me stay focused on the impact of eternity on my today is the Church Year.  

Long ago the Christian Church decided to “step out” of ordinary time/calendar to offer an alternative way to experience the present.  That calendar is called the Church Year.  Today many people’s lives are shaped by their calendars; the Church offers this different calendar for the shaping of life.
The Church Year revolves around our sacred story of God’s love shown through the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. We hear the story again each year – in a rotation of different Gospel voices - so that our present time is anchored both in our past and in our future. 

Roughly the first half of the year is called the “time of Jesus” That half is split once more into two big events of Jesus’ life which are the two big celebrations, Christmas and Easter which ends with the third big event, Pentecost. 

The second half of the church year is the “time of the Church”; Lutherans also call it the “season after Pentecost”; other denominations call it “ordinary time”. The Spirit swooped in on the first Christians and inspired them to tell others about God’s love through Jesus. Which they did. And that is how the church grew into the Church.

The reason I have gone on and on about this is because Gloria Dei is going to have a “review” of the Church Year during worship this Sunday, 11/20/16, which I should mention, is the last Sunday of the Church Year...the "New Year's Eve" so to speak. The story - and the Church Year - begins anew on 11/27/16.

Paying attention to the Church seasons offers a day-by-day way to stay centered on God’s story. 

The blogger, the Internet Monk, wrote this about 
the Church Year..
It keeps the main thing the main thing
Church Year spirituality is Christ-centered. 
It is shaped around the events of his incarnation, ministry, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, 
and the outpouring of his Spirit. 
At every turn we see Jesus, we hear Jesus, we follow Jesus.

It also connects our daily calendar to the calendar of the community of faith.  The personal is also communal…. or the communal is also personal. We are not alone. And we are not just connected to a local community; we are connected to the whole big Church. We are definitely not alone.

And finally, the Church Year touches my spirit holistically: words, music, color. 

The blue of Advent speaks of the waters of baptism which holds the promise of God’s continuing presence through life. Blue brings the hope that just as Christ has come in Bethlehem, Christ also comes to us right now, and then Christ will come as “now” becomes “forever”.  We sing O Come Emmanuel. We hear the words of Israel’s prophets who know that God will act on our behalf.

White is the color of Christmas, and Easter, and other Sundays that mark festivals in Jesus’ story – baptism, transfiguration, the Trinity, All Saint’s and Christ the King. White is understood to be festive and joyful. White light combines the spectrum of colors; Jesus is all in all. We sing great carols and lots of Alleluias! We hear the Christmas story from Luke, and the startling discovery of the empty tomb.

Purple is the color for Lent. It is a dignified, solemn color that calls for reflection, remorse, and repentance. We sing Oh Love, How Deep. We hear the prophet Joel call us to return to God with all our heart.

Red brings to mind the fire of Pentecost and the power of the Holy Spirit. It also shows up on special days like Holy Cross day and Reformation. We sing God of Tempest, God of Whirlwind and we hear the rush as a mighty wind as the Spirit descends.

So sing of *Times Gone By this Sunday, then welcome the new year on November 27.

Thoughts? Use the comment section below.

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Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245