Christmas Elves, Easter Parties - Reflections 11-20-19

Texts for Christ the King Sunday 
November 24, 2019 

at Gloria Dei

Mark 1:1-7a
Luke 2:1-7 
Matthew 3:13-17 
Mark 15
Luke 24:1-7 
Acts 1:8, 2:1-4

All Christmas Elves 
Easter Parties.

That mysterious sentence was a part of an old worship-education curriculum for children. Can you decode the hidden information?

The Church lives in its own time zone, guided by what we call the Church Year (also know by other denominations as the Liturgical Year). It has its own calendar that is divided in seasons similar to the calendar used by “the world” with the Church's “New Year’s Eve” sometime in November.

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 then end with the third big event, Pentecost. This "time of Jesus" is divided even further into “seasons” that provide a chunk of time to reflect on different parts of Jesus’ story.  

The second half of the church year is the “time of the Church”; Lutherans call it the “season after Pentecost”; other denominations call it “ordinary time”. On Pentecost, God’s Spirit swooped in on the first Christians and inspired them to tell others about God’s love through Jesus. Which they did. That is how the church grew into the Church. The second half is just one very long season.  It gives us lots of time to think about what is discipleship, about what is the church, where it has been, and where it is going. 

There are also special days scattered through each “half. Like the Baptism of Jesus in Epiphany or All Saints' Sunday in November.  Each day or season has a special color that represents its meaning. 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has a resource that explains what each color symbolizes if you are interested in more info.  Also, the photo above shows a teaching tool from Godly Play, a wonderful method for presenting scripture stories to children. Each little section of the circle represents a Sunday (yup, there’s 52).  The arrows point to the 3 big festivals: Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost (although, my arrow could be a little more directly on Pentecost)

You might be asking, “Why are you going on and on about this, Deacon Pam?” This Sunday Gloria Dei is going to review and celebrate the whole Church Year. It is also the last Sunday of the Church Year called Christ the King Sunday. The new year starts December 1 with the first Sunday in Advent.

I have found that paying attention to the Church Seasons offers a day-by-day way to stay centered on God’s story. 
The blogger, Internet Monk, wrote that 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.
I also think it 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 through time. We are definitely not alone.

Oh… if you haven’t figured the opening sentence out, it is a mnemonic tool to remember the Church Year seasons: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost. 

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245