Park Church follows the general rhythm of the Christian Calendar. For those who didn’t grow up in a more traditional or liturgical context, this might sound foreign (and let’s be honest, a little weird). However, we want to give a basic background for each of the seasons and what they represent so can engage in the Christian Calendar in meaningful ways this year! Typically the Christian Calendar is broken up into 2 basic (and parallel) cycles:
1) The Cycle of Light: Advent, Christmas, & Epiphany
2) The Cycle of Life: Lent, The Pascal Triduum, Easter, Pentecost
1) THE CYCLE OF LIGHT
Begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent means “coming” or “arrival”. It’s a season given to remembering His first advent in a manger and also longing for His return. It’s to be filled with longing, expectation, and hope. Advent voices are John the Baptist & Mary.
12 days following Christmas celebrating His birth and incarnation. Note that it’s a season and not just a day. This season should be one of wonder and awe! Jesus is the Light of the world.
January 6th. Celebrating His light that shines on Gentiles. Attention is given to the Magis as well as Jesus’ baptism & miracles.
2) THE CYCLE OF LIGHT
40 days before Easter beginning with Ash Wednesday. This season is one marked by repentance, humility, fasting & self-examination. We remember Jesus in the wilderness fasting and also think on the sins that led Jesus to the cross to die for us.
The Paschal Triduum
The final 3 days of Holy Week (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, & Holy Saturday). Here we remember the Passover meal with His disciples, the suffering in the garden of Gethsemane, His betrayal, arrest, beating, crucifixion and death.
This season lands on different days dependent on the year. It lasts for 50 days following Easter. This season celebrates Christ’s resurrection and its implications! It’s a reminder that death does not have the last word for Christ has overcome the grave…
On the 50th day of the Easter season. It remembers the gracious sending of the Holy Spirit to fill and empower the church. It’s also a reminder that the Holy Spirit continues to fill and empower us to be His witnesses!
Following Pentecost and ending once Advent starts the following year. Though these days after Pentecost were anything but “ordinary”, it’s a time as a church to live in response to all the elements of Christ’s story that we’ve just celebrated by the power of the Spirit. It’s a recognition with need the Holy Spirit in all of life even for the most mundane of tasks.
Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of the Christian Calendar! In the next blog, we’ll discuss why it is we follow it.