TELLING THE STORY THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
You may have heard the joke: How many Episcopalians does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Four. One to change the bulb and three to talk about how good the old one was.
We Episcopalians are for the most part champions of leaving things be, but the fact is, things change around us much of the time. For example, the Christian calendar year begins on the First Sunday of Advent. Altar hangings and vestments reflecting Advent indigo blue are in use as are particular hymns and service music appropriate for the season.
Then comes Christmas. White hangings replace blue. Advent hymns become Christmas carols. And so on as we move into Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and the Season after Pentecost, each season having a distinctive color scheme along with music, readings and prayers especially associated with that part of the Christian year.
These changes are not merely to adorn the sanctuary beautifully, although that happens, but to help tell the storyof God coming among us, fully God and fully human, in the person of Jesus Christ. The drama of salvation unfolds annually and we are invited to experience it more personally, more deeply, each successive year of our lives.
A wealth of information is available in the Ashby “Church Year Guide.” By special arrangement with our bookstore, you may purchase this informative calendar with a St. John's Cathedral heading for only $3.00. On it, each Sunday bears its seasonal name. The cyclical Revised Common Lectionary schedule is identified as are the readings appointed for Sundays and Holy Days throughout the year. On the back are brief descriptions of the history and increasing use of the Church Year, as well as the symbolism of the liturgical colors.
When next you experience a change on Sunday in the way the Psalm is sung or spoken, or different prayers come into use along with altar hangings changing colors, think of it not as change for the sake of change, but re-setting the stage for the next scene in, “The Greatest Story Ever Told.”
Remember that you are very much part of the story of God. This is the story of our lives. Don’t take a day of it for granted. God bless you.
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