Seasons of the Church Year

Pentecost

O God, on this day You once taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit. Grant us in our day by the same Spirit to have a right understanding in all things and every more to rejoice in His holy consolation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (L50; Collect for Pentecost, Lutheran Service Book)

 

Advent

For Western Christians, the new Church Year begins on November 30, a season called Advent, which refers to both Christ’s first and second coming.  While the world gets into its annual frenzy of shopping and parties, the Church asks us to take time to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ.  Why do we celebrate Advent?  Let this hymn stanza by Wiliam Watkns explain:

Forgive us, Lord, for feast that knows not fast,
For joy in things that meanwhile starve the soul,
For walls and wars that hide Your mercies vast
And blur our vision of the Kingdom goal!

Precisely when Advent, the approximately four-week period preceding Christmas, first came to be observed is debated. But originally it was a penitential period similar to Lent. In 380 the Council of Saragossa stressed daily church attendance from December 17 until the Epiphany. Pope St. Leo I (the Great), best known for persuading Attila the Hun to spare Rome from destruction in the fifth century, called for fasting on the Wednesdays and Fridays in the weeks before Christmas.



In 581 the Synod of Mac in present-day France called for fasting on the Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from November 11, the feast of St. Martin of Tours, up to and including Christmas Eve, December 24.  The Council of Constantinople in 1166 set the fast to begin on November 15.



In the Greek Orthodox tradition, Advent remains to this day a solemn season, with the faithful abstaining from meat, fish other than shellfish, dairy products, and sweets in the days leading up to Christmas. In some Eastern churches, the pre-Christmas fast is known as St. Philip’s Fast, because it begins on the day after the feast of St. Philip the Apostle, November 14.
Join our Advent prayer: Come quickly, Lord Jesus!  Amen!

 

Christmas to Epiphany

Christmas isn’t over on December 25 – it’s just getting started!  Here is something to think about throughout the twelve days of Christmas, December 25 – January 5.  We probably can all sing, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”   But does this carol have anything to do with the true meaning of Christmas?  Absolutely!  This song can be seen as a symbolic list of the gifts God freely gives!  it was created as a memory aid to help children learn their Faith. The “true love” is no earthly suitor, but God Himself, Who gives His wondrous gifts to “me,” every baptized child of God.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, A partridge in a pear tree…
The partridge is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who comes to us on the first day of Christmas. He is fittingly represented as a partridge, a bird which will feign injury in order to draw predators to itself and away from its young. By offering Himself on the Cross, “He hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters. He will overshadow thee with His shoulders: and under His wings thou shalt trust.” (Psalms 90:4) 

The pear tree is the Cross itself. When King David wished to free his people from the scourge of the Philistines, the Lord told him that the moment would come “when thou shalt hear the sound of one going in the tops of the pear trees, then shalt thou join battle: for then will the Lord go out before thy face to strike the army of the Philistines.” (II Kings 5:24)

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Two turtle doves…
The two turtle doves represent the Old and New Testaments which look to each other with admiration, and complement one another.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Three French hens…
The three French hens symbolize the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Four calling birds…
The four calling birds are the four Evangelists – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – because they spread everywhere the good news of the Gospel. “Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth: and their words unto the ends of the world.” (Psalms 18:5)

FifthDay_WebOn the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Five golden rings…
The Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, is represented by five golden rings. These books tell the history of man from the creation to the time of Moses and the expectation of the Messiah that was accomplished in the birth of Our Lord,

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Six geese a laying…
Six geese a laying are the six days of creation. The eggs of the geese hold the promise of life to come; which represents the maintenance and expansion of God’s creation.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Seven swans a swimming…
Seven swans a swimming represent the seven sacraments. Sailing majestically on the seas of grace of which they are the guardians, custodians, and dispensers of these living waters. “Go, and wash seven times in the Jordan, and thy flesh shall recover health, and thou shalt be clean.” (IV Kings 5:10)

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Eight maids a milking…
Eight maids a milking symbolize the eight beatitudes. The good that we can draw from the attitudes praised in the Sermon on the Mount are as rich and wholesome as our mother’s milk. We must observe these precepts, “…that thou mayst enter into the land which Thy Lord God will give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, as He swore to thy fathers.” (Deut. 27:3)

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Nine ladies dancing…
Nine ladies dancing stand for the nine choirs of angels. As a dancer is swift and elegant, so do the Angels of God execute His orders, moving to the music of Heaven.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Ten lords a leaping…

Ten lords a leaping are the Ten Commandments. Walking in the path of the Commandments, we can leap from the bonds of this earth even to the heights of Heaven.

Eleven_WebOn the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Eleven pipers piping…

Eleven pipers piping are the first eleven faithful Apostles. Like players in an orchestra, we must do our part in the great symphony of God’s plan for us. We play each the song that we are given and it becomes a part of a greater harmony, taking care not to strike a false note.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Twelve drummers drumming…
Twelve drummers drumming represent the twelve points of belief in the Apostle’s Creed, which constitutes the stirring, throbbing undercurrent that binds the body of Christ together. It is the foundation upon which the Church is built.

Celebrate God’s gifts for all twelve days of Christmas!

 

Lent, a time of preparation

The church season of Lent is the 40 days before Easter. It is a time of preparation–a time to think and consider. This year, we are going to look at many of the important “40 days”  that are recorded in the Bible. You are invited to come and hear the stories of the number 40, Wednesday evenings, beginning on Ash Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

The number forty (40) has long been recognized as an important number, both on account of the frequency of its occurrence, and its association with a period of probation, trial and chastisement – of sons, and of a covenant people.  During the 40 days of Lent, we gather for worship every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Holy Week services include Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Check calendar for details.

Come and join us for a meal or service this Lenten season. Sunday morning services will also reflect Lenten learnings–a wonderful time for thought and introspection.

We Celebrate the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday morning. Fellowship begins with a 9:00 a.m. Easter breakfast, open to all guests; a 10:15 a.m. Easter Egg hunt for children and one 11:00 Easter Festival Celebration Worship.

Holy Week

Palm Sunday which marks the beginning of what we call Holy Week, recalls the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem just days before His suffering, death and resurrection. The children sang their praises, waved palm branches and so will we who welcome the King into our community once again. Following the Church Year offers Christians not only the opportunity to remember, but to participate in the significant events in the life of Christ. We follow our regular Sunday worship schedule, with NewSong Worship service at 8:30 a.m. and Heritage Worship Service at 11:00 a.m.

On Maundy Thursday, we join Jesus and His disciples in the Upper Room to celebrate the institution of the sacrament of Holy Communion in fulfillment of the ancient Passover. Maundy is from the Latin mandatum, which means command. As Jesus commanded, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” The Maundy Thursday service begins at 7:00 p.m.

On Good Friday, we both enter the sanctuary and depart for our homes in reverent, somber silence as we reflect on the wondrous love that caused the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. This special service is called “Tenebrae” and begins at 7:00 p.m.

On Holy Saturday, we recall Jesus’ rest in the grave and prepare our hearts for the rising of the Son that gives every new day and every new life with hope and promise. The evening service is at 7:00 p.m. in the sanctuary.

On Easter we celebrate! Share Easter breakfast at 9:00 a.m., children’s Easter Egg hunt at 10:15, and celebration service at 11:00. Members are asked to bring fruit, breakfast breads, or breakfast casserole to share and in service to our guests.