Earlier this week, we talked about the church calendar, how it marks our passage of time through the world, giving us ritual and meaning to gather around. We discussed the winter seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. Today we’ll complete the circle by detailing the spring and summer seasons.
Lent marks the journey off of the Transfiguration mountain towards Jerusalem and the cross. Jesus’ glory and wonderful teachings were not revealed for their own sake, nor to make him look good to our eyes. Jesus came to save us. During Lent we remember that we need saving; that nothing in this world is perfect, nor are we. We repent of the ways we distract ourselves, rebel, and fail to do good in the world. We discipline ourselves to take a hard look at our lives, not because we can fix ourselves, but because we know Jesus walks through our darkest moments, that the cross finds us not in perfection, but in pain.
Lent ends with The Three Days: Maundy Thursday, when we remember the Last Supper and Jesus’ command to us to love each other, Good Friday, when we commemorate his death on the cross, and Easter Morning, when we celebrate his resurrection to new life everlasting.
Easter lasts for 50 days, even longer than the 40 of Lent. During Easter we hear about renewal, hope springing from emptiness, life blossoming where we thought none could grow. We find that death, sorrow, and loss are only temporary, but love is forever. We, like the disciples, soar with joy at the news that goodness is our ultimate destiny. That destiny cannot be taken away by any evil or pain the world brings.
Easter ends with the Sunday of Pentecost, marking the Holy Spirit coming to the disciples and inspiring them to share God’s good news. During Pentecost, we remember all the ways Jesus showed love, helped others, lifted up the lowly, comforted the afflicted, and taught people about God’s passion for them. Pentecost Sunday happens in May or June, and the season of Pentecost lasts through fall. Themes of Pentecost include service, mission, growth, and sharing God’s word.
Pentecost ends with Christ the King Sunday, when we remember that all things in the world will end, but that God remains and calls us beyond the lives we know into the lives we were meant to have. After the End, the calendar begins once again with Advent and anticipation!
The journey through the church calendar is never the same twice. Advent begins on December 1st this year. Feel free to join us as we walk the year together!