Living by God’s Calendar
November 17, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
What season is it? Depends, right? There are weather seasons (hence, Fall in the US; dry season in Cameroon). There are sporting seasons (baseball just ended; football is in full swing; college basketball is just getting going; what’s your flavor?). Perhaps this should be included under “sporting seasons,” but I’ll mention hunting seasons separately (I have friends out and about shooting deer right now). Holiday shopping season? End of the year fiscal season? The end of election season?
For centuries the church has observed liturgical seasons, not impacted by weather, financial budgets, or sporting events. The liturgical calendar is ordered around God’s redemptive work to rescue and sanctify a people unto Himself through Jesus Christ. It begins with Advent, a season of longing for and preparing for Christ. Christmas season is the time of celebrating the coming of Christ, followed by a season of studying and enjoying Christ’s life and work. Then there is the season of Lent, a period of time reflecting on our need and God’s gracious provision of substitutionary atonement in Christ, usually marked by repentance. Easter follows with a seven week period of rejoicing and hoping in the power of the resurrection. Pentecost Sunday is the transition Sunday into the last and longest season of the church year: the season of the Spirit (sometimes called Ordinary Time), highlighting the ongoing saving and sanctifying work of the Spirit. In many ways, this ordering of the year reflects the ordering the Jews lived by in the Old Testament.
Embracing such a seasonal calendar for our year serves us in a couple of ways:
1. It places our priorities on God and His work rather than on school, work, sporting, or other schedules. The way we use our time and the things that dominate our thinking often reveal what’s most important to us. Allowing a calendar of events that centers on God’s redemptive work helps us to keep God at the center of our lives.
2. It provides a reminder of how our story fits into a much larger story. Our identities and our hopes for the future are largely shaped by the stories we find ourselves in. For example, if we are consumed with a particular sporting team and give our attention and time to such a team, our emotional highs and lows will inevitably be tied with the success or failings of that team. There is a much bigger and more significant story that we are tied to. We need to live our lives in line with that story.
This Sunday is Christ the King Sunday, the end of the Ordinary Time of the Spirit. It reminds us that no matter what happens in this world, Christ still is king. He reigns supreme over all. And we are waiting for his return when he establishes his kingdom once and for all. That is good news to remember and to live by, especially in such a politically turbulent and uncertain land. Let’s allow the Author of Life to write the stories that define our priorities, identities, and hopes for future.