Series for the Season

In the preceding article, Lester Ruth suggests a calendar for celebrating Advent early, perhaps in November, for the purpose of spending more time during December on the rich doctrines of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Roger Eernisse took a similar approach in this four-week Advent series based on the opening verses, or prologue, to the gospel of John. Each week unpacks different aspects of the meaning of the Incarnation.

The Lord’s Prayer bristles with a hopeful, contrary agitation. A finely embroidered version of it may hang in the family kitchen under a picture of the praying hands, exuding an air of simple piety, but this prayer is hardly an invitation to tranquillity. On the contrary, the Lord’s Prayer urges us to examine our loves and loyalties and engages us in personal and social transformation. Who will you serve? Who will you trust? What do you hope for? What loyalties set your agenda?

Another September rolls around. If you’re a typical worship and liturgy planner, you’re probably thinking, “We really ought to highlight the beginning of another season of education.” On the heels of that thought comes another: “We need to commission our education leaders. Where do we find a liturgy for that?” You might rummage through your files, hoping to cobble something together. And that may be the end of it, at least until next September.

Eastertide offers the church a wonderful opportunity to explore what Laurence Stookey calls the “explosive force of the resurrection of the Lord,” a feat that is “too vast to be contained within a celebration of one day.” Eastertide can also give churches the chance to experience weekly communion for a short period of seven celebrative weeks. And it can reclaim for the contemporary church the historical season known as The Great Fifty Days—the days from Easter to Pentecost. (For reasons of space, we have not included the service for Pentecost Sunday.)