The new Church Year begins on Sunday and I want to make sure that no one misses the opportunity to participate meaningfully in the common story of the Church. The Church Year invites us to tether our own spiritual lives to the story of Jesus and his Church. It is tempting to simply read the Bible as inspirational history but the invitation of the Church Year is to respond the biblical narrative with an embodied spirituality each day of the year. When we look to the Church Year as an invitation to walk with Jesus it becomes a tool that the Holy Spirit can use for our spiritual transformation.
I know that each year I experience these seasons of preparation and celebration, of fasting and feasting, in new ways. The Holy Spirit meets me in a particular moment of my life and calls me to be follow the story of Jesus in a different way than I have before. Initially, I was most drawn to the the seasons of preparation and sacrifice, like Advent and Lent. But recently I have been challenged by the call to celebrate and feast in honor of Jesus. It’s challenging to really feast when we already live in a very indulgent culture. We already “feast” everyday so it takes effort and balance throughout the year to make Christmas, Easter, and other feasts a true and joyful celebration of Jesus.
As a church, Restoration lets the Church Year guide us in our mission to “join God in the restoration of all things.” Throughout the year our focus changes from inner transformation in the image of Jesus to the mission of the church in the world to the common life of the people of God. You can see it represented in the Restoration calendar as the Life, Church, and City Seasons. You’ll also notice that our worship will change dramatically from season to season as we tell the story of Jesus and his mission in the world in every service.
Join with us this year as we follow the story of Jesus starting with Advent on December 2. If you are new to the Church Year I encourage you to take a look at the resources list below and continue to learn about the seasons ahead. I hope that you find new life in reencountering Jesus throughout the year and that reading the Bible and taking part in the liturgy during worship have a new and deeper meaning. Happy New (Church) Year!
Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God, Bobby Gross. A book of weekly devotional reflections for the entire Church Year that will introduce you to the themes and spiritual practices for the year.
Come Worship with Me: A Journey through the Church Year, Ruth Boling. A sweet little church mouse guides children through all the worship services in the year. My family reads this book one page at a time through the Church Year to help anticipate what will happen in our services.
Let Us Keep the Feast: Living the Church Year at Home, Jessica Snell, et al. A very practical and detailed Anglican guide to keeping the Church Year at home with recipes, decorations, activities, book, movie, and music recommendations.
Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year, Robert E Webber. A deeper dive in to the meaning of the liturgical seasons and how they guide the church to worship, the proclamation of the Gospel, and spiritual formation.