This week’s lessons:
The cultural calendar is familiar to most everyone and operates pretty much on a linear basis. It starts with New Year’s Day, and is followed in rapid succession by Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, and Easter. There’s then a bit of a gap until we get to the Fourth of July and after that a really long wait until the biggies, Halloween, Black Friday, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each of these holidays has a distinctive emphasis and broad appeal.
Christians are pretty much in tune with that cultural calendar and celebrate all the holidays, not just the ones that overlap. In fact, as the church continues to lose influence, the liturgical calendar, which dictated religious observances for centuries, has become a mystery even for many believers.
This week at Esperanza we’ll be celebrating Christ the King Sunday, the end of the liturgical year that began last December 2 with the short season of Advent, a mini-penitential period that prepares us for the 12 days of Christmas. The whole year operates in a circular fashion with each season leading into the next with an amazing sense of beauty and rhythm. We see that clearly at this time of year as the Last Days theme at the end of Pentecost meshes perfectly with the End of the World scenario on the first Sunday in Advent. The church year is like a well-balanced wheel that pulls us through our lives with constant reminders of faith essentials.
The end of the year texts this week from Colossians and Luke are particularly rich and will challenge our understanding of the Christ, the One who is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. For most of my life I’ve struggled in my relationship to this mysterious figure and I think I’ve only recently begun to figure things out. Sunday, I’ll share a bit of that journey in my sermon–I pray that I can find words that will convey the depth of what I’ve discovered.
I do want to thank you for your patience as I’ve led worship these last three weeks. You’ve been very kind.
With deep affection,