Gabriel's Horn, Pastor George Weaver, February, 2017

posted Feb 1, 2017, 7:07 AM by Lois Kerchner

Celebrating the Seasons

 

The Christian church, following earlier Jewish tradition and going way back in time, has used the seasons of the year as an opportunity for celebrating religious festivals and holidays, a sacred time set aside to worship God as the Lord of life. While Jewish celebrations typically revolves around the Exodus from Egypt, the Christian Church year focuses on the life and ministry of Jesus.

 

There are some churches within the Protestant tradition which fail to join in the celebration of the various seasons of the church year much beyond Christmas and Easter in any deliberate or sustained way. However, the observance of the seasons of the church year has a long history in the life of the Christian Faith. When most of the people in the church were poor and had little if any access to education, the church festivals and the cycle of the liturgical church year provided a vehicle for teaching the story of God and his divine action in human history.

 

Planned and purposeful observance of the Christian seasons and festivals can be used as an important tool for education and discipleship in the Faith, as well as a vehicle for spiritual growth and vitality. As a Christian congregation moves through the church calendar, the ongoing seasons are presented in an organized way with the opportunity to talk about, reflect upon, and respond to the entire range of faith confessions that lie at the heart of the Christian Faith. This is important, not only for the vitality of the whole community, but especially for children to become aware of those things that are important to their faith development.

 

The Christian liturgical calendar is organized around two major centers of Sacred Time: AdventChristmas, and Epiphany; and LentHoly Week, and Easter, concluding at Pentecost. The rest of the church year following Pentecost is known as Ordinary Time, from the word "ordinal," which simply means counted time.

 

This year with the observance of Ash Wednesday on March 1st, we move into the second major block of “Sacred Time” which begins with the Lenten Season. You may recall that the local ministerium used to host breakfasts on the Wednesdays throughout Lent, but that tradition was suspended a few years back. Since then in the past few (actually 2 now) years since 2015, we here at Leola United Methodist Church have “kicked-off” Lent by holding a “Prayer Vigil” here throughout the day on Ash Wednesday.

 

Once again in 2017, we will be having a 12 hour prayer vigil here at Leola Church as we prepare to observe the Lenten Season. This time of prayer and devotion will take place in half hour blocks, and individuals will have the opportunity to sign up in advance to come to our church for prayer. You are free, of course, to pray on your own at any time or any place throughout this day or any day. However, everyone is encouraged, on this day in particular, to participate in this combined vigil somewhere between 6:30 AM and 6:30 PM here at the LUMC sanctuary prior to the 7PM worship service on Ash Wednesday evening. Join me and others in this special observance of our spiritual journey together.

George Weaver, Pastor of Maturing Ministries

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