Telling Time in Church: Rediscovering the Church’s Liturgical Calendar
The earliest Christians came from the festival culture of Judaism, and they lived as exiles in the Greco-Roman culture, where the richer fabric of Greek mythology was codified, absorbed, and extended by the Romans. They needed an orienting understanding of time’s what and why to live faithfully in a world where common places were hostile territory.
They chose to “tell” time from a different vantage point, ordering their days and seasons according to the cosmic reality of God’s present kingdom, particularly as it’s focused in the Incarnation of the Word of God, and the resulting events in the life and ministry of Jesus. Though it’s less well-known in Protestant churches, the liturgical calendar developed in the first few centuries can provide a helpful perspective on the present time. We live in an increasingly pluralistic world. The names have changed but the counter-pantheon remains, and Christians need regular reminders that all times belong to God, and that his kingdom is present and available while we wait for his appearing.
This class provides a yearlong journey through the church’s liturgical calendar. While nearly every day has gained some significance in the church’s long existence, each session’s focus is on a major feast, fast, or emphasis from the early centuries, when the Church remained one.