Monday, November 04, 2013

there's a new church year around the corner

I'm good at living and celebrating the church year because it's my job and if I don't pull things together, the church does it for me. Or, rather, I go over and do it at church and don't have to worry about it in the same way at home. So much of my life is rummaging around in cupboards in the sacristy or the church bat cave or the Sunday school cupboard looking for advent candles or black ribbon for Good Friday or tying head arrangements on assorted boys trying to beat each other with their shepherd's staffs at Christmas time or rushing out on Saturday night to acquire unto myself oranges and chocolate gold coins for the tallest man that fits my make shift bishop hat to distribute to surprised children in the middle of church on the Sunday closest to St. Nicholas Day. My home church year life is less about all that and more about the food. And that, the food I mean, Matt and I take very seriously. Eating through the church year is our spiritual act of worship, or our love language, or something.

But vast acres of this way of living and worshipping go unexplained and might appear to be, or even are, hap hazard. And the church, this exact church here that I am lying in my bed gazing at
is full of people for whom this particular flavor and brand of Christianity is new and unfamiliar. The changing colors on the altar is the most obvious and intriguing sign of the church year but there are so many rites  and prayers and traditions that we do at Good Shepherd, sometimes explaining them, sometimes forgetting to, that many who worship here are frequently wandering around in a shadow of curiosity wondering "What On Earth are they doing and why?" And sometimes "Can I go on doing some of this in my dorm or at home with my children or something?" 

Well, rejoice beloved, now there is a clever little book to bring some of it into focus and make it easier to bring what we do at church into your various and sundry abodes.
Jessica Snell of Homemaking Through the Church Year and many other interesting endeavors has put together a practical and useful guide to understanding and doing many of the things that Christians have done done through the centuries. She writes, "This book is focused on bringing seasonal Christian traditions into the home, so that our daily routines can be peppered with little reminders of God’s goodness and grace. Ideally, we’ll all be as aware of God at home as we are at church."
Because what is the use of knowing about these traditions or seeing them if you can't bring them home and make them your own. And how can you do that if someone doesn't show how and why. And to add icing over the whole plummy wonder is that she's published the Advent and Christmas sections first and in time to really do something about them. I particularly commend Jessica's introductory explanation of what the church year is and what it is for. Rather than just adding another pile of work to your devotional life, she articulates a lovely vision for an ordered, gracious life centered around the life of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit. As I am constantly yelling at people, liturgy is meant to be a help. You put yourself into an action that you don't necessarily feel and it carries your forward. Wondrously, this doesn't just have to happen for an hour on Sunday morning. Carry it home with you. Let Us Keep The Feast will be a great help to you as you do!


Joyce Carlson said...

Thank you for the direction you've just pointed me in. I'll try to read the book as soon as possible.

Jessica Snell said...

thank you, Anne!

Summer said...

So excited to check out this resource in time for Advent, Anne! And perfect timing as I'm hoping to become a normal family again after moving and stop being such a deadbeat mom.