Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Last Sunday of the Church Year

It doesn't feel like New Year's Eve, does it?  Yet, in some ways, it is. 

Here we are, once again at the end of a liturgical calendar year, the last Sunday of year A.  It is Christ the King Sunday, a holiday that has never been dear to my heart.

This year's Advent readings come from Mark--ah, apocalyptic Mark.  I am oddly ready.  It has been an apocalyptic year, full of people at midlife battling dread diseases and relationships spiraling apart and all sorts of ghastly news events.  The year 2014 has already been Markian.  The Advent readings will be an appropriate way to end the calendar year.

I often think of Nora Gallagher's comment in Things Seen and Unseen; she talks about feeling like she's moving on an alternate calendar to the Day Timer that charts the calendar year.  I can relate.

It's a great time to read a book about the liturgical year. Even if you're already part of a religious community that follows the liturgical calendar and you think you don't have anything new to learn, Joan Chittister's book, The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life, is worth a look. And for those of you who can't comprehend the value of a church calendar that follows a different cycle than the worldly calendar, Chittister will explain, in elegant, beautiful language.
So, start the new year by reading about the old year, the liturgical year. Even if you're anti-Catholic, like some of the reviewers at Amazon, you'll likely find something to enrich your spirit. And even if you disagree with most of it, it's good to read something completely outside your realm of experience (in fact, a brain researcher, Barbara Strauch, says that's how our brains stay young, by wrestling with ideas outside our realm of experience--go here to read the article).

1 comment:

Wendy said...

I have Gallagher's book in my bag to read...

We did the "Review of the Year" service, and I have been fascinated by the response. People LOVED it. It seems to have been very meaningful. What started as kind of a theological exercise for me became a deeply inspirational worship service.