We are now in the “green” season of the church year. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Well, in our church (and most other liturgical churches throughout the world), the church year is marked by the colors on the altar and that the pastor wears. We even have ropes to match the colors to serve as belts for the acolyte (person who lights the candles). It’s one of the ways we observe the changing of the seasons of the church.
There are a few main colors that get used everywhere: white for festivals of Christ (Christmas, Holy Trinity, etc.), red for festivals of the church (Pentecost, Reformation), purple for Lent, blue for Advent (some places use purple in Advent), black for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and depending on the budget of the church, there are a few other one-off colors that can get added to the mix. I’m not going to dig into those, because we don’t use them here. The one we see most often throughout the year is green, which marks “Ordinary Time.”
The vast majority of Ordinary Time runs from the week after Holy Trinity Sunday all the way until the last Sunday of the church year, with a couple of special festivals that poke in here and there. So from May/June until the end of the November, we see green in our churches. I think that’s why a lot of churches choose green carpet, because it “goes” together for half of the year. There’s another small piece of ordinary time that falls in between Epiphany and Lent, but that time frame can be shorter or longer depending on the year. Right now we’re in the long stretch of it, though.
This is the time when many churches will try to introduce a theme or series. Sometimes the lessons themselves assigned to a particular Sunday will suggest a theme. We use a 3-year series of readings in our congregation, and this year the readings for this season of ordinary time center on the gospel of Mark. Other years, it may be Matthew or Luke (John gets mixed into all of them). We will also be working our way through the books of Ephesians, James, and Hebrews. And this is just the focus for Sunday mornings!
It is fitting that right now, as the school year draws to a close and families revisit their schedules and routines, that we also enter into Ordinary Time in the church. It gives all of us a chance to press reset on our worship and devotional lives. We get to start a new habit of reading the Bible every day, or having family devotions at night. Christ Lutheran is offering help with both of these areas. Back in January, we started a weekly Bible reading email, based on a 3-year plan developed by our church body and a few others. Every day there are 3 to 4 readings (sign up to receive the emails here). On Sunday mornings this summer, our Sunday school will be for all generations together in one class, learning as a congregation. But more importantly, the center of this class is teaching families how to do simple devotions together at home. Class starts this Sunday, and we hope you can join us!
God’s blessings on your family in this season of ordinary time.