Beginning next Sunday, we will begin our new season of the liturgical year with the observance of Advent 1. Last Sunday, November 26 finalized the end of our past liturgical year culminating with the celebration of Christ the King Sunday. Next week we begin all over again the story of Jesus as both our Savior and the Christ.
Did you know that when we follow the Revised Common Lectionary that if we remain true to its Scriptural suggestions, we will preach and read through the Bible every 3 years? This is why many churches and denominations use the lectionary: to help educate our church members and help them become biblically literate.
Another way we help you to learn the Bible is to observe the various cycles in the church year. You will know when we are in a different cycle by the color of the altar and pastoral vestments. On Sundays, we have certain colors displayed on the altar, the pulpit, and the lectionary stand. And, you will notice that I wear a particular colored stole that usually matches the colors you see elsewhere. Each color represents a different cycle.
Here are those colors. There is blue, which is a new color for the season of Advent (although many folks still use the color purple), Purple for the season of Lent, White for Easter and special occasions in which we celebrate weddings or Christ the King Sunday. The color red for Palm Sunday, the Passion of Christ, the day of Pentecost and for special occasions in which God either comes down in a dramatic way or for denominational occasions such as an ordination. We use the color green for the season of Pentecost and for Ordinary Time (the time between Pentecost and towards the end of the liturgical year when nothing fancy is going on. We use the color black for Ash Wednesday (not all UCCers celebrate Ash Wednesday but we do) and Good Friday.
As we enter the season of Advent, you will notice something different all through the 4 Sundays in Advent. We will be doing something different in the services and I will speak more about that next week after we have observed the Lord's Supper. And, during the Lord's Supper we'll be doing so in a unique way that we observed last month when we sang the liturgical responses rather than only reading them as we normally do.
I am looking forward to the season of Advent and beginning again the joy of experiencing the Christian journey of faith with you.