The Christian Church Year is such a blessing. Many people who are new to the Lutheran Church, or other liturgical churches, coming from general evangelical protestantism, are unfamiliar with the ancient custom of observing a series of festivals, also known as “feasts,” and unique times throughout the year, known as “seasons.” in what is known as the “liturgical year.” While the basic structure and words of the core components of the liturgy do not change from Sunday to Sunday, there are changes in other texts, particularly the various readings from Holy Scripture appointed for every Sunday and festival day, that give the various times in the Church Year their unique emphases and nuances. Pastor Weedon found a beautiful summary of why the Church Year is so important and useful:
As the seasons of the church year make their annual circuit, the preacher has no other task than to unfold the mysterium Christi, the mystery of Christ. He makes it known in all its splendor, with a sense of awe and wonder and with all its meaning for the faltering lives of Christ’s little ones. Source: Ernest Koenker, Worship in Word and Sacrament, p. 46
How true this is! If you have not given much attention to the Church Year, I certainly would encourage you to do so. It is such a blessing both to preachers and to hearers! Why? Some people think that having a rigid order of every-Sunday readings is too restricting. I must respectfully, but strongly, disagree. I’ve noticed, so often, in congregations that do not follow the Church Year and the appointed readings that there sets in an impoverishment of teaching, it is easy to miss the major events of Christ’s life and the chief doctrines of God’s Word when there is not a thorough presentation of the Scriptures main stories and teachings, as is made possible through the Church Year and its appointed readings.
The Church Year allows us, together, to hear about all the major events in the life and ministry of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in the first half of the Church Year, then to reflect together on the fuller implications of the life of Christ on our lives.
It is a wonderful pattern, or rhythm, that the Church Year Provides.