Living Word follows the historic Western lectionary in her Services, which is as follows:
The church year begins at the end of November with Advent. Advent means “coming” and is a quiet time of preparation and mediation on the coming of our Lord. In this four week season, we prepare for the second coming of Christ at the end of the world by recounting His first coming at Christmas.
For twelve days we celebrate God becoming man and being born of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Epiphany is a Greek word meaning “appearing.” Whereas Christmas celebrates that God is man, Epiphany flips it to celebrate that this man is God. It begins on January 6th with the visit of the Magi. Throughout this season we see Jesus revealing Himself as God by His miracles and teachings. The length of Epiphany depends on the date of Easter.
Lent is a time of humble and solemn meditation on the seriousness of our sins. We admit that we have not lived according to God’s commandments and thus deserve eternal punishment in hell. But we also see that Christ stepped into our place to live a perfect life for us, to carry our sins, and to bear the crushing burden of God’s Law for us. We confess that we are not worthy of this love. Lent is six weeks long.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Ashes are a sign of deep sorrow and humility. They remind us that we are mortal and will return to dust because we have sinned. But formed in the shape of a cross, they remind us that Christ took our sins and suffered our death so that we might have His life.
Holy Week is the culmination of Lent and includes the following:
Holy or Maundy (command) Thursday:
On this night our Lord instituted the Sacrament of Holy Communion. This is also the night of our Lord’s betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane by Judas Iscariot.
Holy or Good Friday:
For six hours our Lord hung on the cross suffering the wrath of God in our place. This is a good day because on this day our salvation was won.
The sorrow of Lent and darkness of Good Friday is replaced by the triumph and joy of Easter. It is on this day that our Lord rose from the dead declaring His victory over sin, death, and Satan. This is the most holy day in the Church Year. The Easter season extends for seven weeks.
Ascension is forty days after Easter and celebrates the completion of Jesus’ earthly ministry and His glorious return to the Father to rule all things for the benefit of His Church on earth.
Pentecost is fifty days after Easter and ten days after Jesus’ ascension. During this season we rejoice in the new life won by Christ and given to us by the Holy Spirit. Pentecost covers the rest of the Church Year.
Colors of the Church:
The color of royalty. Christ is King even in humility. It is a sober color inviting repentance and meditation.
Used: Advent and Lent
The color of death, absence of life, deepest sorrow and humility. Jesus, the God Man, died.
Used: Good Friday
The color of light, purity, and holiness. Jesus is God. The joy we have because of Jesus’ birth and work.
Used: Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Trinity
The color of highest joy, thanks, and praise because of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection.
Used: Easter and Easter 2
The color of nature and life. The life we now have because we have been united to Christ.
Used: Sundays in Epiphany and Pentecost.
The color of fire and blood. We receive the fire of faith from the Spirit to zealously hold fast to Christ, even if we must give up our lives as so many have done.
Used: Pentecost, martyrs days, and special occasions