The church is formed by God. The shape of the church, our very structure emerges as an expression of the divine in the world. The patterns and rhythms of the church’s life are expressed in the sacraments, the scriptures, in our liturgy and tradition.
The rhythms of a community imprint upon the individuals within it. Our identity is formed as the community’s identity, as individually we are members of one another. As such, the individual Christian’s identity is a particular revelation of the identity of the church, similarly shaped by sacraments, scriptures, liturgy, and tradition.
A part of that rhythm involves the seasons and cycles of life. Each day is a cycle from dawn through daylight into the dusk and darkness of night, and back around to sunrise again. Each week cycles from weekend worship through days of activity and work and into sabbath rest, arriving at worship time once again. Every year is a cycle through seasons of springtime birth to the abundant life of summer flowing into the beauty of autumn and the suspended rest of winter, which moves into rebirth once more.
The church lives a calendar year of its own, that parallels the seasons of the earth. The season of Advent begins that year, preparing us for the Christmas season, which is followed by Epiphany and shortly thereafter the season of Lent. We are thereby prepared for the Easter season which culminates at Pentecost, the celebration of the Holy Spirit. The season of Ordinary Time brings us back around the cycle once more to Advent.
These seasons are a part of the church’s communal identity, and as such they shape us as individuals. As we live into the seasons of faith, we are reminded of who we are. We are able to find a healthy balance of celebration, work, and rest. We sense ourselves connected to something beyond ourselves, encompassed by a divine rhythm of life that cannot be explained as much as experienced.
This weekend we will wrap up the “Tree of Life” series by considering how the seasons and cycles of our common life shape us as people. I’ll see you in church!
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given,and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) The Season of Advent is upon us, and the waiting has begun. We