Dallas Williard - Spirituality
Ancient Practices (#4b) - Pilgrimage

Ancient Practices (#4a) - the Liturgical Year

Images-18 This coming weekend, we continue with our "Ancient Practices" series. We will be looking at two unique practices: The Liturgical Year and Pilgrimage. 

The English word "liturgy" means "a form of public worship, a particular arrangement of services, or a particular form or type of communion service." Every church tradition has some form of liturgy, whether it is formal or informal, planned or more spontaneous, joyous or reverential. Church gatherings right back in the first century included various aspects such as singing, prayer(s), communion or the Lord's Supper, giving, teaching and fellowship (see Acts 2:42-47 for example). 

The liturgical year or Christian year consists of the observation of the various seasons and special events in the life of those who follow Christ. The nation of Israel, as recorded in the Old Testament, marked their year with various feasts that were ways for them to remind themselves of their identity and their place in history as the people of God. These celebration times included Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.

The New Testament church focused on a weekly gathering on the first day of the week (Sunday), which they used to remind themselves of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Over the centuries, followers of Christ have continued to remember Christ's death and resurrection weekly, but also annually around Easter time, a festival with a mixture of Christian and pagan practices. In addition, commemorating the birth of Jesus (advent at Christmas time) has also become a common practice. Some Christian traditions follow a highly detailed yearly calendar while others barely refer or connect to any annual cycle.  

Times and seasons are important to God. They remind us of our journey as his people who are part of His unfolding story in time. Remembering significant events is also important, such as Jesus' death and resurrection, as well as ordinances instituted by Jesus such as baptism and communion.

What other ways can we have a sense of connection to our roots as followers of Christ and ensure we stay connected to our story? 

For some further insight, check out The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister and The Feasts of Israel by Kevin J. Conner.  

 

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