Colour-coding the year

This post is in the series Rite Reading.

The year, according to the calendar explored in the previous few posts, is colour-coded. Colour coding for different types of celebration grew-up over time, and mainly in the Western Church. The Western, particularly Roman, mindset is generally much more inclined to make things tidy, and organise them according to clear patterns than is the Eastern Church.

This colour scheme is not just a tool for organisation. It helps provide not only a quick visual guide to the changing seasons, but also, subliminally, can help create the mood.

Art installation, summer 2019, Durham city centre
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When time is ordinary

This post is in the series Rite Reading.

I should probably offer a health warning on this post: there’s no way of explaining the diversity of ways churches name and number the different Sundays of the year without getting a little bit geeky. I have tried to be as clear as possible, but there is a lot of rather messy detail that demands a certain amount of anorak wearing.

When I looked at the Christmas and Easter cycles, I described them as swimming in a sea of Ordinary Time. Having told these stories, one of the events around Christ’s birth, the other of events around his death, there’s still well over half a year left over. So having told these stories, the church then reflects for the rest of the year on what it means to live out a life that is faithful to the stories of this Jesus, reading through the main teaching sections of the gospels.

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The year starts in November (or sometimes in December)

This post is in the series Rite Reading.

This series now moves on into the second main section: what I am calling the firmware. This is the ways in which we organise and develop our actual practice of reading. I begin with the church year.

We have a range of different years we organise our life by, and they all start at different times. The school year in September, the tax year in April, the calendar year in January. Historically it’s moved around a bit. So it’s not really at all out of the ordinary that the church year begins four Sundays before Christmas, a date that usually falls at the end of November, and sometimes at the start of December.

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Creation is not a season

I thought I’d got away without it, but this week I got handed a service order to use labelled “Creation Season”. So, in a break from the ongoing series, allow me rant a little.

I’m well aware that the Season of Creation has some pretty powerful voices behind it, not least that of Pope Francis, but …

I have no problem with dedicating some weeks around harvest as days or weeks of prayer and thanks for creation, I think that’s worth doing.

Eurasian Roller, Mikumi National Park, Tanzania
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