November 24, 2014

Preparing for the New Church Year (4)

For our final post on preparing for the new Church Year, we will talk about some suggestions for further reading and practice. I’ve divided them into three categories. Some are my own suggestions, others have come from IM readers. Books that give an overview of the Church Year to help individuals, families, and churches grasp […]

Preparing for the New Church Year (3)

The freest time in our adult life was after we were married and before we had children. Having graduated from college, we were no longer bound by a school schedule. We lived in a small, iconic Vermont village where the pace of life was slow, the program of our church modest, and our income too […]

Preparing for the New Church Year (2)

Last Sunday I gave five primary reasons why I think it advantageous for Christians to form their spiritual lives — their walk with God through Christ — around the liturgical year. It enables us to live in God’s story. It keeps the main thing the main thing. It recognizes that one’s calendar forms one’s life. […]

Preparing for the New Church Year (1)

Note from CM: In 2010, we did a series on “Church Year Spirituality.” November is the month when we complete the annual liturgical cycle and prepare for a new Church Year, which begins the first Sunday in Advent (Nov. 30 this year). For the next four Sundays, I will run these posts again to help […]

Jesus’ Ascension and Life as Gift

Many churches celebrate Jesus’ Ascension today, though the official observance was this past Thursday (May 29). We so often leave the Ascension out of our gospel. Christ’s “finished work,” however, includes Jesus’ incarnation, ministry, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and outpouring of the Holy Spirit — all of the above. These great events are the key […]

Another Look: Easter Is a Season, Not a Day

First Published April 4, 2010. Many of us in our Christian traditions learned to celebrate Christ’s resurrection on a day — Easter Sunday. Easter is the great Lord’s Day, the climax of Holy Week, the high point of the Christian Year, marked by an explosion of color, wafting fragrance of lilies, majestic sounds of organ […]

Let’s Discuss: Christmas Music Recommendations

Back in 2010, Jeff and I had dueling posts about our favorite Christmas music. Jeff’s top five were: Bells of Dublin, The Chieftains Christmas Portrait, The Carpenters Ultra-Lounge Christmas Cocktails, Part Two, Various Artists If On A Winter’s Night, Sting Christmas, Bruce Cockburn He also gave honorable mentions to: A Charlie Brown Christmas, by Vince […]

My “December” Playlist

On Sunday, Advent begins. My annual habit has been to listen to only Advent and Christmas music from the beginning of Advent to the end of Christmastide. This year, I am adding at least one playlist that consists of seasonal music about the coming of winter in our hemisphere and in our hearts. I have […]

Ash Wednesday with Pancho and Lefty

Sometimes I don’t know where this dirty road is taking me Sometimes I can’t even see the reason why I guess I’ll keep on a-gamblin’, lots of booze and lots of ramblin’ It’s easier than just a-waitin’ ’round to die – Townes Van Zandt Our good friend Matt Redmond just wrote a poignant piece about how […]

Martha on Lent

Lent is coming! When I was young, I was confident in what Lent was and what it meant. Now I’m older, it gets more mysterious and complex. This week marks the start of the forty-day (plus Sundays) period which is one of the two seasons in the liturgical year where the purple of penitence is […]