Saturday, May 8, 2010
The Hijacking of the Church Year
Tomorrow is Mother's Day is most of our churches (good fall on the calendar since most Pastors are not so sure the 6th Sunday of Easter is all that important anyway). And a week from now the Sunday after the Ascension will become Armed Forces Sunday and later this month the Holy Trinity will compete with Memorial Day. I could continue the list but I won't. The sanctoral calendar is one step below the Sundays of the Season and the Sundays of the Season have to compete with the secular calendar and the "Emphasis Sundays" that come to us from myriad of sources within the Church.
The point is that it is no wonder that the Church Year is so foreign to the life of God's people. It did, after all, come to us from the calendar of feasts and festivals for Israel, transformed by the events in the life of the Lord and the ordinary time devoted to the teaching of Jesus. But it is so very distant from us and from our lives in part because of the many things that displace, complete with, or detract from the Church Year and the sanctoral calendar.
We try to minimize them in this parish and we do have a monthly mission emphasis for our Sunday school offerings (of adults and children) that does include some of these causes. But we have deliberately chosen NOT to have them on Sunday morning. We follow the Church Year and the calendar of our congregation is the Church's calendar. Now mind you, we have taken some hits from this. Even within our own District there have been a few folks who thought us petty because we do not have District Sunday or Synod Sunday. We include a very significant sum from our general offerings for this (about 10% of our income) and we believe that this is the better way than having appeals and spokespersons for these causes every week.
We do have people who find it cold or callous that we do not hand out roses on Mother's Day and sing "Faith of our Mothers Living Still" (no joke, some churches do change the words for this day) and some complain that we are not patriotic because we do not have a color guard bring in the flag on Memorial Day or when the Fourth of July falls on a Sunday (this year). So it is not without some heat within our own pews that we keep the Church calendar as this church's calendar.
I am curious as to how others handle these requests, the secular calendar, and the myriad of emphasis Sundays... let me know