The lay team met for training today, having escaped having to do an assignment because of the complexity of schedules. So, it was an on the spot task: How does the liturgical year relate to preaching?
We started with a simple word-association game — writing down key words & themes for each season. Then we shared what we had written, adding words, clarifying, questioning ‘why did you put that there?’
It was fascinating. There was lots of overlap, as you would expect; but there were real differences too. So, for example, where would you put ‘Kingdom’ as a theme? I put it in Advent: already and not-yet, vision of a world transformed. Isaiah, ox and lamb. It’s there with themes of Justice, restoration, non-violence.
However, the group ‘forgot’ the justice theme for Advent, and had Kingdom listed just about everywhere else: under Christmas (Kingdom come), Easter (‘resurrection shows what the Kingdom is like’), Pentecost (‘living it out’) and the Green Season (on the theory that Christ the King ends the reign of green). For the first time, I saw sense in naming November as ‘The Kingdom Season’. At least it locks it down.
Lent came in heavy on penitence and cleansing, with a fair dose of journeying and introversion; but healing and forgiveness were curiously absent. When I said ‘Lent: healing’, someone argued that we had to wait for Easter for that. She did not convince me; but in a few words, the difference in our theologies was clearly exposed.
It’s a game worth playing the next time you find yourself with a handful of piskies and a half an hour to spare. In the meantime, I offer you these for the seasonal sorting-hat:
- eternity in time
- blinded by light
- ‘gloomy’ (surely not, I cried in horror. Gloomy never goes with God.)