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Liturgical Season

Posted By: 
Jim Hays

Ordinary Time

The church has many seasons built into the calendar year all to coincide with the works of Jesus Christ and His salvation for us.  The liturgical year starts with Advent and is four weeks (Sundays) before Christmas.  After the 4 week of Advent, the church celebrates Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord.  It is after the Baptism of the Lord, the church goes into the first "ordinary time" cycle of the church year.  Ordinary does not mean anything in church is mundane, because ordinary time is actually the time of the church year to read and preach about Jesus and his teachings and ministry.  What is ordinary about that.  

What makes it ordinary to some people is the church is not decorated or called to service in any of the other special seasons such as Advent, Christmas, Lent, or Easter.  In ordinary time, the colors of the church are green to represent the growth the church and the members should experience in Jesus' teachings.

This ordinary time at this time of year runs from the Sunday after the Baptism of the Lord and continues until Transfiguration Sunday and this period of Ordinary time is the shorter of the two ordinary times of the church year.  The longer one is occurs after Pentecost and runs until Christ the King Sunday, which is the Sunday before Advent.

This first ordinary time is longer this year than in most years as Transfiguration Sunday does not occur until February 28, 2017.  Why is Transfiguration Sunday so late?  It all hinges on the date of Easter.  And Easter is determined by the lunar cycle (so is Passover - which is based on scriptural reference to the moon and spring.)  Easter is the first Sunday of Spring after the first full moon of spring and this year Easter doesn't come until April 16, 2017.  (For reference Easter in 2016 was March 27th).

So once the Easter date is determined, you then go backwards 7 weeks to determine Ash Wednesday and Lent.  What does this have to do with Transfiguration Sunday?  - Transfiguration Sunday always is the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.

So now you know.  

So, welcome to Ordinary time, but there is nothing ordinary about Christ and his teaching.

Grace to you.