The Sundays after Pentecost: Growing in Grace

The Sundays after Pentecost

  • The Sundays after Pentecost is the longest season of the church year, comprising nearly half of the year.
  • During this time we read through the main portion of one of the Gospels, reading in Matthew, Mark and Luke in a three-year cycle.  In 2014 we are reading from Matthew.
  • These Sundays are sometimes referred to as “Ordinary Time” because they are numbered (from the Latin word that gives us ‘ordinal’.)

When is this season?

  • The Sundays after Pentecost fill the space between Pentecost (50 days after Easter Sunday) until the beginning of the new church year on the First Sunday in Advent, 4 weeks before Christmas.

Why green?

  • Green suggests the daily growth of the life of faith.

Special days in the season

  • The church calendar has a number of lesser festivals that can be observed if they should fall on one of the Sundays after Pentecost (days commemorating the apostles, Mary Magdalene, etc.).
  • Some that we regularly observe are:

Holy Trinity

  • The first Sunday after Pentecost celebrates God revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Christ the King

  • The last Sunday after Pentecost ends with the vision of Christ reigning as Lord of All.

Blessing of the Animals

  • The first Sunday in October in our parish commemorates St. Francis of Assisi and celebrates our interrelatedness with all creatures with a blessing of the animals.
  • Our worship takes place outdoors and all are invited to bring their pets.

Reformation

  • The last Sunday in October celebrates the work of God to be ever renewing and reforming the church.
  • October 31st is “Reformation Day” for on this day in 1517 Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses – 95 points for debate – that initiated the conversation about the nature of forgiveness that led to the Protestant Reformation.

All Saints

  • The first Sunday in November remembers those who have died the previous year and celebrates the mystery of the church as a community that transcends time and space.
  • November 1st is All Saints Day.  We celebrate it on the following Sunday.
    • All Saints once remembered all those martyrs of the church who did not have their own day on the church calendar.  Later, it was followed by All Souls to remember the faithful departed.  The Reformation combined these two because of the New Testament witness that all those who are in Christ as called “saints” or “holy ones”, for they have been enwrapped in Christ’s holiness.