As many of you who read my blog already know, I’m an Anabaptist pastor/writer. But, you probably also know that I’m quite liturgical in my spirituality – something not as common among folks from my historical tradition. I’ve reflected on why I consider myself a Liturgical-Anabaptist in the past (start here), but in short this means: an appreciation for Spiritual practices, a sacramental theology of the Eucharist as opposed to the standard ordinance/Zwinglian views that the Lord’s Supper is *only* a memorial (more to write on this in the near future), an appreciation for the Great Tradition (although I’m quick to criticize it as seems necessary via reason or Scripture), and a love for the rhythm of the Christian Calendar.
In Mennonite Brethren and Brethren in Christ expressions of Anabaptism (which are the streams that influence my experience), following a Lectionary is not the norm (although there are several exceptions – including my home church). Over the past few years, the Christian Year has shaped my life patterns more and more.
In our church (Pangea Communities – a movement of peace, justice, and hope) we will follow the Christian year through worshiping God throughout the various seasons. Advent, which began last Sunday (Dec 1, 13), is the season that starts everything off. It is, for all intents and purposes, the beginning of a new year for the church. We should probably have partied last Saturday night with some bubbly and New Year’s kisses.
The following list of books/resources will set you up to learn more about Advent and the Christian Year as a whole… if this is an area of interest which you have yet to explore further.
- Lectionary Page at Vanderbuilt – My “go to” page every week to orientate myself to the texts, themes, etc.
- Take our Moments and Our Days: An Anabaptist Prayer Book (Vol. 2) – This is a great daily prayer book that moves from Advent through Pentecost. Can’t recommend it enough!
- Ancient-Future Time by Robert Webber – Best resource for undertanding the spirituality of the Christian year. Especially helpful if you didn’t grow up in a liturgical tradition. After reading this book, you will understand what it means to be “liturgical.”
- Common Prayer: Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (Claiborne, Wilson-Hartgrove, Okoro) – Wonderful daily prayers that follow the seasons and highlights the themes of justice and peace. One of my favorite books. Great for use in the context of community.
- Texts for Preaching: A Lectionary Commentary Based on the NRSV – Takes the four texts each week and offers helpful commentary for those involved in preaching/teaching.
- Twelve Months of Sundays Year A – Reflections on Bible Readings (Relections on Bible Readings) by N.T. Wright – Similar to his “For Everyone” Commentary series, these are great for those wanting a devotional resource that follows the Lectionary, as well as the teacher/preacher.
There are several other helpful resources out there. This isn’t an exhaustive list, by any means.
What are some helpful resources that you have found for helping us understand the Christian Year?