Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ordinary Time

OK, so going back a bit to the church calender theme. Ordinary time. What is it?

In the Catholic and Anglican Church, it is the period of time following Epiphany and then following Pentecost. (Pentecost closes out Easter, and in Acts is the moment when Christ ascended and the Holy Spirit descended to provide counsel and power to the Church.)

The ordinary time following Epiphany is somewhat short. Sometimes just a matter of weeks or less. In the Anglican liturgical calender, it starts after the Candlemas celebration. (Candlemas closes our the 40 days of Epiphany.) For Catholics, it starts after the celebration of Christ's Baptism. (Which happens on Sunday a couple weeks after Christmas)

The longer period of Ordinary Time follows Pentecost and goes all the way to Advent, (which builds up towards Christmas.) The English name is intended to translate the Latin term Tempus per annum (literally "time through the year"). This longer stretch of ordinary time has been referred to by some as the spiritual desert of summer.  Bible study groups often form during Ordinary Time to keep their faith at the forefront when nothing big is happening in the church calender. 

I also wanted to write a bit on this post about Christian Feasts. But I think that I underestimated the complexity of that task. Many of the feasts originate with the original Jewish celebrations, but take on a different meaning emphasizing the Messiah. Some feast dates were changed to help incorporate pagans into the Christian traditions. Other feasts weren't even practiced until hundreds of years after Christ. (Like Epiphany for example.)

The first reference to Epiphany in the Latin West is a slighting remark by Clement of Alexandria in Stromateis, I, xxi, 45: "There are those, too, who over-curiously assign to the Birth of Our Saviour not only its year but its day…" Origen's list of festivals (in Contra Celsus, VIII, xxii) omits any reference to Epiphany. The first reference to an ecclesiastical feast of the Epiphany, in Ammianus Marcellinus (XXI:ii), is in 361AD.

OK...enough history for tonight. I think I've got the gist of the Church Calender down, at least in outline format in my mind. 

Tired again tonight. 

My days are full and long. What happened to the time in my life when I was so boooooored? Now that I'm interested in things, there isn't enough space to squeeze it all in. How is it that I used to spend hours at a time in pubs for happy hour? What empty, meaningless fun. I was dead in my transgressions. Zombie-like, going through the motions. It feels good to be alive, but I'm hearing the ticking of the clock for the first time too. I feel like there's so much to much to catch up on.

Until tomorrow.