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Episco-Fact #18
October 16, 2016

This Sunday's Orders of Service and Insert have the date on them, and they also have this line: Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 24 C. What does all that mean?

The Book of Common Prayer is set up in Church, or "God's" time which also has a time coordinate in the secular calendar. Because of the crossover we think it important to let everyone know when they are in the two calendars.

To read a more detailed account of the Church calendar, it begins on page 15. The calendar explanation is the first thing in the Prayer Book after the certification of the book and its introduction because it is a theological statement about Church time. Time as measured by the Church revolves around the annual celebration of major feasts and the weekly celebrations of the Eucharist. In the case of the Eucharist, these celebrations are ordered around the seasons of Advent (anticipation or waiting), Christmas (Christ's birth), Epiphany (Christ's manifesting God's presence in him), Lent (Penitence and Reconciliation), Easter (Resurrection), and Pentecost (the creation of the Church).

"Christian" time," therefore is marked by its orientation to the mighty acts of God in historical time which ultimately connect us to God's time, designated in church talk by the term Kairos. In this way, the Prayer Book is grounded in the mindfulness of God's eternal present.

Therefore, this Sunday is not only October 16, 2016 (a human time coordinate), it is also the twenty-second Sunday after the Feast of Pentecost in Lectionary Year C (the year to read the Gospel of Luke), with the designated readings (i.e. Propers) being from the twenty-fourth Propers of the year.

The spiritual or theological theme of the Sunday is summarized by the "Collect" of the day, which is said every year on this Sunday: Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name. The summary for this is that God's glory is revealed in Christ and that we, the Church, want God to continue to be merciful to us that we might endure this time through faith in proclaiming God in Christ.

A helpful way to follow all of this is to search Episcopal Lectionary on the internet. There you can find the LectionaryPage (lectionarypage.net). It has the secular calendar laid out with links to the assigned readings and Collects. Fromthere, you can read ahead or review after the fact. If you do not yet have time to pray the Daily Office (future Episco-fact), pray the Collect of the week at least once per day and reflect on what is saying about the Church and God.

 

 The Rev. David Lucey

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