Tag Archives: Calendar

So teach us to number our days

IMG_0640

 

So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts to wisdom. 
(Psalm 90:12)

In the context of Psalm 90, and in popular usage, this verse recalls us to a sense of our mortality. “Numbering our days” means understanding that we don’t have long to live and we should make every day count.

“Numbering our days” has stuck with me this week for a different reason, though.

In the context of the Daily Office, the ancient Jewish and Christian pattern of prayer in the morning and evening, we “number our days” in a very particular way.

I’ve been reflecting (especially since a great conversation over coffee on Wednesday with a clergy colleague) on how the Daily Office builds an awareness in us of a different “numbering,” a different way of organizing time.

The rhythm of morning and evening prayer includes collects (BCP 98-99, 123) that give shape to our weekly reflections, especially on Fridays (Jesus’ passion and death), Saturdays (God’s creative activity and our Sabbath rest), and Sundays (Christ’s victory over death and sin).

The offices also help attune us to the seasons of the Church Year, which have their own emphases and lead us through regular cycles of reflecting on Christ’s incarnation (Christmas) and his resurrection (Easter). There’s also a good long stretch of plain old “ordinary time” all summer long.

I sometimes wonder whether we Christians can regain a sense of our own sacred calendar in the face of the advertising onslaught of Back to School, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Memorial Day and July 4th.

“Numbering our days” according to the Christian calendar might be one gentle witness to the countercultural Gospel we proclaim and to the Son of Man, Lord even of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:8), whom we follow.

Advertisements

The Christmastide Lectionary

ChristmastideI know it’s still Thursday in the Third Week of Advent, but I want to give you all a jump on the complicated lectionary for the days after Christmas so that you can enjoy the holiday with minimal frustration.

Because Christmas Day occurs on a fixed date and several Major Feasts fall on the next few days after it, the Daily Office lectionary has to supply several options for the days between Christmas and the Epiphany, which also falls on a fixed date.

Here’s the crib sheet for the offices during Christmastide this year. You may wish to print it out and fold it into your prayer book for easy reference.

(The abbreviations MP and EP, as you might expect, stand for Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer; BCP for the page number in the Book of Common Prayer):

Dec. 23 – Fourth Sunday of Advent
MP and EP as on BCP 938
Collect on BCP 212

Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve
MP as on BCP 938 “Dec. 24”
MP Collect on BCP 212 (4 Advent)
EP as on BCP 938 “Christmas Eve”
EP Collect on BCP 212 (Christmas Day – second option)

Dec. 25 – Christmas Day
MP and EP as on BCP 940
Collect on BCP 212-13

Dec. 26 – Saint Stephen, Deacon and Martyr
MP and EP as on BCP 996
Collect on BCP 237

Dec. 27 – Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist
MP and EP as on BCP 996
Collect on BCP 238

Dec. 28 – The Holy Innocents
MP and EP as on BCP 996
Collect on BCP 238

Dec. 29 – Saturday after Christmas Day
MP and EP as on BCP 940 “Dec. 29”
Collect of a Martyr on BCP 246 (Thomas Becket)

Dec. 30 – First Sunday after Christmas Day
MP and EP as on BCP 940
Collect on BCP 213

Dec. 31 – Monday after 1 Christmas
MP as on BCP 940 “Dec. 31”
MP Collect on BCP 213 (1 Christmas)
EP as on BCP 940 “Eve of Holy Name”
EP Collect on BCP 213 (Holy Name)

Jan. 1 – The Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ
MP and EP as on BCP 940
Collect on BCP 213

Jan. 2-4 – Weekdays after 1 Christmas
MP and EP as on dated days on BCP 940
Collect on BCP 213 (1 Christmas)

Jan. 5 – Saturday after 1 Christmas
MP as on BCP 940 “Jan. 5”
MP Collect on BCP 213 (1 Christmas)
EP as on BCP 940 “Eve of Epiphany”
EP Collect on BCP 214 (Epiphany)

Jan. 6 – The Epiphany
MP and EP as on BCP 942
Collect on BCP 214