Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The Green Season
There is something about the time after Trinity Sunday that seems to allow all things to settle down. The themes in the readings are unique to the Sunday and do not culminate in a specific day as do the readings of Advent or Lent. In some traditions this is called “Ordinary time”. Some count these Sundays as the time following Trinity; the Lutheran tradition is to call this “Time after Pentecost”. Whatever we may call it; the readings generally have to do with the ministry of Jesus.
In the three-year cycle of readings means that during the Time after Pentecost this year we hear of the events as reported by Matthew. Next year we will hear from Mark and in year “C” (2010) we will hear from the words of Luke. We hear from the Gospel of John during the special seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter.
The green vestments and hangings that adorn the church during this time after Pentecost might be thought to mean that we are observing some ecologically correct agenda. But green in the art history of the Church has always meant Resurrection. And Resurrection has always been the Church’ agenda.
Personally, I like the appellation “Ordinary Time” because it so characterizes what is going on in our congregations. We are not looking forward to Christmas or Easter. We are enjoying the fruits of Christ’s labor—and learning how better to live the life to which we are called. And even though we should be spiritually in awe of what this very ordinary time after Trinity is, it is the “getting on with it” time.
This ordinary time fits with our Northern hemispheric lives as well. It is celebrated from the spring, through summer and fall until we get to winter. It is ‘Christian living for the mean time.’ Yep, I like the green season.