pentecost.

pentecost imageOn January 1, I announced a new blog series here at Joy Woven Deep. If you haven’t seen that post yet, I encourage you to check it out, then come on back and join in the journey.

Pentecost
(also known as “The Feast of Pentecost”)

What’s this holy day all about?
“The Feast of Pentecost marks the arrival of the great Comforter and Advocate Christ promised when he left this earth: the Holy Spirit. As they gathered together for their own celebration of Pentecost…Christ’s disciples experienced a Divine sensation unlike any other they had ever known.” (Sacred Seasons Calendar)

Pentecost means “fiftieth day” and celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit. This is recorded in Acts 2.

What’s the history of this observance?
Pentecost occurred during the Jewish Festival of Weeks/Festival of Booths. “As with the term Pascha, in Pentecost Christians borrowed a Jewish term and applied it to their own festivals. Tertullian (3rd century) knew of Christian Pentecost, and the Apostolic Constitutions (4th century) speak of the Pentecost feast lasting a week. In the Western Church the vigil of Pentecost became second only to the Easter Vigil in importance. Eventually in the West, Pentecost became a Sunday set aside for baptisms.” (citation)

What’s it to me?
Pentecost gives us a taste of what Jesus meant when he told his disciples that it was better that he leave and the Spirit come. Rushing like a wind, the Spirit of God overcomes the gathered ones and they are filled with Him.

I’ve been in the church for my entire life, 28 years, but the Holy Spirit remains a mystery to me in so many ways. I think, in part, that this is good. But I also think that there are layers of Him that I need to press into further. The Holy Spirit makes us feel afraid, I think. We’d like Him to be a bit more caged, a little quieter. But I need Him louder, bigger, stronger. I need to stop viewing the Father and Jesus at one end of the table and the Spirit at the other. I want to press into their intertwine further, and better understand the Spirit’s function within the Trinity and within me.

So, boil it down for me, would you?
The Feast of Pentecost commemorates the day when the Spirit of God was sent to the people of God on earth.

So, how could we observe it?

Read the Daily Office texts here or via this app.

Read the Lectionary texts.

Pray the Collect for Pentecost: O God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Rejoice! The pouring out of the Spirit is the creation of the church. The Spirit is what bonds the people of faith. Have someone over for dinner, text a fellow believer, thank God for the local church. Celebrate the chaos and the glory that is the body of Christ.

Sacred Ordinary Days Essentials Workbook and grow in your understanding of Pentecost and Ordinary Time season (which begins tomorrow) through the one page summary.

Offer up this prayer for Pentecost.

For kids: Read Acts 2 out loud. Find some great ideas here, including how to make an origami dove which represents the Spirit, and ribbon streamers which represent the “tongues of fire.”


I would love for you to join the conversation. Would you add your voice to the conversation via blog post comments or on the Facebook page and share your thoughts on these questions with us?

What are your ideas for observing Pentecost?

Which components of exploring liturgy and the Christian calendar are you thinking about this week?

Is this series serving you well? What are you enjoying? How could it improve?

From Him | Through Him | To Him,
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season: lent | holy day: ash wednesday

 On January 1, I announced a new blog series here at Joy Woven Deep. If you haven’t seen that post yet, I encourage you to check it out, then come on back and join in the journey.

The Season of Lent | Ash Wednesday
the season of

What is the time span of the season? Lent begins 40 weekdays (does not include Sundays) before Easter, with a holiday called Ash Wednesday. In 2016, the Lenten Season Holy Days are:

Ash Wednesday – February 10
Palm Sunday – March 20
Maundy Thursday – March 24
Good Friday – March 25
Holy Saturday –  March 26

What’s this season all about?
The season of Lent marks Jesus’ journey to the cross. On Ash Wednesday, we are reminded that we came from dust and we will return to dust. Lent beckons us to remember our humanity, to identify with Christ in his suffering, and to realize how great a chasm our Savior crossed to redeem us from our sins.

What’s the history of this observance?
“The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting.” (source)

What’s it to me?
The season of Lent, starting with the earthy, dusty message of Ash Wednesday, prods me to inspect dark corners of myself and grisly truths of the world, both of which I would so much rather ignore. My sin is so invasive, so engrained. My depravity runs so deep that it required blood to run red. My desire for hope courses through me, tempting me to rush toward the victory and glory of Easter, but Lent tells me to slow down, to consider Jesus’ suffering, to consider my own suffering, to consider what I will not suffer because He suffered it for me. The Lenten themes of fasting, emptying, discipline, self-examination, contemplation and patience draw me toward a deeper faith and recognition of my union with Christ. If I am to be united with Him in His glory, to find the victory sweet, I must first ask Him to show me the horror and tragedy of the battle.

So, boil it down for me, would you?
Lent calls us to look to our Savior, the Suffering Servant who counted us worthy of the taking on of sin, of shame, of suffering, though He had no fault. Just as Christ emptied himself on our behalf, we are offered a space in which we ask Him to empty us of ourselves and walk with us into the deep and lowly places.

So, how could we observe it?

Read the Daily Office texts here or via this app.

Read the Lectionary texts.

Read, pray and meditate on “the Liturgy & Litany” for Ash Wednesday.

Ponder the concept of Lent as an invitation.

Consider “emptying yourself” (fasting) of something dear, and determine with what you will replace that activity or item. When you are tempted to partake of what has been given up:
– pray for a specific person
memorize Philippians 2:5-9 (known as the kenosis passage – Jesus’ self-emptying of his rightful position)
– memorize part of the account of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection
– write down something Jesus saved you from by taking on your sin and shame, and thank Him
subscribe to my newsletter & receive a free PDF with thoughts and resources to help you establish a new habit centered on the life of Christ

Follow Jerusalem Greer’s Lent Series from last year (family friendly).

Download the Sacred Ordinary Days Essentials Workbook and grow in your understanding of Lent through the one page summary. Then use the workbook pages to reflect on the past season and reset for the season of Lent.

Add touches of purple (reminds us Christ’s painful death and His royalty) and gray (mourning, loss, death) to your decor (mantel, center piece, candles, flowers).

For kids: Plant forget-me-nots that will bloom around Easter. Read some of God’s commands all through Scripture in which He tells us to remember Him/His ways (or, in this case, “forget-Him-not), culminating in Christ’s words “do this in remembrance of me.”

I would love for you to join the conversation. Would you add your voice to the conversation via blog post comments or on my Facebook page and share your thoughts on these questions with us?


What are your ideas for observing Lent & Ash Wednesday?

Which components of exploring liturgy and the Christian calendar are you thinking about this week?

Is this series serving you well? What are you enjoying? How could it improve?

From Him | Through Him | To Him,
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the baptism of the Lord [reframe series].

On January 1, I announced a new blog series here at Joy Woven Deep. If you haven’t seen that post yet, I encourage you to check it out, then come on back and join in the journey. 

The Baptism of the Lord

The Baptism of the Lord - www.JoyWovenDeep.comWhat day does it fall on? The answer to this varies based on tradition.
Western Anglican & Roman Catholic – January 10 (the first Sunday of Epiphany/Ordinary Time)
Episcopal USA & Eastern Orthodox – always January 6 (as part of the “The Great Feast of Theophany” – what we observed as Epiphany)

What season are we in? Epiphany/Ordinary Time (January 6 to February 9, 2016)

What’s this day all about?
The Baptism of the Lord celebrates just that, the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. Immediately after Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove and Christ’s earthly ministry was initiated, which is cause for celebration indeed. This account can be found in Matthew 3.

What’s the history of this celebration?
Well, it depends a bit on who you ask. Because some view The Baptism of the Lord as an integral part of Epiphany, and some view it as a separate feast day, the historical accounts can get a little crossed and confusing. For the purposes of this blog, we will mark four holidays which are all in the spirit of Epiphany, of which this holiday is the second. The baptism has always been recognized by the church as an imperative moment in the story of Christ, worthy of celebration.

So, how could we observe it?

  • Read the Daily Office texts here or via this app.
  • Read the Lectionary texts.
  • Pray “the Collect” for The Baptism of the Lord.
  • Sing or read aloud When Jesus Came to Jordan.
  • White is the color for The Baptism of the Lord, so a vase of white flowers, a white candle, or a white tablecloth could serve as a simple day-long reminder to reflect and celebrate.
  • Reflect on your own baptism, or, if you have not been baptized, consider talking to your church’s leadership about taking that step.
  • Bundle up with family members, friends or roommates and visit a nearby body of water. Take a moment to read the account of Jesus’ baptism in Matthew, and reflect upon and/or discuss what the inauguration of Jesus’ ministry meant then and what it means for us now.

What’s it to me?
Reflecting on the initiation of Christ’s earthly ministry fills me with joyous anticipation, similar to advent. The baptism, like the birth, is an inductive occurrence, a sign of the things to come, a revealing of the Holy One Who will do what no one else could ever do. Because of our place in church history, we know what is coming next. We know that Christ will go on to spend three years doing the Father’s will on earth, loving, healing, proclaiming, teaching and sanctifying. And we know that, ultimately, His obedience will lead Him to death on a cross, and, gloriously, to the resurrection and ascension. This moment of baptism reminds me of the things that were to come after it, and beckons me to hope for the things that are to come when Christ returns.

So, boil it down for me, would you?
The Baptism of the Lord celebrates the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry, marked by His baptism by John the Baptist after which the Holy Spirit descended like a dove upon Jesus. We celebrate the beginning of Christ’s ministry as it teaches us more about Him, gives us hope for what is to come both Scripturally after the baptism and in the future when Christ returns, and it invites us to join with Christ in both baptism and the ministry of reconciliation.

I would love for you to join the conversation. Would you add your voice to the conversation via blog post comments or on my Facebook page and share your thoughts on these questions with us?

  • What are your ideas for observing Baptism of the Lord?
  • Which components of exploring liturgy and the Christian calendar are you thinking about this week?
  • Is this series serving you well? What are you enjoying? How could it improve?

From Him | Through Him | To Him,
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PS – Today is the last day of the (sold out!) Sacred Ordinary Days Liturgical Day Planner giveaway! Click here to enter.

epiphany [reframe series].

On January 1, I announced a new blog series here at Joy Woven Deep. If you haven’t seen that post yet, I encourage you to check it out, then come on back and join in the journey. 

Epiphany
(Also known as Three Kings’ Day or Feast of Theophany)

Epiphany Star

What is it? A holy day in the Christian calendar/liturgical year. Some also recognize it as a season of Ordinary Time in the liturgical year.

What day does it fall on? January 6 (13 days after Christmas)

What season are we in? Epiphany/Ordinary Time (January 6 to February 9, 2016)

What’s this day all about?
Epiphany (“to show”/”to reveal”/”to make known”) is a celebration of the gospel being for all people, of Christ coming not only for the Jews but also the Gentiles (hallelujah!). “Western Christians celebrate the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, while Eastern Christians celebrate the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist” (Sacred Ordinary Days). The star revealed the Son of God to the Magi, and the Magi’s response to Jesus revealed that He is Lord over all.

What’s the history of this celebration?
Epiphany was celebrated as early as the 300s A.D. and has since been observed in a multitude of ways. Some view it as an entire season, beginning the day after Christmastide ends and concluding the day before Lent/Ash Wednesday. For those who view Epiphany as a season, it is a season that also contains other holidays – Baptism of the Lord (January 10), Presentation of the Lord (February 2) and Transfiguration of the Lord (February 7).

So, how could we observe it?

  • Read the Daily Office texts here or via this app.
  • Read the Lectionary texts.
  • Pray “the Collect” for Epiphany.
  • Write “20+C+B+M+16” over your doorway in chalk. The first and last two slots refer to the year, and the letters refer to the traditional names of the Magi – Caspar, Balthasar and Melchior. The letters also function as an abbreviation of “Christus manionem bendicat,” which means “Christ bless this house.” This page features a blessing to pray while writing/marking.
  • Bake a Kings’ Cake.
  • Light a candle in the darkness of the morning or evening, symbolizing the star in the dark night which led the Magi to the Christ-child.

What’s it to me?
Some of the themes associated with Epiphany are journey, rhythm and manifestation. These words infuse me with such hope as I reflect on Epiphany and realize that the journey toward, with and led by Jesus has been a marker of those who call Him Lord, for centuries, millennia. “Rhythm” is a deeply meaningful word to me right now, as seen by its inclusion in the subtitle of this series, and I am drawn to ponder its meaning and implications even more during the season of Epiphany. Manifestation, oh my, this one could be (has been) an entire book. The Word became Flesh and dwelt among us. The True Light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. Immanuel, God with us. Just as the Magi recognized the Christ Child, just as John the Baptist knew the One Who was greater than him because he was before him, Jesus was made manifest that we might know Him, worship Him, be saved by Him. He descended, manifested, offered Himself up to death that we may journey toward Him, with Him, in Him.

So, boil it down for me, would you?
Epiphany celebrates the Son of God becoming a man. Whether the celebration reflects upon the visit of the Magi or the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, it calls us to remember the One Who made His dwelling among us, Who is the fullness of grace and truth and Who came for us. The soul of Epiphany is not merely that Jesus came, but that He came and we know for certain Who He is – He is Lord.

I would love for you to join the conversation. Would you add your voice to the conversation via blog post comments or on my Facebook page and share your thoughts on these questions with us?

  • What has your experience been with the Christian calendar, liturgy, holy days, etc.?
  • What are your ideas for observing Epiphany?
  • Which components of exploring liturgy and the Christian calendar pique your curiosity?

From Him | Through Him | To Him,
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holy name of Jesus [reframe series].

Earlier today, I published a post announcing a new blog series here at Joy Woven Deep. If you haven’t seen that post yet, I encourage you to check it out, then come on back and join in the journey. 

This post will both introduce us to the feast day celebrated on January 1, as well as some basics of the Christian calendar framework. Like the secular calendar, the Christian calendar has seasons, holidays, and assigned meanings to certain times of year and certain days. The same way that Americans have a common understanding of the feelings and thoughts surrounding school getting out, Thanksgiving approaching or, most recently, New Year’s Eve, the Christian calendar beckons us toward a common experience in relation to our beliefs about Christ, His life and how He intertwines with our lives today.

If you come across terminology you are unfamiliar with, know that you are not alone, and check out this page.

Let’s begin!

The Holy Name of Jesus
(Also known as The Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ or The Feast of the Circumcision)

holy name

What is it? A holy day in the Christian calendar/liturgical year

What day does it fall on? January 1 (8 days since Jesus’ birth. Yes, I know Jesus wasn’t actually born on 12/25. It’s okay. Humans need days to grab on to, like totems, like anchors. These will do.)

What season are we in? Christmas (December 25, 2015-January 5, 2016)

What’s this day all about? Holy Name of Jesus celebrates the day when Mary and Joseph brought the 8 day old Christ child to the temple. At the temple, He was circumcised according to Jewish custom, and given his name, Jesus.

What’s the history of this celebration?  In 567, The Council of Tours/Gallican Church established the holy day, to be observed by fasting, as a response to the pagan celebrations of the new year. (citation)

So, how could we observe it?

  • Read the Daily Office texts here  or via this app
  • Read the Lectionary texts
  • Pray “the Collect” for Holy Name
  • Listen to and sing songs that exalt the name of Jesus
  • Produce art or a creative project inspired by the name of Jesus
  • For parents, consider ways we can present our children to the Lord, just as Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the temple
  • Light a special candle reserved for Holy Days and Sundays

What’s it to me? I am fascinated by the origin of the observance of Holy Name. I am convicted, inspired and strengthened by the idea of joining with the saints of The Council of Tours who were dedicated to a different way, to keeping themselves unstained by the world and its pagan practices. While the New Year’s resolutions and goal-setting practices of our modern age are in no way sinful, and can in fact often be agents for good, I am thinking about them differently this year, considering how I can begin my year in the name of Jesus rather than in the name of human ambition. What a perfect way to begin our “reframe,” to start a Christian rhythm that will pulse throughout our year.

So, boil it down for me, would you? Liturgy, a Greek word, is often translated, “the work of the people.” What if our work today was to consider how the year laid before us can be brought into submission under the name of Jesus? I’m so grateful for the call of Holy Name, the call to pause and reflect on the sacredness of the name of Jesus, the faithfulness of His earthly parents, the preciousness of the Word made flesh, an infant among us.

I would love for you to join the conversation. Would you add your voice to the conversation via blog post comments or on my Facebook page and share your thoughts on these questions with us?

  • What has your experience been with the Christian calendar, liturgy, holy days, etc.?
  • What are your ideas for observing Holy Name of Jesus?
  • Which components of exploring liturgy and the Christian calendar pique your curiosity?

We’re in this together, friends, this quest to see Him, to know Him more. I’m so very glad for that fact.

In closing, I am praying the Collect for Holy Name over us. Join me?

E
ternal Father, you gave to your incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we pray, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

From Him | Through Him | To Him,
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