Monday, November 2, 2009

Church Calendar Part 1

The Church Calendar: Part 1
Call to Worship
(Sung to “The Bear Went over the Mountain”)
Let’s worship God, let’s worship God, let’s worship God,
With joyful hearts, with joyful hearts, with joyful hearts,
Let’s worship God with joyful hearts!

Joys and Concerns
Have the children share a few joys and concerns they have and follow with a prayer thanking God for our joys and asking God to be with us in our concerns.

Ask: What is your favorite season? (Summer, Winter, etc.)
We keep track of time and seasons of the year by using calendars. Did you know there is a calendar of seasons just for church? The church uses the seasons of the year as an opportunity for festivals and holidays, and sacred time set aside to worship God.
The Church Calendar focuses on the life and ministry of Jesus. We learn about what happens at the manger, listen on a hillside, walk the streets of Jerusalem, hear the roar of a mob of people, stand beneath the cross, and see the resurrection! The rest of the church year gives us a chance to understand God’s relationship to us, God’s people.
The Christian calendar is organized around two parts of Sacred Time: Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany; and Lent, Holy Week, and Easter, ending at Pentecost. The rest of the year after Pentecost is known as Ordinary Time. Ordinary Time is used to learn about our Faith, especially the mission of the church in the world.
It is important for us to learn about the church calendar. It helps understand what God has done, what God is doing, and what God will do.
Teaching the Church Year
The following ideas have been adapted from the lower elementary level of the Alleluia curriculum, published by Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis MN.
Create a six-step liturgical-year path on the floor (see descriptions of steps below). Have the children examine the path, explaining that each color represents a part of our church's celebrations. The path is like a whole year of worship and celebration in the church. Permit them to walk over the path. Ask the children to be seated around the path. Tell them that the color of each step is the color used to celebrate a season or special day in the church year. The church year is different from our calendar year. It begins not in January but during the season when we get ready for Jesus' birthday—a season we call Advent.
Step 1. Advent (purple). A time in the church year to get ready for Jesus' coming to earth. Advent means "coming" (Advent candles).
Hand the Christmas symbol to a child to place on the step next to Advent. Continue to have the children mark the steps with the appropriate symbols as you briefly describe how the seasons remind us of what God has done for us.
Step 2. Christmas (white). The celebration of Jesus' coming to be our Friend (manger).
Step 3. Epiphany (white and green). The season when we celebrate the three kings coming to find Jesus. Jesus came for all people everywhere (king's crown).
Step 4. Lent (purple). The time when we remember Jesus’ death (crown of thorns).
Step 5. Easter (white). The resurrection of Jesus, when we celebrate with great joy that Jesus rose from death to live again (butterfly).
Step 6. On Pentecost (red) we celebrate God's sending the Holy Spirit to us. The Sundays after Pentecost (green) remind us how to live and grow in our Christian lives (leaves).
AUTHOR Colette Volkema DeNooyer
Say: Loving Creator, Thank you so much for all of the wonderful seasons of the church. Amen.

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