This summer I wrote my very first
book eBook. And I really enjoyed the process, mostly because, for once, I didn’t have to try to wrap everything up in 500 words or less. Sweet! But more profoundly, I got a glimpse at how God has woven together His Word, with my experiences, to teach me Truths about Himself. Powerful.
I shared what I have learned about God on my journey in Prodigal Confessions: 10 Principles that Lead Us Back to the Father:
Prodigal Principle #1: God is a gracious, generous Father.
Prodigal Principle #2: Sin rejects the Father’s generosity.
Prodigal Principle #3: Sin doubts God’s goodness/wisdom/power. Truth crushes sin.
Prodigal Principle #4: Rebellion is rooted in rejection of the Father’s rightful authority.
Prodigal Principle #5: Confession agrees with God.
Prodigal Principle #6: The Spirit in us, plus the Word, teaches us to walk in obedience.
Prodigal Principle #7: Obedience yields freedom, peace, and joy.
Prodigal Principle #8: Repentance leads to rescue and restoration.
Prodigal Principle #9: Reconciliation moves us from pain to purpose.
Prodigal Principle #10: We were created to retell the Gospel Story well.
The last principle confirmed for me that this little, wistful wondering about following the church calendar was leading me in the right direction. See, I love, love, love our church now – totally amazing Pastor, authentic fellowship and deep community, beautiful worship – but I’ve missed Advent, Pentecost, Lent, Palm Sunday…
Bobby Gross explains the church calendar in this way:
“To embrace Jesus is to be reconciled with God and to consciously step into his Story. And to follow Jesus is to have the shape and purpose of our lives conformed to the shape and purpose of his. So we choose to deny ourselves, to no longer lives centered on ourselves as out culture urges, but to live in allegiance to him who died for us…we want to inhabit the still-unfolding Story of God and have it inhabit and change us. And this is exactly what the ancient liturgical habit of living the Christian year helps us to do” (p. 16, Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God*).
Liturgical. It’s about worship. Shouldn’t our time (our year) be marked by worship? This is not to say that you have to follow the church calendar to live liturgically, only that it is one way to invite worship.
For some, the church calendar has been forced on them, or it has become a legalistic trap they have laid for themselves. Obviously, either situation would defeat the purpose of worship! Thankfully, our pastor has encouraged us to pursue this way at home, as a family, and we are sharing our experiences with him.
I believe that framing my year around God’s Story, rather than trying to fit His story into mine, will enrich my walk with Him. If this proves to be true, this experience could create some wonderful family traditions for us.
I began with the Revised Common Lectionary, which is the most common source for weekly scripture readings (used Protestant churches who follow the church calendar). I have made some changes to suit our needs, but ultimately we are reading God’s Word, ordered in such a way as to retell the events in the life of Jesus and of the Early church.
The scripture calendar is available in its entirety, as a PDF download, to subscribers of the newsletter Walking Through the Christian Year (click here to join us). I will post scriptures daily Sun-Friday, during Advent and a bit less frequently afterward (until the Season of Lent). From November 30 through December 24, my family will read the day’s scripture and light the candle(s) on the Advent wreath, just before dinner.
The liturgical calendar begins with Advent. As I have said, this year the first day of Advent (and of the Christian Year) falls on November 30. So for fun, you could tell your family “Happy New Year!” a little earlier than usual.
Next time, more about the Season of Advent, resources, scripture reading plan!
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