Liturgy After Pentecost
Liturgy for the Sundays after Pentecost The Sundays after PENTECOST. The 23 to 28 Sundays after Pentecost (the number depends on the date of Easter) are referred to as Ordinary Time. Rather than meaning "common" or "mundane," this term comes from the word "ordinal," and simply means counted time (“First Sunday after Pentecost,” etc.).
God's Word does not fall to the ground without bearing fruit. These Sundays are that time in the church year when we react to the story of the saving grace of God that we have proclaimed in the preceding cycle of seasons. This is appropriately the longest season of the church year.
Throughout this long season we rejoice in God’s sustaining presence in all creation, give thanks for the gifts we have received, and pray for the continued strength to be co-creators with God on behalf of others. Then, since we are as yet imperfect people in an imperfect world, we begin the cycle all over with Advent.
• Theme: Christians consider the Day of Pentecost the birthday of the church because, from that moment on, the disciples carried the message of Christ everywhere they went all over the world. This, then, is the season we celebrate discipleship and the Body of Christ. • Color: Red for the Feast of Pentecost itself and then Green, symbolizing growth - growth of the grass and trees, growth of crops, growth of the Church, growth of Christians together in the fellowship of faith.
Liturgy Resources for the Sundays after Pentecost:
1. The Affirmation of Faith: Ruth Duck, Dancing in the Universe, Hymns and Songs 2. The Prayers of the People: A New Zealand Prayer Book 3. Concluding communal prayer: The Rev. Devon Anderson, in Women’s Uncommon Prayers, alt.; The Episcopal Church 4. The Confession: Enriching our Worship; The Episcopal Church 5. The Great Thanksgiving: Seasons of Prayer; SPCK, Great Britain 6. The Invitation to Communion: A New Zealand Prayer Book 7. The Post-Communion Prayer: The Book of Common Prayer; The Episcopal Church
Liturgical Footnote: Our Summer Affirmation of Faith
This summer our Affirmation of Faith is a hymn written by Ruth Duck, Professor of Worship at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois and set to one of the oldest of American hymn tunes, Holy Manna. It follows the pattern we have established this past year of alternating ancient creedal affirmations with newer yet still theologically sound expressions of faith. As an affirmation of faith, the hymn strives to understand, define, and help us experience the fullness of God in human relationships, especially those within the family.
The first three stanzas individually speak of the names and work of the Trinity, making use of a great variety of images of God. Stanza one speaks of God as the "womb of life" and "source of being." This is God, the creator of all that exists: "in whose arms the worlds awakened . . . [who has] loved us from the start." The language of this stanza echoes the book of Isaiah, where God is frequently portrayed as using the images of an expectant or nursing mother to declare God’s love for Israel.
Stanza one also uses images of earthly, human family bonds and relationships to describe our relationship with God in the sacrament of Holy Communion. We are seen as God's children, gathered around the table, sharing stories and being nurtured by God. The image of God as one who nurtures and cares for us is a deeply meaningful extension of God as the one who first gives us life and then sustains and nurtures that life within us — much as our earthly parents do within a family context.
Stanza two speaks of Jesus as "brother." This is God incarnate in human form, "word in flesh." Using a phrase from Charles Wesley's "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing," this is Jesus "born to bring us second birth" or enlightenment. This is Jesus, our brother; this is Jesus, our priest, who shares our struggles as humans. This Jesus is fully human and fully divine. This is the Jesus, who before ascending, breathed upon us the Holy Spirit.
Stanza three describes the Holy Spirit as our partner and friend in our human activities. It concludes with a prayer for the Spirit to help us bring in the new world where all are one with God in Christ, where there are no slaves or servants, and where all are free.
Stanza four summarizes all the images of the preceding stanzas, recalling Mother, Brother, Holy Partner, Father, Spirit, Only Son, One-in-three, and Three-in-one. In the last line of the hymn, the author holds up the Trinity as a final image and model for human relationships and our relationship with God: one with all, and one with God.