November brings an end to the celebrations of the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. While the whole year was a build-up to this years’ Reformation Day celebrations, I don’t think 501 years is anything to sneeze at! But we do all like round numbers, don’t we?
I do love the cycles and seasons of the church year. Risking being repetitive, back in September I mentioned the Pete Seeger song “Turn, Turn! Turn!” based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Of course, this song was made most popular by the folk-rock group The Byrds, who had a #1 single of this song in 1965(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZEYW2ROKK8). Whenever I read Ecclesiastes, I find it difficult not to start singing this song in my head as I read. This month I was preaching at Trinity Lutheran Church in Northfield, MN, where they had a wonderful banner in their narthex. It was four panels illustrating the Church Year with the quote from Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything under heaven, there is a time and a season.” Of course, in my head I started hearing that distinctive 12-string Rickenbacker that Jim McGuinn played. I don’t know if that is good or bad, but music has a way of penetrating so deeply into the human memory. This month also brings to an end the current cycle of the Church Year. November 26 is “The Last Sunday of the Church Year.” Then the paraments change from green to blue, and Advent is begun. Music being what it is, I always look forward to hearing all those wonderful Advent hymns of the season.
I think it is interesting that Thanksgiving Day, at least here in the U.S., falls on the fourth Thursday of November. I’m sure this had nothing to do with the seasons of the Church Year, but what a wonderful opportunity to gather on Thanksgiving Day and give thanks…including thanks for the Church Year. The last Sundays of the Church Year focus on Christ’s return, and what that means for believers and unbelievers alike. That focus is good, and leads us into the season of anticipation of Christ’s first coming in the wonderful ways that cycles and circles go. For everything under heaven, including those who do not yet know Jesus, there is still time to tell! Give thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!