The liturgy changes in an important way after the Day of Pentecost. Rather than taking place within specific seasons, each with its own theme, this period does not have one overall theme; however, living within the earthly Kingdom does set the tone for this season.
The most notable feature of this period is that we finish reading substantially all of one Gospel each year, having begun this in Advent and Epiphany. The three-year lectionary appoints one of the three “synoptic” Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—for each year. Lectionary Year A uses the Gospel of Matthew, Lectionary Year B uses the Gospel of Mark and Lectionary Year C uses the Gospel of Luke. John’s Gospel is used throughout the three years for certain Holy Days, Lent, and Easter, and in filling out the Gospel of Mark, which is considerably shorter than the others. We also read several of the Epistles each year during this period. Finally, the Old Testament readings are chosen from Tract 1 or Tract 2. At St. Paul’s we use Tract1 during Pentecost Season. Old Testament readings from Tract 1 form a continuous thread for this season. During the 2017 Pentecost season we continue following Lectionary A, Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) readings.
This, then, is a period in which the liturgy Sunday after Sunday leads us into a serious consideration of the content of Holy Scripture in an orderly way. This time in the Church Year is a time to build on the growth and renewal of grace we experienced in the first half of the year, a time to prepare ourselves to celebrate more fully when we come around again to the seasons from Advent through Easter.
Excerpts taken from The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 1998 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.
~ Fr. Al Jewson
Rector's Corner posts written by Pastor Rebecca.