A Season for Growth

Pastor's Monthly Newsletter Article for June, 2011 Saint Peter is a church that is committed to a liturgical tradition; one that shapes our life together; one that invites us to learn from the traditions of our ancestors. One of the ways that happens for us is through the rhythm of the liturgical calendar.

Each year our worship life is measured by seasons. During the first half of the year, our seasons follow the birth, life, ministry, passion, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. We stand off to the side and observe as he is born, as he preaches and teaches and heals, as he suffers and dies, and perhaps most importantly: as God raises him from death. Through this annual attention to his story we are reminded of the deep and persistent love of God. We are reassured in the promises of our baptism. We are grounded in the hope of eternal life.

So goes the first half of the liturgical year. Advent through Easter. This year, that part of the journey reaches its destination on The Day of Pentecost (June 12th this year), as the Holy Spirit fills the disciples, and sends them into the streets of Jerusalem to share the good news of the resurrection.

Then comes a season that lasts nearly half the year. For twenty-three Sundays (this year), we find ourselves in a season that nobody seems to know what to call. In some traditions, like ours, it is the season of “Sundays after Pentecost.” Others refer to it as Common Time, or Ordinary Time. But while it lacks for a name, it thrives with a purpose: it is a season of growth. It is a season that asks questions like these:

  • What does the life and death and resurrection of Jesus mean for us?
  • How does Jesus continues to live on among us?
  • How does Jesus empowers us to be his presence in this world?
  • How does God helps us to grow in faith and in faithfulness?

I enjoy the first half of the liturgical year, and the opportunity to reflect on the life of Christ. But once we begin to draw near to the transition that begins the second half of the year, I look forward to the way that this new season and its texts challenge us to grow in Christ.

This year, on the first Sunday after Pentecost, we’ll turn to these familiar words – the last ones Jesus spoke to his followers:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. [St. Matthew 28:19-20]

So we enter into this season of growth. And there is purpose in this growth: through these weeks, God strengthens us to go, as Jesus has commanded us, and share the faith we have received with the entire world.

God's peace to you all, David J. Risendal; Pastor