On the secular calendar, my favorite season is fall. I love the clear, crisp days and cool starry nights, the harvest festivals, backyard campfires, outdoor football, and the lakes when all the summer folks have put away their docks and the loons have taken back their turf.
On the church’s calendar, we are winding down that long season between Eastertide and Advent, those little-understood “Sundays after Pentecost” referred to as “Ordinary Time.”
Sister Joan Chittister, in her book The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life, tells us that Ordinary Time exists for us to consider all that happened between Jesus’ birth and death, “time to contemplate the intersection between the life of Jesus and our own.”
This is a place where the intersection of the church and secular calendars occurs, as Chittister explains, “Once we understand the impact of Jesus on our own lives we recognize the efforts demanded of us…then we are ready to begin the spiritual disciplines designed to strengthen us for the passions, deaths and resurrections in our own lives.”
So, as Ordinary Time wanes and takes us all to a renewal our own spiritual commitments, fall is suddenly upon us. This year it brings new opportunities to walk with Jesus in Bible Study, discover his Church in the Inquirers’ Course, contemplate the Triune God at work through our contemporary film series, share stories and fellowship at Dinners for Eight, and perhaps most significant for us all, to learn about and commit to our own ministry in the many roles here at St. John’s church when we all attend Ministry Sunday, after our service on September 22.
Your vestry, wardens and ministry leaders are planning a “fall festival” for you on Ministry Sunday, and I hope you will respond with an enthusiastic commitment to become engaged in at least one or more ministries in support of our faith community at St. John’s. If you have an interest, pursue it by asking a vestry member or ministry leader about it. If your ministry team can use some help or new ideas, pursue that by telling a newcomer or someone you may not know, about it. Don’t wait; start now. ‘Tis the season.