All Saints Lutheran Church

2 San Marin Drive, Novato, CA 94945

Epiphany Altar 3What is liturgy?

Liturgy – an order of worship followed by Lutheran, Roman Catholic and Episcopal Christians – literally translates as ‘work of the people’. God’s people are called to worship, offer praises,  hear the Word (Scripture and sermon), pray together, gather for communion and go  forth to live their daily lives in faith.   These elements remain consistent, but the actual words and music will change during the church year, which begins four weeks before Christmas during the season of Advent.

What are the Seasons of the Church Year?

Advent is the first season of the church year, immediately before Christmas, when we prepare our hearts and homes for the coming of God in human form,  the baby Jesus.  The sanctuary reflects the hope of his coming with blue candles in the Advent Wreath and blue paraments (cloths) on the altar and pulpit.

Christmas  lasts for twelve days, beginning with Christmas Day. During this season we see white coverings on the altar and pulpit, representing the purity of the child.

Epiphany celebrates the arrival of the Magi (Three Kings) and the acceptance of their gifts, gifts from the Gentile nations, illustrating that God incarnate (in the flesh) has come for all people, not just as the promised messiah for Israel.  Epiphany is a season of light, like the star that led the Magi to the Christ Child. White continues in use as a symbol of pure light and joy.

Lent is the season immediately before Easter (right after Mardi Gras), when we reflect deeply our faith journey, often in parallel with Jesus’ journey to the cross and his crucifixion, which happened three days before His resurrection on Easter morning. Purple becomes the color used, representing repentence and solemnity.

Easter celebrates Jesus’ resurrection and gift of eternal life offered to us all.  The fifty-day season celebrates joy again with white  altar and pulpit drapings.

Pentecost occurs fifty days after Easter and is considered the “birthday” of the Christian church.  On that day in history, the followers of Jesus received a spiritual command to spread the news of Jesus’ resurrection to the world.  The appearance of the Holy Spirit as flames upon the heads of the disciples is reflected in the red paraments used that day.  The Pentecost season then changes to the color green to signify growth — the growth of the church and the growth of Christians as they follow in Jesus’ steps. The season of Pentecost lasts until Advent begins.

What is a lectionary?

The Bible (“Scripture”) readings for each Sunday are based on a “lectionary” or collection of Bible readings appointed to match the particular season or day of the church year.  Different churches may use different lectionaries, but all are based on Scripture and have a specific pattern.  Hymns and sermons are typically tied to the Scriptures of the day.