Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Simple Church Year Catechism - Advent, Christmas, & Epiphany

The Church Year

Q 1. Why do we have different seasons of the year?
A. God created the seasons for man’s use and enjoyment.

Q 2. What do Fall and Winter remind us of?
A. Fall and Winter remind us of sin and death because it is dark and cold.

Q 3. What do Spring and Summer teach us?
A. Spring teaches us that God brings light and life to the world through Jesus Christ.

Q 4. What does the church calendar chiefly celebrate?
A. The church calendar celebrates the life of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Q 5. Why does the church have her own seasons?
A. The church has her own seasons to teach the world that true life is found in Jesus Christ and to resist reducing life to politics and economics.

Q 6. How are we to sanctify the seasons that God created for our benefit?
A. According to 1 Timothy 4:5, we are to set apart the seasons with the Word of God and prayer.

Q 7. How has the church set apart the seasons with the Word of God and prayer?
A. The church has chosen readings from the Old and New Testaments for each season and has ordered the prayer life of the church to match the life of Jesus.

Advent & Christmas

Q 8. What does the word “Advent” mean?
A. The word “advent” means “to come” and has to do with the coming of Jesus.

Q 9. What portion of the life of Jesus does Advent celebrate?
A. Advent celebrates the times leading up to the birth of Jesus as well as his coming again at the last day.

Q 10. How many Sundays are there in Advent?
A. There are four Sundays in Advent.

Q 11. What are the colors for Advent and what do they mean?
A. The colors for Advent are purple and royal blue. They remind us that Jesus is a glorious King.

Q 12. What do we pray for during Advent season?
A. During Advent we pray that Jesus our King would continue to come to us and serve us as he has promised.

Q 13. In our Advent prayers are we pretending that Jesus has not yet been born?
A. No. During Advent we are praying for him to come to us again and again as he has promised.

Q. 14. How did God fulfill his promises to his people in the Hebrew Scriptures?
A. God fulfilled his promises by uniting himself to our human nature in his Son, who faithfully lived a perfect life of service, died the death we deserve, and was raised to life again as the new man, and all this for our salvation.

Q 14. How has Jesus promised to come to us today?
A. In many different ways—to be with us on Sunday for worship, to help us daily when we are in trouble, and at the end of the world to establish the new heavens and earth.

Epiphany

Q 15. What does the word “Epiphany” mean?
A. The word “Epiphany” means “to reveal and make known.”

Q 16. What does Epiphany season teach us?
A. During Ephiphany season we learn about how Jesus revealed himself as Savior not only to the Jews but also to all the nations.

Q 17. What color do we use in church for Christmas and Epiphany?
A. The color for Epiphany is white.

Q. 18. Why do we use white for Christmas and Epiphany?
A. The color white reminds us of light and the shining forth of God’s glory to the nations through Jesus Christ.

Q 19. How does the Lord’s glory continue to shine in our world?
A. Jesus reveals himself to the world when his church faithfully lives according to Jesus’ example and teaches the nations his Word.

Q 20. What do we pray for during Epiphany season?
A. During Epiphany we pray that God would continue to send missionaries to the nations so the whole world would know the love of God and believe the Good News of Jesus.

4 comments:

MattColvin47 said...

Jeff,
I assume you would advocate an Advent season in July for Australians based on Q2?

Matt

Jeff Meyers said...

Actually, I do think it would be best for the southern hemisphere to have their own church year that matches their seasons. I'm all for that.

Bread Maker said...

Actually, Advent points to the return of Christ as out judge. This is evident from the Collect for the First Sunday in Advent which reads (in part) ... give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, ... that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal ... Amen. And the hymns reflect this anticipated coming -- Lo! he comes with clouds descending, / Once for favoured sinners slain; Thousand thousand saints attanding / Swell the triumph of his train: / Alleluia! / Crhist appears on earth again. A marvelous hymn of expectation. Or, Vox clara ecce intonat of the 6th cent. Or, Jordanis oras praevia by C.Coffin.

The colour for Advent is purple as a mark of repentance in preparation for his coming.

It's a 'get ready' kind of season.

Jeffrey Meyers said...

That's part of it, Bread Maker, but "coming as Judge" isn't inclusive enough. And I'm against boiling every season of church year down to "penitence." Repentance is always appropriate, but not the major theme in Advent.