Have you noticed some unfamiliar feasts and festivals on the Church calendar lately? Recently at Trinity, we’ve begun to observe feasts and festivals that have fallen out of use by much of the Church on earth. These services include the Annunciation on March 25, the Visitation on July 2, and St. Michael and All Angels Day on September 29. In the coming month, on June 24, we will observe the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist.
There is a good reason for observing these feasts and festivals. We live in trying times. We live in a time when many people of the Bible are unknown in society and sadly within the Christian Church.
In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, only 35% of Christians said they read their Bibles on a weekly basis. Also, in the findings, “Fewer than half of adults (45%) could name all four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), and only four-in-ten (39%) identified Job as the biblical figure known for remaining obedient to God despite extraordinary suffering.”
This is scary stuff! Unfortunately, this is true of us Lutherans as well. But one of the ways we are able to be exposed to and learn more about the lives of the saints, is to observe the feast days and festivals throughout the church year when they happen.
Now, there may be an inclination to believe only Roman Catholics observe the dates on the Church calendar that honor the saints. But in reality, Lutherans also observe these dates of the Church Year. The Lutheran Service Book, our hymnal, has this written regarding the observance of saints:
“The Lutheran reformers understood that there was great benefit in remembering the saints whom God has given to His Church. The Apology of the Augsburg Confession (Article 21) gives three reasons for such honor. First, we thank God for giving faithful servants to His Church.
Second, through such remembrance our faith is strengthened as we see the mercy that God extended to His saints of old. Third, these saints are examples by which we may imitate both their faith and their holy living according to our calling in life.” (Lutheran Service Book, Pg. xii)
As we observe the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist and future feasts and festivals, it’s my prayer we are able to do so and learn more about the lives of the saints, and most especially, how the lives of the saints point us to Jesus - His cross, death, and resurrection.
If you have questions on the observance of saints, feasts, and festivals of the church year, contact one of the pastors. For a list of feasts and festivals Lutherans observe, I’d encourage you to take a look on page xi in the Lutheran Service Book. Another great resource is the book, “Celebrating the Saints,” by Rev. William Weedon.