This is our dog’s favorite position. While Kennedy does enjoy walks, car rides and the occasional opportunity to bark at and chase squirrels, deer and rabbits, we will often walk into our living room to find him down and sleeping on his side, sometimes on the floor and sometimes on a chair.
I’ve got to admit, it doesn’t sound like a bad gig.
Unfortunately, Lori and I, like many of you, don’t live a dog’s life. We have to get up in the morning and go to work.
I’ve been noticing lately how much of life falls into a pattern:
- Our alarm goes off at 5:30am (ick.)
- I exercise
- I get ready for the day
- I go to work
- I go to (meetings/kids activities/errand running)
- I come home and hang out with the family
- I go to bed
I like my life. But I definitely follow patterns.
The church year works the same way. We begin with Advent. Then the Christmas season, followed by Epiphany, the season of light. Then comes Lent and then the celebration of Easter. Then we celebrate Pentecost, followed by the long “Season after Pentecost,” sometimes also called “Common Time.” And the year concludes with the celebration of “Christ the King, ” immediately before the next Advent begins.
Every year, the same schedule. When I was young, I remember getting a little bit bored of the routine. I always loved Advent because it meant Christmas was coming. But Lent always tired me out. It seemed so long. Why did we need to pay attention to these “church seasons?”
I’ve come to realize that one of the reasons we have seasons of each church year is to prevent us from getting spiritually “stuck.” Each season is different; each season has a different focus.
For our faith lives to be full, we have different kinds of time.
- We need the reflective and repentant time of Lent before we can bask in the glory of Easter.
- We need Christmas, but we also need the long season of “Common Time” when we think about how we live our lives as a response of God’s great love.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
I’ve met people who are stuck. Sometimes they are stuck in the season of glory. Everything is about joy and praise. The problem is, when life presents problems, they don’t know how to live in the midst of those challenges.
Likewise, I’ve met people stuck in the burdens of life. Everything feels like Lent for them…all the time. They are stuck in the challenges, and cannot free themselves. Talking with them feels like talking to Eyeore. Everything feels hard.
As I write this, we are in week four of Lent. And especially after the winter we just experienced together, this Lent feels especially long.
But Easter is coming.
There will be a change. Easter will bring resurrection and joy. Spring will come and new life and growth will take place. And we will continue our journey through the year, constantly reminded that each season brings us a new perspective on how God is working in the world and on how God touches our lives.
It’s a disciple’s life.