Feasts & Festivals Mary

At St Barnabas, we believe that observing the Church Calendar, following the Feasts & Festivals, fasts, and Saints Days, is extremely important. Alexander Schmemann, in his challenging and beautiful book, For the Life of the World, wrote:

Feast means joy . . . A feast (is) not a simple ‘break’ in the otherwise meaningless and hard life of work, but a justification of that work, its fruit, it is – so to speak – sacramental transformation into joy and, therefore, into freedom (p.53-54).

To be human is to have a deeply equivocal relationship with time. Time makes our life possible. But we are all too aware that time also brings all life to an end. When we celebrate the feasts of the Church year – all of which unfold like a flower from the center which is Easter – we are not simply ‘commemorating’ past people and events, but we participate in the joy of what Schmemann calls “the sacrament of time.” We are given to live a newly possible relationship with time: no longer is time the enemy, but an epiphany of God. When we celebrate the fasts of the Church year, we participate in this truth: that the joy of the world “does not depend on anything in this world. . . . It is totally and absolutely a gift.”

Keeping the liturgical calendar is a kind of discipline, a discipline of communal prayer, by which are hearts and minds are joined to the saints of ages past, and by which the Holy Spirit returns us again and again to rest in and celebrate God’s endless grace.

For a basic explanation of the ‘seasons’:

www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/the-liturgical-year.aspx

For a list of celebrations and dates of our church feasts & festivals :

www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/texts/the-calendar/holydays.aspx

Feasts & Festivals of the church year
Godly Play ‘Circle of the Church year,’