Let’s Not Give Up Meetings on the Church Calendar

What if we ordered our habitual gatherings around Christ and the gospel story more than twice a year?

This is the time of year when we pause our calendars to make space to celebrate Holy Week—rehearsing the gospel events leading up to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For centuries, Christians have followed a church calendar to mark seasons and special days honoring Jesus and the gospel: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time (which marks the time periods in between Lent and Advent). And while most non-denominational churches are familiar with these in theory, they tend to only participate in one or two throughout the year.

We might hand out palm leaves on Palm Sunday or meet for evening worship on Good Friday—and we almost always celebrate Resurrection Sunday with far more pomp and circumstance than our usual services. Later, in December, we might do something special for each of the Sundays leading up to Christmas. But some of these other historic church events, like Ash Wednesday or Pentecost Sunday, for instance, are most often observed in more liturgical traditions and denominations.

Expecially for “low-church” Christians, the idea of following the entire church calendar generates mixed reactions. As inheritors of both the Protestant Reformation and evangelical revivalism, many non-denominational believers pride themselves on not adhering to tradition—which is sometimes viewed as manmade and unbiblical, meant only for Catholics, and even a stumbling block to authentic faith and worship. It’s not uncommon to hear, “It’s not a religion; it’s a relationship,” and for such events to be likened to the “religious festivals” seemingly downplayed in Col. 2:16.

And so, on the Monday …

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