Written by Gradye Parsons
Each month the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Moderator or Vice Moderator of the 220th General Assembly write a column of general interest for the church-at-large.
The Mayan calendar indicates that the world will end in 2012, which is a claim that several archeologists dispute. Either way, the business of making predictions generates a lot of energy – and money. People are paid to predict everything from the weather to the next president.
The liturgical year, however, is more than a prediction. From Advent to Christmas to Epiphany to Lent to Easter to Pentecost to Ordinary Time and more, the liturgical year is a steady progression – a cycle that tells us over and over again the story of God who comes to us in Jesus Christ.
Our very lives also make a progression. Over Christmas, a very special teaching elder in my life, Robert Ferguson, completed his cycle. It was through his preaching that God tugged on my own life and brought me into the Presbyterian Church. It was the Holy Spirit alive in Bob’s ministry that nourished my own sense of call to ministry. It was his Christ-filled mentorship that has guided me thus far through my own service as a teaching elder.
Bob and I were not in close proximity to one another during most of the forty years of our friendship. But we really didn’t have to be for me to know of his support and encouragement in whatever cycle of ministry I was serving.
The Directory for Worship ends with a section on the Church and the reign of God. In it we read, “…the church worships and serves, with confidence that God’s rule has been established and with firm hope in the ultimate manifestation of the triumph of God” (W-7.6001).
I know that my mentor Bob had that confidence as he lead in worship and served his Lord through each progression of the liturgical year. With each cycle, that same progression helps to re-introduce and re-teach that confidence in God’s rule to each one of us.
May that firm hope in the ultimate manifestation of the triumph of God be our guide as we enter this new year.