Gratiam: A Liturgical Season of Gratitude
November 1, 2022
We are very quickly nearing the end of ordinary time. Reformation Sunday, All Saints, and Christ the King are the final Sundays of ordinary time leading us to Advent and the start of a new church year.
The paraments will soon be blue, our sanctuary installation will change, and we will once again enter into a long season of waiting and preparation.
The church year with its liturgical seasons provides a rhythm for our lives through our worship life. Or perhaps they reflect the rhythm of God’s creation. I guess it’s both!
But we often have a tendency to rush into the BIG seasons of our liturgical year, Advent, preparing for Christmas, and Lent, preparing for Easter. It makes sense in many ways, but I can’t help but find it ironic that we rush into Advent and Lent only to spend these long seasons waiting, preparing, and reflecting. We speed up, moving at full speed to crash into these seasons designed to make us slow down. I liken this to a kind of liturgical whiplash.
This year, I want to take a new approach. I want to slow down a little prior to Advent. I will say, this is due in large part to my ordination happening the Saturday before Thanksgiving, but I am feeling particularly grateful. So, I would like to add an unofficial liturgical season to my worship calendar, the liturgical season of Gratiam (Latin for “gratitude”). Beginning today, November 1, and ending on Sunday, November 27 (when Advent begins).
I am grateful. My ordination process is coming to a close, my ordination and installation are coming to fruition, and, soon, my worlds and people will collide in the best way possible to celebrate this occasion. This knowledge has brought me to a place of joy and comfort which has left me with a strong desire to practice gratitude. To savor this time, these spaces, and moments of thanksgiving. To center that which I am grateful for in my life, with my words and my actions, in my daily life and in my worship life.
I find that it makes perfect sense to celebrate All Saints in a season of gratitude. For All Saints is a celebration of life in the midst of the acknowledgement of death. It is an opportunity to express gratitude for life, for death, for the communion of saints who have gone before us, to give thanks to God for having claimed and called us as God’s own, for belonging to the body of Christ, for belonging to God in life and in death.
So, I invite you to join me in this unofficial season of Gratiam!
Almighty and merciful God, from whom comes all that is good, we praise you for your mercies, for your goodness that has created us, your grace that sustains us, and your love that redeems us. Help us to love you, and to be thankful for all your gifts, by serving you and delighting to do your will. In your name we pray. Amen.