Introducing The Jagged Word Power Rankings series! Why? Since there isn’t enough for us to argue about already, I will stir the pot by selecting a variety of church topics and then ranking them based on a complicated system of analytics (i.e., my opinion). For the next few weeks, I will take up the task of ranking a variety of church things. Don’t forget this is all fun and games, it isn’t meant to upset or cause division. It is meant to bring some levity and joy to the world. So, I hope you find yourself laughing along the way. Up first, the seasons of the church year.
Advent comes in at number one overall. With the combination of blue paraments signifying the hope of the coming Christ, the anticipation of Christmas combined with hymns that reflect longing, waiting, and anticipation, it truly doesn’t get much better than Advent. Advent is the perfect season for the Christian who lives in the reality of the “now, not yet” tension. Plus, the amount of baked goods produced by church ladies triples this time of year and you just can’t compete with that.
Ah, Lent. Ash Wednesday alone is a good reason to propel this six week season of penitence into the top three. Along with hymns sung in minor keys, to the purple of the passion, and six midweek meals to top it off, this season has all the makings of a heavy weight champion. Some of the best preaching I have heard happens during this time, a time when we are called to evaluate ourselves, a time when we are called to remember Christ and his passion, culminating in Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Lent is tough to beat.
I will admit, putting Easter at three seemed like some sort of blasphemy, particularly since everything hinges on Christ and his Resurrection. So, this is no slight, one could argue that the top three find themselves in a three-way tie. Some of the best hymns in the church are sung during Eastertide. A time marked with new life, the coming of spring, and the raising of the dead. This is what it’s all about. The only downside of Easter is the desertion of the church for summer happens while the lilies are still in the chancel. Easter lasts six weeks, but for many, it is simply one Sunday. Easter is what it is all about.
- Common Time
Initially, Common Time was going to fall to dead last. But, I was convinced otherwise by a friend. Common Time makes up the majority of the church year, and while it seems long, monotonous, and uneventful, is that not what makes the Christian life? A monotonous life centered around ordinary things? Weekly worship, receiving the Lord’s Supper in common elements, hearing sins forgiven through common words, and welcoming others into the faith through common water? Common time may be long, but it is exactly what the Christian life is about. Christ coming to common people, in common things, bringing about forgiveness, life, and salvation.
Call me The Grinch, but Christmas falls near the bottom of the list. This season is far too short, with far too many wonderful hymns to sing. Again, it feels scandalous to place the season of the Incarnation so low, but with its brevity, along with the cultural overthrow of Christmas, not even the best hymns could help this one rise to the top. Christmas is beautiful but brief, so number five it is.
Look, I have nothing against Epiphany other than the large number of hymns that just really don’t blow my mind. Epiphany is a wonderful season, reflecting upon the revelation of Christ as the Messiah the Son of God. Maybe it is because it is the sigh between Advent and Lent. Maybe it is the repetition of the Green we have had over half the year. Maybe it is the doldrums of winter. Ultimately, there needs to be a last-place finisher, and Epiphany just doesn’t have that “wow” factor to raise it above the rest.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments where I went wrong and why? Let the controversy begin!