Friday, January 15, 2010

The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister

In The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister, I found myself wondering (at times it seemed aimlessly) down the map and up the calendar of the Christian year. Having grown up in a non-liturgical setting, I was unprepared for some of the terminology in the book and had to do a little outside reading to fully understand the book's context.

Despite my initial confusion, I found myself coming to appreciate the beauty of the passing of time in regards to the building of a Christian life and witness. The liturgy cycle, as Chittister sees it "is one of the teaching dimensions of the church." "The liturgical year, beginning on the first Sunday of Advent and carrying through the following November, is the year that sets out to attune the life of the Christian to the life of Jesus, the Christ."

I like the way that the liturgy (and this book about it) builds each day upon the next. More than just the passage of feasts and fasts, Chittister invites the reader to look deeper toward the meaning behind each event of the liturgical year. I enjoyed learning about the holy days, and although not observed by my particular branch of Christianity, the holidays, festivals and traditions that surround them. Some of the prose of the book was quite moving and inviting one to deeper fellowship with God.

The downside of the book was its length without going into much detail about the Scriptures that founded the calendar and days. Perhaps this is not a downside, but rather an area where further research should be done by the reader.

Overall, not a bad read (3 of 5), but not something I would recommend to others as I have the other volumes of The Ancient Practices series.

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