Monday, May 16, 2016

Reminder of Kingdomtide

On the church liturgical calendar, we've entered Ordinary Time, or the Season After Pentecost: the weeks between Pentecost (yesterday) and the first Sunday of Advent. During past several years, I've used this blog to help me keep a sense of the year's holidays and seasons, especially in Christianity but in other faiths as well.

While my denomination, The United Methodist Church, struggles with topics during their quadrennial General Conference, I realized that my parents and I joined the local UM Church forty years ago this year. I told that story in my book You Gave Me a Wide Place (Upper Room Books, 2006). Remembering my mother, I recall how much she enjoyed the Methodist traditions. For instance, she liked the season of Kingdomtide, which at that time was late summer to Advent. She thought the name was pretty.

It's a former season, now. This site indicates that Kingdomtide was created by the old Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America (now the NCC) during the 1930s. The season was part of a larger plan to help Protestant denominations to have consistency of seasons and lectionaries among them. In this case, the council created a season wherein denominations could focus preaching and worship on the Kingdom of God.

That site also indicates that the proposals caught on, if unevenly, with the Methodists and Presbyterians becoming the main proponents. But it was the energy and inspiration of Vatican II that elicited a desire among more Protestant denominations to adopt a common lectionary among Christian groups With that, the promotion of Kingdomtide was unnecessary, and the United Methodist was the last denomination to hold onto it for a while longer.

Thinking about God's kingdom brings me back to the work of our denomination, struggling now in their legislative session in Portland. Once again, a major topic has been better LGBT inclusion, something which some other mainline denoms have done, and I'm afraid this church will again fail to bring LGBT persons into full fellowship as far as disciplinary criteria are concerned.

But the Kingdom of God is at work! It is already expressed in the faith, love and service of straight, gay, and trans persons around the world. We pray "thy Kingdom come, thy will be done" during the upcoming week.

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