St. Mark’s uses the Revised Common Lectionary for our weekly readings. The Vanderbilt Divinity Library generates a list from the lectionary and posts it on its website. The table is separated based on the seasons of the Christian year. To visit the list of readings, use the links below…

Advent – Dec. 1, 2019 – Dec. 22, 2019
Christmas – Dec. 24, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020
Epiphany – Jan. 6, 2020 – Feb. 23, 2020
Lent – Feb. 26, 2020 – Apr. 5, 2020
Holy Week – Apr. 6, 2020 – Apr. 11, 2020
Easter – Apr. 12, 2020 – May 31, 2020
Season after Pentecost – May 30, 2020 – Nov 25, 2020

Please join us and experience the annual Christian rhythm, incorporating meaningful aspects of the Church seasons into your personal and family traditions. The seasons of the Church year are also a wonderful way to help children become aware of their faith traditions.

Click on the season below for an explanation.

The season of Advent marks the start of the Christian year, and is a season of expectation and preparation as the Church looks forward to celebrating the birth of Christ.

Advent is a special season of expectation and excitement. It begins approximately at the end of November each year and lasts until Christmas, some four weeks later. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin and means “coming.” Christ Jesus is coming, and Advent is a time to prepare for His arrival. The Church services, ancient traditions and preparations through the season of Advent is a powerful reminder of the real meaning of the season. Advent falls at the darkest time of the year, and the natural symbols of darkness and light are powerfully at work through the seasons of Advent and Christmas. The progressive lighting of candles on the Advent wreath, acts as a liturgical Advent calendar, and is a valuable way of involving children in the liturgy.

Christmas, the celebration of Christ’s coming among us, the incarnation, is one of the two poles of the Christian year, along with the story of his death and resurrection.

The season of Christmas begins on December 25th each year and lasts for twelve days. Christmas is much more than simply the celebration of Jesus’ birth: it reminds us of the central truth of ‘the word becoming flesh and dwelling among us’ (John 1.14), fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 7.14 that the virgin will conceive and bear a Son, who will be called Emmanuel, ‘God is with us’. One of the challenges for the Church is to continue to celebrate the season of Christmas after the secular world has turned its thoughts elsewhere. As Christians we have an opportunity to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. Christmas at St. Mark’s is a happy time, focused on God, families, hope for the future and our Christmas faith.

The Twelfth night of Christmas marks a visit to the infant Jesus by the three Magi, or Wise men. This is the start of Epiphany.

The word ‘Epiphany’ comes from Greek and means “to show”, referring to Jesus being revealed or manifest to the world. Epiphany explores other ways in which Christ reveals himself to be the Son of God: the celebration of the baptism of Christ by John, when the voice from heaven declared Jesus to be God’s beloved Son; and Jesus first miracle, when he turned water into wine at a wedding in Cana. Epiphany is also marked by the Feast of the Presentation in early February. This traditional service makes use of a procession of candles as part of the liturgy, and so the Feast is often known as Candlemas. The season of Epiphany runs until Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. The last Sunday of Epiphany is celebrated as Transfiguration Sunday.

The season of Lent is traditionally marked by self-examination, fasting and preparation for Easter. It is a time when Christians reflect on the biblical account of Jesus in the wilderness.

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, the most solemn time of the Christian Year. Ashes are an ancient sign of penitence: from the Middle Ages it became the custom to begin Lent by marking Christians with the sign of the cross in ash on their foreheads. Lent is a time for prayer and self-sacrifice. It is a season of spiritual preparation in which we remember Christ’s temptation, suffering, and death. As Holy Week approaches, the atmosphere of the season darkens. Bible readings begin to anticipate the story of Christ’s suffering and death. This is the beginning of a journey of the imagination which takes us to the Upper Room for the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, through Jesus’ betrayal, trial and crucifixion on Good Friday. Easter Eve, or Holy Saturday, is a day of desolation. Through the Easter Vigil, the Church gathers to call to mind the mighty works of God through reading of scripture, in preparation for the proclamation of the resurrection, which marks the beginning of the celebration of Easter.

Easter is the single most important festival in the Christian calendar. Easter joyfully celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, three days after he was executed. During Easter we travel to the very core of Christianity.

As the Church transitions from the somber period of Lent to Easter we pivot from a season of solemn reflection to one of great celebration. Easter bears witness to God’s enduring promise of eternal life and redemption. The season of Easter is a time of hope and assurance. It is humanity’s turning point from destruction to glory and salvation. Easter Sunday services remember the resurrection of Christ with special Easter services, which includes special prayers, litanies, psalms and hymns. Easter is a real experience of new life for Christians, a passing from darkness to light which offers hope to all the faithful. The season of Easter lasts for fifty days, from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday.

Pentecost is the festival when Christians commemorate the gifts of the Holy Spirit, when it descended upon the Apostles and other followers fifty days after Jesus Ascension to heaven.

Pentecost is regarded as the birth of the Christian church by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the start of the church’s mission to the world. Pentecost is celebrated on the Sunday exactly fifty days after Easter Sunday. The season after Pentecost, according to the calendar of the church year, begins on the Monday following Pentecost, and continues through most of the summer and autumn. It may include as many as twenty-eight Sundays, depending on the date of Easter. This includes Trinity Sunday which is the First Sunday after Pentecost.