One of the reasons that the Christian year is so widely used is that it is both fixed and flexible. It is firmly rooted in the Christ event, the paschal mystery. The primary Christian celebrations of Christmas and Epiphany, Easter and Pentecost call attention to the dying and rising of Christ. The Christian year also calls attention to other themes, people, and events in light of the paschal mystery. Many important commemorations occur during the long season after Pentecost. The sections that follow present both introductions to these topics and resources for planning worship. The season between Pentecost and Advent is known as ordinary time, or nonfestive time. During this season, many worship traditions follow lectionaries that highlight the work of the Spirit in the mission of the church in the world. Other churches organize their worship life around a lectio continua, continuous readings from a given section of Scripture. Some worship traditions have also called this season "kingdomtide," focusing on the kingdom of God that is present now and the one that will be realized in more profound ways in the future. This section includes resources for planning worship during this season.
Throughout the history of Christianity, the church has set aside days to recall important events of the Christian faith, the contributions of heroes of the faith, and events recorded in Scripture. The following entries describe some of these observances so that readers unfamiliar with these commemorations will gain a fuller understanding of the faith of those who have gone before them. The memory of these events also challenges the church to remain faithful in its witness and to renew traditions to this day. These observances should not be an end in themselves. Rather, each commemoration should remind us of the life and work of Jesus Christ. To avoid overuse, liturgical reformers throughout history have restricted the numbers of such commemorations. The following entries include brief descriptions of some of the most prominent observances during the season after Pentecost and the Scripture lessons that traditionally are associated with them.