Welcome to a new monthly feature on Grow Christians!
Each month, as the month ends, I’ll think through the coming month. How can we embrace the lessons our tradition has to offer in it? Is there a change of liturgical season? Is there a major feast day? What’s happening in the world and the church that parents might like to consider before it happens?
This new feature grows out of the reality that parenting often means moving from “I’ve got lots of time!” to “where did the time go?” Smaller, growing people need our attention and energy. Teenagers need the same amount: it’s just focused on “please teach me to drive” instead of “please make me breakfast.”
In the midst of day-to-day demands it can be tough to do the research and planning that leads to the celebration of faith at home. My hope is to do research and planning for you, so you can just read, adapt, and execute.
I’ll also include special requests for topical posts, in case our readers want to accept the invitation to write for us, but haven’t been sure exactly what to write.
When Grow Christians began the hope was to help families celebrate faith at home. We hope this new feature helps.
Liturgical Time in August
We’re still in Ordinary Time: the long growing green season. Even though this isn’t a season that inspires a lot of special decor, there are ways to make it special at home. Emily Watkins’s family observes Ordinary Time with lists, gardening, and a few green items that connect home to the liturgical year.
Most days in this long stretch of ordinary time are truly ordinary… Most moments are filled with work and slow growth and sometimes a fussy toddler or sibling squabbles. This is not primarily a time of celebration but a time of slowing down. This is a time for stories, fresh air and simple food. It is a time for grace and gratitude in the midst of the quotidian.
Major and Lesser Feasts in August
I often turn to The Lectionary Page‘s calendars to help me with the specific placement of feast days. The Book of Common Prayer‘s Calendar of the Church Year makes clear that some major feasts can be moved in order to make room for more major feasts. They provide all the instructions to do this, but it takes coherent thought to do it yourself. The Lectionary Page has already done it for you.
And now, so have I: here’s a downloadable single-page PDF with the feasts helpfully noted. The lesser feasts are in black; the major feasts are in red. (If you see nothing, it’s a browser issue; feel free to download the PDF anyway–or not, as it suits you.)
The Church’s Major Feasts this month celebrate the Transfiguration (on a Sunday), the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St. Bartholomew. There are also many lesser feasts including St. Clare (1253), St. Augustine of Hippo (430) and Jonathan Myrick Daniels (1965). Forward Day by Day links to all their biographical information. When we remember the lives of the saints we are inspired to go and do likewise.
Here are some ways to mark the church’s major feasts with your family:
To honor the Transfiguration on Sunday, August 6th
You could take a walk up a mountain if you have any nearby. (Living in Michigan, I consider mountains to be a luxury; I never felt this way in Nevada!)
As the author of Full Homely Divinity says,
..time apart, on a mountaintop if possible, but wherever we may withdraw for undisturbed prayer and meditation, is surely the most suitable way of extending this feast beyond the Liturgy into our personal and family festal observances.
To honor St. Mary, the Virgin on Tuesday, August 15th
You could pray a rosary. If you have never done this before, a feast day is a great way to explore this ancient way of prayer. Maria Noletti Ross writes more here about the Catholic rosary, and King of Peace Episcopal Church more here about the Anglican rosary.
To honor St. Bartholomew on Thursday, August 24th
You could make (or just buy!) some hummus and tell the story of Bartholomew’s discovery of Jesus. Imagine: what would it be like to be among the first apostles?
The Bigger Picture
For a lot of us, August is back to school time. This means a change in routines as we move from the slower pace of summer to the buy-supplies, wake-up-early, start-new-routines pace of fall. As you prepare, you might want the printable back-to-school prayer bookmarks we featured last year.
Want to write for us in August? Send us a story about how your family keeps God at the center in the midst of your school days routine.
We’re already looking forward to sharing ways that a parent prepares to have devotions in the car, and ways that families read the Bible (including a mom who read it out loud during breakfast).
If you’re a grandparent, tell us what you did as a parent or what you wish you had done. How might we learn from you how to pass on faith through the generations? What do you do now, with your grandkids?
Is this new feature helpful?
The older I get, the more I attempt to plan ahead. Often my plans fall through, but they help keep me pointed in the right direction.
That’s what the liturgical calendar aims to do: keep us focused on what matters most. Every month I try to get a handle on what the next month will bring me. It rarely goes as I expect, but I’m always grateful to have had a look ahead.
I hope this feature helps you plan to practice faith.
Is this new feature a good idea? What would you like it to include?