The Liturgical Year

Many of us may have no idea what the liturgical year is, this depends on your own background in religion and the people who have acquainted us with various denominational ideas. Whether you are familiar with the concept of the liturgical year or not, this article will not only explain what it is, and more importantly, we will compare this idea with the New Testament.

The word “liturgy” is from the Greek, and literally means “public service.” To the Greeks, it was a term applied secularly, with no religious significance. Early Catholicism adopted the word to describe their acts of worship in the public Mass. Today, the word “liturgy” is still used that way; however, the word has also evolved into something bigger. Catholicism also formed the “liturgical year” (also called “liturgical cycle” or “church year”) to mark the seasons of the year where public service changes in both focus and practice. The liturgical year generally looks like this: 1: Advent. 2: Christmas. 3: Ordinary Time. 4: Lent. 5: Easter. 6: Ordinary Time. While all of this started with the Catholic Church, many of those who protested against the Catholic Church (the Protestants) also readily adopted the concept in some form, whether small or large.

Now let’s do an exercise. Pick up your Bible, pick up a concordance, and see if you can find the following in the scriptures: Advent Fast, Christmas, Feast of Epiphany, Feast of the Baptism of Christ, Feast of the Holy Family, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Septuagesima, Lent, Laetare Sunday, Holy Week, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Passion Sunday, Easter, Palm Sunday, Feast of the Divine Mercy, Ascension Thursday, Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi Feast, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of the Poor, Feast of Christ the King, and the Assumption of Mary. Did you find any of them? You couldn’t have found even one of these liturgies, for not one is found in the Bible; not one was observed by the church in the New Testament, even though such a church was guided and directed by the inspiration of the Spirit of God. One quick note for those studying out of the King James Version: you will see the word “Easter” used in Acts 12:4, but the Greek word there is “Pascha” which in English is translated “Passover”, and this word is found twenty-one more times in the Greek New Testament, all of those times it is rightly translated “Passover” in the King James Version. The one time it is translated “Easter” (the name of a pagan god), can be identified as a clear mistranslation of the word. It is also of note that the English translations that came afterward did not hold to this mistranslation, but used the accurate translation, “Passover”, in that verse.

Looking back at the list above, all of these observances, practices, and feasts, by having no foundation upon the rock of Christ’s authority, are a clear indication that many popular religions have driven themselves far from God’s Word. In the search for pure religion today, that seeks to be in full accord with God’s word, both in teaching and practice, we should be suspicious of churches that choose to participate in any aspect of the liturgical year, for we have likely not discovered the New Testament church carried on in them. Often, when we discover that the word of Christ is not honored in one aspect, and churches are comfortable with adding some tradition of men to their service, then a closer look will likely uncover even more departures from scripture. We must be cautious and ever watchful of the devil’s deceptions. It was satan’s greatest work to muddy the waters of religion with hundreds of false churches out there. He is working diligently, up to this day, to make the truth the proverbial “needle in a haystack.”

Reading through the scriptures we will find that the new testament church did not alter its worship to God throughout the year. There were not seasons where worship changed theme, focus, or purpose. The reason for their unaltered service was not due to a lack of imagination, but due to their faith in Christ’s instruction for His body as provided by the Helper, the Holy Spirit, who worked diligently in faithful Christians to give to the church and the entire world forever the whole counsel of God; God’s complete revelation. On their own, they knew not how to worship, no man does; it is not in man to know how to worship: “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). But God has provided this instruction for us. So then, people may wonder why I always speak so strongly about false religion, to that my response would be how could anyone do otherwise? Think about it, after all that Christ did for us, after all that the Holy Spirit did to present true words of life in understandable terms, how offensive it is to the Father, Son, and Spirit for anyone to pass off their own ideas as if it were the way of Christ. Therefore, false doctrine is the most offensive thing on planet earth, because unlike all other sins that take little issue with being associated with Satan, false religion claims association with Christ.

Article by Tanner Campbell