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Gaudete Sunday

Gaudete Sunday
“Oh that NZ Lectionary!!!”

The NZ Lectionary that we were assured was put together by people who are “skilled and knowledgeable about things liturgical” who deliberately opted “for variety rather than uniformity”; this Lectionary that assigns Green, Red, White, or Violet to one Sunday, and assigns the new liturgical colour “A” to another (Amber, Amethyst, Aqua, Arsenic, Amaranth, Alizarin, or Any Colour); this same Lectionary does not even make an allusion to the Rose Colour option that can be used on Gaudete Sunday, Advent 3 [Not even on its full page (p.125) expanding on Liturgical Colours! What is particularly “fascinating” (polite word), with the obsession to keep in step with Mother England, is that rose-colour, previously informally observed in Anglican Churches, is now formally noted as an option in the Church of England in the Common Worship liturgical renewal.]

Anyone who spends five seconds on google images for the Advent wreath realises how regularly the third Sunday in Advent is indicated by rose rather than violet.

The day takes its common name from the Latin word Gaudete (“Rejoice”), the first word of the introit of this day’s traditional Eucharist:

Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob. Philippians 4:4–6; Psalm 85:1

This Philippians text is in the second reading this year, a wonderful opportunity to look at this special Sunday. There can be a changing of gear to a stronger motif of joy in anticipation of Christ’s coming. There is a shift from adoring “The Lord who is to come”, to worshipping with joy “The Lord who is now nigh and close at hand”.

ps. Whilst I might poke fun at the New Zealand Lectionary 2013 annual publication, I continue to be firmly committed to the three year Sunday Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) which is one of the (many) resources that it includes.

There has been, in different places, discussion about those churches (even when they have agreed to use the RCL, and signed that they will do so) who, instead, continue to do what is right in their own eyes. I have yet to find any such concrete scheme that is better than our shared international, ecumenical commitment to the Revised Common Lectionary. Here are the readings chosen instead of RCL for the last five weeks in one such large nearby contumacious community:

John 3:16 – John 3:21
Mark 8:22 – Mark 9:1
Acts 2:42 – Acts 2:47
Mark 8:1 – Mark 8:21
Mark 7:24 – Mark 7:37

And the readings for the last five weeks in another noncompliant community:

Isaiah 63-64
Isaiah 61
Isaiah 60:1-22
Colossians 1
Isaiah 54:1-17

I do not like such “boxes”, but I’m told that there are churches that call themselves “evangelical” who use only one out of the three readings and a psalm the lectionary sets!

pps. My favourite recent NZ lectionary story is those whose training and formation meant they used Philemon 1:3-11 when the lectionary had set Philippians 1:3-11.

May there be some mirth resulting from this post in the midst of the weeping and gnashing of teeth. Gaudete!

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10 thoughts on “Gaudete Sunday”

  1. I think General Synod should get Fr Bosco to produce the Lectionary. We didn’t have all this confusion when Fr Witty produced it for years.

    1. Thanks for the compliment, Barry.

      Aside from the busyness of my life, IMO the liturgical life in our province needs formal acknowledgement of the mess we are in, formal clarification of our agreements, establishment of the possibility of serious study of worship, and a minimum standard required at least for all those ordained. The inadequacies of the NZ Lectionary 2013 publication reflect some of our issues but pale in comparison to the bigger picture, which will not be solved by fixing that publication.

      Advent blessings.

  2. It was a pleasant learning experience for me when I moved from worshipping in various Sydney evangelical parishes to St James King Street and found that the lessons, gospel and therefore the sermon topics were usually the same as I could read on the blogs of various churches in the US and UK. I have been told that some recently ordained in the Sydney diocese do not know what Lent means. Of course, they claim they are biblically based while I see them as based on their favourite texts.

    1. The ability, Brian, to prepare and continue reflecting on our agreed readings is one of the real gifts/benefits of RCL. I will come back to this in a post (on parish websites) – possibly tomorrow. Blessings.

  3. “Rose” it is for us at my local RC church for Gaudete Sunday. Or rather “strawberry instant pudding” as my irreverent partner calls the actual vestment we will use.

  4. Is there a better way to present the data of the lectionary in the computer world? Still producing a printed version for those who need it, but as an end-product of a better computer-based system with “layers” a little like CAD software allows layers to be overlaid or not, depending on what is appropriate to show. I think google’s calendar goes some way towards this, but there is probably something even better: a foundation layer with (for example) the 3-year “main” readings, season names, and so on used by most denominations in most countries, then optional extra layers of information with options or country-specific details, etc. So ticking boxes to say you’re interested in an Anglican version for Antarctica with all alternatives in Advent and an appreciation for colour “A” would bring up the appropriate information (and links to discussions of odd choices :-)).

    1. Yes, Mark, there are a number of these online. I have occasionally posted links to these. Also the Chapel here draws on such online possibilities. Part of the problem is, so much of our church does not yet live in this computer world you speak of 🙁 (as my promised parish website post will sadly again show). Advent Blessings.

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