I chose this book because growing up in the Evangelical tradition, I was not exposed to as much, well, tradition, as some other Christian denominations. I never knew all that much about the traditional Christian calendar. I had recently learned about some of the rituals done in the Catholic Church; realizing that there is a whole world of meaning and symbolism wrapped up in the observance of different feasts and festivals during the church calendar.
Unfortunately, the book was a little disappointing mainly because it didn’t answer the questions I was looking for. It never dove deep enough into the origins of the traditions. Or perhaps, if the book did shed light on how elements of the liturgical calendar came to be practiced, it was so subtly done that I could have skipped right on while looking for something profound and new.
It wasn’t a complete miss of my expectations. I did learn a few fascinating details, for example I learned the significance of why Christians worship on Sunday mornings. I had previously thought that Christians congregated to worship corporately on Sunday as a remembrance of the Sabbath; the seventh day of creation when God rested. Instead, I learned that Sunday is significant to Christians because it is the day that Jesus returned alive from the grave. Early Christians — who were manly Jewish — celebrated Easter every Sunday after they finished with their Jewish Sabbath on Saturday. Anyways, the book is a part of a greater series called The Ancient Practice Series, edited by Phylis Tickle. In January, I read another book from this series on the practice of praying the daily hours called “In Constant Prayer” by Robert Benson. I enjoy the idea behind this series and what it is trying to teach a generation that, in some ways, lacks historical perspective.