It's An Opus | UMC YoungPeople
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January 2018

It's An Opus

By Rori Blakeney (SEJ)

by Rori Blakeney

Seasonal Planning: Liturgical and Cultural
It’s an Opus

I remember going to see my first opera like it was yesterday. I was a teenager, and it was cool because I got to take one person with me. Since, I could not take both of my parents, I opted to invite my youth minister, Rev. Ianther M. Mills. I was looking forward to that Sunday afternoon at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

I knew it was going to be a magical afternoon, but little did I know the opera was in a foreign language with English subtitles. I don’t remember the name of the opera, but I do remember the performer’s passion. It was like a journey to a distant land through the different movements of the opera.

I got that same feeling when I watched Mr. Holland’s Opus, a 1995 movie celebrating the work of a beloved teacher Glenn Holland. A musician and composer, he is forced to take a teaching job to pay the rent while, in his 'spare time', he can strive to achieve his true goal of composing one memorable piece of music to leave his mark on the world. Holland discovers the joy of sharing his love for music with his students while he is busy making other plans.

The liturgical calendar is like an opera in many ways. It is a series of movements that take us through the Christian year. We spend lots of time on the high holy moments; Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Pentecost.

But, there is some good stuff we miss out on in those less dramatic moments. You might be reading this during the season of Epiphany, a Christian festival held on January 6, the twelfth day of Christmas which in the Western Church, commemorates the manifestation of Christ to the Magi and, in the Eastern Church, the baptism of Christ. It is a big deal, and sometimes bigger than Christmas in some faith communities.

Here’s why Epiphany is important. It reminds us that Christ is always revealing himself to people no matter their status. Christ always requires us to present our gifts to him, especially the gift of our lives. And, yes, we are called to make Christ known to the world.

These thoughts and ideas can get lost if we don’t understand that the liturgical calendar is an opera and not a simple score. The opera tells a larger interelated story. It brings many pieces together in a seamless work that provides many opportunities to be moved by the ongoing work.

Some of the advantages of understanding the liturgical calendar are:

  • We grow in what it means to be Christ followers and disciples because we focus on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ every year.
  • It helps us to move through the year where we celebrate the high moments of our faith and it helps us to be introspective during other times.
  • It gives us a daily focus for study and prayer.
  • We are better able to find a rhythm in our faith by moving from season to season rather than focusing on various seasons haphazardly.

As you celebrate the season of Epiphany, consider these questions:

Who is making Christ known to you in your faith journey?
How are they making Christ known to you in your faith journey?

Who are you making Christ known to in your faith journey?
How are you making Christ known to in your faith journey?
Who do you need to make Christ known to in your faith journey?