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Seasons of the Son – David Winter

August 2, 2018

Gradually, in the early church, the year was divided up into different times and seasons: the idea of the Christian year took shape, with Advent leading to Christmas, Lent to Easter to Ascension to Pentecost, and so on. This seasonal cycle was peppered with the commemoration of saints. It was as if the Church owned up to the enormity of what it had to proclaim, and so took time to focus on different parts of the Light.

Recently, churches within and without the liturgical tradition have begun to rediscover the rhythms of the Christian year. With its two great cycles of incarnation and redemption, centred on Christmas and Easter, it is the church’s time-honoured way of ensuring that the whole story of salvation is retold in all its fullness every year.

With its times of preparation and celebration, watching and waiting, sorrow and rejoicing, it also allows space for every human emotion to find expression. And the Calendar of Saints allows us to pause throughout the year and consider the many role models of faith we have – from biblical characters to modern day martyrs such as Janani Luwum.

It’s succinct

DAVID WINTER is well known as a writer and broadcaster. The author of over 30 books, he is a regular on the Today programme’s Thought for the Day slot. Formerly Head of Religious Broadcasting at the BBC and an Anglican priest, he is now retired from parish ministry and is currently Honorary Canon of Christ Church, Oxford.

He speaks of Jewish festivals in the past tense, as if it were a dead religion. I wish the author knew more about catholic liturgy in all its fullness. But I’m glad that he includes Corpus Christi and the Assumption, albeit by their protestant titles.


In fact, the Romans found that it used up too many trees. With misplaced determination, they settled on gladiators, wild beasts in public arenas and funeral pyres as adequate substitutes. By then, of course, the cross had become a Christian symbol, and has remained so throughout the history of the faith. As people adorn themselves with gold or jewelled replicas of this cruel instrument of execution, it’s worth reminding ourselves that this is what it was, and that it could have been the sword of a gladiator, the tusk and teeth of a bull, or the flames of a pyre that caused the death of the Saviour.

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