Worship Seasons

At Searcy First we follow the beat of a different drum. Like many other Christians throughout the world we structure our calendar after the rhythms of the life of Jesus Christ.

For a fun way of learning more about the Worship seasons of the church click the video link on this page.

Advent 

Happy New Year! It may not be the new year you’re thinking of, but it is the new year for the church. Advent is a season of four weeks including four Sundays preceding Christmas. Advent derives from the Latin adventus, which means “coming.” This season proclaims the comings of the Christ. We prepare during this season to celebrate his birth again at Christmas, but we also prepare for his coming again in final victory. The color purple is a color of royalty and preparation, so during this season look for purple at Searcy First.

Christmas

You know this time of year! But did you know that it is not just a day, but a season in the life of the church? Christmas is a season of praise and thanksgiving for the incarnation (God coming in human form in Jesus Christ), which begins with Christmas Eve or Day and continues through the Day of Epiphany. The name Christmas comes from the season’s first service, the Christ Mass. Epiphany comes from the Greek word epiphania, which means “manifestation.” You will see the colors white and gold around Searcy First during this wonderful time of celebration.

Season after the Epiphany (Ordinary Time)

This is a season of Ordinary Time in the life of the church, which includes four to nine Sundays, depending on the date of Easter. It is "ordinary" in that it stands between the two great Christological cycles of Advent-Christmas-Epiphany and Lent-Easter-Pentecost and does not necessary have a theme other than reflecting on the deep mystery of “God made human” in Jesus Christ. You will often see green during times of Ordinary Time. Green is a wonderful color of growth and renewal.

Lent

Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten, which means "spring." The season is a preparation for celebrating Easter. Historically, Lent began as a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by converts and then became a time for penance by all Christians. The First Sunday describes Jesus' temptation by Satan; and the Sixth Sunday (Passion/Palm Sunday), Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his subsequent passion and death. Because Sundays are always "little Easters," the penitential spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful expectation of the Resurrection. The Great Three Days - sometimes called the Triduum or Pasch - from sunset Holy Thursday (or Maundy Thursday) through sunset Easter Day are the climax of Lent (and of the whole Christian year) and a bridge into the Easter Season. These days proclaim the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ's passion, death, and resurrection. During these days, the community journeys with Jesus from the upper room, to the cross, to the tomb, and to the garden. The Great Three Days should seen as a great unified service beginning with a service of Holy Communion on Holy Thursday and concluding with the services of Easter Day. These services may be connected with a prayer vigil lasting from Holy Thursday evening (or Good Friday) until the first service of Easter and may be accompanied by fasting. Somber colors such as purple or ash gray and rough-textured cloth are often used for paraments (Communion Table linens, pulpit drapes, etc.), stoles (worn by ministers over the shoulders), and banners. Visuals during Holy Week (the last week of Lent) often include red paraments, stoles, and banners and other symbols. On Good Friday and Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday) the church is often stripped bare of visuals as a stark reminder of the death of Jesus Christ.

Easter Season

The Easter Season, also known as the Great Fifty Days, begins at sunset Easter Eve and continues through the Day of Pentecost. It is the most joyous and celebrative season of the Christian year. It focuses on Christ's resurrection and ascension and on the givings of the Holy Spirit on the first Easter (John 20:22-23) and the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Lessons from the Acts of the Apostles replace Old Testament readings in the lectionary during this season, because the early church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is the best witness to the Resurrection. The ancient Christian name for this festival is Pasch, derived from the Hebrew pesah ("deliverance" or "passover"), thus connecting the Resurrection to the Exodus. The origin of the English word Easter is disputed but may come from the Anglo-Saxon spring goddess Eastre and her festival. Pentecost comes from the Greek pentekoste, which means "fiftieth." It refers to the Jewish Feast of Weeks, which Greek-speaking Jews called the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1). Early Christians also used the term Pentecost to refer to the Great Fifty Days as a season. Baptisms, confirmations, and congregational reaffirmation of the Baptismal Covenant are encouraged during this season, most especially at the First Service of Easter and on the Day of Pentecost. The Easter Season is also a time of mystagogy, i.e., a time of formation in the doctrines of the church. It is also a time in our congregation for each member to explore his or her gifting and how those gifts will be employed in God's Kingdom work. The Day of Pentecost celebrates the birth of the Church and the givings of the Holy Spirit and is a time of commissioning into ministry.

Season After Pentecost (Ordinary Time)

The Season After Pentecost, also called Ordinary Time, begins the day after Pentecost and ends the day before the First Sunday of Advent. It may include twenty-three to twenty-eight Sundays, depending on the date of Easter, but the first Sunday is always Trinity Sunday, and the last Sunday is always the Sunday of the Reign of Christ or Christ the King. The season also includes All Saints and Thanksgiving. Although the scripture lessons in the lectionary for this half of the year go in a semicontinuous cycle through books of the Bible rather than follow a theme, the gospel lessons cover Jesus' teaching ministry and tend to center on the theme of the kingdom and reign of God. Paraments (Holy Communion Table linens, pulpit drapes, etc.) stoles (clergy neckware), and banners often show a variety of color, texture, and symbols. Regardless, the season's basic color is green, symbolizing growth in Christ. White is the customary color for Trinity Sunday, All Saints, and Reign of Christ/Christ the King Sunday. Worship during this season is shaped more by the themes suggested in the scripture readings or theme of the particular day rather than because they fit the season as a whole.