What the church calendar is for

During the Easter season it’s worth asking why Christians follow a liturgical calendar in the first place. People can’t help but follow some sort of calendar. The real question is whether we do it consciously or unconsciously; our spiritual health might depend on our answer. Consider the various schedules and agendas set for us. There’s a commercial calendar, electoral calendar, sports calendar, agricultural calendar, work calendar, and more. Focus on the first…

How the oldest image of Mary links the Annunciation, Easter, and Christmas

Scholars believe they have unearthed the oldest icon of the Virgin Mary. Discovered in the ruins of a third-century house church in Syria, the image depicts a woman at a well. Most of us don’t immediately associate Mary with a well, but the early church did. It’s the opening scene of the Annunciation, liturgically celebrated on March 25. Though the gospels are mute on the point, one ancient tradition mentions Mary at…