Presentation on theme: "The Coptic Calendar. Main goal of the Coptic calendar: allowing God’s sovereignty to conquer every part of us in order to establish his kingdom. The kingdom."— Presentation transcript:
Main goal of the Coptic calendar: allowing God’s sovereignty to conquer every part of us in order to establish his kingdom. The kingdom of God is not composed of angels and saints, but rather, of each entity of our being. St. Macarious meditated and said that each of our physical organs and limbs has a spiritual counterpart in our inner being. Every unit that God establishes his dominion in is included in his kingdom. Our early fathers with all their wisdom found that it is our great need to completely and utterly mold Christ within us through growth in sanctification. For this reason, they articulated the Coptic Year in a sequence of interlinked events to direct us in reaching this goal. These events include seasons (mostly fasts) and occasions (mostly feasts). Revealing of our soul’s sanctification through the system of the Coptic calendar solely depends on God’s righteousness, justice and truth.
Preparation (configuration) 2 month ½ 1 tout and half way into hatour (10 Sundays) 2 feasts – el nairouz & feast of the cross most important period Incarnation approximately 2 months 1 fast – advent 4 feasts – incarnation circumcision epiphany wedding of Canaan of galilee includes the month of Kiahk Crucifixion 2 fast – Jonah and lent holy week approximately 2 months Resurrection 40 days celebration 1 feast Each day has special readings Ascension 10 days 1 feast Each day has special readings Pentecost Approximately 1 ½ month 1 feast – Pentecost Apostolic fast (Fast of the Holy Spirit) The harvest and partnership with the heavenly creations Six weeks St. Mary’s fast Transfiguration feast Conclusion Last two weeks of the year
First season Each of the 7 seasons is dependent on the one before it and is the guidance and preparation for the one after it. Meaning that if I don’t understand what God is bringing your attention to in one of the seasons, you will not be able to progress to the next stage. For this reason, the first season of preparation is the most important and longest one. Thus, the church starts the New Year with the feast of Elnyroz, which contains the martyrs and saints as examples and the sacrificing life they led as a source of help for us. Then the church follows with the feast of the cross from where we attain the power of its redemptive work. The goal of this period of preparation with all its entities is to discover what God has specifically picked for us to work on throughout this particular year. (Important note: God works according to his wisdom that follows the law of his justice and righteousness. He can spend years working on the many layers of one of our struggles, or he can take out multiple infirmities in one year. It depends on his perfect timing for each of us individually.) This process is explained more elaborately later in the pamphlet.
Second Season After discovering the God’s will for our particular transformation, we then go to receive a seed of Christ’s nature, through the incarnation, that is the opposite of our specific infirmity. The fast of the advent is our preparation for accepting this seed in the feasts of incarnation. We as Christians do not only seek healing and the absence of weakness, sin and fleshly ways. We strive for more then that. We strive to be Christ-like. To have our infirmities replaced by that which is oppositely present in Christ. Thus, if God has called me to work on my pride, I will not try and cease my pride, I will not attempt to be humble, but I will prepare myself to be soil for the seed of Christ’s humility.
Third season The seed that enters us through the incarnation will not simply conquer, for according to the justice of God, the war between the old ruler of our heart and God must take place. Through the season of the crucifixion, the works of cross uproots the old nature through lent and completes the mission in Holy Week.
Fourth season After enduring crucifixion and the climactic war, the darkness is finally removed from us and no longer occupies our inner being. But it does not go without leaving its mark. The area it once dominated is left wounded and frail. Then, the power of the resurrection sheds its light on the seed, which was planted in the season of incarnation, so that it may begin to heal and inhabit the battleground. It blossoms until the image of the resurrected Christ is implemented in us.
Fifth season This part of me that was crucified and resurrected with Christ will also ascend with Christ. And when Christ ascended, he sat at his father’s right hand. In this position, he gained his divine authority. And so our weakness has risen to power with its ruler.
Sixth season This new transformed area is now ready to have the Holy Spirit poured into it. The Holy Spirit only comes where Christ is already present. With it, it brings gifts of talents and virtues.
Seven season Our new Christ-like part is atomically imbedded with the spirits of the saints and all of the heavenly creations.
The previous summation of each season reiterates the importance of understanding the connection between each season as individual links that make up the chain leading up to heaven. Furthermore, the church also implements readings for mental stimulation, and hymns (or ritual orders) for emotional inspiration. The Coptic calendar with its entirety is focused and dependent on the grace we intake with the holy Eucharist. For that reason, the fractions offered at the time of dividing the holy body is correlated with the season of the church. Also, the church organizes its guidance in a lecture and lab type of set up. On Sundays, are the lectures, where we understand what we are aiming for. Then, throughout the week, we take the saints and their lives as examples on how to accomplish our goals.
Now that we have an overview of all of the seasons we will now take time to go deeper into the season of preparation, as it is embarking on us. We will do the same with the other seasons as their time approaches. In the preparation season, God wants to provide a sense of renewal to his people. It focuses on St. Paul’s saying in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’ From this verse we see that it s not only new, but a joyful renewal that is detect in the tone of the hymns song during this time until the feast of the cross.
Weeks 1 & 2 In these weeks, the goal of the year, which is to have Christ reign over being, is declared to us in tangible ways. The first week, in Luke 7:28-35 we observe John the Baptist making a big leap in converting tax-collectors, sinner, adulterers and all of the congregation. Likewise, we prepare our hearts for making a similar leap. The next Sunday we are given the vision what out transformation will be like. Luke 10:21-28 tells us that we will be simple like children and will love the lord with all of our heart, soul, power, mind, and all our being. This image reflects Christ’s sovereignty over our entirety.
Weeks 3 & 4 Here the church puts two examples of what it would be like in the absence of the kingdom of God in our souls. This is done in contrast to the first couple of weeks so that we are presented with both sides of the spectrum in hopes of finding where we reside in between and what is our next step to getting closer to his kingdom.
Luke 19:1-10 Zacchaeus: He was a Jewish who collected taxes for the Romans. He surrendered to his circumstances and got consumed in making more money and having more possessions in every possible way. He was hated and despised by others and by himself. He had lost the reign (kingdom) of God in his life. However, Zacchaeus had a good heart and nature but none of the religious people (Pharisees) could help him. They considered him a traitor. But by a single glance at Jesus, he was able to view himself through the savior’s eyes. He understood his personal calling and started acting completely opposite to his nature and job. From this, we aim to gain Christ’s perspective of our identity, and therefore start to realize our unique calling.
Luke 7 :36 The sinful woman: She had surrendered her heart to her desires and lust and was known for it. She despised herself along with everyone else. But as soon as she saw Jesus she realized that He is the only one who really knows and understands her. She immediately felt compelled to honor him and to change her life. Through him she was able to see where she stands and strive to become his kingdom.
Weeks 5, 6, 7 & 8 The church artistically and masterfully provides us with 4 weeks of gradual spiritual states (regarding the absence of the kingdom of God in our lives) in order to aid us in finding out where we stand. Each of these examples is depictive of individuals who were living without God’s reign and how they were uniquely adopted into the kingdom of God.
Mark 2:1-12 – The paralytic Shows that where there is infirmity, the evil one paralysis that area. His interaction with Christ was what healed him. Being paralyzed is the first stage and is seen in our relationships with God and others when we are unable to process areas of the mind, emotions and willingness.
Luke 5:1-11- The disciples fishing This is the second stage. We are paralyzed and thus when we try to be fruitful, we are unable. This tends to cause a lot of depression and despair as it is mistaken for failure. After Christ told them to go in deep and they caught fish, Peter saw that not only the failure was gone, but that he had been in darkness and without understanding.
Matthew 12:22-28 – The blind, mute and deaf man The third stage is where all of the depression from the failure has gotten to be so much that a person is unable to see, hear or speak to or about the lord. Some even reach the level of insanity.
Luke 7:11-17 – The rising of the dead son of the widow The final stage is death, even if physically alive. The important thing in this story is the compassion Christ had on the mother, and the authority he commanded upon death.
Weeks 9 & 10 At this point, it has been revealed to us the ideal state, the worst-case scenario, and the stages in between. Where do you stand? What is the area that God is interacting with within you? We are now on the verge of receiving the solution. This is such an important part, that it is repeated twice on consecutive Sundays. This is not done anywhere else except for in the last two Sundays of the year.
Luke 8:4-15 & Matthew 13:1-9 – The parable of the sower The Bible continuously sees us as farmland that needs the seed for growth or as a building that needs the foundation for development. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. -1 Corinthians 3:9 (NIV) God here is referring to the solution; which is accepting the seed that is of his nature and opposite of ours. We take his nature in the incarnation season (with all the feasts and fasts mentioned earlier) which will uproot the thorns and nurture the seed.
Conclusion Everything that has been said is a mere tool for understanding. There is a role to be fulfilled by us that is required for success. This role is leading a life of canonical worship, of which we are committed and persistent. We must also keep our spiritual fathers and mentors updated for clarification and guidance.