First Cumberland Presbyterian Church

Liturgical Year

First Cumberland celebrates the seasons of the Christian year. These seasons and special days are a regular reminder that all time is God’s time.  Within the framework of the liturgical year, we experience the full scope of the story of God’s redemptive work.  This brings focus to our worship services and even determines the colors displayed in the sanctuary. We mark the beginning of each new season by celebrating Holy Communion.

Advent [violet]: The Christian year begins four Sundays before Christmas, with the season of Advent.  It is a time of reflection and penitence as we await the coming King, both at Christmas and at the Second Coming. The candles of the Advent wreath help us mark each passing Sunday as we look forward to Christmas.

Christmas [white]: Our celebration of the Christmas season begins with our candlelight Christmas Eve service, and continues through January 5.  Count 'em up: that's the real "Twelve Days of Christmas."

Epiphany [white] is celebrated January 6 in commemoration of the Wise Men’s encounter with Jesus (Matt. 2:1-12). 

Baptism of Our Lord [white]: The first Sunday after Epiphany is the day we remember Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan (Matt. 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:29-34).

Transfiguration Sunday [white]: On the Sunday before Lent, we celebrate the glory of Jesus Christ as revealed during his transfiguration experience (Matt. 17:1-3, Mark 9:2-9, Luke 9:28-36). 

Ash Wednesday [violet] begins the Season of Lent. We receive the sign of the cross in ashes as an outward sign of our repentance.

Lent [violet]: the Lenten season is the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, not counting Sundays.  During Lent, we give up those things that might distract us from God, and give added attention to our relationship with God as we prepare for the celebration of Easter. It is a time of reflection and recommitment.

Palm/Passion Sunday [red]: The service begins with a celebration of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-40, John 12:12-19) and ends at the foot of the cross, as we reflect on His suffering and sacrifice for us (Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19).

Maundy Thursday [red]: “Maundy” comes from the Latin mandatum (commandment). During the Last Supper, Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment: that they “love one another” (John 13:34). This commandment is lived out in acts of humble service and is exemplified in Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples.  We remember this special night with a quiet service of communion, which ends with the stripping of the altar and draping the cross in black.

Easter Sunday [white]: Easter is the high point of the Christian year: a joyous celebration of the risen Christ (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20). Our celebration of Easter continues for 7 Sundays.

Pentecost Sunday [red]: 50 days after Easter, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the early disciples—and the church which was born on that day (Acts 2:1-4).

Trinity Sunday [white]: On the first Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and we reflect on our experience of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Ordinary Time [green] gets its name from the Latin ordinal (counted), because each Sunday in Ordinary Time is numbered.  All the Sundays that don’t fall within Advent, Christmas, Lent, or Easter are part of “Ordinary Time.”

World Communion Sunday began in 1936 and is celebrated by churches around the world on the first Sunday in October. It is a day to focus on the faith that unites us with believers in different denominations and countries, and to celebrate God’s loving sacrifice for the entire world (John 3:16).

Christ the King Sunday [white]: The last Sunday before Advent is set aside to celebrate the kingship of Jesus Christ.