The Church Season of Trinity begins on Trinity Sunday.
In 2018 that is Sunday 27th May .
On Trinity Sunday Christians celebrate that God is three separate but indivisible beings or persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Christian theology and doctrine uses the term consubstantial to define the nature of this relationship. It is also expressed in terms of three beings being bound together in Love. Yet again, the Trinity can be defined in terms of three distinct persons who are yet one substance, essence or nature.
Christians understand that within this relationship, God the Father generates all, while God the Son is begotten of the Father, and God the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, so that all creation is a result of the common work of the three beings – creation from the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit.
These are complex theological teachings, and for many Christians their understanding of the Trinity boils down to a God (the Father) who is a Divine being, but who experienced humanity and all aspects of human existence by being wholly within His Son, Jesus, who was born, lived, ministered, and was crucified here on earth as a sacrifice for the sins of all people, past, present and future, and was resurrected to full life before ascending back to His Father. God the Holy Spirit is that manifestation of God which can live within the hearts and souls of all people who invite Him in. The Holy Spirit provides strength and faith, freely endows Grace and provides direction in the lives of those who accept Him.
In the Sundays following Trinity Sunday (known as Sundays after Trinity) right up until Advent, we reflect more deeply on the many and varied aspects of God’s engagement with the ancient Jews, as recorded in the Old Testament, and on the life, ministry and teaching of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels, and as explained and discussed in the work and letters of His Apostles and Disciples, in the months and years after His Ascension. During the Trinity Season, also called “Ordinary Time”, there are several traditional celebration, festival or commemorative events, such as:
Corpus Christi: Always the Thursday after Trinity Sunday: (31st May 2018): A Latin Rite commemorating the belief of many Christians that the Eucharistic Elements actually become the Body and Blood of Christ at the Communion.
Lammas ( a corruption of the Anglo-Saxon: ‘hlaf-mas’, “loaf-mass”) – celebrated on 1st August each year: An ancient celebration, still observed in some places, of the first loaf made with the first grain gathered at the start of the grain harvest. The loaf may be used at Communion as part of the celebration of God’s bounteous gifts to us all;
Harvest Thanksgiving: A more modern manifestation of the custom of giving thanks to God for the Harvest, and dating in its current form from 1843 and the idea of Rev’d Robert Hawker of Morwenstowe in Cornwall; This year (2018) our Harvest celebrations will be on Sunday 7th October.
St Francis-tide – The feast day of St Francis: October 4th is the date on which Christian Churches particularly remember St Francis of Assisi, after whom St Francis’ Church is named.
St Francis, our Church’s Patron Saint. He was born in Italy as Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone in around 1181 or 1182, but was known informally as Francesco. He became an Roman Catholic Friar and itinerant preacher who founded several orders of friars and nuns. They in turn became known as Franciscans (who may be “Brown” or “Grey” friars from the colour of their robes). Francis’s travels led to him becoming associated with the natural world – animals and the environment. To him is attributed the saying “Everywhere I go I preach the Gospel (of Jesus Christ). If necessary I use words“. he died in the late evening of 3rd October 1226while listening to a reading of Psalm 142. He is consequently his Feast Day is celebrated on 4th October, when a number of churches hold services to bless animals. It is claimed that he was the first Christian to receive the stigmata – impressions of the wounds Christ received on the Cross.
The last four Sundays of Trinity, also known as the Four Sundays before Advent include:
Remembrance-tide: encompasses both All Saints Day (1st November) and All Souls Day (2nd November), and, since the early twentieth century, Armistice Day (11th November) and Remembrance Sunday (Sunday nearest 11th November).
All Saints Day is when we give thanks for the lives of the Saints and on All Souls Day we remember the many ordinary folk down the ages who have changed our world for the better, or whom we have known and loved ourselves.
On Armistice Day – the anniversary of the Armistice (cease fire) on the Western Front at the end of the First World War (The Great War) and Remembrance Sunday (always the 2nd Sunday in November), we commemorate all those of our nation and of the Commonwealth who have given their lives or been injured in the service of their country and fellow man, as a consequence of war and conflict, and particularly in the years from 1914 during the First and Second World Wars, and in many subsequent conflicts.
In 2018, the 100th Anniversary of the guns finally falling silent at the end of the First World War, Armisitice Day and Remembrance Sunday actually co-incide on Sunday 11th November 2018.
The Trinity Season ends with Christ the King Sunday – the Sunday next before Advent – which is usually the third or fourth Sunday in November (25th November 2018), when we celebrate the summation of our Christian Faith – that Christ our Redeemer is Lord and King over all.