In the traditional liturgical calendar, the time after Pentecost would be devoted to what happened historically after Pentecost, as recorded in Acts of the Apostles and Paul’s letters. In The Christian Community, with the St. Johnstide festival season, we arrive at two important nodal points in the liturgical year. This festival season, just after the June solstice, begins on June 24, the birthday of John the Baptist, and lasts four Sundays and the weeks following them. At this halfway point in the ordinary calendar year, instead of just commemorating church history, we seem to begin again, to reflect again on Christ’s life. Now the healing Spirit, sent by Christ, is to work in us. Gospel readings include Christ’s baptism and John’s working. They encourage us to form our own individual response to Christ’s call.
In the St. Johnstide prayers spoken from the altar, praise for what we have been given transforms into a deep and wide gratitude. They resound with both cosmic beauty and a realistic call for our own inner transformation. The yellow and white of St. Johnstide let us feel how everything comes to light and is assessed in the greater light.
At the same time, the St. Johnstide festival season is the eighth of the nine festival seasons, the last but one in the liturgical year. Along with an inner spaciousness, there is a note of urgency. St. Johnstide is followed by a ten-week Trinity interval, which can be experienced as a pathway toward the last festival season, Michaelmas.