Friday, September 21, 2012

The Michaelmas Skip

Dang.  Where did I put  that?  Jason asked me to chime in on a discussion someone's having somewhere on the Michaelmas skip.  Oh well, I'll just skip it.  (wait for groans)

According  to the Gottesdienst calendar (is there any other?), this year the skip is made to the Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity on September 30th.  That is, we skip Trinity 17 and 18.  This will line things up so that you arrive at Trinity 27 on schedule, November 25, before launching into Advent.

Why? you ask.

I'm afraid I misplaced that information as well, but I can do some recollecting and surmising.  I'm guessing maybe this is British, perhaps having something to do with Cromwell. They observe "St. John's Tide," "St. Laurence Tide," etc.  These are divisions of the Trinity season.  When it gets to Michaelmas (Sept. 29), or the Sunday nearest, not only do we move to "Michaelmas Tide," we also shift to counting from the end of the Trinity season, setting our gaze already on latter days, at least to a degree.  This becomes more pronounced in the last three Sundays of the church-year.  I suspect that the heavy emphasis then on the Last Day is partly due to a very old, though not universal, custom of having a seven-Sunday Advent season.

Maybe somebody else has more information, but that's what I have.  For now, anyhow.


  1. For my part, I'm not a fan of this Anglican skipping thingy. Folks can check out Reed for what the various Lutheran orders did. In summary, you plow straight through until the last three Sundays which are always the End Times themed Trinity 25-27. LSB's rendition of the Historic Calendar calls for only using Trinity 27 as the Last Sunday (no second or third last).

    This is a fine example of the sort of profitable "diversity in worship." And of these paths for the Lectionary is good, Lutheran, and salutary. Even better would be to do what Lutherans have always done: have unity in such matters over a geographical area.

    But until folks who live next door to each other are willing to come together, debate, then decide and stick to it (or better yet, follow the ancient church's lead in picking one head pastor over a given region, the bishop, and let him lead) the best we can hope for is everyone choosing Lutheran options.


  2. I'm not entirely convinced the Michaelmas skip is not a Lutheran option, inasmuch as I think there are quite a number of Lutherans who use it. Years ago, in the first place, I never consulted any Anglicans, actually. But if Reed is right, and I should be convinced, I'd be happy to make the switch.

    Quite happy, actually, since I don't like the shorter seasons in which we skippers have to skip the widow of Nain (coming soon to a church near you).

  3. Ugh. I hate the skip. It's just that simple.

  4. There was a lot of Anglican-Lutheran cross pollination back in the 16th and 17th centuries in matters liturgical, and then another round when Lutherans started to speak English. But I can't recall ever reading of a home grown Lutheran order that followed the skip. I'm quite willing to be proven wrong, but I believe this is something from the later borrowing after our move to English.


  5. You're probably right. But as Petersen says, I am an Anglophile.

  6. I wonder if there is another reason, perhaps, beside all of the Lutheran/Anglican possibilities, to employ the skip. This reason pertains to the close of the church year itself. The time of the church is best wrapped up by getting to the ultimate, rather than being left only with the penultimate. For example, if the skip is not employed, the only way (if my math is correct) to have the last 3 Sundays in Trinity included, is if Easter is as early as it can be (March 22). When reading a story, it is good to get to the end of the story, even if that means skipping some in the middle.

  7. The medieval German rite which the Reformers received had three Last Sundays:
    XXIII (Third Last). Phil. 3 / Matt. 22.
    XXIV (Next Last). Col. 1 / Matt. 9.
    XXV (Last). Jer. 23:5-8 / John 6:5-14.

    Luther changed the last one and added two more:
    XXV (former Last). 1 Thess. 4 / Matt. 24:15–28
    XXVI. 2 Thess. 1 / Matt. 25
    XXVII. 1 Thess. 5 / Matt. 24:37...

    Thus to observe the end of the season properly, all five Sundays would have to be maintained, no?


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