Advent Again
November 29, 2018, 2:51 PM

The Advent Lectionary is filled with apocalyptic visions this year.  What are we as Episcopalians - who are generally not millennialst - to make of these texts?

We are challenged to place the end-of-the-world warnings in contrast with the promise and hope of renewal and rebirth.  It's enough to make our heads spin a bit! 

"There will be signs."  "Prepare the way of the Lord."  "You brood of vipers!"  "…[He] shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth…."

We'll be asking the question, are the end times coming?  When will the Lord return?  Are these passages designed to scare us?  To warn us?  To inspire us?  To convict us?  To give us hope?  To give us strength?  To give us a job to do?

What does the future hold?  How can we face hard times?  Will God really rescue us from ourselves?

Despite the tough questions, when you come on Sundays this Advent, you will find a peaceful liturgy.  We've tried to minimize bulletin inserts, and to lean on the texts we all know so well from the Book of Common Prayer - so there won't be new Eucharistic Prayers (though knowing me, you should expect that the future may still hold some of those) or new formats for the Prayers of the People.  The hymns we've selected are well-known to most.  There will be no service music beyond the Trisagion (Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy on us.)  We do have a short liturgy when lighting the Advent candles each week, which we have used in prior years. 

Despite the heavy lifting in the lectionary, I hope to be able to provide some guidance for dealing with evil days. 

We still will have a couple bulletin inserts (we just can't seem to get away from them!):  We'll have one set asking for contributions to assist those affected by hurricanes and fires, and another set focusing on Journeying the Way of Love - and it's all about saying "yes" to God's call to birth new life into the world.  Each week, we are offered practices to open us to the voice of God: worship, conversing, learning, praying, blessing, reflecting, and resting.  I would encourage you to take these home with you and use them well!  All these offerings are designed to provide you with hope and strength, and a deeper relationship with our God.

We don't often think about it in this way, but we are constantly living on the edge - we all know that life - and our lives - can change in an instant, even if it doesn't!   Building up our spiritual resources is one of the best ways to ensure that when it does, we will find a way.

Now, if you've gotten this far down in this post, I want to encourage you to come to St Cecilia on Friday (November 30, 7:30 p.m.).   We have some amazing music, some wonderful poetry, and some incredible art - this really is a not-to-be-missed occasion.  And it's our FIFTH annual St. Cecilia Festival!  Every year it's better! 

Much love and many blessings to you all!