Happy New Year!

Over the years I have learned more and more about Advent and the Church calendar. I have known it was the beginning of the Church Year because the Church calendar doesn’t follow the regular calendar of the world or culture. In the U.S. we put so much stock in a “new year” and January 1.

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In the wilderness

When the pandemic hit earlier this year, it was during Lent. A popular saying I heard among liturgical friends was this:

“This is the Lentiest Lent I’ve ever Lented.”

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As Advent approaches we are tempted to flood ourselves in light

By all measures it is probable we can all agree we want 2020 behind us… NOW. Why wait until December 31?

We’ve lost loved ones. The world has lost heroes. We’re fighting over masks to slow down a pandemic…

People are putting up Christmas lights and trees and flooding their lives with Christmas music and the Hallmark Christmas Channel.

We want this OVER!

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God is not silent

“The Christian faith has not been invented in order for us to claim for ourselves a powerful God who will push the delete button on all our enemies. The Christian faith is, rather, grounded in the story of that One who, against all human reason, emptied himself of his glory and came into our desert places, midnight to the north of him, midnight to the south of him, to stand under the wrath of God in place of the murderers of Rwanda and us sinners inside these four walls today.” — Fleming Rutledge, Advent

The focus of worship

​ After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. (Rev. 4:1-6)

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Advent — the now and the not yet

“In this season, the church celebrates two things: God has already acted definitively on our behalf, and God will act definitively in the future to bring his purposes once and for all. That is what it means to watch and wait for the second advent of Christ, not matter how long it takes.” — Fleming Rutledge, Advent

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Preparing the way of the Lord

“Preparing the way for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is not going to be easy for you and me. It means laying ourselves open to God’s great leveling operation. It means relinquishing our most cherished strategies and defenses. It means living every day in anticipation of God’s work of cutting and filling. It means being ready at all times to relinquish one’s own special privileges in this world on behalf of those who might be very different from oneself.” — Fleming Rutledge, Advent

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