Tag Archive | Advent

Last Sunday of Advent

advent4

Readings

Psalms 80:1-8, (and 18-end)
OT Reading: Isaiah 7:10-16
NT Reading: Romans 1:1-7
Gospel: Matthew 1:18-end

advent4b

I didn’t have the opportunity to visit a liturgical church this week (and indeed have not been able to for a long time, and who knows what the new year will bring? It does not seem to be a likely option for me, since I need to take my mum wherever she decides suits her).

I will continue to read the set readings and post my notes. Today, though, I drew a blank. My brain just did not seem to be able to connect the passages or make any sense of them, so I offer this sermon link which explains it all as illustrating “how to live the holy life”:

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/library/sermon/4th-sunday-advent-year-sermon-day

advent4a

The fact that the 4th Sunday of Advent is supposed to represent love (where the first 3 weeks represented hope, peace and joy) emphasises for me the fact that that Kingdom life is primarily to be characterised by Love above all things.

advent4c

Advertisements

Third Sunday of Advent

Psalm: 146:4-10 or
Canticle: Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)
OT Reading: Isaiah 36:1-10
NT Reading: James 5:7-10
Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11

Last Sunday was the third Sunday in Advent, and is known as ‘Gaudete Sunday’, that is Rejoicing Sunday. The readings all refer to the coming of the Lord, and the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven – a kingdom where the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear and the dead are raised up.

The following is a lovely version  (my favourite!) of ‘Gaudete’ sung by The Mediaeval Baebes.

Again, this hope of the Kingdom is not only referring to the first Advent of Christ coming as a baby and doing miracles as a man, but the hope of a future coming – the second Advent – as the King, when all of these hopes will be fully realised.

I did not realise that Advent is considered a period of ‘penance’ in the Roman Catholic church. I don’t suppose that really applies in Anglican churches, but ‘repentance’ featured in the readings for the 2nd Sunday in Advent. (Repentance seems to me to be a slightly preferable word, since the word ‘penance’ gives the impression that one can atone for one’s sins oneself, whereas ‘repentance’ is rather turning around and going in a new direction).

advent3

The passage in James (read the whole chapter if you can) gives us a clue how we can repent and pursue the Kingdom while we wait for its ultimate fulfillment :

  • Don’t live anymore for pleasure on earth
  • Be patient
  • Establish your heart
  • Grudge not (grumble and complain) against one another
  • Consider the examples of the prophets when times are hard
  • Swear not (don’t make promises or oaths)
  • Pray
  • Sing psalms
  • Confess faults to one another

Second Sunday of Advent year A

advent2

Psalm: 72:1-7, 18-19
OT Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10
NT Reading: Romans 15:4-13
Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12

Very belatedly now, I’m looking at the lectionary readings for the second Sunday in Advent.

Often it is quite a challenge to perceive a connection between the readings. In this instance, there is the repeated refrain of Christ as ‘the root of Jesse’, the king of righteousness whom the gentiles (nations) will seek. But how does the passage in Matthew relate to Advent?

I picked up volume 2 of the new Northumbria Community’s Celtic Prayer: Farther Up and Father In, and glanced through its readings for Advent.

It says “This is the path that John marked, whose voice called in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’.”

That is it precisely. As we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord (which Christmas is supposed to represent), we need above all to repent; that is, to ‘make teshuvah’, to turn away from those things in our lives which distract us, produce negativity and unhappiness in ourselves and others, and embrace the Kingdom life in which love rules, and righteous justice for the poor, the weak, the vulnerable is brought to bear.

Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,  who only doth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory.

Amen and amen.

First Sunday of Advent

advent1

Psalms: Psalm 122
OT: Isaiah 2:1-5
Gospel: Matthew 24:36-44
Epistles: Romans 13:11-14

The Psalm for today was 122, “I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord.”

I was unable to go to church this Sunday because, in addition to my own health issues, I am now looking after my mother who suffers from bipolar disorder.

My mother always becomes anxious, tearful, angry as Sunday rolls around. Having grown up in what was effectively a very abusive religious home, she is deeply conflicted about church. She wants to be there, she yearns for community, but it is tainted by the memory of forced religion.

I, meanwhile, would love to be there but my health more often than not prevents me, and I am constantly angry at the way the church neglects us, rejects us, forgets us.

I saw this poem on a facebook group and decided to share it because the words are so close to my own heart.

How baffling you are, oh Church,
and yet how I love you!
How you have made me suffer,
and yet how much I owe you!
I would like to see you destroyed,
and yet I need your presence.
You have given me so much scandal
and yet you have made me understand what sanctity is.
I have seen nothing in the world
more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false,
and yet I have touched nothing
more pure, more generous, more beautiful.
How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face,
and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms.
No, I cannot free myself from you,
because I am you, though not completely.
And besides, where would I go?
Would I establish another?
I would not be able to establish it without the same faults,
for they are the same faults I carry in me.
And if I did establish another,
it would be my Church, not the Church of Christ.
And I am old enough to know
that I am no better than anyone else.

– by Carlo Carretto, from The God Who Comes