Advent 1, 2012 – End Times as the Beginning of Something New

Title:Advent 1, 2012 – End Times as the Beginning of Something New

Jesus said in the reading appointed for today from Luke, "There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the wave".  Yet the Gospel and the sermon both talk about hope.

Looking at this morning I was getting an end of times feel with a cloudy and semi overcast conditions. The day became milder and sunny by lunch.

Advent represents a ton of conflicting emotions – emphasis on reflection, waiting and slowing down activities in one of the most hectic times of year. (See below for the Church projects) . The emphasis on the birth of Jesus is connected with all of the end of times language last week and this.  

Advent is actually "a coming" in three parts

1. The Coming of God to the world as a human baby
2. The Coming of God to the world in His glory at the end of time where God’s purposes will be fulfilled
3. The Coming of God into the world today. 

Our Advent readings teach us one that such coming will be ever a surprise, ever new, ever unexpected. They teach us to look beyond even our own hopes. What newness in life, what new experience in faith, what new understanding, awaits us as we turn our minds and hearts to the coming of our Lord again this year? As the Presiding Bishop asked this week in a video, "What are you waiting for this advent?"

We see this hope in front of us.  It is a new church year and it is said in both Old and Testament that God is going to do something new.  The altar looks different with its purple cover since this is a more penitent time of year.  We approach this as a journey seeking what we can do for others.  (See the mission trip to Staten Island below).

We had a small crowd 36 with several people we knew were away. That didn’t stop us from celebrating an new advent candle display to bless from two anonymous donors. It is a gorgeous display that lights up the alter area.   The bulletin is here and the readings.

 The sermon’s main point was that we are inbetween people – between Jesus birth and his coming again to establish God’s reign on earth. As such we are called to have hope for this time at the same time to help establish this reign through love of our fellow humans. "We are called to live in love, even when we aren’t feeling loving. The act of loving, especially in the face of difficulty, strengthens our hearts in holiness."

As part of the sermon Catherine with the help of Tierra and Cheyenne delivered prayer cards to be near to us to bring Advent to us today and make it an active presense for us.

We began Christmas projects today – weekly food gathering. Next week it is a giving tree where we pick a present for a deserving community family. Later there will be a community dinnner at midmonth. The ECM has a separate family they are raising donations. Finally the ECW evening group is collecting hard candy for Peumansend Creek jail. 

We also have a small mission team led by Roger and Catherine leaving this Sunday afternoon to help organized clothing donations coming in to Staten Island since Hurrican Sandy. 

Coffee hour prepared with the help of Cookie and Mary Anne consisted of cheese, sausage and assorted pastries. 


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