Advent 1, Dec. 1, 2013 – While we wait

Title:Advent 1, Dec. 1, 2013 – While we wait

  Last Sunday, December 1, 2013  (full size gallery)

Advent 1 was definitely an adventure, a change of pace, a cry in the early morning. Bishop Goff has written on this First Advent. "Advent comes to us today like an alarm clock that beckons us to wake up – not so we can go back to sleep, but so that we will stay awake and remain awake, alert, aware, alive. God is active, Advent cries. God has acted in the world, is still acting today and will act again – so pay attention!"

The weather was clear but cold but it was warm inside where 20 people enjoyed the St. Nicholas breakfast. Thanks to particularly the Pogues and Becks for cooking an amazing amount of food – egg/cheese casserole, fruit, cakes, muffins, breads, sausages. All good and plentiful. St. Nicholas came in after a meditation in the church and proceeded to hand out gold coins as was his custom.

We had 40 in the service. This included 5 children and Amy who led the congregation in "Advent Song" while the first Advent candle was being lit. The candles for the four weeks in advent stand for hope, preparation, joy and love. The Isaiah scripture "In days to come the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills" was particularly appropriate for the sense of hope. The readings are here

The sermon was about the church calendar – telling time other by a linear method. In the linear method we are born, baptized, marry and die where your life end. "And yet, as Christians, we believe that when our lives here on earth end, and life as we know it is over, our times are still in God’s hands, and that our lives do not end, but that they change.." "So the church does something very wise for us. The church ties the ending and the beginning together—and this is a reminder to us that for every ending there is a beginning, and for every beginning, there is an ending. This circle of life in God never ends, but becomes richer and fuller and stronger throughout eternity." Catherine strung a golden string around the church and labeled the three great mysteries of Christmas, Easter and Pentecost and filled in the rest of the Church year to emphasize how the story is a cycle 

We celebrated Charles 52nd birthday also, took up the UTO offering and encouraged people to take a gift from the giving tree, purchase it and bring it back by the 15th. We are adopting a family provided to Fred from social service. The ECM have donated to another family. 

Advent is a journey, a pilgrimage of watching and waiting. We are starting at a point of our preparation for those events as a believer . Advent comes from a Latin word – “advenire” – which means to come to… Advent, then is a time to think about “advents” – comings to – and to reflect on three comings-to in particular: The Coming of God to the world as a human baby, The Coming of God to the world in His glory at the end of time where God’s purposes will be fulfilled and The Coming of God into the world today. Jesus comes to us now in word and sacrament, in prayer and praise, in his Body, the Church. By the work of the Holy Spirit, the Jesus who was born in the past in Bethlehem and who will come in the future is present to us and in us now.

Today is a day of invitation from Matthew. The watchword of Advent is a call to be alert and be prepared. We, too, do not know the day or hour of the appearance of the Son of Man; he is the one who will come when we least expect. Four times this claim is made. Three times it is made explicitly about the "Son of Man" and once about "the Lord."  

The writing of Mathew came after two events affecting the early Christians (40 years after Christ’s death):

1. The destruction and leveling of Jerusalem by the Roman army in 70 CE and the pervasive thought that this event felt like the End of the World. 

2. The delay of the Second Coming. The Second Coming did not occur in the earliest disciples’ lifetime as they had erroneously thought it would. These earliest Christians had to deal with their misinterpretation of the timing of The End. 

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