Advent 1, Nov. 29, 2015

Title:Advent 1, Nov. 29, 2015

  Advent 1, Nov. 29, 2015  (full size gallery)

A big Sunday, not only with two services at 9am and 11am but also a combination of the first Sunday in Advent backed with the Altarpiece fundraising kickoff. (Actually we had only one since no one showed up at 9am.) It was a rainy advent on a Thanksgiving weekend with temperatures falling into the afternoon.

Christian ed was busy. In "Weaving God’s Promises" the children made pyramids with Advent 1 prayers on them. They will repeat this through Advent. We had 9 for song of Benedictus, "Praise Be." We concentrated on the idea of the Divine Synthesis that involved God in history and God acting on our own lives

We had 39 at 11am. We were pleased to have a couple from Georgia as visitors and the Pogues brought their Aunt. 

The First Sunday in Advent is not about the wise men, the shepherd’s or the images we associate with Christ’s Birth. We haven’t arrived at that place. The readings are here.

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 one who relies on Christ. We see the need for our repentance. That’s why purple, the color of penitence, adorns our altar. We dare not rush to greet the Redeemer prematurely until we pause here, in darkened church, to admit that we do need redemption.

The season of Advent in Luke begins with a look to the future coming (parousia of the Son of Man). For this reason, the church year that begins in Advent puts in front of us passages about the end of history before moving in later weeks to prepare us for the coming of the Christ child and the dawn of a new age. The Luke reading is the last major speech by Jesus prior to the passion narrative in the Gospel of Luke. It follows the prophecy of the destruction of the Temple, which in turn, Jesus states in response.

We live, according to Luke, between the two great poles of God’s intervention in the world: the coming of Christ in the flesh and his triumph over death – in this regard we should not forget that these verses serve as the hinge between Jesus’ teaching and his passion — and the coming of Christ in glory at the end of time and his triumph over all the powers of earth and heaven.

The sermon spoke of this future "In today’s gospel, as Jesus is teaching in the temple, he talks about the end of this world. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

"Just as God spoke the world into being,
"God will speak its end into being.
"But God’s Word will never end,
"because God’s Word is endlessly creative.
"Because God’s Word is endless love".

Much of the sermon comprised of examples of "God’s abounding love"  at St. Peter’s this week. "But what I love the most about this church is that all of these words written on our walls have become written in our own hearts.Because in this church, we truly abound in love for one another and for all and this love is evident to the world.  Catherine described a number of parishioners helping each other."

The sermon concluded :

"These are only a few things that went on last week in this parish.  All of you know about many other things that happened that are evidence of our abounding love for one another. 

"When we abound in love for one another and for all, we are God’s living and breathing Word in this world—we ourselves become words that will never pass away—love that will never end.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

"So let us be alert to the ways in which we can continue to love one another, and be God’s living words of love in the world, because in that love is our holiness, our strength, and the joy with which we can stand with one another before the Son of Man when he comes to reign."

Cleo Mullins our altarpiece conservator was here to explain the conservation process during the announcements and describe the problems she encountered in the various parts of the altarpiece. It is a case of the elements (earthquake water damage),  time (framework gild, tablets bowing)  and human mistakes (overpaint and damage to the framework by ladders). She opened the review to questions. The conservation  is not an exact process since various details may be revealed in the conservation. 

We also included in the bulletin a pamphlet and have a form for donating or pledge to the altarpiece. Catherine revealed that  the cost of $64K has been met by donations and pledges of $31K.  We have an altarpiece page with articles and videos.

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