First, in its Kalendar, it treats salvation history, walking the people of God through the seasons of the church year, following the sequence of events from the Fall of humanity to the Second Coming and the Last Judgment. Second, it treats the passage of each human being through the stages of life, from birth to burial. And third, in the bookends of Matins and Evensong, it treats the diurnal rhythms of each given day.
This Sunday we will see the first two aspects clearly in action, and we will look forward to the third.
The first Sunday of Advent begins the new year (Year C) of the Church calendar with the consideration of time itself, both “now in the time of this mortal life” in which Jesus came to visit us and “in the last day,” when he shall come again “in his glorious majesty.” Our readings focus intensely on making ourselves ready, now in this time, for the coming of our Lord Jesus to fulfill all promises and prophecy. In our gospel lesson, Jesus teaches his disciples about paying attention to signs that the Kingdom of God is near, admonishing them to “be alert at all times.”
New life and new beginning will be celebrated in the second aspect of time, as we welcome Wyatt Zarzour into the household of God through the sacrament of Holy Baptism. How fitting to begin this season of looking forward by renewing our own baptismal covenant, reaffirming our faith and committing ourselves anew to our promises for life in Christ!
Be alert this Sunday for changes in colors, in service music, in greenery on the altar, and in the whole tone of our worship. Everything that we do will be part of “waking up” to a time of preparation for Christ’s coming again. Make a note on your calendar for next Sunday afternoon’s Festival of Advent Lessons and Carols at 4 p.m. This beautiful service, which participates in the third aspect of time, is a good way to focus our minds on the great story of salvation history and to quiet hearts in the midst of a busy season in the world.
If you have not already done so, pick up Advent materials for children and families from the ministry table in the Chapter House, so that you can begin daily preparation of your heart for Jesus’ coming. Get ready!