PRELUDE MEDITATIONAt RCFOS last week, Emily talked about how Advent had started and how during Lent there’s all this stuff you do on a daily basis to make you aware of the season but there isn’t anything like that for Advent and how do you wait symbolically? and i muttered something about how you don’t do it symbolically you just do it but didn’t really say anything because i knew it would have turned into me getting bitchy about all the fancy “trappings” of Catholicism. But i got thinking later how maybe calling it a season of “waiting” is inaccurate (especially since we had also been talking about the importance of being present in the moment) and recalled how a lot of the Advent season sermons i’ve heard talk about “preparing your heart” and maybe Advent should be a season for thinking about Jesus and what he means and why he is important in our lives, why his entrance into this world is so important that we celebrate not only his birth but even the waiting period before his birth. And since Christ has already come we aren’t literally waiting but are in fact symbolically waiting, preparing our hearts to more fully welcome and celebrate Christ come Christmas.
Having lost the ancient sense of fear as a healthy dose of reverence and wonder, we are left with only the negative connotations of the word. The “fear of the Lord” spoken of in the Bible as the “beginning of wisdom” becomes incomprehensible. [But] it is fear – in the old sense of awe – that allows us to recognize the holy in our midst, fear that gives us the courage to listen and to let God awaken in us capacities and responsibilities we have been afraid to contemplate.
Last Sunday, we lit the first candle in our Advent wreath, the candle of hope. Let us light it again, remembering that the light of hope shines for us in the darkness of our lives.It hadn’t occurred to me that this would be the Peace Sunday. (Order of Advent candles: hope, peace, joy, love, Christ.) Talk about “peace” makes me uncomfortable. Not that i think violence is a grand old thing, but i think sometimes its use is warranted, and i find it particularly problematic in a Christian context since Jesus flat-out said that he wasn’t wholly anything that people had been expecting or hoping for, including a wholesale bringer of peace.
Lord, make us instruments of your peace
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is sadness, joy;
Where there is darkness, light.
Grant that we may seek
Not so much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
In pardoning that we are pardoned
And it is in dying that we are born
To eternal life. Amen
The Scripture readings were Isaiah 11:1-10 and Matthew 3:1-12 and Nancy Taylor gave the homily -- called “Seeing Beneath the Visible.” She said that the imagery of separating the wheat from the chaff and so on makes her very uneasy, because that language so often gets used to exclude whomever happens to be unpopular and then justify that exclusion, and besides she doesn’t believe in Hell. So she turned back to Isaiah and used that as a way into the Matthew text and talked about it as burning the injustice etc. I wasn’t convinced, but then i was also dozing off.
Bible class has ruined me. I am forever noticing how there is so much reference to Israel (e.g. “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel...”) and how no one ever problematizes that.
The confirmation class baked bread last night and distributed it during communion (though then we had deacons doing the “wine”).
We ended with “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” which i like part of anyway.
Come, thou long-expected Jesus,It’s that kind of peace i can get behind unproblematically.
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
I went to 4pm Vespers because of Lady Gillian. (I was planning on going, just to the later service.) It goes without saying that the service was lovely as always, though of course i had quibbles (not with you, dear). I was also really sleepy, which was unexpected and aggravating and doesn’t bode well for the rest of my night. Dinner soon and then back to the abyss.
Edit: Allie and i talk about "the people is grass."