St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Saturday, November 27, 2021 1 Advent
Jeremiah 33:14-161,Thessalonians 3:9-13, Luke 21:25-36The Collect for 1 Advent Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that, in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living an the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
A comment Yesterday I gave you some of what Dr. Therese Mueller wrote back in 1943 about Advent – She also wrote this, about the first Sunday of the season, which I have never seen anywhere else. It resonated with me. Maybe you will appreciate it as well: “As death is the only door through which we can enter into eternal life, so the day of judgment and destruction of this world is the only way that the work of our salvation can be perfected, that we can come into the glorious possession of the everlasting kingdom of Christ. And as we should learn to love and teach our children to love the day of death, so we should also bring ourselves to hope and long for the second coming of Christ with the same eagerness and longing as the world waited for his first appearance.”
So. That’s not exactly sentimental. But it is bracing: “learn to love the day of death. “Learn to love the End as well as the Beginning – since in our story, the End is ALSO a new, and ever better Beginning that will never end.
Advent. A time of “casting away” as well as of anticipating.
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the House of Judah. In those days and at that time I will execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days, Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we p[ray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you to increase and about in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Jesus said, “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 waves. People will faint form fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourself and know that summer is already near. So also when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all the things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away by my words will not pass away. Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that the day catch you unexpectedly. like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
A word from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin(1881-1955)“We persist in saying that we keep vigil in expectation of the Master. But in reality we should have to admit, if we were sincere, that we no longer expect anything. The flame must be revived at all costs. At all costs we must renew in ourselves the hope for the great coming. But where are we to look for the source of this rejuvenation? From the perception of a more intimate connection between the victory of Christ and the outcome of the work which our human effort here below is seeking to construct.”
Again – I urge you to keep it simple!
If you are receiving the Everything Holy packets from the diocese, you may feel overwhelmed by all the “stuff.” Don’t. Use what you like, let the rest go. If you already are using an ordinary Advent wreath, the tiny one they sent for daily use may not be appealing. Don’t worry about it. If you use their booklet of daily Advent devotions, let any others go. Or choose something else. We have the one from Forward Day by Day; I have given you others by Henri Nouwen; Shelby Kurz will be putting up hers online – Don’t try to do too much. Any of those is good enough.