We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, and we respect and honor with gratitude the land itself, the legacy of the ancestors, and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

The Shape of Advent in Scriptures, Year B

Each week in Advent has a specific theme:

Week 1- The End of Time / Remaining Awake
Week 2 – God promises for Peace and Justice / John the Baptism
Week 3 – Rejoice (Gaudete Sunday) / John the Baptist
Week 4 – The Messiah

Advent comes from a Latin word – “advenire” – which means to come to/ During Advent. There are three comings:

• 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. The second coming
• 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

Advent causes us to remember that we are a people who live “between.” We live between the incarnation and the parousia, the day of the Lord.

Advent is a journey, a pilgrimage of watching and waiting. We are not ready for the Christ Child as we have work to do.

Week  1 – The second of three comings is always on Advent 1, Week one. Jesus reminds us to remain awake to stay awake to be aware and not to sleep to see what is coming and what God has in store for us.  We must engage with the suffering of God’s people.

Week one is one of judgment if we have not centered our lives in Christ and have a relationship with God. We see the need for our repentance.

Isaiah states it clearly. The people have begun to recognize that their Exile to Babylonia was a consequence of their failure to live with integrity and in the ways of the Lord. Their selfishness had shrivelled them up like fallen leaves – their sin like the autumn wind scattering them.

We are in constant need of being remoulded or reworked. The Lord is envisioned as an artisan; a potter working, molding, fashioning in a continuing way this broken people. He also comes to a moment of trust and peace: God is the Father who does not forget His children – God is the potter – we are the clay, we are the work of God’s hands.

Week 2 is the announcement from John the Baptist. In the Old Testament, Isaiah 40 deals with a new journey with the exiles in Babylonia striving to get back to their home land in Judea. God would bring them back to Judea, to end their earthly days in freedom, but not without much struggle and strife.

We have yearnings in our hearts for wholeness, love, and peace and someone is coming who will meet their needs. The readings focus on preparing for the coming of Christ through repentance and asking for God’s healing. John the Baptist marks the transition from the Old Testament to the New Testament In our text from the gospel of Mark

Week 3. We have engaged with the suffering of God’s people and have seen that the words they speak are our words too as they come from our heart. The answer will be to rejoice

The color of the service changes from blue/violent to rose. Rose is the color of celebration – a combination of white (color of Christmas) and violet (the color of Advent) also reminds us of the blessed virgin

The message from today’s readings is clear: the salvation we await with joy will liberate both the individual and the community, and its special focus appears to be the poor and lowly, not necessarily the rich and powerful. Jesus comes so that as individuals and as community we may be free from the poverty which afflicts the spiritual lives of all of us and for some in our world, their temporal lives too, that we might be transformed and preserved whole and entire, spirit, soul, and body.

Week 4. Advent 4 invites us to respond to the wonder and mystery of God and to acknowledge his plans for us.

Whose agenda are you following? Your own agenda or God’s agenda? Whose will are you doing? Your own will or God’s will? Whose kingdom are you building up? Your own kingdom or God’s kingdom? It is clear they were following God

Mary was certainly not following her own agenda or doing her own will or building her own kingdom when she said ‘Yes’ to the angel Gabriel to become the mother of Jesus; “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) Think of the consequences it could have had for her. She could have been stoned to death according to the law of that time (Deut 22:20-21). For that reason Mary knew that from the human point of view she may not even be able to bring her pregnancy to its full term but she had faith to believe that what is impossible for us is possible for God. And so with that faith she said “yes.” She surrendered into the hands of God, and it really was surrendering because she did not know what the consequences would be. But she had faith to believe that no matter what difficulties would follow, God would provide a way out and a remedy. Mary’s final words to the angel are a model for each of us, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) And because Mary surrendered to God, Jesus came.

As we are approaching Christmas, we are fully embracing Advent  and we’re fully hearing the good news of what God has done that the Messiah is coming God has heard our yearning for Redemption and our yearning to cure our brokenness. He will actively enter our world to heal our hearts and bind us together