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.

Arts and Faith, Advent 1, Year A

In the masterful complexity of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel (1477–83), a cast of figures surrounds the selected scenes of Salvation history: sibyls, prophets, ancestors in the genealogy of Jesus, angels, caryatids, and personifications of classical architecture. Among these, we spot Isaiah the prophet, who turns with surprised consideration to two angels behind him. One of these angels guides his attention with intensity to the scene above them: preparations for Noah’s ark. In today’s Lectionary readings, Isaiah and Noah again find each other side by side.

In Michelangelo’s depiction, Isaiah looks on the brink of a new thought, an inspired insight that reveals God’s grace in the course of history. As a prophet, his call was to invite God’s people with him into these moments of inspiration. Accepting his invitation, we wonder: was he thinking of Noah’s ark, resting atop Mount Ararat, when he handed on the vision of God’s holy mountain? In Isaiah’s vision, all people stream toward this holy mountain, a holy place of peace and reconciliation, where swords become ploughshares and spears become pruning hooks. Is this also a place where we might find our solid ground, after the rain and flood, storm and tempest? In these Advent days, what brings us up God’s holy mountain?

Ignacian Meditation The video and prayer for the First Week of Advent, Cycle A, is based on Isaiah 2:1-5. “The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain.” —Isaiah 2:2


As we begin this time of quiet prayer, I invite you to find a comfortable place to sit with your back straight and your legs planted on the ground. Allow yourself to notice your breathing as you breathe normally. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Take a few moments and close your eyes, preparing yourself to listen to what God may be saying to you during this prayer. As you sit with your eyes closed, use these or similar words: “Here I am, Lord. Here I am.” When you are ready, open your eyes and pray.

The Mountain of the Lord’s House

Imagine you are climbing up the mountain of the Lord. As you start the path is wide with beautiful trees and flowers along the way. You fill your lungs with the cool, clean air. As you continue you notice the path is becoming narrow and steep. There seem to be more rocks sticking up from the ground. You find yourself a little out of breath as the air becomes thinner the higher you climb. You decide to rest on a large rock to catch your breath. You look up the path to see how much more you need to climb. You see someone in the distance. He’s looking at you. It looks like his hand is waving for you to come. Though you are alone, you are not afraid. In fact, you feel a pull, a desire to go this person.

You are standing in front of him. He is dressed in long robes that are moving gently in the mountain air. He smiles at you and asks, “What are you seeking on this path?” What do you say to him? What are you seeking?

“I am the prophet Isaiah. This is the mountain of the Lord. It is rich with life and dreams. What dreams do you bring to this place?” What are the dreams you bring to this mountain? What are your dreams that you want to share with the Lord?

Isaiah looks at you with eyes that know how to dream. “My dreams beat swords into plowshares. They are dreams of peace, of life, of hope.” What are the swords in your heart that need to be changed? What are the swords that wound you and hold you back from dreaming and from climbing the mountain of the Lord? Give those swords to Isaiah, the prophet, the dreamer. Ask him to help you change them into something life-giving.

“I will change your swords into plowshares so you can till the soil of your soul and know that God is with you. Are you ready for this dream to be real?” You look into the eyes of this dreamer, Isaiah, and you say, Yes. Yes, I am ready. Isaiah smiles at you and takes your hand in his. He looks at you with eyes filled deep with hope and life. He understands you. “Come,” he says, “let us walk in the light of the Lord!”

Concluding Prayer

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Getting ready for Advent – A Time to Prepare for Preparation

We are ending the liturgical year on Sunday and approaching a new year on 1st Advent. Naturally we are looking ahead and seeing if we are ready. The anamoly is that Advent starts that year which is itself a time of preparation. So this Sunday we are preparing to prepare!

The key in all of this is to begin Advent with a different or changed mindset and a resolve for doing. Here are a few steps from BeliefNet and from our Advent study “Singing Mary’s Song” 

1. Have a  proper mindset – Be ready to stop in your busy tracks and embrace the season of Advent and, most importantly, its purpose. The Advent message is “deliverance from oppression and bondage, to those who have much and those who have nothing..” The message of Advent is that, whatever our circumstance in life, Jesus Christ was bornto be with us wherever we are. We have to be ready mentally to hear it. 

2. Prepare a room at the Inn. Your heart is where Christ wishes to dwell and Advent is the perfect time to make room in it for His presence. If your heart is filled with unforgiveness, it has no room for Christ.

“We need to uncover that place this Advent where we can be silent, reflective, and prayerful. During this time of waiting, our eyes, ears, and minds can adjust to the radiant presence of God’s love for us in Jesus Chris.t”

3. Clean out the Cobwebs. You ask God to reveal any unforgiveness that you are holding, it is important to clean out the vestiges of cobwebs that may still be lurking in the dark corners of your heart. The Advent message may be blocked or obscured by these.

The first readings of Advent are about repentence

This prophecy points to John the Baptist, who says to the crowds: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance.” (Luke 3:7-8) Then John tells the people what the Messiah is coming to do: “His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

4. Expect the unexpected or the obscured

“For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37)

“The unfolding drama of Jesus’ life brims with impossibilities—a virgin con¬ceives, and God enters human history; a woman well beyond childbearing years delivers a healthy child; a man returns to life from a tomb; the Holy Spirit empowers a small, frightened group of men and women huddled in an upper room in Jerusalem to develop into a worldwide movement that for twenty-one centuries has “been turning the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).”

5. Hang new curtains /get out the China

How are we to prepare for the coming of the Messiah? This is precisely the question the people ask John in the Gospel of Luke: “What should we do?”

Look closely at John’s answer: “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” (Luke 3:11) Then the businessmen and bankers of John’s day come forward, and they, too, ask, “What should we do?” John answers, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” (Luke 3:12-13) The military powers come forward and they, too, ask, “And we, what are we to do?” John replies, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats and false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.” (Luke 3:14)

Last Pentecost, Nov. 20 – Return to the Crucifixion – the Penitent Thief

From Trinity Church, NY

“On this last Sunday in Pentecost we return to the crucifixion in the worst of days. “But Luke suddenly injects this most harrowing of moments with a glimmer of unexpected hope. Even here, before a hint of Easter, one thief — dying on his own cross — experiences revelation. Here, at the eleventh hour, he recognizes something powerful — both about himself and about Jesus.

From the Catholic Register

“His story has caused many believers to feel drawn to the one some early Christians named Dismas (Greek for “dying”).

“Dismas became quite sobered during his crucifixion. As he considered his situation, while up on his own cross, he became awash with humility and regret. This newfound attitude seemed to spur on a new hope, trust, faith and love. After Gestas (the name given to the criminal hung on the other side of Jesus) reviled Jesus, demanding that Jesus do something about their precarious situation, it was Dismas who admonished him, who stepped in and defended Jesus. It was Dismas who reminded him that they had done wrong. They deserved their punishments. Dismas was clear in pointing out to Gestas that Jesus was an innocent man and did not deserve to be the recipient of such loathsome abuse, much less subjected to a crucifixion.

“As the heart and mind of Dismas transformed, he came to know that he was next to a man of overwhelming love and power, and he decided to risk asking Jesus for an undeserved, glorious favor: that Jesus would remember him when Jesus arrived at his kingdom. Jesus’ response was striking―he promised they would be together that very day in Paradise! This phenomenal pledge probably made the pain of Dismas’s crucifixion seem less horrific, perhaps even joyful, on that traumatic day. Jesus forgiving Dismas with such ease, even though he had been a great sinner, is a wonderful sign of hope and encouragement for all.

“In his awareness of personal culpability, and Jesus’s innocence, the thief “comes to himself” like the prodigal son of Jesus’s famous parable (Luke 15:17). His identity is reframed in the light of Jesus’s identity, and what that means for all of humanity. The “penitent” thief therefore asks Jesus to “remember” him, a word that here connotes a true re-membering; the thief is aware of his once divided self and sees that Jesus — in his kingdom — can make all things whole.

From “Small Simple Ways by Vinita Hampton Wright”

“We can safely say that this thief beside Jesus was in desolation—dying and afraid. We don’t know if he made this request of Jesus out of desperation or if he experienced true faith and recognized Jesus for who he was. But the man turned to Jesus. And Jesus, dying himself, answered with generosity.

When going through desolation, we come up with all kinds of reasons not to turn to Jesus. We feel guilty—surely we brought this on ourselves, we think. Or we feel that Jesus doesn’t really care. Or we assert that many other people suffer more than we do, so we should just be quiet. At these times, we need to remember the thief on the cross and how Jesus responded to him.”

From “Crucifying the King: The Penitent Thief”

The promise is that the criminal would be “with Jesus” in paradise. Jesus’ close association with sinners and tax collectors that was part of his life, is also part of his death and his life beyond death. The word “paradise” (originally from Persia) meant “garden,” “park” or “forest”. The Greek paradeisos was used in the LXX for the “garden” in Eden, the idyllic place in the beginning where the humans walked and talked with God. Isaiah presents the “garden/paradise” of Eden as part of the future salvation (53:3). Later, some groups within Judaism considered paradise to be the place where the righteous went after death. Paul considered paradise to be in the “third heaven” (2Cor 12:4). Revelation has the tree of life in the “paradise of God” (2:7). In later chapters the tree of life seems to be located in the new Jerusalem that has come down from heaven (22:2,14,19). Perhaps as with basileia, we should think of paradeisos as something other than just a place – perhaps as a restored relationship with God.

ECM Collection for Thanksgiving, Christmas – $1,017.20!!

As of Mon, Nov 14, the ECM (Episcopal Church Men has collected $1017.20 for their seasonal offering

The plans are to distribute to social service to they can provide gifts cards for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The men will decide how to divide their gifts.

The church will be collecting the Christmas portion of the offering until Sunday, Dec. 11

Christ the King Sunday


Last Sunday in Ordinary Time -We celebrate Christ the King Sunday as the last Sunday of Ordinary Time just before we begin Advent. It is the switch in the Liturgy between Years A, B, and C. Year A focuses on Matthew, Year B on Mark and Year C on Luke. The Gospel of John is included in each year in the Easter time frame.

The readings for the last Sunday after Pentecost are full of references to the return of Christ, when evil will be defeated and Jesus will begin his final reign as King of kings. In Advent, the Church year begins with a focus on the final restoration of all creation to its original glory. In preparation, on the last Sunday of the Church year, we proclaim the advent of the Lord of lords and King of kings.

The earliest Christians identified Jesus with the predicted Messiah of the Jews. The Jewish word "messiah," and the Greek word "Christ," both mean "anointed one," and came to refer to the expected king who would deliver Israel from the hands of the Romans. Christians believe that Jesus is this expected Messiah. Unlike the messiah most Jews expected, Jesus came to free all people, Jew and Gentile, and he did not come to free them from the Romans, but from sin and death. Thus the king of the Jews, and of the cosmos, does not rule over a kingdom of this world.

Christians have long celebrated Jesus as Christ, and his reign as King is celebrated to some degree in Advent (when Christians wait for his second coming in glory), Christmas (when "born this day is the King of the Jews"), Holy Week (when Christ is the Crucified King), Easter (when Jesus is resurrected in power and glory), and the Ascension (when Jesus returns to the glory he had with the Father before the world was created).

The recent celebration of Christ the King came from the Catholics in the 20th century. Pope Pius XI wanted to specifically commemorate Christ as king, and instituted the feast in the Western calendar in 1925.  Pius connected the denial of Christ as king to the rise of secularism. Secularism was on the rise, and many Christians, even Catholics, were doubting Christ’s authority, as well as the Church’s, and even doubting Christ’s existence. Pius XI, and the rest of the Christian world, witnessed the rise of dictatorships in Europe, and saw Catholics being taken in by these earthly leaders

Pius hoped the institution of the feast would have various effects. They were:

1. That nations would see that the Church has the right to freedom, and immunity from the state

2. That leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ

3. That the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies


Art celebrates this Sunday with various symbols – Crown of Thorns
Crown,  Jesus on Throne,  Jesus holding scepter and orb,  Kingly attire/activities, Crucifix.


Christ’s kingship is one of humility and service. Jesus said:

"You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to become great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:42-45).

Pilate said to Jesus, "Are you the King of the Jews?"… Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here." So Pilate said to him, "Then you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth (John 18:33b, 36-37)

Liturgical Year


1.   (From A Pilgrim People:  Learning through the Church Year, by John Westerhoff)


Advent is a time for hope, for dreaming of new possibilities, a time set aside to rethink  the ways in which we choose to live our lives.  Advent is a time of anticipation, of watching and waiting, and of transformation. 


During Christmas, we celebrate God’s coming to be with us here, to share our human nature. We celebrate because Jesus has come to live as one of us, to lead us into a new life.  Jesus will also experience suffering and death as each one of us will.   It is in the context of Jesus’ death and resurrection that we celebrate the miracle of his incarnation.


Epiphany opens with the Feast of the Three Kings, and so we begin our season of journeying, as the wise men did.  Epiphany is the season of the longings of the human heart, the invitation to go on a journey led by God, a journey full of mystery, a journey over which we have no control, a journey which we cannot fully comprehend.  Epiphany is the season of revelation, as we become more and more aware of  the true identity of Jesus, the Son of God.  Our faith is deepened and strengthened. 


During Lent we take on risks, journeying through death toward life, entering a wilderness where both God and the evil one are present.  We open ourselves to suffering.   Lent is a time of growing into our true identities, as we accept ourselves, with all of our weaknesses and shortcomings and examine our consciences.   Through penance we open ourselves to becoming whole again, and we make amends for the damage we have done to ourselves, to others, and to creation itself. 

Holy Week and Easter

The story of Easter is the story of God’s victory, a time of consummation, when now and not yet come together through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.  All of creation becomes new, God transforms us, and redeems the whole world.  We see that, through God’s redeeming love, we have been made saints.  God’s reign is here, is still in the process of becoming, and  has yet to be.  God is always in the process of making all things new.

Ordinary Time

After Easter,  Jesus’s ascension into heaven, and the coming of the Holy Spirit  to us at Pentecost, we accept responsibility for being and becoming Christ’s body in the world.  We are called by Jesus to live in community, our lives together guided not only by the example of Jesus, but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  As we live our lives in the Spirit, we “explore the implications of Easter and endeavor to live into our baptisms” (John Westerhoff, A Pilgrim People:  Learning through the Church Year)   

2. Church Liturgical Year Table   

Commentary, Nov. 20, 2022, “Christ the King” Sunday

I.Theme –   Jesus –  A real king – bringing God’s reign of justice and mercy to earth 

The lectionary readings are here  or individually:

Old Testament – Jeremiah 23:1-6
Psalm – Psalm 46
Epistle –Colossians 1:11-20
Gospel – Luke 23:33-43

This is a transitional Sunday. Christ the King Sunday signals the end of Ordinary Time and the end of our use of the Year C readings. 

The end of year readings are partially about kingship – good kings, bad kings and our treatment of them.  Jeremiah provides an analysis of bad kings – blamed for scattering the sheep and being evil. This is not just one ruler but a trend.

A secondary theme is God’s role in all of this. God will make good kings again and restore the people’s relationship to the earth and to each other. The Psalm demonstrates God’s protection and like a King defense of the people.  It is a praise psalm.  While there will be troubles, dislocations and woundes,  ultimately God will be bring peace end division. 

All of this culminates in the Gospel reading. Jesus is God’s way of ruling in this world and in the world to come.  His ruling was born out of struggle. We are there with him with criminals on either side of him.

Then we see Jesus exercising his dominion in the midst of mockery, coercion, and arrogance. His two "words" from the cross in Luke’s account enact his authority. The first (Luke 23:34) fits powerfully in the narrative: "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing!"

The second (Luke 23:43) anticipates Jesus’ authority as the Son of Man, conferring mercy on sinners in God’s ultimate judgment: "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."  He is there meeting the needs of those around him. 

Joining Jesus in paradise had nothing to do with dying. It had nothing to do with being raised from the dead. It had everything to do with seeing beyond the appearances to the truth, that God is victorious in the cross. It has everything to do with the thief’s realization that his own condemnation on the cross bore no relationship to his standing before God. 

He asks neither to be rescued from this plight nor revenged for his suffering. Rather, he wants only to be remembered, to not be forgotten. And how does Jesus respond? He exceeds even the criminal’s wildest expectations, declaring that today, even now, he would enter with Jesus into paradise.  In that moment, he became free. 

The Gospel is the story of how Jesus the Messiah of God brought God’s reign of justice and mercy to earth, and Luke’s account presents the crucified Messiah enacting God’s reign, surrounded by mocking, brutal violence.

David Lose writes how Jesus became a real king. "What kind of king is this, who welcomes a criminal into his realm and promises relief and release amid obvious agony? It is a king who refuses to conform to the expectations of this world, who will be governed neither by its limited vision of worthiness nor its truncated understanding of justice. It is a king who is not content to rule from afar, but rather comes to meet us in our weakness and need. It is a king willing to embrace all, forgive all, redeem all, because that is his deepest and truest nature. It is, finally, our king, come to usher us into his kingdom even as he implores us to recognize and make more manifest that kingdom already around us. 

II. Summary

Old Testament – Jeremiah 23:1-6

In Chapters 21-22, Jeremiah has made prophecies about four of the five last kings of Judah. Three of these he considers bad, for siding with foreigners.

Rather than predicting the fate of the last one, Zedekiah, God now speaks (through Jeremiah) about an ideal future king. God blames Judah’s kings (“shepherds”) for scattering his “sheep”; they will be punished “for your evil doings” (v. 2). But God will bring the people together again, to perfect safety, and will set good kings (“shepherds”, v. 4) over them. Their state will be as God originally intended: in the first creation story, God commanded humans to “be fruitful and multiply” (v. 3). God makes a formal pronouncement (“the days are surely coming”, v. 5) when God will “raise up” a godly “Branch” (shoot, descendant) of David’s line who will be wise, just and godly, ruling over both “Judah” (v. 6) and “Israel”. (Zedekiah is alluded to in a wordplay, the Hebrew for “righteousness” being tzidkenu.) Later prophets, in dark times of unfaithful kings, recalled this ideal rule and promised its realization in the future. This led to expecting a new era, when God would himself rule the faithful.

Psalm  – Psalm 46

This psalm tells of God’s protection and defense of his people. Perhaps the psalmist thinks of Isaiah 8:6-7; there “streams” (v. 4) are what God provides to the godly. The “city of God” is Jerusalem, God’s dwelling place on earth. Even if natural disasters (earthquakes, vv. 2-3) or political turmoil (v. 6) occur, or earth returns to its primordial chaotic state (“waters”, v. 3), God will remain (“not be moved”, v. 5), answering night-long prayer in the “morning”. Israel has suffered “desolations” (v. 8) for not doing God’s will. In a liturgy, a priest or prophet invites participants to consider God’s deeds: he ends political turmoil, bringing peace (v. 9). Recognize that God is supreme over all the earth! (v. 10) He is with his people and keeps them safe (v. 11). 

Epistle – Colossians 1:11-20

The author has heard of the trust in Christ his readers have because of their hope of eternal life. “This hope … is bearing fruit and growing … from the day you … truly comprehended the grace of God” (his freely given gift of love expressed in Christ, vv. 5-6). So he prays for them that they may experience God’s ways to the full, leading the ethical lives God expects, and growing in knowledge of him (v. 10). Faced with deviant teaching, may God make them “strong” (v. 11) and “prepared to endure everything”. God (in Christ) has “rescued us” (v. 13) from the power of evil (“darkness”) and moved us to Christ’s realm, enabling us to share with others in the “inheritance” (v. 12, in being God’s children).

Vv. 15-20 is a hymn about Christ (“He”); he is how we see (and access) God (“image”). Angelology was popular at the time; “thrones …” (v. 16) were orders of angels; each was “created”, had its origin “in him”, and exists “for him”; any power they have is subordinate to Christ’s. The whole of creation, both heavenly and earthly, were created “through him” (v. 16), with his participation. He is the “firstborn” (v. 18), the inheritor from the Father, of created-ness; he governs it and is the cohesive power of the universe (v. 17). He existed “before all things”, before the first creative act. Greeks saw the “head” (v. 18) as the body’s source of life and growth. Christ is this to the Church, and “head” of it in the modern sense. He is “the beginning”, the nucleus of restoration of humanity to union with God, of the new created-ness. In his death (“blood of his cross”, v. 20), resurrection, and ascension to the Father, he is the forerunner (“firstborn”, v. 18) of our elevation to being with the Father, of our reconciliation with the Father (v. 20). Christians at Colossae tried to find ultimate power and truth in various deities, but in Christ all power and ultimate truth is present (v. 19).

Gospel – Luke 23:33-43  

Jesus has been betrayed, arrested, mocked, beaten, and sentenced to death. He, Simon of Cyrene (carrying the crossbar), two criminals and a few police have walked to Calvary, “the place that is called The Skull” (v. 33).

Jesus continues his ministry of giving forgiveness to those who have not heard the Good News (v. 34). The division of his clothing fulfills the prophecy in Psalm 22:18; to be deprived of one’s clothing was to lose one’s identity. (Biblical examples are prisoners, slaves, prostitutes and damned people.)

The mob contemplates what is happening, but the “leaders” (v. 35) taunt Jesus: they blaspheme against God. In accord with Psalm 69:21, a psalm of the innocently suffering godly one, Jesus is offered “sour wine” (v. 36) – to revive him, and to prolong his ordeal.

Ironically, “Messiah of God, his chosen one” (v. 35) and “King of the Jews” (v. 38) are all true.

Three points emerge from this passage. First, we note the passage in general functions as a "last temptation of Christ. " Jesus refuses to subvert God’s plan by saving himself from a horrible death.

One might even say that the temptation here for Jesus to act in some way to "save himself" might even be stronger than it was in Luke 3. First, Luke skillfully uses language that puts Jesus’ trials here in a biblical context of unjust suffering. In v. 35 the high priests are said to "mock" him. A placard was placed around the criminal’s neck, bearing an “inscription” (v. 38) stating his crime.

Second, we see the recognition by the evildoer of Jesus’ kingdom. One criminal joins with the mob (v. 39) but the other responds positively to Jesus (vv. 40-41). For him there is salvation; Jesus pronounces him free of sin. Only a king can give pardon. (“Paradise”, v. 43, was the Jewish name for the temporary resting place of the godly dead.) 

Third, we note the idea that today is the right time to respond to the claims of the kingdom on us.

David Lose writes "The kingdom of God (or of heaven, in Matthew) is not simply about supplanting an earthly ruler with a heavenly one. In heralding the coming kingdom of God, Jesus was not advocating regime change. Rather, Jesus was announcing the advent of an entirely different way of being in relationship with each other and with God. It’s not the ruler that changes, but the realm in which we live… But the kingdom — or, maybe better, realm — of God that Jesus proclaims represents a whole new reality where nothing is the same — not our relationships or rules, not our view of self or others, not our priorities or principles — nothing. Everything we thought we knew about kings and kingdoms, in fact, gets turned right on its head.

"Further, the realm of God over which Christ is king is not lurking somewhere "out there." It is already here among us, heralded by Christ’s preaching and made manifest in his death and resurrection. Yes, some future consummation may await us, yet the new realm is also already here, in our very midst. That means, of course, that we presently live in both realms, citizens of this world and citizens of the kingdom Jesus inaugurated. 

" No longer can we keep our faith a private affair and ignore the need of our neighbor. No longer can we sing robust and rousing hymns about God’s glory and majesty and ignore the plight of God’s good earth. No longer can we pray that God’s kingdom come and yet manage our wealth as if it actually belonged — rather than was entrusted — to us. And no longer can we relegate the realm of God to a comfortably distant — or for that matter frighteningly near — future. The realm and rule of God is all around us, beckoning us to live by its vision and values even now.

The Wonderful Season of Advent

The name “Advent” actually comes from the Latin word adventus which means “coming.” It is a reminder of how the Jewish nation waited for the Messiah and how Christians are now waiting for the return of Christ.

Advent which begins this Sunday Nov. 28 is like a breath of fresh air -a new church year, a new set of Gospel readings from Mark, and the anticipation of the birth of Christ.

The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas. It blends together a penitential spirit, very similar to Lent, a liturgical theme of preparation for the Second and Final Coming of the Lord, called the Parousia, and a joyful theme of getting ready for the Bethlehem event.

The Advent wreath, four candles on a wreath of evergreen, is shaped in a perfect circle to symbolize the eternity of God. The Advent Wreath is beautiful and evocative reminder of the life-giving qualities of light. The evergreens used in the wreath are reminders of ongoing life, even in the face of death.

There are 4 candles, one for each week in Advent, are used with one larger white candle in the middle as the Christ candle. During each Sunday of the Advent season, we focus on one of the four virtues Jesus brings us: Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. Three of the candles are purple. This is the color of penitence and fasting as well as he color of royalty to welcome the Advent of the King.

The Third candle is pink, a color of joy, the joy that Jesus is almost here and fasting is almost order. Gaudete Sunday (from the Latin meaning “rejoice”) which is taken from Philippians 4:4-5, the Entrance Antiphon of the day.

Advent begins in a season of darkness but using the Advent wreath we see light winning over darkness. Lighting candles is a way we can keep time in Church And as the season passes, and another candle is lit each week, light finally wins out over darkness with the turn of the solstice in the stars and the birth of Christ on the ground.

At the center of the wreath is a white candle, which is called the Christ Candle. This candle is lit on Christmas Eve as a reminder that Jesus, the light of the world, has been born and has come to dwell with us.

It is a season of waiting, of rest but also a time to find new beginnings. Since the 900s Advent has been considered the beginning of the Church year. It is antidote for our society’s frantic behavior during the holiday season. There is so much in the world that tells you, you are not enough or you haven’t do enough before Christmas but you have to find out during Advent that you are enough.

The first week of Advent is all about hope. Lamentations 3: 21-24: “Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; “therefore I will wait for him.” (NIV).

The altar changes during Advent to represent the new season, particularly in the use of color. Today, many churches have begun to use blue instead of purple, as a means of distinguishing Advent from Lent. Blue also signifies the color of the night sky or the waters of the new creation in Genesis 1. Blue emphasizes the season is also about hope and anticipation of the coming of Christ. Christ is about transformation as the sky changes from dark to light filling our lives with grace.

Advent Traditions

Advent Wreath