Received via email.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
It’s hard to believe, but the Season of Advent is upon us! It seems just like yesterday that it was summer and now we find ourselves four weeks from the celebration of Christ’s Incarnation. In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is so wasy to become distracted and overwhelmed by the many demands of this time of the year put upon us. Let’s put some things about this season of Advent into perspective:
The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God. That is a process in which we now participate, and the consummation of which we anticipate. Scripture reading for Advent will reflect this emphasis on the Second Advent, including themes of accountability for faithfulness at His coming, judgment on sin, and the hope of eternal life.
In this double focus on past and future, Advent also symbolizes the spiritual journey of individuals and a congregation, as they affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in power. That acknowledgment provides a basis for Kingdom ethics, for holy living arising from a profound sense that we live “between the times” and are called to be faithful stewards of what is entrusted to us as God’s people. So, as the church celebrates God’s inbreaking into history in the Incarnation, and anticipates a future consummation to that history for which “all creation is groaning awaiting its redemption,” it also confesses its own responsibility as a people commissioned to “love the Lord your God with all your heart” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
It is our job as Christ’s body here on earth, to celebrate his presence in our midst daily through Word and sacrament. What ways can we reach out to those who are isolated, depressed and alone? Are there tangible ways to reach our to the needy and the destitute to let them know that God is with them and that He cares for them in a powerful way?
Take time to remember the reason for the season and diocesan family, let’s BE the change we want to see in the world!
Peace and All Good,
I remain yours in the power of Christ,
Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes