The first Sunday of Advent…is not about the first coming of Jesus, incognito in the stable at Bethlehem. It is about the second coming, “in glory to judge the living and the dead.” It is about the final breaking in of God upon our darkness. It is about the promise that against all the evidence, there is a God who cares.” (The Rev. Fleming Rutledge)
The traditional words of Advent erupt from Jesus’ parables: Watch! Be ready! Stay awake! These exclamations are quite different from many of our neighbors’ well-intentioned but unmoored “Season’s Greetings!” (I’m smiling as I write this, thinking what it would be like to respond to a cashier’s “Seasons Greetings!” with “Stay Awake!”) Our words are different, because our expectation is different.
I really like Fleming Rutledge’s words, the reminder that Advent “is about the final breaking in of God upon our darkness,” and “it is about the promise that…there is a God who cares.” Our neighbors need to know King Jesus was/is/will be that inbreaking from God. And so we will pray.
Each week in Advent we will focus on one of four words emerging from our Scripture readings: Come. Comfort. Create. Plant. These words will become intercessions for our neighbors and our mission partners. Each Sunday in Advent, you’ll carry home a Prayer Guide to shape your prayers throughout the week. You will also be invited to pray for two incarcerated women by name, women served by Deacon Sallie through Kairos, a prison ministry our congregation supports.
Each Tuesday in Advent you’re invited to join me at noon via Zoom for Midday Prayer and a time of guided intercession. (Click https://tinyurl.com/IAC-Advent-Midday-Prayer and use the password “Advent.”)
Each Thursday in Advent you’re invited to join me at 8:00pm via Zoom for Compline and another time of guided intercession. (Click https://tinyurl.com/IAC-Advent-Compline and use the password “Advent.”)
These additional two times of prayer also give us the opportunity to see faces and hear voices, engaging with each other in this time when we’re all longing for more connection. Please join us! (Click here to find the Advent Prayer Guide and Zoom links on our website.)
This email will reach your inbox on Thanksgiving Day, so Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! Among the many things for which I will give thanks is the gift of being a part of Immanuel’s family. Your outpouring of love on my birthday was unexpected and very encouraging. Thank you!
Also remember another expression of thankfulness to God is your pledge. Please do send in your pledge cards to the church office by the end of November.
And let’s all give thanks for our shared expectation this Advent season: The personal, cosmic, compassionate, just King Jesus is coming.
Your Pastor in Christ,