Anglican Fellowship of Prayer
ADVENT: The coming or arrival, especially of something awaited or momentous !
December 3, 2007
Dear Partners in Prayer,
During the course of our lives we all have looked forward to the coming or arrival of many different things, some more important than others. For example, students look forward to the advent of a new school year, engaged couples look forward to the advent of their life together as man and wife, and we look forward to the advent of our vacation, etc. Of course, we all look forward to the advent of a new year, and I would like to think we also look forward to the advent of the new Church year. Many years ago when I was confirmed into the Episcopal Church, I memorized a poem which starts as follows:
Advent tells us Christ is near; Christmas tells us Christ is here.
In Epiphany we trace all the glory of His Grace
The verses continued to describe the entire church year, which made it easy to remember its seasons, but it is the first line which is meaningful to us today. Yes, the Advent season points us to Christmas when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Not to leave it there, it also points us to Christ’s 2 nd coming. As we say at the Eucharist: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”.
The Advent Season seems to be a time for much commercialism, but I hope we can look beyond all that commercialism and not forget that the Advent Season is a time for anticipation and preparation, of preparing our hearts for His coming, whether it be celebrating His birth or anticipating His 2 nd coming. We give and receive gifts at His birth and in His Name, and it is a time to realize that we receive the greatest gift of all, a gift from God because of His love for us. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son…”
The last time I wrote to you was in March, shortly after the board met at Camp Hardtner in the Diocese of Western Louisiana. Our newest board member, the Rev. Paula Claire Hall, is a priest there. She has done an inventory of some of our books; please watch for it on line. In September we met in Springfield, Illinois; board member Rob Barry is in that diocese. We will continue to improve our website ministry (we welcome your suggestions! ), but also to encourage and support diocesan prayer teachings, such as the workshop on Contemplative Prayer Dec. 1 in Pittsburgh, "Waiting Upon God". It was very well attended. Please let us know about yours so we can pray for it, and advertise it on line. We meet in Richmond, Virginia in February. We hope to do a reprint of Bp Hultstrand's _The Praying Church_, and are grateful for your continued prayers and support.
We wish you all a blessed Advent and Christmas season.
William C. Williams