Extended Advent Orientation

This series encourages your community to observe Advent for up to seven weeks this year, though it can certainly be used for a four-week Advent too. Our materials are organized by date to make it easy for you do what works best for your context: whatever Sunday of Advent you’re on, and no matter howContinue reading “Extended Advent Orientation”

Adapting the Advent Wreath

The most immediate challenge of an extended Advent is how to count the weeks. The average Advent wreath can accommodate four candles. Also, the average Advent wreath was donated in memory of someone, and switching to something completely different might be tricky. Here are a few Advent candle options, with or without the existing wreath.Continue reading “Adapting the Advent Wreath”

November 14: “My Lord, What a Morning/Mourning”

The double meaning we find here does more than simply demonstrate just some mild poetic confusion about a hymn (or elucidate the trickiness of deploying a homonym in the oral-aural atmosphere of the worship environment).  I believe it also elucidates a deeper tension at the heart of the Christian faith. 

November 28: “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning”

Planetary bodies, sunlight, nighttime, seasons: these are signs of time that God controls, not you. Signs that you cannot change, because God sets them. Signs that you must only watch for. “Be alert at all times,” Jesus instructs. God will use the signs to tell you, on God’s time, that … it’s time.

December 5: “Freedom is Coming”

The song “Freedom is Coming” triumphantly declares a transformation that is both happening and not yet fully realized. As a freedom-song of the South African anti-apartheid movement, and eventually a freedom-song sung throughout the world, “Freedom is Coming” is all about helping people to imagine something that can be but isn’t yet.

December 12: “When the Poor Ones”

Fruited and unfruited trees both grow within each of us, and John’s urgency is not directed toward certain individuals, but toward everyone, calling us all to reveal to ourselves the patterns of behavior, habits of thought, and spiritual practices that undergird our daily choices.

November 14: “My Lord, What a Morning”

“‘Immediately after the suffering of those days the sun will be darkened,    and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven,    and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Human One will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn,Continue reading “November 14: “My Lord, What a Morning””

December 19: “Canticle of the Turning”

The effortless speed and lyrical density of “Canticle of the Turning” remind us that the very choice to live in Advent hope is an act of brinkmanship that rivals Mary’s own. In this last week of the season, there is no better time to enjoy the adrenaline rush of irrational faith.

November 28: “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning”

[Jesus said,] “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. ThenContinue reading “November 28: “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning””

December 5: Freedom is Coming/Jesus is Coming

[John the Baptizer] went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of Adonai, make God’s paths straight. Every valleyContinue reading “December 5: Freedom is Coming/Jesus is Coming”