From the Pastor’s Pen: Advent


As I look back at the sermons I have preached at St. Stephen so far, I have noticed a certain pre-occupation with time. I’ve asked the congregation, “When are we?” I’ve mused upon the continuous nature of the Reformation, and I’ve preached on “The End.” I assure you I did not realize how time-centered my sermons were, until I looked back on them.

And for those of you who are tired of time popping up in my sermons—I’m sorry to inform you we are about to enter a liturgical season that very much focuses on time.

We are entering the Advent season. This is a four week period of waiting—waiting to celebrate that which has already happened, the birth of Jesus—Waiting too, for that which has not yet happened, the second coming of Christ. The season of Advent is a season in which we hold together past and future, knowing that both shape our lives in the present. Our memory of God arriving for the entire world as a baby in a manger on Christmas, and our anticipation of God arriving for the entire world through a rule of justice and mercy, is experienced right now.

Advent is also the start of the “New Year” or perhaps you could call it a “changing of the guard,” as it moves us from one year’s worth of bible readings to the next. The liturgical year that will be ending on November 20th was a Matthew year, meaning most of the readings we had came from, or were related to, the Gospel of Matthew. The liturgical year beginning on November 27th is a Mark year, meaning most of the readings are from, or relate to, the Gospel of Mark.

We are entering Advent, when we hold time in tension and welcome in a years worth of new readings from Scripture.


Pastor Chris