First Sunday of Advent (Violet or Blue)

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

Readings   ISAIAH 2:1-5; PSALM 122; ROMANS 13:11-14; MATTHEW 24:36-44

Collect        Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility, that on the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. 

Alt I               God of peace, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; so that on the last day, when your Son Jesus shall come again to judge the living and the dead, we may rise to eternal life; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

FWM Proposed Collects (2004)

Alt II              Almighty God, as your kingdom dawns, turn us from the darkness of sin to the light of holiness, so that we may be ready to meet you in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Common Worship: Additional Collects (2004) alt.

Prayer over the Gifts

God of love and power, your word stirs within us the expectation of the coming of your Son. Accept all we offer you this day, and sustain us with your promise of eternal life. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer After Communion

God for whom we wait, you have fed us with the bread of eternal life. Keep us ever watchful, that we may be ready to stand before the Son of man. We ask this in the name of Christ the Lord.

First Reading

8 AM          THE FIRST LESSON IS TAKEN FROM THE 2ND CHAPTER OF THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET ISAIAH, BEGINNING AT THE 1ST VERSE.

10 AM         A READING FROM THE BOOK OF ISAIAH 

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

to the house of the God of Jacob;

that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.”

For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

8 AM                    THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.

10AM                    HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING TO THE CHURCH.

THANKS BE TO GOD.

ISAIAH 2:1-5

Psalm 122
PSALM
REFRAIN I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

Now our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. R

Jerusalem is built as a city that is at unity with itself;

To which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, the assembly of Israel, to praise the Name of the Lord. R

For there are the thrones of judgement, the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. R

Peace be within your walls and quietness within your towers.

For my brethren and companions’ sake, I pray for your prosperity.

Because of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek to do you good.” R

Second Reading

8 AM          THE SECOND LESSON IS TAKEN FROM THE 13TH CHAPTER OF THE LETTER OF SAINT PAUL TO THE ROMANS, BEGINNING AT THE 11TH VERSE.

10 AM         A READING FROM THE LETTER OF SAINT PAUL TO THE ROMANS

Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

8 AM                    THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.

10AM                    HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING TO THE CHURCH.

THANKS BE TO GOD.

ROMANS 13:11-14

Gospel

8 am           THE LORD BE WITH YOU. AND WITH THY SPIRIT.

THE HOLY GOSPEL IS WRITTEN IN THE 24TH CHAPTER OF THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SAINT MATTHEW, BEGINNING AT THE 36TH VERSE.

GLORY BE TO THEE, O LORD.

10 am         THE LORD BE WITH YOU.           AND ALSO WITH YOU.

THE HOLY GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO SAINT MATTHEW.

GLORY TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST.

But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

THIS IS THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.

PRAISE TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST.

MATTHEW 24:36-44

 

SERMON

Let us pray.

Holy God, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be always acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength and our redeemer.

Amen

“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father…Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

In conversations this week with some colleagues, this reading struck people as sounding not very Christmas-y. Perhaps a bit more suited to Easter and Lent.

I dare say that is point. Our society has gotten out of the Advent tradition. We start our Christmas celebrations earlier and earlier each year. I am sure that some of you saw, like I did, the retail adventures associated with the American Thanksgiving holiday this past week.

It used to be that you could count on retailers starting their big Christmas push right about now – after both Canada and the United States had finished their Thanksgiving Turkeys.

It has not been that way for quite some time. Some time ago I worked Sears in St. Thomas – we used to hang the Christmas decoration up on November 1st – right after Hallowe’en. It seems to me that the music came along at about noon or so on November 11th – right after the services at the Cenotaph were wrapped up.

Now, there were reports all over the news of stores skipping out on giving their employees the Thanksgiving holiday off work in the States. Employees were being called in on the evening of Thanksgiving – right at the height of their Turkey comas.

Some denominations have skipped Advent for all of their existence. Yet it remains on OUR Anglican calendars – what, then, are we meant to take away from this call to readiness? The call to looking ahead and waiting for something that has not yet come?

The ancient traditions and calendar of the Church try in their own way to mirror the experiences of our own life. Christmas is coming, Jesus will be born to a life here among us. Advent is, in the I Love Lucy turn of phrase, the “Bun in the Oven” state of being.

It is a time of preparation for the arrival of something long hoped for.

I have watched my sister-in-law, my cousins and some of my aunts in the pre-birth state of carrying a child. They are usually in heavy-duty nesting phase. They find themselves busy with preparations in anticipation of the arrival of the child – nurseries to furnish, diet and exercise to be monitored, announcements to be made and siblings needing explanations of the changing situation.

The preparation usually occupies them right up until the arrival of the baby. A few times they have finished up too early, or the baby has been late in its arrival – this leads to a whole different set of problems. With nothing really to occupy them, the women of my family and their partners, for that matter, find themselves with too much time on their hands.

Worry and anxiety set in.

The ones that have had the easiest pre-partum experience, as far as I can tell, are those who managed to time their preparations and nesting to wrap up just as the little bundle of joy decided to arrive.

I have found, in my Christmas preparations, that the earlier I think I have finished the more I have spent above my budgeted amount. Some new gift presents itself for purchase as we get closer to the big day.

If I can manage to time my preparations to end just as Christmas arrives, I generally manage to spend less and be less worried about things.

In today’s lesson we are called to prepare for the coming of our Lord, at a time and on a day that is unknown. By the nature of spiritual preparations it is not possible to finish them before the arrival. We are called to a state of constant preparation.

We are called to love God and love our neighbour without ceasing until that great and glorious day of our Lord’s coming again.

The world is pregnant with expectation of Christmas, that great annual celebration of the long-ago incarnation of our Lord.

We wait in joyful hope of his coming again.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, as your kingdom dawns, turn us from the darkness of sin to the light of holiness, so that we may be ready to meet you in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

AMEN.