I Kings 1:40: And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.
Advent comes from the Latin word ‘adventus’, meaning ‘coming’. It is a translation of the Greek word ‘parousia’, which is used to refer to both the coming of the Messiah, and the Second Coming, of Christ. The Western Christian liturgical year begins, on this day. Advent started in the Frankish church during the dark ages as a penitential season, in preparation for the Nativity, but when the Roman expression of it came to the fore a century later, it became a season of joy, and the sense of somberness was lost, in time.
There are ways to get it back, however. Perhaps seeing it as a different type of penitential season is the key. There are two main ways of penitence, the via negativa (the way of eschewing dross from one’s life), and the via positiva (the way of taking on new things to enhance one’s spiritual life). Lent and Advent can be seen as two halves of the same coin. Lent is a time of giving up, a time of austerity. It is along the via negativa. Advent, however, can be penitential in the sense of taking on things in a penitential way. Doing good deeds for others (preferably in secret), working in a soup kitchen during the season, praying for people you know on a daily basis during the season, singing Christmas carols at a nursing home…these are all things we can do to both be acts of penance and also build our spiritual lives as the holidays approach.
Please come along and join us in liturgy, prayer and song as we welcome in the Advent season with a sense of joy and anticipation, this Sunday.
Service – 6:30pm
The service this Sunday will be the “Johannite Gnostic Divine Liturgy”. The service alternates engagement and stillness, provoking a meditative attitude and the cultivation of deeper perceptions. The service features prayer and chant, and the sharing of the Body and the Blood in the form of bread and wine.
We follow the service with some conversation, hot drinks and snacks. Please stay and and share some time and company.