Showing posts from November, 2010

The Second Sunday in Advent - 5 December 2010

The Readings for Advent II Isaiah 11:1-10 Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 Romans 15:4-13 Saint Matthew 3:1-12        BACKGROUND Isaiah and Advent – In this cycle of the Lectionary, Year A, the readings from the Hebrew Scriptures are exclusively from Isaiah.   Indeed, in the readings for today, the Second Sunday in Advent, both the Epistle and the Gospel readings feature quotes from the first of the Isaiahs.   Of all the prophets, this is the prophet most likely to be quoted by everyday people.   His work was so appropriate to the time, and so attractive to early Christians, even to Jesus, who reads from his prophecies in the Synagogue at Nazareth.   Like Jesus, Isaiah appears at a kairos , a crossroads, if you will, in time.   Isaiah looked forward to a kingdom that would be marked by God’s presence with not only his chosen people, but with all the peoples of the world.   His kingdom vision of deserts blooming, and wisdom and justice; of peace between races and species,

The First Sunday in Advent - 28 November 2010

The First Sunday in Advent Isaiah 2:1-5 Psalm 122 Romans 13:11-14 Saint Mathew 24:36-44                                                                                         BACKGROUND Advent -   originly a much longer period of preparation and devotion preceding the Feast of the Nativity, is not preparation for Christmas, despite a popular understanding that it is.   Looking at the lessons in the lectionary for the last Sundays of the church year, and the first two weeks in Advent, we see am emphasis on the End Time, and an anticipation of the Second Coming of Jesus.   Before the reforms to the liturgy in the mid 20 th Century, the season was seen as penitential, much like Lent.   Such an emphasis was softened in the new lectionaries that were products of the Second Vatican Council.   In some churches, the color blue is used rather than purple, and the themes are more upbeat, a reflection of popular preparations for Christmas.   None-the-less, there is still this ant

The Feast of Christ the King - 21 November 2010

Christ the King Jeremiah 23:1-6 The Benedictus Colossians 1:11-20 Saint Luke 23:33-43 Christus Rex BACKGROUND The Feast of Christ the King is a newcomer to the Liturgical Year, not only in the Episcopal and Lutheran Churches, but in the Roman Church as well.   Formerly it was celebrated on either the last Sunday in October, or on 31 October.   Some say that this was to counter the celebration of the Reformation by Lutherans on that same day.   More likely, however, was its promulgation by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Quas primas, published in 1925.   It was most likely intended to serve as a foil to the fascist policies and government of Benito Mussolini.   The feast was moved, following Vatican II, to the last Sunday of the church year – the Sunday immediately prior to The First Sunday in Advent.   The intention is to emphasize the spiritual nature of Christ’s kingship, and to underscore its non-violent nature (a theme that ought to be vigorously discussed