|Published by Josh Hosler on Tue, Nov 26, 2019 7:09 PM|
“Do you know what the Church did? They tied the ending that was like a beginning and the beginning that was like an ending together, so we would always remember that for every ending there is a beginning and for every beginning there is an ending.” - Godly Play lesson The Circle of the Church Year
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” - Semisonic, “Closing Time” (1998)
Happy New Year! Yes, Christians live in something of an alternate reality when we get together for worship. We don’t follow the Roman calendar in church because we have used a different calendar since the 4th century, thank you very much! Advent marks the beginning of the Christian year.
And though the “holiday season” is in full swing all around us, the Christian season of Advent is a very different time. While our broader culture worships at the altar of instant gratification and aspires to the impossibility of infinite economic growth and consumption, we Christians strive to live in a larger reality.
An older tradition treats Advent as a penitential season like Lent is. That isn’t quite right; rather, Advent is a solemn time. But take great care with that word, “solemn.” It doesn’t mean dry, boring, stunted, or overly formal. By solemnity, we mean joy—but the kind of joy we experience when we are in awe of something so important that we know we must be intent and serious about it. Rumors abound that our salvation is on the way and may already be among us! Like children who can’t wait for Christmas morning, we too must wait—actively, poised on our toes, ready to receive that salvation. During Advent, we share the kind of joy that can make us quiver with anticipation—hardly able to hold in our excitement for what will soon be birthed in the world and in our very selves.
At Good Shepherd during the season of Advent, we are letting the children lead the way. For these four Sundays, they process with us at the beginning of each service and teach us a little about the work they will do in Godly Play. Then they go do their learning together while we do ours, and they rejoin us in time for us all to come to the table for Holy Communion.
- Pastor Josh