“Advent marks the beginning of a new Church Year. The lectionary readings and collects tune our hearts to the future, to possibilities, to expectation and to the unknown. We are challenged to be ready, to be paying attention, to be alert, to be watching for the signs that the kingdom of God is near. Even while we listen to the unfolding of the familiar story of the birth of Jesus, we hear the strains of the story that Christ will come again and that we are to be watching and ready for that day.
Many of us don’t actually think all that much about it, of course. In Luke 21, we are warned not to get weighed down with the worries of life and so to be ready for the day we have been waiting for.
We are often preoccupied with our day-to-day challenges and concerns. So are our churches. There’s not much free time to be on the watch for something that is fairly vague and that we think may not happen in our time. While we know that God is always with us and that therefore God IS active in our midst, calling us to deeper community with Christ, we sometimes fail to be on the lookout for signs of where God is at work. What does it actually look like to see the kingdom of God come near?
Some congregations are going through an exercise called Reimagining Church. They are trying to look around their community and notice what the signs might be that they are called beyond their current practices to some opportunities that they hadn’t noticed.
At Synod, I challenged our Diocese to look at our mission, particularly the first two Marks of Mission:
1. To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
2. To teach, baptize and nurture new believers
I suggested that we might consider taking on one new thing and letting go of one thing. Please think and pray and talk to one another in your communities. What “One Thing” would you want to do that would help further these goals? What “one thing” is no longer fruitful or helping us in our mission and could be set aside? Could we make this our Advent preparation for the Kingdom of God?
How might you imagine the kingdom of God breaking into your own story, your own worldview, your own church community? This Advent, please pray for a greater awareness of God at work in the communities of our Diocese, and for the courage and faith to respond and to join in.
Anglican Diocese of Montreal