TEACHING ON ADVENT
Saturday, November 10 from 10:30 – Noon
If you are new to Anglicanism, one of the things that may surprise you is that January 1 is not a huge deal to us. This is because the new year for us begins on Advent 1, which falls this year on December 2. Advent, from the Latin advenire or ‘to come to’, encompasses the four Sundays before Christmas and is traditionally a season both of preparation, of waiting, and of repentance. The Orthodox Church explicitly refers to Advent as a ‘Lesser Lent’.
As Christians, our calendar is marked by seasons of feasting celebrating the most critical events in the story of redemption, preceded by seasons of fasting and repentance. Advent is a sober season in which we remember the devastation that sin and death have unleashed upon the earth, which necessitated the coming of Christ, and we remember how much sin and injustice remains finally to be cleansed by Christ.
We wait with Israel for the Messiah, and this trains our hearts to wait for his second coming to bring the justice and the righteousness of the kingdom in its fullness. In this respect, the early church fathers actually spoke of two Advents, two periods of waiting: the first coming of Christ in the incarnation, in humility and weakness, and his second coming in glory, where he will come as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16) to purify the earth, accompanied by the great company of angels.
As Cyril of Jerusalem wrote in the 4th century, ‘We preach not one advent only of Christ, but a second also, far more glorious than the former. For the former gave a view of His patience; but the latter brings with it the crown of a divine kingdom…. In his first coming, He endured the Cross, despising shame (Hebrews 12:2); in His second, He comes attended by a host of Angels, receiving glory. We rest not then upon his first advent only, but look also for his second’.
The Scripture readings for Advent are intentionally chosen to reflect this theme of the two comings of Christ. We will be exploring these Lectionary readings, as well as the meaning of Advent in history and in the present in a teaching by Fr Jonathan Warren on Saturday November 10, from 10:30 – Noon. Childcare and light snacks will be provided. The class will take place in the Hunt Rooms.