Dec 1, 2019
First Sunday of Advent
But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.
Something to Do
The First Sunday of Advent demands that we take Advent seriously – because the end of the world is serious business. Our traditions of Advent wreaths and Advent calendars are not simply countdowns to Christmas but rather are meant to keep us paying attention.
So how will you stay awake this Advent season? Some possibilities:
The Advent Wreath – all you need is four candles plus one for Christmas. They can be in a traditional wreath of winter greenery or simply on the table. They can be the traditional Advent colours of blue/purple or simply all white. Eat dinner by candlelight all Advent long, lighting one more candle each week. Say a simple grace, sing a favourite Advent song, or use the prayers we’ll be using at Ascension this year.
Reverse Advent Box – each day, add an item from this list of needed gifts for Ottawa’s community ministries. If you feel festive or have young family members at home, decorate your box (or come to this Saturday’s Celebration Saturday and decorate it with us!). Bring the items to church after Christmas and before Jan. 5th for distribution.
#AdventWord – join this international project and read or share meditations and images on Advent Words each day.
Something to Wonder
So many things to wonder…
If we can’t know when the Son of Man is coming, why have humans spent so much time trying to figure it out?
How do we watch for something we can’t even begin to prepare for?
Is it better to be taken or left?
Is Jesus the thief? If so, what might that mean?
And something to wonder about ourselves…
How does a reading that raises so many questions make you feel?
How does this reading, with its strange warnings make you feel?
What ideas do you have about “the rapture”? Where do they come from? How do you feel about it?
Something to Learn
A Close Study
Left Behind and Loving It offers a guided translation from the Greek, along with insightful commentary. It is one of my favourite resources for sermon prep – which means if you read it, you might hear something of it on Sunday! But there is so much of value here, it’s worth the risk, especially for a text as tricky as the one we have this week!
The History of Advent
In Advent, Explained , Alissa Wilkinson discusses the history of Advent and its various observances from the perspective of a secular participant.
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.