Saturday, December 01, 2018

Considering Collects 1: Advent Sunday

It has been dark at both ends of the working day for a little while now and as the days of November remembrance slip past, there seems to be darkness of a different order falling on our community.
We are dealing with all kinds of change: some beloved friends moving away, to be closer to their families, others confronting mortality, and these losses, actual or anticipated, cast a shadow.
On the world stage, too, there seems to be a gathering dusk as anger and prejudice are ascendant, 
as those with little learn that they can expect even less, as families set forth in tiny rubber dinghies, so desperate to find a "better life" that they risk losing even the lives they have on the stormy waters of the English Channel.

There's darkness aplenty, then...and so it makes sense when the garish lights of city centres are joined by an ever-expanding blaze of Christmas lights transforming quiet suburban streets into something close to fairground attractions. At this season, apparently, it's fine to ignore all the wisdom that says "You're wrecking the planet" and larger electricity bills won't need to be paid til next year.

Fear of the dark is ancient and well-established and so humanity does everything in its power to drive it out. This is the darkest season and so strain towards the light, only to find that the Light is already reaching out to us, surrounding us, coming into our darkness to transform it.
That presence means that we need no longer be afraid, that touched by the Light we are both protected and changed, so that we can become creatures of Light ourselves.

On Advent Sunday we wait in the silent dark until, from far away in the depths of history a voice sings out
"I look from afar, and lo, I see the power of God coming and a cloud covering the whole earth.
Go ye out to meet him and say "Tell us, art thou he who shouldst come to reign over thy people, Israel?"."

Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

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