(In The Life Of The Church)
Two newsletters ago, Josh gave a rundown of the liturgical calendar in his post about Christ the King Sunday, when the Story we enter in liturgy is brought to a close. This past Sunday was the first week of Advent, the time where the story cycles back to the beginning as we start again. At the beginning of the service, I read some introductory thoughts on this season (you can find that transcript here), and talked about the dual identity that we carry through this (and ultimately every) season of the Church calendar.
These dual identities are 1) the people of God in a much earlier part of the Story (Israel, etc.); and 2) the people of God in our particular time and place. The former group is poised to receive the Incarnation for the first time, knowing just how dark the world is and how badly it needs God to break in and set a Light among us. The latter group carries the whole of the Christian Story thus far, and looks ahead to the coming of the Kingdom in fullness (the big finale, if you will). Both of these are important, and the hope in our liturgy is that the story we experience as identity 1 will shape what it means to be identity 2.
This concept is central to the way we approach liturgy at ubc. A few weeks ago, Josh asked me to describe our “worship style” on Sunday morning. I labeled it “ancient/future.” There are several ways to describe what that means, but a big part of that is this dual-identity idea. As Christians, we do ourselves no favors by attempting to ignore the story of Christian history that has led to the present moment. When we read scripture, sing songs, hear sermons, etc., we need to be prepared to look at the whole of the history of the divine-human relationship if we have any hope of being formed in the way of Christ here and now. And, more than looking, we need to enter this story; to know that Who God has been and Who God is are one and the same. So, as we begin another journey through the liturgical year, keep both of these identities in mind.
Malcolm Guite has a book of sonnets that are themed around the Christian year called Sounding the Seasons, and it is fantastic. The first sonnet in this sequence is sort of a thesis statement for the whole thing, and I think it is particularly relevant to the part of the liturgical year we find ourselves in:
Sounding the seasons
Tangled in time, we go by hints and guesses,
Turning the wheel of each returning year.
But in the midst of failures and successes
We sometimes glimpse the love that casts out fear.
Sometimes the heart remembers its own reasons
And beats a Sanctus as we sing our story,
Tracing the threads of grace, sounding the seasons
That lead at last through time to timeless glory.
From the first yearning for a Saviour’s birth
To the full joy of knowing sins forgiven,
We start our journey here on God’s good earth
To catch an echo of the choirs of heaven.
I send these out, returning what was lent,
Turning to praise each ‘moment’s monument’.
As always, if you have any questions about any of this, by all means, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UBC will hold our quarterly town hall after church on December 11th. The meeting will occur directly after church, in the backside and take about 20 minutes.
UBC Children and Families Pastor
UBC is looking for a full time children and families pastor. If you are someone you know might be interested please direct them to the UBC homepage where they can click on the button and download the documents needed to apply.
Wall space and mic space are available for you to display your talent at UBC in the backside TONIGHT! If you've never been, think about that hacky sack scene from She's All That, only not really. Also, we are looking to share cookies, so if you do that, plan on that. The extravaganza begins at 7:00 PM CST. If you have any questions please contact email@example.com.
Baylor cut out one of her dead days? Can you believe that? Ugh! Anyhow we are still going to hold a day of studying, unhealthy food, and getting nothing done at UBC on December 7th. Pancakes will be served that evening by chef Jeff. Please consider coming. Also if you have a test in Heritage, Carney will let you quiz him to help you study. Think about it.
Is this you?
0r is this you?
or are you something completely different? Good news. It doesn't matter. If you are a young professional, in the no mans land of not college and somewhere else, consider joining the UBCYP group on Friday, December 16th for some radical fun. If you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Middle Ages Christmas Party
The Middle Ages, the group formerly known as Empty Nesters, which is the group formerly known as the Upside, is getting together for a Christmas party like it's 1999, check that, like it's 1979. This festive celebration commemorating the birth of our dear savior, will take place on December 17th @ 6:00 PM CST. For more information please email email@example.com.
Work is Worship
Greeters: Walters and Evie
Coffee Makers: Emmy & Stephen
Mug Cleaners: Dilan & Shane
Money Counter: Doug McNamee
- Sunday Sermon: "Christmas Stories Part 2: Even the Animals Are Getting Along" Isaiah 11:1-10
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Jared Gould: firstname.lastname@example.org