Category : Advent

(Der Spiegel) Terror in Berlin: How the Attack Has Changed the Country

[Sebastian] Kahl wanted to go to the service at the Memorial Church, not just because of what he and his girlfriend went through, but also out of respect for the fates suffered by others. A gesture of compassion. But then he hears the news that the police have arrested the wrong man. His girlfriend is afraid that the terrorist is still running around in the city and that he could kill again and the couple remains at home. They both want to spend Christmas with their families and Kahl feels he has much to be grateful for. He sees his survival akin to “being born again.”

5:20 p.m., Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

It is 40 minutes before the services are set to begin, but so many people have come that police have already had to close the church to non-invited guests. The benches inside are full. The closer the hour comes, the more anxious the mood in front of the church becomes. An interpreter tells the heavily armed police that she has to go inside because otherwise the journalists who have traveled from France won’t know what is being said from the altar. Some visitors are so brazen that they try to sneak between the Christmas market stalls toward the church entrance. But they don’t get far and the police officers react angrily.

A group from the Muslim community Ahmadiyya shows up wearing T-shirts reading: “Love for all, hate for none.” When Aiman Mazyek, of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, is allowed to pass with a small entourage, two women standing in front of the church snap: “Of course the Muslims are allowed in.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Advent, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Germany, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

A medieval friar's cheery carol for the end of Advent: 'Farewell Advent, Christmas is come!'

15. This time of Christ’s feast natal,
We will be merry, great and small,
And thou shalt go out of this hall;
Farewell from us both all and some!

16. Advent is gone, Christmas is come;
Be we merry now, all and some!
He is not wise that will be dumb
In ortu Regis omnium. [At the coming of the King of all things]

Read it all from Eleanor Parker.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Christmas, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Lancelot Andrewes

Thou who with thine own mouth hast avouched that at midnight, at an hour when we are not aware, the Bridegroom shall come: Grant that the cry, The Bridegroom cometh, may sound evermore in our ears, that so we be never unprepared to meet him, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from James Todd

O God, who didst promise that thy glory should be revealed, and that all flesh should see it together: Stir up our hearts, we beseech thee, to prepare the way of thine only begotten Son; and pour out upon us thy loving kindness, that we who are afflicted by reason of our sins may be refreshed by the coming of our Saviour, and may behold his glory; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth one God, world without end.

–James Todd

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

2016 Advent Reflections from members of the Diocese of South Carolina

During this season leading up to Christmas, people all around you are wondering if God is available and if he cares. Is he accessible? Can he be known? The answer is Yes, yes, yes, and yes!

Right now, hearts are open to God. People are wondering about Him because the culture is focused on Christmas. We may lament the crass commercialization and the cultural confusion about reindeer and elves and such things. But the fact is, now is a perfect time to help those you know – neighbors, friends or co-workers – take a step toward Christ. This season offers one of the main times when people will actually come to church ”” if they are invited.

But here’s a tip to inviting people so that they won’t get cold feet at the last minute. Ask them if you can pick them up. Or offer to meet them in the lobby (don’t call it a Narthex!) so that you can sit together. Then offer to go out to eat together after the service and while you’re eating engage them in conversation about the message they heard and what they think. You’ll be amazed because you’ll discover that God is with you in the middle of it all.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Advent, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to begin the day from the United Lutheran Church

O Lord God, heavenly Father, who through thy Son hast revealed to us that heaven and earth shall pass away: We beseech thee to keep us steadfast in thy Word and in true faith; graciously guard us from all sin and preserve us amid all temptations, so that our hearts may not be overcharged with the cares of this life, but at all times in watchfulness and prayer we may await the return of thy Son and joyfully cherish the expectation of our eternal salvation; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Prayers for the Christian Year

Lord God Almighty, King of glory and love eternal, worthy art thou at all times to receive adoration, praise, and blessing; but especially at this time do we praise thee for the sending of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, for whom our hearts do wait, and to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, be honour and dominion, now and for ever.

–Prayers for the Christian Year (SCM, 1964)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

Eleanor Parker–The Anglo-Saxon O Antiphons: O Clavis David, Secrets and Songs


O thou Ruler and righteous King,
who guards the locks, who opens life
and the blessed way on high, and to others denies
the bright longed-for path, if their deeds have not earned it;
truly, we speak these words in need,
and entreat that he who made mankind”¦
[this next line is damaged]
”¦of sorrowful things, for we in prison
sit sorrowing, hoping for the sun,
for when the Lord of life will open light to us,
become for us a source of strength in spirit,
and enfold our feeble knowledge in splendour,
and make us worthy, that he may admit us to glory,
who have had to come, wretchedly,
into this constraining world, cut off from our homeland.

Therefore may he who speaks the truth say
that he saved us, who had been led astray,
the race of men. It was a young girl,
a maiden free from sin, whom he chose as his mother;
that was accomplished without the love of a man,
that the girl gave birth to a baby, became pregnant.
Nothing equal to this, before or since,
has ever in the world been a woman’s reward;
that was a secret, the Lord’s mystery.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Christology, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frederick Macnutt

Almighty Father, whose blessed Son at his coming amongst us brought redemption unto his people, and peace to men of goodwill: Grant that, when he shall come again in glory to judge the world and to make all things new, we may be found ready to receive him, and enter into his joy; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

The Great O's of Advent to Begin the Day

O Wisdom, that camest out of the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to another, firmly and gently ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of understanding.

O Adonai, Captain of the house of Israel, who didst appear to Moses in the flame of the burning bush, and gavest him the law on Sinai: Come and deliver us with thine outstretched arm.

O Root of Jesse, who standest for an ensign of the people, before whom kings shall shut their mouths, to whom the nations shall seek: Come and deliver us and tarry not.

O Key of David, Sceptre of the house of Israel, who openest and no man shutteth, and shuttest and no man openeth: Come and bring forth out of the prison-house him that is bound.

O Day-spring from on high, Brightness of Eternal Light, and Sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

O King of nations, thou for whom they long, the Cornerstone that makest both one: Come and save thy creatures whom thou didst fashion from the dust of the earth.

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Desire of all nations and their Saviour: Come and save us, O Lord our God.

(for those interested in more about this, please read further there).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

'As I lay on Yule's Night / Alone in my longing…' A beautiful+melancholy medieval Christmas carol

Medieval carols have a cherished place in the modern Christmas repertoire. Perhaps the best-loved type is the lullaby carol, of which ”˜Lullay, Myn Liking’ and the ”˜Coventry Carol’ are among the most famous examples. It’s not difficult to understand the appeal of these carols, both in their original form and as texts set by contemporary composers: tender and gentle, deliberately simple in music and language, they evoke the loving intimacy of the relationship between a mother and her baby, offering a moment of stillness and reflection in the middle of the busy Christmas season.

This genre of carol was popular in the Middle Ages, too, and there are numerous beautiful examples dating from the fourteenth century onwards. It’s important to recognise that the simplicity of these carols is artful, not naive; medieval carol-writers often chose this apparently uncomplicated form in order to explore some of the complex mysteries of the Nativity story.

One of the most interesting of these lullaby carols is known today by the name ”˜As I lay on Yule’s night’. It survives in its earliest and fullest form in a manuscript compiled by John of Grimestone, a Franciscan friar from Norfolk, in 1372. The manuscript contains materials John had gathered for use in his preaching, along with short poems and carols in English; John may have written these texts himself, or collected them from other sources. Shorter versions of the carol also survive in three fifteenth-century manuscripts, one of which preserves the music ”“ a haunting tune, suiting the dark beauty of the words….

Read it all from Eleanor Parker.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Prayers for the Christian Year

Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that the solemn feast of our redemption which is now at hand, may help us both in this present life, and further us towards the attaining of thine eternal joy in that which is to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Prayers for the Christian Year (SCM, 1964)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

Charleston Massacre victims, families+friends applaud verdict, head into painful holidays

Late Thursday, [Jennifer] Pinckney drove home after a jury found Dylann Roof guilty of all 33 charges against him, including hate crimes and religious obstruction. She prepared to speak with her girls again. This time, she could tell them that a jury had found the man who killed their father guilty. At the least, he would spend his life in prison.

“The first step is over,” Pinckney said. “It gave us at least a little bit of closure before the holidays and before we get going again in January.”

She hopes the penalty phase of Roof’s trial, set to start Jan. 3, goes as quickly as the first.

Read it all from the local paper.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Advent, America/U.S.A., Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Death / Burial / Funerals, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

O Lord our God, in whose hands is the issue of all things, and who requirest from thy stewards not success but faithfulness: Give us such faith in thee and in thy sure purposes, that we measure not our lives by what we have done or failed to do, but by our obedience to thy holy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Advent, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Media, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology