Sunday, November 27, 2011

The New Year

Today, I celebrated Advent for the first time.  I made my first Advent wreath.  We will light our first Advent candle tonight. 

Since leaving Fundamentalism, I have discovered a wealth of Christian tradition that I never knew a thing about (and if I did, I disapproved of it).  How foolish and arrogant!  These are things that Christians have been doing for hundreds - if not thousands - of years.  They developed as pictures of Christ; signposts to point to Him; celebrations of the amazing Gift of God.  Fundamentalism dismisses these beautiful traditions, calls them "unchristian", and then replaces them with its own ersatz off-key cantatas and poorly-done guilt-laden church programs.  How sad to have separated so far from the lessons learned through the ages and to treat so much richness like so much rubbish.

The church today was festooned in blue.  The pastor's stole and chausable were rich royal blue; the deacon's stole was a glorious midnight blue with a sparkling embroidered gold star.  An advent wreath with one lit candle hung from the ceiling.  The service, while always beautiful, sparkled even more.  In the service we were taught that Advent is the beginning of the Church calendar; a season of expectant waiting for the gift of Christ.  A season of hope.  A season of renewal.  A time to begin anew.

As our nights grow longer and our days grow short,
we look on these earthly signs - light and green branches - 
and remember God's promise to our world.
Christ, our Light and our Hope, will come.
Listen to the words of Isaiah the prophet:
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light;
on those who lived in a land as dark as death
a light has dawned.
You have increased their joy
and given them gladness.

May it be so, Lord Jesus. The darkness of Fundamentalism has been so deep.  Oh, may it be so.

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