Sunday, 2 December 2012

Advent 2012

I've been a Christian believer since I was 16 years old. For most of that time I've been a part of churches which do not use regular liturgy.  However for the last couple of years I've grown increasingly attached to certain aspects of the Prayer Book of the Church of England.  Although I still greatly value the spontaneity which extempore prayers provide, there is a sense of being part of a body of believers going back through the centuries, as one prays some of these ancient prayers. Take the collect for the first Sunday in Advent, (added by the Cranmer in 1549 and included in the 1662 Prayer Book).

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee, and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

Even though Christians look forward to a great future in the renewed heaven and earth, we are not called to sit back and wait, as though this 'mortal life' was just a waiting room. This prayer reminds us that our life is an, 'incubator for our future and enduring life. And every moment of this life is accompanied by Him who visited the planet in great humility' (Barbee and Zahl).

As the Prayer Book epistle for today reminds us in Romans 13.14, 'let us be Christ's men from head to foot' (Phillips' translation). All of life truly matters.

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