November 25, 2012

Advent Resources Well...the church year is about to begin, and I've been getting a few questions about Advent resources. I'm no expert. This is, after all, only my fourth journey through the liturgical year (aka the Church Calendar). But there's so much that I've come to love about it. For one, it helps us participate in the life of Christ by calling us into a rhtyhm that retraces His life on earth, His death, and His resurrection. Secondly, it helps us celebrate with the wider Body of Christ-- connecting us to the Church historic and the Church universal. (I have written briefly about the Church Calendar and how observing as a spiritual practice can be helpful HERE. I may write more on it soon.) C. S. Lewis wrote that a fellow student may be of help to other students in ways that teachers sometimes cannot be because they have forgotten what it's like to now know what they know. My hope is that as one who is learning, I may be of use to others travelling along the way. ____________________ DATES, COLORS, AND THEMES: The Four Sundays: December 2, December 9, December 16, December 23 Colors and Themes: Week 1-- purple, HOPE; Week 2-- purple, PEACE; Week 3-- JOY; Week 4-- purple, LOVE ____________________ PRAYERS: To me, it's hard to beat the prayers in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). Find a link to the 1979 version free online HERE. There is also a nice iPhone app with lectionary readings and prayers out of both the RCL and the BCP. Download it HERE. First Sunday of Advent: TRADITIONAL: Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son...
A Pastor's Reflections on Leading His Church Through Their First Advent [EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a guest post from my friend, Pastor Lee Cummings. He is the lead pastor of Radiant Church, a thriving non-denominational church in Kalamazoo, MI. Many of you are in non-denominational settings-- or at least non-traditional ones-- where the celebration of a seaons like Advent may be new. My hope is that Pastor Lee's story may be helpful to you as you explore the possibility of leading your church through Advent as a spiritual practice.] Let me begin with a confession. I began, 16 years ago as a church planter, with a bias against anything that smelled of tradition. From the very beginning of Radiant Church, I decided we were going to be “non-traditional” in our approach to Christianity. Even to the point where embarrassingly, it was two years before we actually celebrated Communion as a church family (not intentionally, it just wasn’t a core value and so it didn’t get instituted). And as far as Christmas goes, we thought we were doing good to have a small children’s program complete with Christmas carols and a message from one of the nativity narratives from the gospels. To be honest, I didn’t care for Christmas too much, because I didn’t know what to do with Christmas as a pastor. As a child my family attended a variety of different churches from Pentecostal to United Methodist. The one thing that always stood out to me about church and Christmas as a child was the season of time that we attended a UMC church-- it was also at this time that we celebrated Advent. i didn’t know what it was per se, but I knew there was something different, something beautiful and awe inspiring about it that left a mark upon my soul, beyond getting another piece of candy everyday...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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