Your kingdom come …
The season of Advent begins on Sunday the 27 November. Like Lent, it is a penitential season when the liturgical colour is purple and a time of preparation to celebrate the feast of the Incarnation without which there would be no feast of the Resurrection. Advent is not as long as Lent and it seems to be more about feasting than fasting! In a way it’s ‘Lent-lite’ but for many of us one of our favourite seasons of the year as we watch and wait in anticipation of the joy and excitement of the celebration of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and also contemplate the realisation of God’s eternal Kingdom at the end of time. It is becoming something of a cliché to list the crises that presently beset us: climate, war, recession, refugees etc in a world already feeling unsettlingly different post-Covid. At times we can begin to feel overwhelmed and turn in on ourselves rather than remaining outward facing as is the Christian’s orientation. God in Christ became a human being not to be served but to serve. Christ the King is with us still – here and now. His kingship is not based on human power but on serving and loving others. We are called to exhibit those Kingdom values in their lives until at last our prayer will be answered and God’s Kingdom will ‘come on earth as it is in heaven.’
As part of our on-going discernment of a new vision and strategy for the diocese, the Dean, the Very Revd Nicholas Papadopulos, has kindly written some prayers for us all to use as a Diocese this Advent in our personal prayer time and when we meet together in church or on other occasions [see www.salisbury.anglican.org/Advent]. They are beautiful and I commend them to you most warmly. They recognise the situation in which we find ourselves but remind us that we are never alone and that our calling is to join in where God is already at work in his world.
May the God of peace make you completely holy, ready for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
An Advent Prayer for the Diocese:
your world is full of fear.
Hunger, cold, and loneliness are all around.
Your children are hurting.
Into our darkness comes the child of Bethlehem -
Jesus, the light who cannot be overcome.
He is with us always.
He speaks words of hope and words of truth.
May his Spirit fill our hearts this Advent
and awaken us to your purposes:
making us generous in giving,
active in serving,
and alert to your reign of justice, mercy, and peace,
which he calls us to bring to birth - here, and now.