Collect for the First Sunday of Advent

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 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, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

This Week at the Advent, December 2-8, 2018

A Special and Important Announcement From the Wardens

Dear Parishioners and Friends of the Church of the Advent:

We are pleased to announce that the Rev’d Truman Welch will serve as Interim Rector during our period of transition and search following Father Warren’s retirement.  Father Welch will take up his position effective Monday, January 28, 2019.  His first Sunday will us will be February 3, 2019,  when we will celebrate Candlemas.  We will hear Father Welch preach that day and welcome him at celebratory coffee hours after both the 9 am and 11:15 am Masses.

Father Welch retired four years ago as Rector of Good Shepherd, Waban.  By happy coincidence, Father Welch’s predecessor there was none other than our own Rector, Father Warren.  So in addition to his experience as the leader of a parish, Father Welch is deeply familiar with our Anglo-Catholic traditions of worship and teaching.  He also has a wonderful personal calmness and pastoral presence about him, which are excellent traits for a time of transition.

We are grateful to our Bishop for his careful attention to the Advent in proposing Father Welch to us, and for his counsel and guidance in discerning the right path for us during the upcoming period of transition.  We are also thankful to the Vestry and the Clergy for their thoughtful and prayerful participation in this process.  Please keep Father Welch and Bishop Gates in your prayers, just as you have Father Warren.

Faithfully your brothers in Christ,
Thomas Brown & Paul J. Roberts, Wardens.


The Advent wreath is given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Norman MacGregor Post, priest, and Jane Irene Post. 


If you are visiting or new  to the Advent, we hope that you will feel welcome and at home.  Please fill out a visitor’s/newcomer’s card so that we will have a record of your visit here and can keep in touch.


All persons baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit are invited to the Altar to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If you wish to receive a blessing, come to the Altar and cross your arms over your chest.


Church School News:  Today, there is no Church School; instead, there will be Advent Wreath making in the Library immediately after the 9 am Mass.

Saturday, December 15—Christmas Pageant Rehearsal–at 9 am.  We will gather in Moseley Hall to sort out costumes and we will rehearse in the Sanctuary.  (Please let Meg Nelson know ASAP if you are able to help with getting the costumes sorted and ready to go for Saturday morning—you may contact Meg at megwnelson@gmail.com.) 

If you are interested in having your child participate in the Pageant, please email Meg Nelson for more information. 

Sunday, December 16—Christmas Pageant—during the 9 am Mass.  

Evening services (December 2, December 24 and December 31)—as a reminder, we always have childcare available for these evening services. The caregivers are in the nursery space adjacent to the Parish office and arrive approximately 15 minutes prior to the serviceChildcare is provided for infants and toddlers during both the 9 am and 11:15 am Masses. 


9:00 am—Infant nursery is located on the first floor in the room beyond the Parish Office.  The Toddler nursery is located downstairs in Moseley Hall.

11:15 am—Infants and Toddlers are cared for on the first floor in the room beyond the office.

If you have questions or special needs we want to hear them.  Contact Meg Nelson 856-217-0847 or megwnelson@gmail.com.


9:00 Coffee Hour. Melissa & Eric Baldwin and Carolyn & Tom McDermott host the Coffee Hour this morning!  Next week the hosts will be Maggie Dunbar and Nola Sheffer. New coffee hour hosts are always needed; please contact Barbara Boles by email, bbolesster@gmail.com or telephone (617-501-7572) if you’re interested or have questions about what is entailed.

11:15 Coffee Hour. Jason Grant, Philip Marshall & Kara Rodgers host the Coffee Hour this morning. We are always in need of more volunteers to do the coffee hour.  To view the schedule of available dates and select a date to co-host, please go to http://theadventboston.org/1115-coffee-hour-signup/.  If you have any questions, please contact Frederick Ou (frederick.ou@gmail.com), Roxy Hanson (roxenewu@yahoo.com) or Kyle Pilares (kpilares.uk@gmail.com) or Betsy James (ejames4@nc.rr.com). 


The Last Gospel for Advent.  Here at the Advent, at the end of the Midnight Mass at Christmas and on Christmas Day, we hear the Last Gospel (John 1:1-16) read after the Dismissal of the Mass.  Its proclamation of the reality of the Incarnation seems particularly appropriate at Christmas when we celebrate God’s entering the world and human life to save us and bring us back to him.  We borrowed this practice, though restricting it to one day of the year, from the mediaeval Church when the Last Gospel was read at the end of every Mass. 

The text itself is powerful and familiar, which is doubtless why it got attached to the Mass.  In the past, it was read over the sick to promote healing.  We learn from Chaucer that in his day it was read by itinerant friars upon entering a house to invoke God’s blessing upon the household.  (Chaucer’s particular, unscrupulous friar was quite eloquent and also quite happy to charge for his incantation!)

Fr Jay Weldon, Rector of my former parish, Good Shepherd, Waban, called my attention to the custom of a Last Gospel for Advent.  The Last Gospel is read, but it is not completed.  Like Advent, itself, it looks forward to its joyful completion at Christmas.  There is the usual salutation, but the response, “Thanks be to God” is not said until the Gospel finds its fulfillment at Christmas.

Father Warren


Today is the First Sunday of Advent, our Feast of Title & Dedication, the 174th Birthday of the Church of the Advent.  At both the 9 am and 11:15 am Masses Stewardship pledge cards for the year 2019 will be presented and blessed.  This will take place just before the Great Thanksgiving (Consecratory Prayer) of the Liturgy.


We are very fortunate and we will be blessed by having the Rev’d Fleming Rutledge with us as our preacher that morning.  She is a celebrated preacher, lecturer, and the author of numerous books.

Copies of her most recent book, Advent:  The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ, a collection of sermons appropriate to and also about the Season, are available in the Book Store.  In a brief review of the book, Fr Warren wrote:  “For Fleming Rutledge, the proper celebration of Advent is crucial for the exposition of the faith of the church and the practice of the individual Christian.  She argues passionately for a return to the original twofold focus of the season—a looking back to the Incarnation and a looking forward to the second coming of Christ and the consummation of all things. . . . The sermons in this volume demand more than one reading.  They are born out of an intimate knowledge of Scripture, prodigious learning, and Rutledge’s own experience as a Christian believer, parish priest, and teacher.  They are written with clarity and conviction and, occasionally, an almost heartbreaking honesty.”

Copies of her magnum opus, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ are also available.  This is essential reading for anyone who wishes to delve deeply into the Mystery of our Salvation by the death and rising of Jesus.  It is lengthy but very accessible, written not for scholars but for people in the pews. 


This afternoon, Professor Damin Spritzer, of the American Organ Institute at the University of Oklahoma, will offer a half-hour program of Advent organ music at 4:30 pm.  At 5:00 pm, the Advent Choir will sing the beloved service of Advent Lessons & Carols, including music by Byrd, Dove, Ferguson, Jackson, Lehman, Łukaszewski, McDowall, Moyer & Vaughan Williams. The evening concludes with a gala reception in Moseley Hall.


It’s that time again!  As we have done the past few years, guests at the Tuesday Evening Community Dinner will be given Gift Cards to Dunkin’ Donuts as their Christmas gift from the Advent.  This will allow them to go to a warm place and get hot coffee and something to eat during the cold months of winter.  If you wish to make a donation—and we hope you do—send it in marked “Donuts.”


THIS WEEK


The Wednesday morning Bible Study will meet in the library this Wednesday at 10:00 am.  We are currently studying the epistles First and Second Timothy, Titus and Philemon.  Please come, bring your Bible, and someone you know.  


New Bible Study Course—1, 2 & 3 John:  Word, Truth, & Love in an Evil World—Continuing this Wednesday, December 5, an in-depth five week course will be offered starting at 7:00 pm in the Library.  Pastoral Assistant, Eric Fialho, will again lead a thought-provoking Bible Study.  All attendees will receive scripture journals.  Each session will last roughly 90 minutes and cover various histories, key themes, and enduring theologies as expressed in the shortest Epistles of the New Testament.  For more information please contact Eric at efialho@eds.edu.  


COMING UP


Every year stuffed animals and infants’ clothing are presented at the crèche during the 4:30 pm Mass on Christmas Eve.  This year these donations will be given to the Fragment Society, who, since their inception in 1812, have been distributing clothes to Boston’s poor and needy.  They are especially in need of infant clothing and small stuffed animals to include in the more than 400 layettes that volunteer ladies involved in the organization assemble each year. 

Christmas Service Schedule


MISSION & OUTREACH CORNER


The Coat Drive Continues—Please help us reach our goal of 100 coats, or make a dollar donation. All tax deductible, of course.  Deacon Noyes has details.


ODDS & ENDS


Discount Vouchers for the Boston Common Garage are available for $9.00 each from Deacon Daphne or Nola Sheffer. You can find them between the 9:00 and 11:15 Masses at the Coffee Hour or Entr’acte. The vouchers can be used after 4:00 pm weekdays, and all day Saturday and Sunday. Questions? email: nsheffer@newview.org.


At the Advent Book Store!  Advent Calendars, Christmas Cards, Christmas music; 2019 Ordo Kalendars and Pocket Diaries; all available at our Book Store.


Vestry Nominations.  Please note that several members of the Vestry, a Treasurer and a Clerk will be elected at the Annual Meeting to be held on Sunday, January 27, 2019.  It is not too early to think about members of the Parish whom you think would serve effectively on the Vestry.  A Nominating Committee, consisting of John Higgins, John Boyd, Maria Denslow, Kara Rodgers, and the Wardens, Tom Brown and Paul Roberts, is ready to receive the names of those whom you wish to nominate.  Please speak to them beforehand to make sure that they are willing to run.  


The parish Flower Guild needs your help!  Decorating the church for Christmas is a lot of work, and the Flower Guild can’t do it alone.  We need volunteers on the following days; floral design skills are not required—if you can carry a bucket, climb a stepladder, or fill a trash bag, we can use you!  And if you can spare an hour or two but not come for the entire block, that’s perfectly OK. 

  • Sunday December 16, around 1:00 pm. After the 11:15 coffee hour we need help carrying all the Christmas material out of storage and up into the church.  Making one or two trips before you leave is a big help.
  • Saturday December 22, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
  • Sunday December 23, 1:30 to 5:00 pm.  After the 11:15 Mass we will have a light lunch and then put up all the greens and candles.  

STEWARDSHIP 2019


As of this past Thursday we have received 131 pledges, pledging a total of $365,295.  53 have increased their pledges by 20%, and there are 17 new pledges.  We have still to hear from 93 parishioners who pledged a total of $203,774 last year.

The Stewardship Committee thanks all who have made a pledge so farIf you have not yet pledged, please do so soon.  

You can pledge on line by going to the parish website www.theadventboston.org and clicking the “Pledge Online” button.


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
December 3-9, 2018

Monday, December 3
10:00 am: Advent School Rehearsal

Tuesday, December 4
John of Damascus
5:30 pm: Community Supper

Wednesday, December 5
Clement of Alexandria
10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
7:00 pm: Bell Ringing
7:00 pm: Bible Study

Thursday, December 6
Nicholas of Myra
7:00 pm: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Friday, December 7
Ambrose of Milan
11:30 am: Rosary

Saturday, December 8
Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
10:00 am: Flower Guild
10:00 am: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Sunday, December 9
The Second Sunday of Advent
7:30 am: Morning Prayer
8:00 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Sung Mass
10:15 am: Church School / Entr’acte
11:15 am: Solemn Mass
8:00 pm: Compline

Sermon Preached by Eric Fialho at the Church of the Advent, Sunday, November 25, 2018, the Feast of Christ the King

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom…to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

These words from the Revelation according to John are words which speak of a ruler, of one who has authority to free us, to forgive us, and these are words which tell us that glory and dominion are due to him, to Jesus Christ or Lord.

On this holy day, the day we recognize Christ as the King we are confronted by these words at the beginning of John’s Revelation, and they are words which speak of a cosmic Christ, the Christ enthroned, the Christ who is the alpha and the omega — the first and the last.

The book of Revelation is certainly dear to me, some may remember that last year I led a Lenten study of Revelation here last year, and I can now say without any hesitation that this, of all the books of the Bible is my favorite.

As some may know at the center of Revelation is a Christ who is reigning. A Christ who calls us to await a creation renewed, a creation fully realized.

Christ is there in glory, in opposition to Satan, to the powers of the world. Through it all Christ is at center as a most unlikely King, that of a lamb at times as a slain lamb. A king now but also a lamb. A lamb which was slain, Jesus, the sacrifice. The One who came to reign for many through his own self-giving, his own rending of flesh, an unlikely King to be sure.

The reason I love Revelation so is that this imagery so encapsulates what is at the heart of our faith, a lamb who laid down his life, a life given to be a ransom for many.  And his reign, his Kingship was not acquired through the usual things— through conquest, or earthly power, or edict. No but it is the lamb as king, the perceived loser as king, the crucified as king.  The unexpected King.

What then is a king? A king is often defined as being a ruler who inherits a kingdom and reigns over it.

To many of us here present Christ the King is a comforting image. An all sovereign God who with the Father and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns for ever and ever. A sovereign Kingly Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father. We are held by this King, a King who rules with justice and with truth.

Our hearts are also ruled by him, and our minds, our wills are striving to be in his Kingdom, subject to his power and to his love forever throughout all time.

While Christ and King may be synonymous things for us, while Christ and King may be indistinguishable things for us, for some kingship is an inconvenient term, for some a king is a tarnished figure, a figure who rules with ferocity, or through fear, or alongside corruption.

For many, king is not synonymous with Christ. For many kingship is spoiled by wicked men and women throughout time who through their own ends made life for many chaotic, and altogether pained.

Why is this? People in different lands often fall victim to the whims and fancies of dictators, of all-powerful leaders, of kings and queens. For many a king is tyrannical. A king can come to exemplify the worst traits humankind is imbued with. A king can be self-serving, or oppressive, or abusive.

Again there are many who, when thinking of the figure of a sovereign see malevolence where some may see benevolence. They see uncertainty where others see assuredness.

How then, in light of an understanding that many in this world are victims of fear, injustice, and oppression due in part or fully to king or queen-like figures, how are we to look upon this holy day in our Church Calendar— the day of Christ the King, with this in mind?

We need not trouble ourselves with denying that many in this world go hungry due to wicked rulers, and that many were and are murdered in oppressive governments, or reigns, or theocracies.

So then, is it not surprising to come to understand that the equating of Jesus with a king is for some devout Christians on this earth just too much to grasp.

The evils which certain rulers can bring to humankind can so cloud ones estimation of what a king is. Experiencing tyrannical rule can bring a person to even lose sight of Christ who is a king, and who said his kingdom was not from this world.

The ills brought to one through corrupt regimes and careless leadership can bring one to disconnect Christ from Kingship. To equate Christ with kingship is just too saddening for some.

—-

Think on that. Human rulers, kings, queens, tyrants, have sometimes made it so that some who lived on this earth, and some who live now on it are unable to bring themselves to think on Christ’s kingship for it is just too painful. As a result of the hardships, and memories, and strife some endured its just not worth mentioning the word.

On this feast day we together continue to look heavenward, awaiting His coming with the clouds where every eye will see him, even those who pierced him.

There is no best way to help those who do not want to bring themselves to consider Christ as King. It is their prerogative, their right as Christians who have been hurt by wicked rulers to not equate kingship with Jesus. They think on Jesus’ divinity with other terms and in other ways, and for them it still brings them to the knowledge of Christ’s saving deeds. 

A good king is hard to find. The ancient audience of Revelation knew that, and we too know that. Perhaps in a way John in his apocalypse is making it known that there never was nor shall there ever be a good king. Except one.

We do not typically associate a slain lamb with an almighty, all-knowing King, but, again, this seemingly unreconcilable pairing, this pairing of Lamb and King which seem to be at odds with each other, is what is there before us. The lamb is plain. The lamb need not be brightly adorned, but instead its wounds are its vestments. 

——

What we hold out hope for is that day, when, yes, Creation is made whole, the world is made complete, and Christ who reigns now and forever assures,

through love, that he is indeed a king, and that his kingship is above all others,

that his sovereignty is the truest.

Christ will be in the midst of it all as the ruler he was intended to be, a fair one, a loving one, the One who is before all tarnished kings.

And when we behold him, when we behold him, the King, in glory everlasting, whose to say that we will not behold a lamb?

Amen.

This Week at the Advent, November 25-December 1, 2018

The flowers at the High Altar are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Frances Lee McCormick and Barbara McCormick. 

The flowers at the Crossing are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Staff Sergeant Matthew Albert Pucino, U.S. Army Special Forces. 


If you are visiting or new  to the Advent, we hope that you will feel welcome and at home.  Please fill out a visitor’s/newcomer’s card so that we will have a record of your visit here and can keep in touch.


All persons baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit are invited to the Altar to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If you wish to receive a blessing, come to the Altar and cross your arms over your chest.


Childcare is provided for infants and toddlers during both the 9 am and 11:15 am Masses. 

9:00 am—Infant nursery is located on the first floor in the room beyond the Parish Office.  The Toddler nursery is located downstairs in Moseley Hall.

11:15 am—Infants and Toddlers are cared for on the first floor in the room beyond the office.

If you have questions or special needs we want to hear them.  Contact Meg Nelson 856-217-0847 or megwnelson@gmail.com.


9:00 Coffee Hour. Barbara Boles and the kitchen host the Coffee Hour this morning! Next week the hosts will be Melissa & Eric Baldwin and Carolyn & Tom McDermott. New coffee hour hosts are always needed; please contact Barbara Boles by email, bbolesster@gmail.com or telephone (617-501-7572) if you’re interested or have questions about what is entailed.

11:15 Coffee Hour. Stephen Kies and Jonathan Maldonado host the Coffee Hour this morning. Next week the hosts will be Jason Grant, Philip Marshall & Kara Rodgers.  We are always in need of more volunteers to do the coffee hour.  To view the schedule of available dates and select a date to co-host, please go to http://theadventboston.org/1115-coffee-hour-signup/.  If you have any questions, please contact Frederick Ou (frederick.ou@gmail.com), Roxy Hanson (roxenewu@yahoo.com) or Kyle Pilares (kpilares.uk@gmail.com) or Betsy James (ejames4@nc.rr.com). 


Entr’acte:  continuing this Sunday Fr Warren will conclude Entr’acte for the year with a three-part examination of the various sects within what is called Christianity:  what they believe, what they practice, how they differ from Classical Christianity.  That’s after the 9:00 Mass in the Library.  The sessions conclude on December 9. 


Today, the last Sunday of the Church’s liturgical year, is the Feast of Christ the King.  This is a fairly recent feast day in the Church, having been established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as a counter to the totalitarian regimes which were coming into being in Europe at the timeIn time, it was adopted by the Anglican and Lutheran Churches and is now widely celebrated throughout the world. 

It is a special and unique feast which celebrates and sums up the various meanings of the liturgical year.  Christ past—as from Advent to Advent we mark His life, His teachings, His Passion and Resurrection.  Christ present—as we enjoy His gracious presence in our lives by the preaching of the Word, the celebration of Sacraments, and the fellowship of his Body, the Church. Christ to come—as we await the establishing in the world of His Kingdom of harmony, peace, and love. 


THIS WEEK


The Wednesday morning Bible Study will meet in the library this Wednesday at 10:00 am.  We are currently studying the epistles First and Second Timothy, Titus and Philemon.  Please come, bring your Bible, and someone you know.  


New Bible Study Course—1, 2 & 3 John:  Word, Truth, & Love in an Evil World—Continuing this Wednesday, November 28, an in-depth five-week course will be offered starting at 7:00 pm in the Library.  Pastoral Assistant Eric Fialho will again lead a thought-provoking Bible Study.  All attendees will receive scripture journals.  Each session will last roughly 90 minutes and cover various histories, key themes, and enduring theologies as expressed in the shortest Epistles of the New Testament.  For more information please contact Eric at efialho@eds.edu.  


COMING UP


Next Sunday, December 2, is Advent Sunday, our Feast of Title & Dedication.  We will celebrate this auspicious day with a joyful Procession to mark our founding and a Solemn Mass for the First Sunday of Advent.  We are very fortunate and we will be blessed by having the Rev’d Dr Fleming Rutledge with us as our preacher that morning.  She is a celebrated preacher, lecturer, and the author of numerous books.

In the afternoon, Professor Damin Spritzer, of the American Organ Institute at the University of Oklahoma, will offer a half-hour program of Advent organ music at 4:30 pm.  At 5:00 pm, the Advent Choir will sing the beloved service of Advent Lessons & Carols, including music by Byrd, Dove, Ferguson, Jackson, Lehman, Lukaszewski, McDowall, Moyer & Vaughan Williams. The evening concludes with a gala reception in Moseley Hall.

Copies of Dr Rutledge’s most recent book, Advent:  The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ, a collection of sermons appropriate to and also about the Season, are available in the Book Store.  In a brief review of the book, Fr Warren wrote:  “For Fleming Rutledge, the proper celebration of Advent is crucial for the exposition of the faith of the church and the practice of the individual Christian.  She argues passionately for a return to the original twofold focus of the season—a looking back to the Incarnation and a looking forward to the second coming of Christ and the consummation of all things. . . . The sermons in this volume demand more than one reading.  They are born out of an intimate knowledge of Scripture, prodigious learning, and Rutledge’s own experience as a Christian believer, parish priest, and teacher.  They are written with clarity and conviction and, occasionally, as almost heartbreaking honesty.”

Copies of her magnum opus, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ are also available.  This is essential reading for anyone who wishes to delve deeply into the Mystery of our Salvation by the death and rising of Jesus.  It is lengthy but very accessible, written not for scholars but for people in the pews. 


MISSION & OUTREACH CORNER


The Coat Drive Continues—Please help us reach our goal of 100 coats, or make a dollar donation. All tax deductible, of course.  Deacon Noyes has details.


Enjoy great music and help our Tuesday night Supper!  This afternoon the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra presents the music of Weber, Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich in a concert at Symphony Hall beginning at 3:00 pm.

As guests enter or exit Symphony Hall during this BPYO performance, Music for Food will be collecting donations to support the Tuesday Night Supper Program at Boston’s Church of the Advent.  Every dollar donated becomes three meals for those in need.  We hope you will join us in supporting Music for Food and transforming the nourishment of music into food!  Tickets are available at their website,  www.bostonphil.org


ODDS & ENDS


Discount Vouchers for the Boston Common Garage are available for $9.00 each from Deacon Daphne or Nola Sheffer. You can find them between the 9:00 and 11:15 Masses at the Coffee Hour or Entr’acte. The vouchers can be used after 4:00 pm weekdays, and all day Saturday and Sunday. Questions? email: nsheffer@newview.org.


At the Advent Book Store!  Advent Calendars, Christmas Cards, Christmas music; 2019 Ordo Kalendars and Pocket Diaries; all available at our Book Store.


This afternoon, at 4:00 pm, The Bach Project at Ashmont Hill Chamber Music returns for its second season.  The concert will be held at our sister parish, All Saints, Ashmont (209 Ashmont Street, Dorchester).  The Bach Project is a baroque ensemble of instrumentalists and singers, including several members of the Advent Choir, as well as the boys of All Saints’ Choir.  Tickets can be purchased ahead of time by visiting the Ashmont Hill Chamber Music website:  www.ahchambermusic.org.  Tickets are $25 for adults, $18 for students, $3 for EBT card holders, and free for children under 13. 


Vestry Nominations.  Please note that several members of the Vestry, a Treasurer and a Clerk will be elected at the Annual Meeting to be held on Sunday, January 27, 2019.  It is not too early to think about members of the Parish whom you think would serve effectively on the Vestry.  A Nominating Committee, consisting of John Higgins, John Boyd, Maria Denslow, Kara Rodgers, and the Wardens, Tom Brown and Paul Roberts, is ready to receive the names of those whom you wish to nominate.  Please speak to them beforehand to make sure that they are willing to run.  


The parish Flower Guild needs your help!  Decorating the church for Christmas is a lot of work, and the Flower Guild can’t do it alone.  We need volunteers on the following days; floral design skills are not required—if you can carry a bucket, climb a stepladder, or fill a trash bag, we can use you!  And if you can spare an hour or two but not come for the entire block, that’s perfectly OK. 

  • Sunday December 16, around 1:00 pm. After the 11:15 coffee hour we need help carrying all the Christmas material out of storage and up into the church.  Making one or two trips before you leave is a big help.
  • Saturday December 22, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Sunday December 23, 1:30 to 5:00 pm.  After the 11:15 Mass we will have a light lunch and then put up all the greens and candles.  


STEWARDSHIP 2019


As of this past Thursday we have received 99 pledges, pledging a total of $284,296.  36 have increased their pledges by 21%, and there are 14 new pledges.  We have still to hear from 121 parishioners who pledged a total of $272,609 last year.

The Stewardship Committee thanks all who have made a pledge so farIf you have not yet pledged, please do so soon.  

The Committee encourages all parishioners to get their pledges submitted on or before our Feast of Title & Dedication, which is next Sunday.

You can pledge on line by going to the parish website www.theadventboston.org and clicking the “Pledge Online” button.


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
November 26-December 2, 2018

Monday, November 26
6:00 pm: Boston Cecilia Rehearsal

Tuesday, November 27
5:30 pm: Community Supper

Wednesday, November 28
Kamehameha & Emma of Hawaii
10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
7:00 pm: Bell Ringing
7:00 pm: Bible Study

Thursday, November 29
7:00 pm: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Friday, November 30
Saint Andrew the Apostle
10:00 am: Beacon Hill Garden Club Meeting
11:30 am: Rosary
8:00 pm: Boston Cecilia Concert

Saturday, December 1
Nicholas Ferrar
10:00 am: Flower Guild
4:00 pm: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Sunday, December 2
The First Sunday of Advent—Feast of Title & Dedication 
7:30 am: Morning Prayer
8:00 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Procession & Sung Mass
10:15 am: Church School
11:15 am: Procession & Solemn Mass
4:30 pm: Organ Recital
5:00 pm: Service of Advent Lessons & Carols

Collect for the Feast of Christ the King

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in thy well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by the calamity of sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Sermon Preached by the Rev’d Jay C. James at the Church of the Advent, Sunday, November 18, 2018, the Twenty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost

From Saint Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews:  But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls.

We can grow closer to Christ even in times of trial and when we come through trials and tribulations, we will know the joy of the Lord. 

What is Jesus talking about when He is warning Peter, James, John, and Andrew to watch for the desolating sacrilege?  It must be pretty bad!  It is a sacrilege and not just a sacrilege, a desolating sacrilege.  On top of that it is going to be, as He describes, …set up where it ought not to be.  This sounds redundant because what kind of sacrilege would ever be where it is supposed to be?  This is a sacrilege that means something of God is made to be completely unholy and profane.  More than this, it is desolating, as if to say it is so bad that anything having to do with holiness is decimated.  We hate to think of something that can be that bad and we certainly would not want to be around to see it.  Yet Jesus tells the disciples they will see it and they should look for it.  The desolating sacrilege will begin the season of great tribulation.  Plan on it. 

The profaning and desolation of sacred things brings to mind a scene from the Maundy Thursday liturgy at the stripping of the Altar.  A number of parishioners complained to the Rector of an Anglo-Catholic parish about the behavior of their sexton during the stripping of the Altar.  It seems that the sexton, a truly devout, practicing Catholic who adored everything about the liturgy, took it upon himself to be the one removing the high Altar Cross as the last dramatic scene in the stripping of the Altar.  In his old age he would take his rickety wooden step ladder and painfully, slowly, place it in the middle of the footpace, climb with his mud-caked work boots up the ladder, crawl onto the Altar, grind dirt into the fine cracks of the marble Altar, grab the three-foot tall Cross and then slowly make his way down the ladder with everyone praying that he and the Cross made it to the footpace, down the Altar steps and barely make it off to the sacristy with him and Cross in one piece.  The parishioners lamented to the Rector that this whole thing was unseemly, disrespectful, and he, the Rector, should stop it.  “Don’t allow him to ruin the whole thing.  We don’t come to Church on this holy day to watch things be destroyed and ruined.”  The Rector said, “But isn’t that what the stripping of the Altar is all about?  It should be complete and utter desecration. There is nothing left, everything is ruined because there is no Godly presence there.”  The Rector was right and that reflects but is not even close to as bad as the desolating sacrilege. 

Jesus has the disciples begin looking for a time when the worship of God is put to an end.  This would be accomplished by a foreign political force that would not only stop the religious sacrifices of the Jews, but would replace their halted religious practices with forced pagan rites and ceremonies. Jesus said, ‘When you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. He then describes the urgency and the severity of the time when it happens and gives examples of how immediate and intense the desecration will be. He concludes with a stern warning, But take heed; I have told you all things beforehand. The community to whom He is preaching and teaching knows well the history and tradition of desecration so powerful that even the worship of God is stopped.  There is a long tradition of this type of desecration in the religious lives of the Jewish people.  Jesus knows about it and the disciples and the people to whom He is teaching know about it. 

A number of times in the history of Israel there have been pagan political powers take over holy places like Jerusalem and made worship impossible.  The armies desecrated holy places of the Jews and made them places of worship to other gods and not theGod of Israel.  The first desolating sacrilege was in 167 BC when Antiochus Epiphanes took over the Temple in Jerusalem and placed an altar to Zeus over the altar intended for the offerings of the Jews.  This is the abomination of desolation we read about in the twelfth chapter of Daniel.  And from the time that the continual burnt offering is taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. In His teaching on Mount Olivet Jesus is privately warning Peter, James, John, and Andrew of yet another desolating sacrilege that will take place as part of the great tribulation at the end of time.  Whatever shape this coming abomination takes is not revealed but Jesus warns them to be ready because when it happens it will be a sign that the Christ is soon coming again. 

There are times when some of us wonder whether we are seeing signs of this great tribulation before Christ says he will come again.  Every time there is a big event that has monumental proportions, with the backdrop of the battle between good and evil, some will wonder whether this is part of the great tribulation and that encourages us to look for an accompanying desolating sacrilege.  In retrospect none of these signs or events has turned out to be a sign of the end of time. Most recently, the turning of the annual calendar from 1999 to 2000 was supposed to result in chaos and the beginning of the end.  Eighteen years have brought us here safely, so we know that it was not the beginning of the end.  The Hale-Bopp Comet passing so closely to us in 1997 was to trigger massive occurrences in nature and societies around the world that some predicted the end on its arrival.  Nothing happened except great glee for some amateur and professional astronomers over never-before-seen pictures.  I suspect some other 20th century events like the two World Wars with their battle of evil political and ideological forces and the enormous scale of armies involved gave rise to predictions of the Great Tribulation. Again, we are still looking for and attempting to interpret signs of a sacrilege that will leave us desolate and put us at the beginning of Jesus’ predicted tribulation.

Going through a predicted tribulation or enduring a present form of tribulation does not sound inviting.  No one looks forward to disaster, or struggle, or destruction of anything; materially or spiritually.  We should want always to have the joy and privilege of worshipping our God and we do not want that taken away. We do not like to think of calamitous or destructive times.  For the Christian, though, we know from Jesus there will be those times.  They may be at the end of time or even through times of struggle in our lives here in the world.  When we look at these predictions from the Bible; apocalypses they are called in Biblical language (a word that simply means revealed or uncovered) we find that there is always the good triumphing over the forces of evil.  It takes a trial, a tribulation, to be lived through or overcome, but in the end there is great joy, even exultation. 

The trial is there for the Christian and the tribulation is always worth the reward that comes after the endurance.  It’s much like the trial of exercising our muscles to get them fit and stronger especially if we are to achieve a goal.  The pain and strain of the body must be endured in order to achieve the desired goal. We might not like the trial of exercising but we find joy and delight in the results. 

Notice that we have this building to a great crescendo even in the Church Year.  The readings for today are intended, I think, to be a preparation for celebrating The Feast of Christ the King next week. The liturgical calendar parallels the course of our lives.  We end the Church Year with Christ being honored and praised and exalted as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He is Resurrected, Ascended, and Glorified and seated at the right hand of the Father at the end of our Church Year.  Today our Scripture readings purposely cover the warning by Jesus to be ready for Him to come again, because He will keepHis promise to return.  Our lives here in the world are intended to be a preparation, a trying out, a tempering and forging of a life hid with Christ so that we can be ready to meet Jesus when we die or when He comes again in all His glory. 

So what do we do in the meantime?  We heed Jesus’ warning.  We move forward through any trials and tribulations given us.  The good news is that progress can be made in our lives even through times of trial.  This is why Saint Paul is so encouraging to the Hebrews.  There is a reward for the faithful who endure and remain steadfast followers of Christ here in the world.  Saint Paul knows the hardships they have endured and encourages them with these words, But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls.

Continue to be faithful to the Church while we are waiting.  This is a place that will prepare us for eternity.  We are given the Word of God written to reveal to us what God expects of us and to show us the love and grace He has for us.  It is here that we have the graceful Sacraments to aid us and sustain us through the tribulations and, yes, in fact, also the joys of this life.  In Thomas Cranmer’s brilliance he wrote our opening collect as a thanksgiving for the salvation that comes to us even in the Bible.  The Word of God in the Bible has the saving knowledge for our souls. According to that prayer if we read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest God’s Holy Word, we can hold fast (endure) the hope of everlasting life.  So it is indeed God’s Word that we have to be about through this world, but that’s not all the Church has for us. 

The grace of the Sacraments is there for us too and we use this time well to avail ourselves of them.  Think of the Sacraments as kinds of crutches, supports, aids to make it through this world of trials to get to the next world.   We do not need the Sacraments in heaven.  We need them here.  We need to be sustained daily by God’s grace so Holy Communion is offered daily.  We need healing and in the Sacraments Jesus is healing us according to His will.  We need all the means of grace the Sacraments have to offer and when we receive it faithfully we will be making good use of this time of tribulation before Christ comes again.  We will be well prepared for that Second Coming.

Christians look forward to Christ coming.  We may have to look forward with fear and trembling because we are in a time of trial, but we know and rely on Christ’s promise to come again.  We could not have a better dedication for our parish church than The Church of the Advent.  Our Church dedicated to Christ coming reminds us every time we say the title, every time we enter here, that our hope for the end of time, and our reason even to make it through each day is the Coming of Christ.  We will be kept strong and faithful by God’s Grace in His Word and Sacraments so we will not be those, in the words of Saint Paul who shrink back and are destroyed.  We will be of those who have faith and keep their soulsSo Come Lord Jesus

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

Collect for the Twenty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that, by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

This Week at the Advent, November 18-24, 2018

The flowers at the High Altar are given to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for the marriage of Margaret Jeffry and Anthony Gallo.


If you are visiting or new  to the Advent, we hope that you will feel welcome and at home.  Please fill out a visitor’s/newcomer’s card so that we will have a record of your visit here and can keep in touch.


All persons baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit are invited to the Altar to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If you wish to receive a blessing, come to the Altar and cross your arms over your chest.


Childcare is provided for infants and toddlers during both the 9 am and 11:15 am Masses. 

9:00 am—Infant nursery is located on the first floor in the room beyond the Parish Office.  The Toddler nursery is located downstairs in Moseley Hall.

11:15 am—Infants and Toddlers are cared for on the first floor in the room beyond the office.

If you have questions or special needs we want to hear them.  Contact Meg Nelson 856-217-0847 or megwnelson@gmail.com.


9:00 Coffee Hour. Darcy Montaldi & Tony Pulsone and Carolyn Shadid & Jason Lewis host the Coffee Hour this morning! Next week the hosts will be Melissa & Eric Baldwin and Carolyn & Tom McDermott. New coffee hour hosts are always needed; please contact Barbara Boles by email, bbolesster@gmail.com or telephone (617-501-7572) if you’re interested or have questions about what is entailed.

11:15 Coffee Hour. Janell & Michael Sauer, Kate Roselyn and Robin Landrith host the Coffee Hour today. We are always in need of more volunteers to do the coffee hour.  To view the schedule of available dates and select a date to co-host, please go to http://theadventboston.org/1115-coffee-hour-signup/.  If you have any questions, please contact Frederick Ou (frederick.ou@gmail.com), Roxy Hanson (roxenewu@yahoo.com) or Kyle Pilares (kpilares.uk@gmail.com) or Betsy James (ejames4@nc.rr.com). 


Entr’acte:  Beginning this morning, Fr Warren will conclude Entr’acte for the year with a three-part examination of the various sects within what is called Christianity:  what they believe, what they practice, how they differ from Classical Christianity.  That’s after the 9:00 Mass in the Library.  The sessions conclude on November 25 and December 9. 


Don’t Forget:  Responses to the Parish Questionnaire are due Monday, November 19!


If you do not wish to receive the Blessed Sacrament in your hand, but rather on your tongue, please open your mouth and extend your tongue.  If you do not extend your tongue, this risks the person administering the sacrament putting their fingers in your mouth.  The is something they do not want to do, nor should you wish to happen, and is considerably less decorous and pious than receiving in your hand.


This Afternoon—Evensong & Benediction & Organ Recital—This afternoon at 4:30 organist Caroline Robinson, doctoral candidate from the Eastman School of Music, offers a half-hour prelude recital of works by Max Reger, Leo Sowerby, Maurice Duruflé, and our own John Cook.  At 5 pm, the Advent Choir will sing Evensong, featuring all-American composers:  Davison, Hogan, Hoiby and Halley.  Following the service, a light supper will be served, and Mark Dwyer will offer a brief talk on “The Americans,” discussing the music and composers featured in the program. 


THIS WEEK


This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day.  There will be a celebration of the Mass with hymns at 10:00 am. 

The Parish Office will be closed this Thursday, November 22, and Friday, November 23.  On Friday, Morning Prayer is at 9:00 am; the Rosary will be prayed at 11:30 am; Low Mass is at 12:15 pm;  Evening Prayer is cancelled. 


The Wednesday morning Bible Study will meet in the library this Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. We are currently studying the epistles First and Second Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. Please come, bring your Bible, and someone you know.


New Bible Study Course—1, 2 & 3 John:  Word, Truth, & Love in an Evil World—Continuing this Wednesday, November 21, an in-depth five week course will be offered starting at 7:00 pm in the Library.  Pastoral Assistant Eric Fialho will again lead a thought-provoking Bible Study.  All attendees will receive scripture journals.  Each session will last roughly 90 minutes and cover various histories, key themes, and enduring theologies as expressed in the shortest Epistles of the New Testament.  For more information please contact Eric at efialho@eds.edu.  


COMING UP


Sunday, December 2 is Advent Sunday, our Feast of Title & Dedication.  We will celebrate this auspicious day with a joyful Procession to mark our founding and a Solemn Mass for the First Sunday of Advent.  We are very fortunate and we will be blessed by having the Rev’d Dr Fleming Rutledge with us as our preacher that morning.  She is a celebrated preacher, lecturer,   and the author of numerous books.

In the afternoon, Professor Damin Spritzer, of the American Organ Institute at the University of Oklahoma, will offer a half-hour program of Advent organ music at 4:30 pm.  At 5:00 pm, the Advent Choir will sing the beloved service of Advent Lessons & Carols, including music by Byrd, Dove, Ferguson, Jackson, Lehman, Lukaszewski, McDowall, Moyer & Vaughan Williams. The evening concludes with a gala reception in Moseley Hall.

Copies of Dr Rutledge’s most recent book, Advent:  The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ, a collection of sermons appropriate to and also about the Season, are available in the Book Store.  In a brief review of the book, Fr Warren wrote:  “For Fleming Rutledge, the proper celebration of Advent is crucial for the exposition of the faith of the church and the practice of the individual Christian.  She argues passionately for a return to the original twofold focus of the season—a looking back to the Incarnation and a looking forward to the second coming of Christ and the consummation of all things. . . . The sermons in this volume demand more than one reading.  They are born out of an intimate knowledge of Scripture, prodigious learning, and Rutledge’s own experience as a Christian believer, parish priest, and teacher.  They are written with clarity and conviction and, occasionally, as almost heartbreaking honesty.”

Copies of her magnum opus, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ are also available.  This is essential reading for anyone who wishes to delve deeply into the Mystery of our Salvation by the death and rising of Jesus.  It is lengthy but very accessible, written not for scholars but for people in the pews. 


MISSION & OUTREACH CORNER


The Coat Drive Continues—Please help us reach our goal of 100 coats, or make a dollar donation. All tax deductible, of course.  Deacon Noyes has details.


Enjoy great music and help our Tuesday night Supper!  Next Sunday, November 25, the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra presents the music of Weber, Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich in a concert at Symphony Hall beginning at 3:00 pm.

At this concert, the Boston Philharmonic is proud to be partnering once again with Music for Food.  Music for Food is a Boston-based nonprofit started in 2010 by violist Kim Kashkashian. Musicians donate their time and talent to create unique concert experiences through which 100% of proceeds directly support a local food pantry.

As guests enter or exit Symphony Hall during this BPYO performance, Music for Food will be collecting donations to support the Tuesday Night Supper Program at Boston’s Church of the Advent.  Every dollar donated becomes three meals for those in need.  We hope you will join us in supporting Music for Food and transforming the nourishment of music into food!  Tickets are available at their website www.bostonphil.org


ODDS & ENDS


Discount Vouchers for the Boston Common Garage are available for $9.00 each from Deacon Daphne or Nola Sheffer. You can find them between the 9:00 and 11:15 Masses at the Coffee Hour or Entr’acte. The vouchers can be used after 4:00 pm weekdays, and all day Saturday and Sunday. Questions? email: nsheffer@newview.org.


STEWARDSHIP 2019


Returns for the 2019 Canvass continue to arrive.  Thanks to everyone who pledged so promptly! 

As of this past Thursday we have received 77 pledges, pledging a total of $236,122.  31 have increased their pledges by 20%, and there are 8 new pledges.  We have still to hear from 137 parishioners who pledged a total of $300,409 last year.

The Stewardship Committee thanks all who have made a pledge so farIf you have not yet pledged, please do so soon.  The Committee encourages all parishioners to get their pledges submitted on or before our Feast of Title & Dedication on December 2.

You can pledge on line by going to the parish website www.theadventboston.org and clicking the “Pledge Online” button.


At the Advent Book Store!  Advent Calendars, Christmas Cards, Christmas music; 2019 Ordo Kalendars and Pocket Diaries; all available at our Book Store.


On Sunday, November 25 at 4:00 pm, The Bach Project at Ashmont Hill Chamber Music returns for its second season after a triumphant and sold-out debut last year.  The concert will be held at our sister parish, All Saints, Ashmont (209 Ashmont Street, Dorchester).  The Bach Project is a baroque ensemble of instrumentalists and singers, including several members of the Advent Choir, as well as the boys of All Saints’ Choir.  The program, consisting entirely of music by Johann Sebastian Bach, will include the Mass in A Major (BWV 234), the Violin Concerto in G minor (BWV 1056R), the motet “Ich lasse dich nicht” (BWV 159), as well as two pieces of organ repertoire.  Tickets can be purchased ahead of time by visiting the Ashmont Hill Chamber Music website: www.ahchambermusic.org.  Tickets are $25 for adults, $18 for students, $3 for EBT card holders, and free for children under 13.


Vestry Nominations.  Please note that several members of the Vestry, a Treasurer and a Clerk will be elected at the Annual Meeting to be held on Sunday, January 27, 2019.  It is not too early to think about members of the Parish whom you think would serve effectively on the Vestry.  A Nominating Committee, consisting of John Higgins, John Boyd, Maria Denslow, Kara Rodgers, and the Wardens, Tom Brown and Paul Roberts, is ready to receive the names of those whom you wish to nominate.  Please speak to them beforehand to make sure that they are willing to run.  


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
November 12-18, 2018

Monday, November 19
Elisabeth of Hungary
7:00 pm: Girl Scout Leaders

Tuesday, November 20
Edmund the Martyr
5:30 pm: Community Supper

Wednesday, November 21
10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
7:00 pm: Bell Ringing
7:00 pm: Bible Study

Thursday, November 22
Thanksgiving Day (Parish Office Closed)
10:00 am: Mass

Friday, November 23
Clement of Rome (Parish Office Closed)
9:00 am: Morning Prayer
11:30 am: Rosary
12:15 pm: Low Mass

Saturday, November 24
10:00 am: Flower Guild
4:00 pm: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Sunday, November 25
The Feast of Christ the King
7:30 am: Morning Prayer
8:00 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Procession & Sung Mass
10:15 am: Church School / Entr’acte
11:15 am: Procession & Solemn Mass & Te Deum

Sermon Preached by the Rev’d Daphne B. Noyes at the Church of the Advent, Sunday, November 11, 2018, the Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Jesus said, of the widow: “She out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living.”

It’s tempting, perhaps, to read this as a lesson about money and sacrificial giving (especially in this stewardship season). But Jesus sets us straight — as he so often does: it’s not about money, it’s about life. The woman put in her whole living. She gives neither fortune nor tithe — but her bion [Greek], her livelihood.

# # #

For 100 years, November 11 has been known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918, fighting in World War One ceased. At that moment, Times correspondent Edwin L. James wrote from the front, “four years’ killing and massacre stopped, as if God had swept His omnipotent finger across the scene of world carnage and cried, ‘Enough!’”

So just as we remember all the departed on All Souls Day, and all the Saints on All Saints Day, on Remembrance Sunday we call to mind the soldiers, chaplains, medics, nurses, cooks on the front lines, and mothers, children, grandparents on the home front — those who “put their whole living” into what was supposed to be the war to end all wars.

In 1914, just weeks after Britain declared war on Germany, H. Hensley Henson preached at Norwich Cathedral: “This War is, we may dare to hope, destined, by the Governing Mercy of the ALMIGHTY, to cleanse the vision of the nations, and to clear their path, so that in the Retrospect it will be seen to bring appreciably nearer the Final Overthrow of the Theory and Practice of International Violence, and to hasten the Kingdom of the Prince of Peace.” [punctuation as in original]

Sadly, we have not seen the “overthrow of the theory and practice of international [— or indeed national —] violence.” And we are hard-pressed to believe the long-awaited coming of the Kingdom of the Prince of Peace been hastened.

The war that was fervently hoped to be the last will instead be remembered for many firsts: The first war to be fought on land, air and sea. The first major use of poison gas. The first use of tanks. The first British women in military service. The first war cemeteries.

We observe this Armistice Day in some concrete ways: there’s a wreath of red poppies at the shrine of Christ the King — see the note of explanation about their significance in your bulletin. And if you arrived between 11 and 11:10, you may have noticed a group of people outside, standing quietly with heads bowed, listening to the bell toll 100 times.

wreath of poppies at the shrine of Christ the King in the naveThis is in keeping with the Advent’s longstanding tradition of honoring the men and women who played the always complex, often contradictory role of peacemaker by entering into war. Those who said they would die for their country, their beliefs. And what’s more, would kill for them.

In 1914, the outbreak of the war in Europe sparked a strong response from the 48-year-old rector of the Church of the Advent, William Harman van Allen. Dr. van Allen, as he was known, had a reputation of being “always a strong and often brilliant preacher.” The Centennial History of this parish reports that he was “profoundly moved by the [war’s] outbreak…and during the period of the war he delivered what were perhaps the finest and most forceful of all his sermons….In the pulpit, in his weekly Message to the congregation, by letters in the press, he maintained his championship of the cause of the Allies, even in the face of threats of personal violence.”

Dr. Van Allen guided the parish through the war’s turbulent and challenging years, priest and people bringing the conflict and heartache of the world to the altar of God, and the promise of redemption to the turmoil of the world:

  • After the sinking of the British ship Lusitania by a German torpedo, a Solemn Requiem was held. (If you were here for the All Souls requiem, you know what a powerful and moving service this is.) Lusitania was carrying almost 2,000 people — passengers, crew, stowaways. Nearly 1,200 were lost.
  • In the early years of the war, when this country was striving to be neutral, one of the Advent’s assisting priests, the Rev. William Russell Scarritt, preached a sermon calling upon the United States to abandon neutrality and join the Allies against Germany. His sermon attracted widespread notice; some even credit it with marking the turning point in American sentiment toward entering the war.
  • As many as 50 “war orphans” (pupilles de la nation) in France were supported materially and morally by members of the congregation. Additionally, there was a service of intercession for “martyred Belgium” (1917), and a Red Cross chapter provided surgical dressings and other necessities.

The United States formally entered into the war on Good Friday 1917.

One hundred twenty-nine men from the Advent served in the Armed Forces during the war. “Dr. van Allen wrote regularly to [the] names on the Advent Honour Roll, and the six gold stars which appeared there were suitably revered….”

On the first Sunday after the armistice was signed (November 17, 1918), the Advent’s weekly bulletin was printed in red, and instead of the day’s designation according to the ecclesiastical calendar, that Sunday was listed as “The Sunday After the Great War.” A Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving for Victory was celebrated; the Hallelujah Chorus was sung as an anthem and The Star-Spangled Banner was the sermon hymn.

But many of the most ecstatic celebrations were followed something far more sombre. Perhaps the most potent and poignant example is that of a British baby who was born at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, and in honor of that great day was christened Pax — peace. At the age of twenty-one, he would be killed in the next war.

# # #

Why is all this important? After all, World War I is well behind us, and without a doubt we have our own troubles and pressing needs. I don’t need to describe or identify contemporary parallels; I am certain you know what they are. They are powerful: they threaten to overwhelm us and overtake our quest to draw each day closer to God, to follow Jesus in loving and serving God and our neighbor. But like those who have gone before us in this holy place, we are called to “pray for peace against all odds and act with hope when there is little light to be seen.” Through faith, we can, like the widow, offer all we have — our whole living — to the God who created us, who loves us, and who has promised to redeem us. And one hundred years hence, when the people sitting in these pews, standing at this altar and in the pulpit, look to us for an example of how to remain faithful to God and to each other in times of strife and conflict, may they not be disappointed.

Amen.


Sources etc.

  • “four years’ killing and massacre…” Edwin L. James, quoted in “Annals of History: The Eleventh Hour” by Adam Hochschild in The New Yorker, November 5, 2018.
  • “This war is, we may hope, destined…” H. Hensley Henson , 27 September 1914, Norwich Cathedral. Wartime Sermons: 21 Sermons delivered 19 September 1914—3 October 1915. London: Macmillan and Co., 1915.
  • The Parish of the Advent in the City of Boston: A History of One Hundred Years, 1844-1944. Privately printed, 1944.
  • A History of the Church of the Advent. Betty Hughes Morris. Privately printed, 1995.
  • William Harman Van Allen (1870-1931), rector, Church of the Advent from Advent Sunday 1902 to March 1929.
  • “His sermon attracted widespread notice…” William Russell Scarritt (1846-1931). National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Vol 23, 1933. p 389.
  • “pray for peace against all odds” Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury. Remembrance 100. https://www.remembrance100.co.uk/reconciliation/

Collect for the Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost

O God, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life:  Grant us, we beseech thee, that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves even as he is pure; that, when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, he liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end. Amen.