Collect for the First Sunday in Lent

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted of Satan; Make speed to help thy servants who are assaulted by manifold temptations; and, as thou knowest their several infirmities, let each one find thee mighty to save; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Collect for the Season:

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

This Week at the Advent, March 1-7, 2020

Welcome to the Church of the Advent! If you are new to the area, visiting, or seeking a church home, we are glad you’re here and hope to have a chance to greet you in person. Please join us downstairs following the service for a coffee hour.

Child care is offered during the 9 am and 11:15 am services; an usher can guide you to the nursery.

Welcome cards are located in each pew; please fill one out so we can keep in touch.


A Note about Cold, Flu, and Virus Season

  • Please use the hand sanitizer available at the doors to the church.
  • You may wish to replace handshakes with a bow of greeting at the Peace and other times.
  • If you are feeling unwell, please refrain from receiving from the Chalice.
  • If you are feeling really unwell, please give yourself the gift of rest at home.
  • If you are immuno-compromised, or otherwise susceptible to viruses, you might consider not receiving from the Chalice, neither by intinction or by drinking therefrom. Please receive only the Host, into your hand.

It is perfectly acceptable to receive Holy Communion in one kind only. Holy Tradition teaches concomitance, the belief that the whole Christ is present in each Sacred Species. That is to say both the Body and Blood of Christ are present in the Host, and likewise both the Body and Blood in the Chalice. The Prayer Book affirms this tradition: if a person “cannot receive either the consecrated Bread or the Wine, it is suitable to administer the Sacrament in one kind only” (BCP, p. 457).


TODAY


9:00 Coffee Hour: Hosting today are Matt McNeff & David Russo with John Boyd. If you would like to sign up to host coffee hour, please contact Barbara Boles by phone, 617-501-7572, or email, bbolesster@gmail.com, if you’re interested or have questions.

1:15 Coffee Hour: Hosting this morning are Janell & Michael Saur with Robb Scholten. We are always in need of more volunteers; to view the schedule and select a date to co-host, visit www.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 Betsy James (ejames4@nc.rr.com).


Name Tags. If you have a nametag, please wear it at coffee hour. This helps us know each other better – and helps Fr. Anderson learn all our names. If you are a pledging member of the Advent, and do not have a nametag, please contact the church office.


Entr’acte. Robin Landrith begins a study of  “In the Beginning…: A Catholic Under-standing of the Story of Creation and the Fall.” This series of homilies was delivered by Pope Benedict XVI, then Joseph Ratzinger, during the Lenten season of 1981, and Lent remains a fitting time to renew reflections on the first principles of our world. Benedict’s homilies focus on Israel’s experience of God as Creator in the unfolding testimony of the Hebrew Scriptures, together with the ethical implications of belief in creation as recounted by the Bible as a whole—that is, in light of the fulfillment of creation revealed in Christ. Entr’acte follows the 9:00 am Mass in the Hunnewell Room (Library).


The Parish Lenten Guide for 2020, A Lenten Journey, is available at the back of the church, on the parish website, and in Moseley Hall at coffee hour. This booklet allows all of us to keep a Lenten discipline, together with weekly Scripture readings, acts of self-discipline, and meditations we can all take on as a community.


THIS WEEK


Lenten reminders:

  • Morning Prayer will be said at 8:00 am.
  • Wednesday Morning Bible Study moves forward one hour, to 9:00 am.
  • A women’s reading group meets Mondays from 6:00 to 7:30 pm (through March 30) to read and discuss the book A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans, and to get to know one another better theough sharing. Women of all ages are very warmly invited to join; please contact Agnes Coakley Cox (coakley@gmail.com) for more information. The first meeting, on March 2, will take place in the Frisby Room.
  • Wednesdays: Readings in John study immediately following the 6:00 pm Healing Mass, in the Hunnewell Room (Library). Light refreshments will be served.
  • Thursdays: Stations of the Cross and Benediction at 6:00 pm

Daylight Saving Time begins next Sunday, March 8. Remember to set your clocks AHEAD ONE HOUR.


NEXT SUNDAY


See the Rectory. Next Sunday, March 8, following both the 9:00 and 11:15 Masses, Advent parishioners are invited to walk through the newly renovated Rectory.


20s–30s of the Advent are invited to an information/listening session with the clergy on Sunday, March 8 in the Library following the 11:15 Mass. Please mark your calendars, and help to get the word out to those who might be interested.


Compline at the Advent: Join us next Sunday, March 8, for the ancient liturgy of Compline, preceded by Lucernarium, an evening service of lamp-lighting. We pray Compline, the service of prayer before bedtime in the custom of early Christian monasticism, on the second Sunday of every month at 8:00 pm in the nave.


ODDS & ENDS


An introductory course in Biblical Greek will be offered at 6:45 pm on Thursdays at 43 South Russell Street. Corey Rouse will lead a 1.5 hour course using Clayton Croy’s Primer of Biblical Greek. Registration not required! Email carignanrouse@gmail.com for more information.


Discount parking vouchers for the Boston Common Garage are available for $9.00 each from Nola Sheffer or are also available at the Bookstore. 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.


First Holy Communion Class for students in the 2nd to 4th grades will be offered on Sundays in Eastertide during the Christian education hour. If your child is interested in participating, please speak to Meg Nelson or Fr Jeff.


Reminder: Suspicious Messages. It seems that a number of Advent parishioners have received bogus email (and text) messages purporting to be from Father Anderson. Please note that his email is rector@theadventboston.org (preferred) or douglas.evan.anderson@gmail.com. If you receive a suspicious message, please double-check sender e-mail addresses for authenticity; disregard and delete messages from any other address. Remember also that Clergy and church leaders will never ask for emergency aid or donations. If you have doubts about authenticity, phone the requester to confirm. Find more information about phishing scams, including how to report them, at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing.


Report of Sunday, February 23 — Attendance (all Masses): 248; Collection: $28,485 
Ash Wednesday Attendance: 190


FROM THE ADVENT ARCHIVES


To the Parishioners of the Church of the Advent, Boston,

My Very Dear Friends:

This year, when the whole world echoes with the groans and lamentations of such anguish as has seldom been known before, I bid you undertake even more earnestly than your wont the fruitful labor of intercession.

Fr. van Allen, c. 1915

“. . . More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.”*

Men are ready enough to join in material benevolences; surely they are needed, in these days of wicked and wanton destruction, when Belgium, Poland, and Northern France are laid waste and people starve except for the bounty of others less afflicted. You have responded splendidly to appeals for them. But their cause is with the Most High, and our intercessions for those who suffer accomplish far more than our gifts, if they accompany the giving. All the other needs of mankind call to use for succour; and though we may be unable to help much in what are called “practical” ways by those who do not remember the power of prayer, we can intercede with the Giver of every good and perfect gift, confident that He will hear and answer. […]

Let us have then, a Lent of Intercession, with our self-denial turned into helpful channels. The Belgian flag flying above the alms-chest will remind you of those who are in greatest need and whose silent appeal for help is most eloquent; but we must remember the others who hunger and freeze and wander desolate. Give up altogether for the holy season such luxuries as you may perhaps lawfully use at other times, and turn over what you save to God’s Cause and God’s Poor. Find your way daily to the habitation of God’s House; and come at least once a week to the Table of the Lord.

Above all, love much: love God, love your friends, love your enemies; love God’s Church and all that pertains to her; love the Truth and Peace. And the very God of Peace be with you through the forty days and ever.

Your loving friend and Rector,

William Harman van Allen,
Ash Wednesday, 1915

*Alfred, Lord Tennyson — King Arthur to Sir Bedivere, in “The Passing of Arthur” from Idylls of the King.


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT


March 2-8, 2020

Monday, March 2
5:15 pm: Girl Scouts
6:00 pm: Women’s Lenten Reading Group

Tuesday, March 3
6:00 pm: Community Supper

Wednesday, March 4
9:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass followed by Lenten Bible Study

Thursday, March 5
6:00 pm: Stations of the Cross & Benediction
7:00 pm: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Friday, March 6
11:30 am: Rosary

Saturday, March 7

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

Holy Week Schedule

Collect for the Last Sunday after the Epiphany (Quinquagesima)

O God, who before the passion of thy only-begotten Son didst reveal his glory upon the holy mount: Grant unto us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

This Week at the Advent, February 23-29, 2020

Welcome to the Church of the Advent! If you are new to the area, visiting, or seeking a church home, we are glad you’re here and hope to have a chance to greet you in person. Please join us downstairs following the service for a coffee hour.

Child care is offered during the 9 am and 11:15 am services; an usher can guide you to the nursery.

Welcome cards are located in each pew; please fill one out so we can keep in touch.


The flowers at the High Altar are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Samuel Alger Madsen.


TODAY


9:00 Coffee Hour: 9:00 Coffee Hour: the Advent Guild of Bellringers hosts today. If you would like to sign up to host coffee hour, please contact Barbara Boles by phone, 617-501-7572, or email, bbolesster@gmail.com, if you’re interested or have questions.

1:15 Coffee Hour: Hosting this morning are Betsy James with Catherine Birdwell & Nicholas Edwards. We are always in need of more volunteers; to view the schedule and select a date to co-host, visit www.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 Betsy James (ejames4@nc.rr.com).


Entr’acte. The conclusion of the series “New Testament Perspectives on Old Testament Law” led by Rick Stone. Today’s topic is “Hebrews and the Priesthood of Christ.” Entr’acte follows 9:00 am and the 11:15 am Masses in the Hunnewell Room (Library).


Church School Farewell to the Alleluias. Please come to the crypt chapel today at 10:30 am, where we will meet with the Rector for a brief lesson and burying of our Alleluia banners. The banners will be “resurrected” on Easter Day. We have extra banners if your child was not at Sunday School for the past two weeks. Following this, we will join coffee hour. Questions, or need directions? Please speak to Meg Nelson.


Name Tags. If you have a nametag, please wear it at coffee hour. This helps us know each other better – and helps Fr. Anderson learn all our names. If you are a pledging member of the Advent, and do not have a nametag, please contact the church office.


At 3:00 pm today, our own Jeremy Bruns will perform Widor’s Symphony No. 6 and works by Preston, Howells, Lang, Dupré, Alain, and Franck at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross (1400 Washington St, Boston) in celebration of the 144th anniversary of the dedication of the 101-rank E. & G. G. Hook & Hastings, Opus 801. Admission is free; donations go towards the Cathedral Organ restoration fund. For more info, visit https://holycrossboston.com/concert-series/.


The Parish Lenten Guide for 2020, A Lenten Journey, is available at the back of the church, on the parish website, and in Moseley Hall at coffee hour. This booklet allows all of us to keep a Lenten discipline, together with weekly Scripture readings, acts of self-discipline, and meditations we can all take on as a community.


THIS WEEK


Ash Wednesday is this week, February 26. 

Service schedule:
7:30 am: Low Mass with the Imposition of Ashes
12:15 pm: Low Mass with the Imposition of Ashes
6:30 pm: Solemn High Mass with the Imposition of Ashes

Lenten offerings and observances:

A women’s Lent group will be meeting on Mondays in Lent to read and discuss the book A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans, to get to know one another better by sharing our own experiences. Women of all ages are very warmly invited to join. We will be meeting on Mondays, March 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm at the church. Please contact Agnes Coakley Cox (agnes.coakley@gmail.com) for more information.

Wednesdays in Lent: Readings in John study immediately following the 6:00  pm Healing Mass.
Thursdays in Lent: Stations of the Cross and Benediction at 6:00 pm

All beginning the first week of March

Beginning next Monday and continuing through Lent, Morning Prayer will be said at 8:00 am to encourage attendance at the Offices. The Wednesday Bible Study will also move forward one hour, to 9:00 am, during this time.


NEXT SUNDAY


The next Entr’acte series. On the first Sunday in Lent, Robin Landrith will begin a study of  “In the Beginning…’: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall.” This series of homilies was delivered by Pope Benedict XVI, then Joseph Ratzinger, during the Lenten season of 1981, and Lent remains a fitting time to renew reflections on the first principles of our world. Benedict’s homilies focus on Israel’s experience of God as Creator in the unfolding testimony of the Hebrew Scriptures, together with the ethical implications of belief in creation as recounted by the Bible as a whole—that is, in light of the fulfillment of creation revealed in Christ. This lens frames Benedict’s effort to render the creation account reasonable in light of the scientific and technological advances of our time, while also preserving the story’s strangeness and corrective force in the midst of challenges posed—in light of these advances—to the substance of Christian faith. The aim of this study, then, is to help us reflect, in preparation for our celebration of the Resurrection, on what it might mean to be a “new creation” by looking, in the words of Wendell Berry, “far backward as through clearer eyes / to what unsighted hope believes: / The blessed conviviality that sang Creation’s seventh sunrise.”


COMING UP!


20s–30s of the Advent are invited to an information/listening session with the clergy on Sunday, March 8 in the Library following the 11:15 Mass. Please mark your calendars, and help to get the word out to those who might be interested.


NEWS


The Vestry met on Thursday, February 20. Maria Denslow submitted her resignation due to work-related conflicts. The Vestry elected Thomas Brown to fill her one-year unexpired term. The Rector subsequently appointed Mr. Brown as Rector’s Warden for 2020. Paul Roberts was elected as People’s Warden.


Another Success with ‘Rise Against Hunger’! Preparing over 10,000 meals in well under two hours seems impossible but we did it! The Deanery-wide event we hosted for Rise Against Hunger on February 15 allowed us to do the impossible! Volunteers from around our Boston Harbor Deanery gathered in Moseley Hall and prepared meals of rice, soy, and vegetables that will be received by children and families who are lacking adequate amounts of food or do not take in an adequate amount of nutrients in the course of the day. 50 volunteers were needed to meet our goal of 10,000 meals in two hours. We exceeded that number in that we had 57 volunteers from St. John’s Church in Jamaica Plain, the Episcopal-Lutheran Campus Ministry at Northeastern University, Emmanuel Church in Boston, St. Augustine’s and St. Martin’s Church in Boston, and the 15 members of our parish family who were there to help and to whom we owe a special “Thank You”: Stephanie Brown, Cheryl Dwyer, Douglas Dwyer, Caredwen Foley, Matthew Groves, Julius Krein, Jason Lewis, Selma Lewis, Anastasia O’Melveny, Frank Olney, James Oldfield, Bud Scheffy, Carolyn Shadid-Lewis, Julianne Ture, and Carolyn Walden.

In addition to volunteers, $3,500.00 was needed to offset the cost of hosting the event and thus far we have received $670.00. We are still open to receive donations by writing a check to the Church of the Advent and marking “Rise Against Hunger” on the memo line of the check.


ODDS & ENDS


An introductory course in Biblical Greek will be offered at 6:45 pm on Thursdays at 43 South Russell Street. Corey Rouse will lead a 1.5 hour course using Clayton Croy’s Primer of Biblical Greek. Registration not required! Email carignanrouse@gmail.com for more information.


Discount parking vouchers for the Boston Common Garage are available for $9.00 each from Nola Sheffer or are also available at the Bookstore. 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.


First Holy Communion Class for students in the 2nd to 4th grades will be offered on Sundays in Eastertide during the Christian education hour. If your child is interested in participating, please speak to Meg Nelson or Fr Jeff.


Attendance last Sunday (Masses along with Evensong & Benediction): 331


STEWARDSHIP UPDATE


Thus far we have received 199 pledges, amounting to a total of $544,957. 71 have increased their pledges by an average of 17.5%, and there are 28 from those who did not pledge in 2019. We have yet to hear from 38 parishioners who pledged a total of $48,475 last year.


FROM THE ADVENT ARCHIVES


The bookplate of Dr Darlington (Louis Rhead, 1902), shows two women (Theology and Science) shaking hands under the symbol of the Holy Spirit.

How did the Church of the Advent usher in the holy season of Lent more than a century ago? In the “Rector’s Weekly Message” of February 7, 1915 (Sexagesima), the Rev. William Harman van Allen (rector, 1902-1929) wrote:

Here is a little rule of life, turned into verse by the dear Bishop of Harrisburg, Dr. [James Henry] Darlington, which I wish all knew by heart, — and practiced:

Patient with others, but strict with myself;
Loving to give, and refusing all pelf;
Doing the right, though it brings me no fame;
Honoring Christ, because signed with His Name;
Helping the downcast, and cheering the sad;
Living our creed till it makes the world glad;
Fond of our work, of our friends, of our land;
Walking by faith, daily led by God’s hand;
This is the pathway the saints all have trod
This is the life hid with Christ’s life in God.

James Otis Sargent Huntington, OHC

In the “Rector’s Weekly Message” for Quinquagesima 1915, Father van Allen encouraged parishioners to attend a parochial quiet day. The offering of a quiet day devoted to prayer and reflection is a tradition which has continued at the Church of the Advent over the years.

“On the first Friday of Lent, …Fr. Huntington is to conduct a Parochial Quiet Day, to which any church-people will be welcome. The order will be: Mass, 7:30; Matins, 9; Mass, 9:30; First address, 10; Second address, 11:30; Intermission, for lunch, 12:30; Third address, 3; Choral Litany and concluding address, 5; consultations or confessions during the intervals. I hope a great many will plan to profit by this opportunity of beginning their Lent well. Fr. Huntington is dear to all of us, and for a generation, his life has been a sermon, even more eloquent than his words.” [Father James O. S. Huntington (1854–1935) was founder of the Order of the Holy Cross.]


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT


February 24-March 1, 2020

Monday, February 24
St Matthias the Apostle

Tuesday, February 25
6:00 pm: Community Supper

Wednesday, February 26
Ash Wednesday

7:30 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Bible Study
12:15 pm: Low Mass
6:30 pm: Solemn Mass

Thursday, February 27

Friday, February 28
11:30 am: Rosary

Saturday, February 29

Sunday, March 1
The First Sunday in Lent
7:30 am: Morning Prayer
8:00 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Sung Mass
10:15 am: Entr’acte/Church School
11:15 am: Solemn Mass

Sermon Preached by the Rev’d Jay C. James at the Church of the Advent, Sunday, February 16, 2020, the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

There is a logical and beautiful flow at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. I don’t know if it’s the logic that makes it beautiful or if the beauty is in its logic. It does not matter. We really should read the whole of chapter five to get the natural movement. It starts from the description of those in heaven or headed for heaven in the Beatitudes. Then we have a description of what the believer is like and we had that helpful illustration last week from Father Anderson of how we need to be salt and light, but useful salt and light. The Sermon then flows into the type and amount of righteousness required to be part of God’s Kingdom by keeping His Law. Finally, we have the ultimate end and purpose of keeping the Law, the way Jesus wants it kept, and that the ultimate end and purpose of the Law is heaven and perfection. It’s wonderfully affirming and confirming. To receive the benefit of this movement Chapter Five ought to be read from the beginning to the end all at once. Our lectionary breaks it up into three Sundays of Gospel readings so I am going to go back and use the verses from the Gospel we heard last week because we need to hear those verses again to learn how to keep the Law or the Ten Commandments. Jesus preaches, Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. “…until all is accomplished; that “accomplishment” is when Christ has come and claimed His Kingdom, or it could be when believers enter fully the joy of His Kingdom. “…all is accomplished.”

All is accomplished by keeping God’s Law. Everyone hearing the sermon was aware of that. Jesus’ teaching about keeping the Law is to keep it not as the scribes and Pharisees had been keeping it. He teaches that it can be kept in a much more complete, encompassing, and yes, fulfilling way. It seems that the scribes and the pharisees had fallen into keeping the letter of the Law and forgetting that the purpose of the Law was to love God and love our neighbors in the right way. When concentrating on keeping all the correct rites and ceremonies they had forgotten the true meaning and purpose of the Law. In their way of keeping the Law they had left behind the justice, mercy, love and peace that are the reasons God gave them the Law in the beginning. It was out of love for His people that God gave them the Law so they could love Him back in the right way.

Before we cast a doubtful and critical eye on the Pharisees and scribes, because we think we hear Jesus criticizing them, we do well to realize how easily we too can fall into the same practice, at least I know I can. I remember having to deal with the same problem when I was called on jury duty. I was called to sit on a jury that needed to hear the case of a man accused of driving under the influence. This is dealing with the civil law and not the moral law of the Ten Commandments, but the principle is the same. The man on trial was accused of being under the influence of alcohol while he was driving. I listened to the case and in the end voted with the rest of the jury members and acquitted him. I found myself sticking to the letter of the law and not holding to the spirit of the law.

It seems the man was indeed legally drunk while he was in his car. The car was running, he was sitting behind the steering wheel, and was just about to put the car in reverse to move the car. The police arrested him, charged him with driving under the influence, and brought him to trial. We voted as a jury to acquit. It seems that the way the law was written in North Carolina at the time, established that unless the car moves even a few inches then the driver is not driving. In this case the car never moved.

So in keeping the technical definition of driving under the influence, I found myself being somewhat self-satisfied that I could have a hand in giving the man a new start. I could free him from living under the stigma of being convicted of this drunk and driving charge. The problem is I never really felt good about getting the man off on a technicality. I think it’s because the true purpose of the laws concerning driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated is the compassion, concern, and safety of the people in the community and the safety and concern of the driver. We the jury probably did the man no favor by letting him off. In actual practice the man was going to move the car. He was going to place himself and those around him in danger. In keeping the technical definition of the law, we did not improve the quality of the welfare and care for the people of the community. Where is the love, mercy, peace, and justice in that?

It is very easy to read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and think that Jesus is setting aside these Ten Commandments and replacing them with His own interpretation. He is not. He teaches that He fulfills them. Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. He wants them kept because they are the result and proof of God’s love for us. He doesn’t want them kept just outwardly or easily by meeting particular ceremonial obligations. Jesus is teaching that to love God the Law must be kept from the heart first. It reminds me of the Prophet Jeremiah prophesying about the restoration of Israel and the new covenant God would make. …this is the covenant which I will make with the the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jesus is indeed fulfilling both the Law and the Prophets.

How does this work? How is this different from the way the Pharisees and scribes were keeping the Law? Faith is the answer. Do you remember from the very end of last week’s Gospel passage Jesus let’s everyone know the amount of righteousness required to be part of the kingdom of heaven? I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. This is because unless the Law is kept first by faith. There is no amount of actions, no amount of material sacrifices, no amount of good thoughts that will allow the Commandments to be kept. To keep the Law, it takes the grace of faith first.

If we think about faith in God being that act of mind and spirit that accepts God’s Word and then submitting one’s life to its control, then we have the means to be in a right relationship with God. The faith of Abraham jumps out as such a powerful example of how the grace of faith moves the believer into right action. Can you imagine what faith Abraham must have had in being so trusting in God’s Word to him that he would offer his son Isaac? Abraham put his faith in God so unsparingly and moved into the action that God asked him to take. In the end Abraham was relieved of having to take that unimaginable step of purposely sacrificing his own child, but how strong a faith is it that moves someone like Abraham? God supplied a ram to be sacrificed in place of Isaac, and the illustration with which we are left is how strong a faith there is in a man like Abraham and therefore how righteous.

For us, the means of receiving the grace of that righteousness that is faith in Jesus Christ. It is only by faith in Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice that allows the goodness of God’s grace to forgive our sins and then the Law can be kept. Jesus teaches that at the heart of the Commandments, “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not commit adultery” are anger, lust, and hatred. Those are the sins that keep the Commandments, at least the Sixth and Seventh Commandments, from being kept. Before any of the Commandments can be kept, before any of the Law can be kept, the sin that is at the root of disobedience to the Law must be confronted. Jesus is truly teaching a more all-encompassing, a more exacting, or more fulfilling way of keeping the Law. They must be kept first inwardly.

Who is there that has not had to face these sins of anger, hatred, and lust. We can rely on the grace of Christ freely given by faith in Him to face and have those sins forgiven. We can move from acting on our anger in particular first by asking God to take it away. Please God, take away the anger that I have toward my loved one. Take away the anger that I have toward my neighbor, or the government, or toward You. God can and sometimes simply take it away. Pray, and I mean truly pray, for the person with whom you are truly angry. Really place the life of the person who is the object of your anger in the hands of God. It can be amazing how, if you truly pray for someone, you see them in a different light. I think it’s because you begin to see them as someone God loves. Ask God to help you step away, be slow to anger. In facing anger, hatred, and even lust in this way the possibility of meekness, that opposite of anger, will be shown forth. Remember, the meek are listed in the Beatitudes as the ones who will inherit the earth.

Why? Where are we going? What are we doing? Remember if we read the whole of chapter five we come to the fulfillment, the accomplishment. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. We have gone from knowing how we are supposed to be: that is Blessed ones from the Beatitudes. We have learned that faith in Christ is the means to righteousness by living a life in accord with God’s Law. Now we can go on to the accomplishment. The movement is complete with heaven. We are looking for Christ to accomplish His work of coming from heaven and claiming His Kingdom. Those who are part of the Kingdom by loving Him according to His Law will be claimed by Him forever.

His grace and love are here for us even now as they will be when He comes again. Just as we pray in the collect for today, …grant us the help of thy grace, that in keeping thy commandments we may please thee both in will and deed, through Jesus Christ our Lord,…We can live and love God as He would have us. All the time we are keeping the Law we are being directed, pointed, and conformed to heaven. Father John Saward has written a book that defines the Catholic doctrine of heaven called “Sweet and Blessed Country”. In that book he explains the teachings of the Catholic Church about heaven using the images from a fifteenth century altarpiece in Avignon, France. There are many moving descriptions from the Early Church Fathers and the Medieval Doctors and one in particular from Saint Augustine that describes our seeking of heaven. Let us, then lodge in the inn of this life as passing pilgrims, not as permanent possessors. Eternal are the blessings that await us: life everlasting, the incorruption and immortality of flesh and soul, the fellowship of the angels, the heavenly city, honour without end, the Father and the Fatherland, the Father without death, the Fatherland without foe.

It is there in heaven that the movement ends and is fulfilled. Jesus has taken us in His Sermon on the Mount from showing us who will be in heaven – The Blessed Ones. He has shown us how to allow the grace of righteousness to enter and live in His Kingdom by loving the Law, and ultimately to be with Him in heaven where all things are accomplished.

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

Collect for the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany (Sexagesima)

O God, the strength of all those who put their trust in thee: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because, through the weakness of our mortal nature, we can do no good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace, that in keeping thy commandments we may please thee both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

This Week at the Advent, February 16-22, 2020

Welcome to the Church of the Advent! If you are new to the area, visiting, or seeking a church home, we are glad you’re here and hope to have a chance to greet you in person. Please join us downstairs following the service for a coffee hour.

Child care is offered during the 9 am and 11:15 am services; an usher can guide you to the nursery.

Welcome cards are located in each pew; please fill one out so we can keep in touch.


The flowers at the High Altar are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Frederick L. Haupert.


TODAY


9:00 Coffee Hour: Hosting today are Betsy Ridge Madsen with Tom & Carolyn McDermott. If you would like to sign up to host coffee hour, please contact Barbara Boles by phone, 617-501-7572, or email, bbolesster@gmail.com, if you’re interested or have questions.

1:15 Coffee Hour: Hosting this morning are David Fisher, Maggie Eggert and Nick Westberg. We are always in need of more volunteers; to view the schedule and select a date to co-host, visit www.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 Betsy James (ejames4@nc.rr.com).


Entr’acte.  Led by Rick Stone, “New Testament Perspectives on Old Testament Law” continues with “Paul and the Law.” The series concludes next Sunday with “Hebrews and the Priesthood of Christ.” Entr’acte follows 9:00 am and the 11:15 am Masses in the Hunnewell Room (Library).

The next Entr’acte series. On the first Sunday in Lent, Robin Landrith will begin a study of  “In the Beginning…’: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall.” This series of homilies was delivered by Pope Benedict XVI, then Joseph Ratzinger, during the Lenten season of 1981, and Lent remains a fitting time to renew reflections on the first principles of our world. Benedict’s homilies focus on Israel’s experience of God as Creator in the unfolding testimony of the Hebrew Scriptures, together with the ethical implications of belief in creation as recounted by the Bible as a whole—that is, in light of the fulfillment of creation revealed in Christ. This lens frames Benedict’s effort to render the creation account reasonable in light of the scientific and technological advances of our time, while also preserving the story’s strangeness and corrective force in the midst of challenges posed—in light of these advances—to the substance of Christian faith. The aim of this study, then, is to help us reflect, in preparation for our celebration of the Resurrection, on what it might mean to be a “new creation” by looking, in the words of Wendell Berry, “far backward as through clearer eyes / to what unsighted hope believes: / The blessed conviviality that sang Creation’s seventh sunrise.”

See “Looking Toward Lent” below for more Lenten offerings.


Advent Tour. Today following the 11:15 Mass, our Verger, Raymond Porter, will give a 10-15 minute tour of the church building. Meet him in the Baptistry immediately following the Postlude and learn about our fascinating, complicated, historic building. Tours occur regularly on the third Sunday of each month.


Evensong & Benediction. This evening at 5:00 pm, Evensong will be sung by The Advent Choir, featuring “Like as the Hart” by Howells, and the new (to us!) Magdalene College Service and Responses of Kenneth Leighton. The service lasts no more than one hour, and is followed by a light supper and libation in Moseley Hall to which all are invited.

Mark Dwyer will speak to us during supper about Music and the Anglo-Catholic Revival, Part Two: “What did they sing and why did they sing it?” Concurrent theological, artistic, architectural and musical movements came together during the mid-nineteenth century to produce an ongoing search for the ideal sacred music: that which is beautifully fitting, and fittingly beautiful.

Barbara Bruns, our friend and neighbor from Christ Church, Andover, will play a Prelude Organ Recital at 4:30 pm, featuring works of Dupré and Franck and Howells. Barbara holds a Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance, magna cum laude, from Augustana College and a Master of Music degree, with honors, from the New England Conservatory. Recognized as an accomplished recitalist, accompanist, and conductor, she is the recipient of the “Outstanding Alumni Award” from Augustana College and has concertized extensively in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Since 1976 she has performed as soloist for national conventions of the Organ Historical Society, the American Guild of Organists, and the Association of Anglican Musicians.


Name Tags. If you have a nametag, please wear it at coffee hour. This helps us know each other better – and helps Fr. Anderson learn all our names.


THIS WEEK


A requiem will be said in the Lady Chapel with a special intention for the repose of the soul of Michael Terranova this Monday, February 17 at 3:00 in the afternoon. The interment will immediately follow in the All Souls’ columbarium. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, by the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.


Theology on Tap returns this Tuesday, February 18, at 7:00 pm at MAST’ Restaurant and Drinkery – The Lower Bar, 45 Province Street, Boston. The Rev’d Canon Alistair Macdonald-Radcliff will discuss How to Choose Your Heresy: An Introductory Guide to This Perennially Popular Primrose Path.

Rowan Greer,  the late Professor of Yale Divinity School and  distinguished church historian, used to be fond of saying of modern Episcopalians that, “We are all Pelagians now”. His ironic remark highlights the point that not being a heretic may be harder than many suppose for modern Christians. After all,  there is a marked strand in present Western culture which sees some degree of dissent from almost any historic tradition as a prerequisite of sophistication (and if used in its earliest sense this may be true).

Such considerations give interest, not only to the history of heresy in Christianity,  which is as long as the history of the Church itself, but also to the meaning of the concept and its distinction from apostasy and blasphemy. Moreover, far from being a merely historic concept,  it is increasingly evident that in an age of ever more strident idealogical puritanism the concept looks likely to have a new and even brighter future ahead. This presentation will look thus both at some of the recurring tendencies that have defined the most common forms of Christian heresy but also at the nature and continuing significance of the concept itself, thus enabling those still determined to go down the heretical path to make their choices in ways that are (in the spirit of a consumerist age) at least in some degree better informed.


An introductory course in Biblical Greek will be offered at 6:45 pm on Thursdays at 43 South Russell Street. Corey Rouse will lead a 1.5 hour course using Clayton Croy’s Primer of Biblical Greek. Registration not required! Email carignanrouse@gmail.com for more information.


COMING UP!


Looking toward Lent

The solemn season of Lent begins Ash Wednesday, February 26. To make a right start of Lent, Masses will be offered at 7:30 am, 12:15 pm, and 6:30 pm. The Imposition of Ashes will be included at each of the Masses. It is not too early to be thinking and praying about taking on Lent disciplines. If you need help determining what your Lenten disciplines should be, you should contact and seek the counsel of one of the clergy.

Again this year we will also have a Parish Lenten Discipline published and available before Ash Wednesday. This Lenten program allows all of us to keep a Lenten discipline together with weekly Scripture readings, acts of self-discipline, and meditations we can all take on as a community. Please look for copies of the Parish Lenten Discipline as they become available in the west end of the Church.

THE GESIMAS

“Septuagesima – seventy days
To Easter’s primrose tide of praise;
The Gesimas – Septua, Sexa, Quinc
Mean Lent is near, which makes you think.”

Septuagesima, Sir John Betjeman

Before the reforms of the 1960s, three pre-Lenten Sundays were part of the Church calendar. These Sundays, with the hard to pronounce names of Septuagesima, Sexagesmia, and Quinquagesima, denoted the seventieth, sixtieth, and fiftieth days before Easter. While we no longer keep “Gesimatide”, it does afford us an opportunity to begin thinking about what Lenten disciplines we might observe. Here are a few:

Mondays in Lent: Women’s Book Study at 6:00 pm. A five-week discussion of A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans.

Wednesdays in Lent: Readings in John study immediately following the 6:00  pm Healing Mass.

Thursdays in Lent: Stations of the Cross and Benediction at 6:00 pm.

All beginning the first week of March.

During Lent, Morning Prayer will be said at 8:00 am to encourage attendance at the Offices. The Wednesday Bible Study will also move forward one hour, to 9:00 am, during this time.

Reminder: Palms for Ashes. There is a basket in the All Saints’ Chapel to receive last year’s palms from Palm Sunday.


ODDS & ENDS


A special custom for the Epiphany season

Saint Matthew tells us that when the wise men arrived in Bethlehem to visit Jesus, they found him and his mother in a house, not the stable where they had found their first temporary shelter. This is a cue that our Epiphany celebration should focus on our own houses, and it is a very old custom to bless houses on Epiphany. In the East, in particular, it is the custom for the parish priest to go through the parish blessing houses — not the elaborate blessing of a new home, but a special blessing that is also often given at Easter, a renewal of the homes in which the people of God dwell and live out the mystery of faith day by day. In recent years, this custom has been revived in some places in the West, and the Book of Occasional Services of The Episcopal Church provides forms for this blessing. However, there is another way of blessing homes at Epiphany that begins in church, but does not require the priest to go from house to house — something that would be quite impossible in non-geographical parishes like ours. This custom involves chalk that is blessed by the priest and taken home by families to mark the doors of their homes.

There is a basket of blessed chalk on the table near the main door of the Church. The chalk is to be used to hallow all our homes throughout our parish and our city. Please take some home with you. The initials of the legendary names of the wise men are written with blessed chalk on the lintel above the front door of the house, framed by the numbers of the new year, in this way:

20 + G + M + B + 20

After making the inscription, the following prayer is offered:

Leader: The Lord be with you.
People: And with thy spirit.
Leader: Let us pray. O Lord, holy Father, Almighty, everlasting God, we beseech you to hear us and vouchsafe to send your holy Angel from heaven to guard and cherish, protect and visit, and evermore defend all that dwell in this home. I call upon thy Saints Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, to protect my family, friends and all who enter here from every harm and danger, and I place this mark over my door to remain as a reminder to us that my home is truly the House of the Lord. O God, make the door of my house the gateway to thy Eternal Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Lord.  
All: Amen.


Discount parking vouchers for the Boston Common Garage are available for $9.00 each from Nola Sheffer or are also available at the Bookstore. 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.


FROM THE ADVENT ARCHIVES


Significant portions of the Church of the Advent archives were taken to the Boston Athenaeum decades ago, and later transferred to the Diocesan Archives on Tremont Street. As part of the 175th anniversary observations, these records, documents, artifacts, and artwork will be returned to their rightful home at 30 Brimmer Street. The letter below is part of that collection, and dates to the parish’s 1847 move to the Green Street meeting-house (also pictured below), described in the centenary history as “a substantial structure of brick, far from ecclesiastical in appearance, but, after undergoing the needed alterations, not ill-adapted to the requirements of the parish, being capable of holding not far from six hundred persons.” It is addressed to the parish’s first rector, the Rev. William Croswell, and signed C. G. Prescott. At this writing, no connection to the later, more well-known Prescott, Oliver Sherman Prescott, has been found.

[Ed. note: Green Street, which can be seen on this map, no longer exists. The Green Street church was located approximately where the Longfellow Place apartment building now stands.]


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
February 17-23, 2020

Monday, February 17
Janani Luwum (Parish Office Closed)
3:00 pm: Requiem for Michael Terranova

Tuesday, February 18
Martin Luther

6:00 pm: Community Supper
7:00 pm: Theology on Tap @ MAST’

Wednesday, February 19
10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
7:00 pm: Bellringing

Thursday, February 20
7:00 pm: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Friday, February 21
11:30 am: Rosary

Saturday, February 22
9:00 am: Cathedral Retreat
10:00 am: Advent Choir Rehearsal
10:00 am: Advent Flower Guild

Sunday, February 23
The Last Sunday after the Epiphany (Quinquagesima)
7:30 am: Morning Prayer
8:00 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Sung Mass
10:15 am: Entr’acte/Church School
11:15 am: Solemn Mass