This Week’s Announcements, June 24-30, 2018

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. Betsy Ridge Madsen and Cassie & Jack Gurnon host the Coffee Hour this morning! Next week the hosts will be David Russo & Matt McNeff and Ray Porter. 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 Saur and John Ross Campbell host the Coffee Hour today. Next week the host will be Steven Sayers. 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).  


THIS WEEK!


The Wednesday morning Bible study group is currently reading the Epistles to the Galatians and the Ephesians. That’s at 10 a.m. in the Library.


COMING UP


Calling July B-SAFE Lunch Volunteers! The Advent is again serving lunches at the Summer youth B-SAFE program at the Epiphany School. Volunteers are needed to help serve lunches in July, on Wednesday, July 11 and Thursday, July 12 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. To volunteer, please contact Pastoral Assistant Eric Fialho at efialho@eds.edu or at 978-998-2626.


On Sunday, July 15, we will be pleased to welcome the Choir of Sidney Sussex College, from the University of Cambridge in England. Under the direction of conductor-scholar David Skinner, the Choir is a major focus of college life, and during term time the Choir has a regular commitment in the Chapel to Choral Evensong on Fridays and Sundays and Latin Choral Vespers on Wednesdays.


ODDS & ENDS


The flowers that adorn the Church are funded entirely by donations from members and friends of the Parish.  There are openings for  flower memorials or thanksgivings for the High Altar on Sundays, July 1 and July 15.  If you are interested, please call Blenda Jeffry at 978-443-3519 (flowers.advent@gmail.com).


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


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
June 25-July 1, 2018

Monday, June 25

Tuesday, June 26
5:30 pm: Community Supper

Wednesday, June 27
10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
7:00 pm: Bellringing

Thursday, May 28
Irenaeus of Lyon

Friday, June 29
Saints Peter & Paul

Saturday, June 30
10:00 am: Flower Guild

Sunday, July 1
The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Healing Services after all Masses
7:30 am: Morning Prayer
8:00 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Sung Mass
11:15 am: Solemn Mass

Sermon Preached by the Rev’d Allan B. Warren III at the Church of the Advent, Sunday, June 17, 2018, the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how.”

This morning in the Gospel we heard Jesus teaching about the Kingdom of God, and the language he uses is the language of farming.  That shouldn’t surprise us; we all know, I think, that most of the people to whom Jesus spoke and preached were farmers.  They were peasants, people of the land who made their living from the land.  And, I think, we all know as well that our Lord had a brilliant way of illustrating his teaching in terms with which those who heard him were familiar.  Terms taken from their lives.  To fishermen he used illustrations taken from fishing and life near the sea.  “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men,” he says to Simon and Andrew who were fishermen.  “The Kingdom of God is as if a man cast a net into the sea and gathered up fish of every kind,” he says in another parable.

It occurred to me, though, as I wrote this sermon last week, that in fact the great majority of our Lord’s parables and teachings use language taken from farming, agriculture, and gardening.  The parable of the sower and the seed scattered on various types of soil.  The parable of the wheat and the tares.  And today the very familiar parable of the mustard seed.  Here again Jesus is addressing those who listened to him in terms which they would easily understand.

I don’t know how many of you are gardeners.  I spent several summers during my childhood on a farm, and I used to raise a few vegetables in the back yard of a previous rectory.  So I do know something – a little – about gardening.  One thing, however, which I think we all know – whether we are gardeners or not – is that it’s a lot of work; it’s hard work, and you’ve got to keep at it day by day.  It’s hard enough, of course, if it’s just a hobby, but it’s very, very hard work if your life depends upon it.  And that was the case – wasn’t it? – with many of the people to whom Jesus spoke.  They lived off the land entirely.  If the land produced, they lived.  If, one year, the land did not produce, well, perhaps they didn’t live.  And so you see, the terms which Jesus is using here are very serious, as homely or even quaint as they may seem to us.  In fact, it is not too much to say that for those to whom he spoke they were at times a matter of life and death.  Did the seed live and grow? Or did it die?

And He said to them, “The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how.”  Anyone who has planted a garden recognizes this experience.  One works hard to get things started – preparing the soil; getting rid of the weeds; putting up a fence perhaps; fertilizing and planting.  It’s daily work, and the success of one’s garden depends very much upon how much work one puts into it.  And yet – and here is Jesus’ point – in the end there is something mysterious, something in fact miraculous about what happens in a garden.  “The seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how.”

I am always amazed; I stand back in wonder, when – even after a great deal of hard labor – the seed I planted comes up and grows.  From one point of view I had everything to do with it.  And yet from another point of view I had nothing to do with it, for there is something miraculous there.  Something which is beyond me and bigger – much bigger – than me.  Something which is, perhaps, a glimpse, an inkling, a hint of the mystery and miracle which is the cause of the creation – and even life itself.  And what I realize in my amazement and wonder is that all my work is really nothing more than going along with the miracle, cooperating with the mystery, indeed, becoming myself a part of it.

And it was to people who were very much aware of the miraculous nature of life that Jesus told the parable we heard in the Gospel.  In fact, as we said, the lives of those people – farmers – depended on that miracle of growth taking place year after year. –  Did the seed live and grow? Or did it die?  –  And what he said to them and says to us as well is this: the Kingdom of God, the life of faith is like the growth of seeds sown in a field.  It is a miraculous and mysterious thing.  It has a great deal to do with you and me, for it is a Kingdom to be established in and among you and me.  And yet, in the end it depends entirely on God.  It is God who brings it into being and God who makes it grow.  To our eyes, that is to say, from one point of view, it may seem insignificant, as tiny as a mustard seed.  Even so, because it is of God and depends on God, from another point of view its possibilities are limitless: without bounds.

My brothers and sisters, that Kingdom of God “is within you,” as Jesus says.  You and I – His Church – are the Kingdom of God.  You, I, we, are God’s planting here on earth, and there is within us and for us a possibility of growth and life which is miraculous and wonderful.  And it is miraculous and wonderful, because it is of God.  That is what our faith is all about, you know.  That is what the New Testament proclaims on every page: the possibility of a new kind of life – a life abundant, a life rich and full, a life transformed, a life which is itself a miracle because it is in each of us the life of God.  And all that we are called upon to do is this: cooperate – let it be – go along with the miracle and find our life in God.

Too often we forget this, you know.  Our fears, our doubts, our worries and complacencies, comforts, and self-satisfactions, our responsibilities in this world, our dissatisfactions – too, too often these things so fill our lives or so weigh upon us that we forget the miraculous thing which God has done for us in Christ.  We forget that God has made us His Kingdom.  We forget that God will give us the grace and the faith and the trust to order our lives and allow that Kingdom to grow.  But most of all, and this is the real problem, we forget that the wonder, the miracle, the mystery, the abundant and rich life of His Kingdom, is right here and right now – given to us – within us – waiting only for us to let it be.

The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, says Jesus.  From one point of view it is something tiny and insignificant.  Easily ignored or not even noticed.  And so – from one point of view – are you and I.  One of these days I will be no more.  This body which now is me will only be a pile of dust and ashes.  .  .   from one point of view.  St. Paul is talking about this in the Epistle we heard this morning – a really glorious portion of Scripture – and what he says is this: that there is another point of view.  And that point of view is God’s.  The Kingdom which God began in you and me will not end in dust and ashes.  No, what is mortal in us – and what is mortal in all those who are in Christ – what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. It will be glorified and conformed to Christ.  The Kingdom established in us will go on.  The miracle will become more miraculous still.  And from God’s point of view – which is the only one that counts – from God’s point of view, the mustard seed – as tiny as it is, and which is you and me – that mustard seed will grow into a tree which reaches to the skies.  .  .   and finds its life beyond in the very life of God.

Amen.

Collect for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Keep, O Lord, we beseech thee, thy household the Church in thy steadfast faith and love, that by the help of thy grace we may proclaim thy truth with boldness, and minister thy justice with compassion; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

This Week’s Announcements, June 17-23, 2018

The flowers at the High Altar are given to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for the wedding yesterday of Amanda Carow Roosevelt and Samuel Brewer.


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. Rachael & Joe Ringenberg and Paul & Mary Roberts host the Coffee Hour this morning! Next week the hosts will be Betsy Ridge Madsen and Cassie & Jack Gurnon. 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.  Kyle Pilares, Kyriell Palaeologue, Thatcher Gearhart and Xander Mojarrab host the Coffee Hour today. Next week the hosts will be Janell & Michael Saur and John Ross Campbell. 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).  


Musical Notes:

Many, many thanks to our nine o’clock Parish Choir for their choral work this year. Their contribution to our worship is immeasurable. They begin their summere break today, but please express your thanks to choir members personally when you spy them in the pews or at coffee hour! 

Our Summer Choir season is in full swing. A reduced choir will sing for the 11:15 Solemn Mass, offering motets and mass settings, until Sunday, July 1, when a soloist will sing for four Sundays. On August 5, the summer choir returns. Repertoire lists can be found at https://www.theadventboston.org/1115-music-schedule


THIS WEEK!


The Wednesday morning Bible study group is currently reading the Epistles to the Galatians and the Ephesians. That’s at 10 a.m. in the Library.


COMING UP


On Sunday, July 15, we will be pleased to welcome the Choir of Sidney Sussex College, from the University of Cambridge in England. Under the direction of conductor-scholar David Skinner, the Choir is a major focus of college life, and during term time the Choir has a regular commitment in the Chapel to Choral Evensong on Fridays and Sundays and Latin Choral Vespers on Wednesdays.


ODDS & ENDS


The flowers that adorn the Church are funded entirely by donations from members and friends of the Parish.  There are openings for  flower memorials or thanksgivings for the High Altar on Sundays, June 24, July 1, and July 15.  If you are interested, please call Blenda Jeffry at 978-443-3519 (flowers.advent@gmail.com).


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


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
June 18-24, 2018

Monday, June 18
Bernard Mizeki

Tuesday, June 19
5:30 pm: Community Supper

Wednesday, June 20
10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
6:00 pm: Admin Committee
7:00 pm: Bellringing

Thursday, May 21
5:15 pm: Property Committee
6:15 pm: Vestry

Friday, June 22
Alban of Britain

Saturday, June 23
10:00 am: Flower Guild

Sunday, June 24
The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
7:30 am: Morning Prayer
8:00 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Sung Mass
11:15 am: Solemn Mass

Sermon Preached by the Rev’d Jay C. James at the Church of the Advent, Sunday, June 10, 2018, the Third Sunday after Pentecost

Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.

 We are now in those weeks of the Church’s calendar called “the season of Pentecost”.  I prefer the name “Trinity season” and I’ll tell you why in a minute.  Brace yourself.  This season is long and it will not fly by.  At least it does not for me.  For the next twenty-six weeks when we come to church we will see lots of green on the altar and in the vestments.  We will walk our way through the Scriptures, predominantly the Gospel according to Saint Mark.  We will hear some parables and read about some of Jesus’ healing miracles.

There is a logic and purpose to reading through Saint Mark’s Gospel and some accompanying Epistles and Old Testament passages.  By the time we worship together through the summer and fall, right up to the end of November, we should know and believe what it’s like to live with the Holy Spirit that came down on us at Pentecost.  The rationale is our spiritual growth.  We are to spend this season learning, praying, receiving God’s grace through his word to become holy.  Sanctification is the big word for it. It’s more than living with the Holy Ghost that came down on the Church at Pentecost.  It’s living in and with God the Holy Trinity, because the Holy Ghost has incorporated us into the life of the Trinity.  That’s why Trinity season, and not Pentecost season, is a better description of the season.  We are to grow in holiness and green is the sign for growth, so here we go. 

I say all this so that you have a good picture of what your church is supposed to be about between now and the season of Advent.  It’s why we’re hearing the Bible read in a particular order.  We are to learn and grow into the people God wants us to be now that he has been born to us, lived with us, suffered and died for us, rose again from the dead, sent us his Holy Ghost, and is now back at the right hand of his Father waiting for us and continually shedding his grace on us by the Holy Ghost until we get there.  Praise him for all this and as we hear the readings of the Bible, when we come to Church over the next twenty-six weeks, think about what we’re to learn and to what we are to conform our hearts and souls in this season with the Holy Trinity.   

So what are we supposed to learn today?  The power of Christ’s love over division strikes me as I’ve read these lessons from Genesis, Second Corinthians and Saint Mark’s Gospel.  It is good for us to learn about Satan and how he works.  When we know something about the enemy, we can be prepared to deal with him.  We can discern when he is acting on us.  We can know where to go to get the grace of God to overcome him.   God wants us united.  The Devil wants us divided.  The good news is that Christ’s power of love overcomes any division caused by sin.  Let’s look at what we learn and believe from the Scriptures. 

In the midst of battling even original sin there is a quiet confidence and consolation that we find with God.  Notice in the Garden of Eden after the serpent had beguiled Eve, who in turn tempted Adam, God comes looking for them; almost as if he’s longing and concerned for them.  “…But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’”  It makes your heart go out to God.  He wants man and woman to be with him because they’re lost.  He desires them to be with him.  They cannot be with him in the perfect fellowship they had with him because sin has separated Adam and Eve from him.  But notice that God still desires them to be with him.  “Where are you?”  He still wants them.  So even with the existence of the powerful division of original sin, God tries to find them.  He still tries to find us even when we have turned away from him time and time again.

It’s God’s loving providence over all things that’s operative here.  This kind of love is illustrated in some way, I think, in how the Church operates with her sinners.  Christians are given the opportunity to repent and be brought back into the communion of the Church when they sin.  It’s why we have the sacrament of confession, or the General Confession in the liturgy, or that Saint Paul writes to Saint James, “Go and confess your sins one to another”, or that we continually pray in the ‘Our Father’, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.  God the Father Almighty is over all things and even oversees the battle of sin and redemption.

The plea for union with God, the drive for unity in Christ, Christ’s proclamation that he loves his followers, all come through in the Gospel.  The teaching that unity is the will of God, and not estrangement, is even used by Jesus in his confrontation with the Jerusalem scribes.  They have collapsed into name calling and character assassination to crush the growing influence of Jesus’ ministry.  They declare, “he is possessed by Be-elzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”  It’s easy for Jesus to refute their charge because he points out that Satan would not try to drive out demons that are doing his work.  Why would he be divided against himself?  “And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.” 

All through the lessons we heard today there are many opposing divisions:  God separated from Adam and Eve; life in this world and life in Heaven; those things that are seen and those that are unseen; Christ as opposed to sin and Satan; forgiveness and the unforgivable sin. The good news is that the love of Christ, given to us by God, heals and helps us overcome all these divisions.  Saint Paul, writing to the Corinthians describes how this love of Christ can help get us through the divisions of this world:  …Knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.  For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.  So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day.  Again, God’s loving providence has the oversight of all that can hurt and divide us, and has sent his son to give us the loving grace we need in time of hurt and division caused by sin. 

This love is powerful and more powerful than anything sin and Satan have to offer.  Jesus uses his familial bond to his mother Mary and his brothers to illustrate how strong and broad this love is.  We know the strong love that a mother has for her son, and that sons have for their mothers.  The need for the kingdom, and the unity that exists in God’s kingdom, are like the need a son has for his mother and his friends.  That need is filled by Jesus Christ and entering his kingdom.  When the crowd sitting around him said, your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you, the crowd thought that surely Jesus would leave immediately and go to be with his mother and brothers.  His response is to reveal that the crowd around him are his mother and brothers because whoever does the will of God (are his) brothers, and sister, and mother.  This is not a snub of Mary, his mother, and his close friends the disciples.  Jesus is using the close bond between him and his mother, as an example, to show how much one needs to love in order to do God’s will and be part of his kingdom.

With this kind of love we can heal many divisions that exist between us and God and between us and those around us.  This is all summarized and offered to God in prayer by one of the petitions in our marriage service:  Grant that the bonds of our common humanity, by which all your children are united one to another, and the living to the dead, may be so transformed by your grace, that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven;  where, O Father, with your Son and Holy Spirit, you live and reign in perfect unity, now and for ever. Amen.

This Week’s Announcements, June 10-16, 2018

The flowers at the High Altar are given to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. 


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. The Parish Picnic is today! Next week is the hosts will be Rachael & Joe Ringenberg and Paul & Mary Roberts. 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.  The Parish Picnic is 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).  


Holy Toledo! This afternoon at 3:00 pm, two films by Advent parishioner Sam Audette will be shown at the MIT List Visual Arts Center. The films (Sam’s thesis at the University of Chicago) are a contemplation of Spanish history. Spain today – in some places bustling and modern, in others only a reminder of past glory. Spain in the past – a country of three religions and great sophistication. They are entitled: Between the Eagle’s heads: Three Portraits of Toledo and The Route of the Eagle. Members and friends of the Advent are invited. Admission is free. The films will be shown in the Bartos Theater, Wiesner Building, 20 Ames Street, Cambridge.


Compline at the Advent – Tonight, June 10, at 8 pm – Join us for the ancient liturgy of Compline, preceded by Lucernarium, an evening service of lamp-lighting. We pray Compline on the second Sunday of every month at 8:00 pm in the nave. If you wish to help us organize our service of Compline, please contact Kyriell Palaeologue (k.oldword@gmail.com, 617-396-6225) or Fr Jeffrey Hanson (frhanson@theadventboston.org). 


We are pleased to announce that the Church has called Jeremy Bruns to begin his work as the new Associate Organist & Choirmaster of the Church of the Advent, beginning September 1, 2018. Mr Bruns is well known to many of us as sometime Organist & Choirmaster at our sister parish, All Saints, Ashmont. He comes to us now from the position of Assistant Director of Music at St Paul’s Church and Choir School in Harvard Square. His accomplishments are impressive, his résumé speaks for itself. What is not mentioned is that he is a delightful, clever and caring person. We look forward to welcoming Jeremy and his wife Cathy to our family.

Jeremy Bruns has held positions in Buffalo, Boston, and Pittsburgh among other locations, including three years as Associate Organist of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, where he worked daily with John Scott and the renowned Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys. Mr. Bruns studied with David Higgs at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester NY, earning his MMus in performance and literature and the Performer’s Certificate. He has won prizes in major international competitions, and has been heard regularly on the nationally syndicated radio show Pipe Dreams, broadcasts on BBC Radio, and recordings on the Pro Organo label. Bruns has been featured at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, and has performed numerous recitals with engagements including St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in London, Canterbury Cathedral, Washington National Cathedral, St. James’ Cathedral in Toronto, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Methuen Memorial Music Hall, St. Paul Cathedral and Heinz Memorial Chapel in Pittsburgh, and other venues in the United States and England.


Musical Notes:

Many, many thanks to our nine o’clock Parish Choir for their choral work this year. Their contribution to our worship is immeasurable. They begin their summere break today, but please express your thanks to choir members personally when you spy them in the pews or at coffee hour! 

Our Summer Choir season is in full swing. A reduced choir will sing for the 11:15 Solemn Mass, offering motets and mass settings, until Sunday, July 1, when a soloist will sing for four Sundays. On August 5, the summer choir returns. Repertoire lists can be found at https://www.theadventboston.org/1115-music-schedule


THIS WEEK!


The Wednesday morning Bible study group is currently reading the Epistles to the Galatians and the Ephesians. That’s at 10 a.m. in the Library.


COMING UP


On Sunday, July 15, we will be pleased to welcome the Choir of Sidney Sussex College, from the University of Cambridge in England. Under the direction of conductor-scholar David Skinner, the Choir is a major focus of college life, and during term time the Choir has a regular commitment in the Chapel to Choral Evensong on Fridays and Sundays and Latin Choral Vespers on Wednesdays.


ODDS & ENDS


The flowers that adorn the Church are funded entirely by donations from members and friends of the Parish.  There are openings for  flower memorials or thanksgivings for the High Altar on Sundays, Junee 24, July 1, and July 15.  If you are interested, please call Blenda Jeffry at 978-443-3519 (flowers.advent@gmail.com).


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


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
June 11-17, 2018

Monday, June 11
St Barnabas the Apostle
5:15 pm: River House Meeting

Tuesday, June 12
Enmegahbowh
5:30 pm: Community Supper

Wednesday, June 13
10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
7:00 pm: Bellringing

Thursday, May 14
Basil the Great

Friday, June 15
Evelyn Underhill

Saturday, June 16
Joseph Butler
8:30 am: Birthday Party
10:00 am: Flower Guild
4:00 pm: Wedding

Sunday, June 10
The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
7:30 am: Morning Prayer
8:00 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Sung Mass
11:15 am: Solemn Mass

Sermon Preached by the Rev’d Daphne B. Noyes at the Church of the Advent, Sunday, June 3, 2018, the Second Sunday after Pentecost

Maybe you remember this: In 1965, Hebrew National launched an ad campaign for their kosher hot dogs, touting their superior quality with the memorable tagline: “We answer to a higher authority.”

Answering to a higher authority can lead to a convergence of disobedience and discipline—often in an unexpected, even counterintuitive way. It’s not disobedience that leads to discipline, but discipline that leads to disobedience.

The root of the word discipline is the Latin discipulus, meaning student or pupil. Hence, a disciple is one who follows a particular teaching; discipline is about teaching, not punishment.

So I want to suggest that for disciples following the teachings of Jesus, divine discipline is a practice that can lead to divine disobedience.

Mark’s gospel tells of divine disobedience — perceived “harvesting” on the Sabbath — that took place more than two thousand years ago. In that same story, Jesus cites an even earlier example, of David and his companions eating the bread of the Presence.

We are where we are, and who we are, thanks to these and countless other acts of divine disobedience. Knowledge and appreciation of these acts allows the disciples of Jesus to draw from them strength and courage and wisdom and compassion and a vision of fullness of life — the abundant life that Jesus promises.

The promise is made not to the proud purveyors of the gospel of prosperity, but to the poor and the oppressed. Mary sings, “He has lifted up the lowly, and cast down the mighty from their thrones.” Voltaire notes, more ominously, “History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up.”

Here is a story of divine disobedience with a local angle. In 1854, Anthony Burns, a 19-year-old slave, following his belief that “there was a Christ who came to make us free,” and yearning for “the necessity for freedom of soul and body,” left Alexandria, Virginia, to escape on board a ship bound for Boston. After his arrival, despite his attempts at secrecy, he was discovered and was arrested under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. This controversial federal law allowed owners to reclaim escaped slaves by presenting proof of ownership, and required that officials and citizens of free states had to cooperate.

Many black and white Boston abolitionists who opposed the Fugitive Slave Act seized on the Burns arrest as a way to demonstrate their disapproval of the federal statute. On May 26, 1854, they attacked the Suffolk County Courthouse — using a battering ram — in a futile attempt to free Burns. Their action resulted in the death of one marshal and the arrest of 13 people.

The next day, Anthony Burns was sent to trial where he was represented by Robert Morris, an African American attorney, and Richard Henry Dana, Jr., a white attorney — and a member of the Church of the Advent from its founding in 1844. Dana’s courtroom plea for Burns’ freedom lasted 4-1/2 hours. Despite the spirited defense, Burns was convicted of being a fugitive slave on June 2, 1854. To ensure that the judge’s order to return Burns to Virginia slavery was carried out, Boston was placed under martial law. About 2,000 armed federal soldiers were assigned to escort Burns. An estimated 50,000 people who opposed slavery lined the streets, booing and hissing as Burns, in shackles, was led to the waterfront, where he was placed on a waiting ship and returned to slavery in Virginia.

Eventually a group of Boston abolitionists, including the merchant and philanthropist Amos Adams Lawrence, (who had offered to finance Burns’s defense “in any amount”) succeeded in purchasing Burns’ freedom for $1,300. That’s about $36,000 in today’s dollars: the price of a man. (Lawrence’s son William, 4 years old at the time, would later become Bishop of Massachusetts.)

In 1855, Burns was excommunicated from the Baptist Church. Burns, said the church, had “absconded from the service of his master, and refused to return voluntarily — thereby disobeying both the laws of God and man.” In a letter to the church, Burns responded in part:

I admit that I left my master (so called), and refused to return; but I deny that in this I disobeyed either the law of God, or any real law of men. Look at my case, I was stolen and made a slave as soon as I was born. No man had any right to steal me. That manstealer who stole me trampled on my dearest rights. He committed an outrage on the law of God; therefore his manstealing gave him no right in me, and laid me under no obligation to be his slave. God made me a man — not a slave; and gave me the same right to myself that he gave the man who stole me to himself. The great wrongs he has done me, in stealing me and making me a slave, in compelling me to work for him many years without wages, and in holding me as merchandize, — these wrongs could never put me under obligation to stay with him, or to return voluntarily, when once escaped.

Eventually Anthony Burns moved to Canada, where he became pastor of Zion Baptist Church in St Catherine’s, Ontario. His health ruined by the four months he had spent chained in a Richmond, Virginia, slave jail, he was just 28 years old when he died.

Anthony Burns, Richard Dana, Robert Morris, Amos Adams Lawrence, and other abolitionists delivered a resounding no to a shameful system — a system of unjust laws and narrow, self-serving beliefs. The Jesuit scholar and theologian Henri de Lubac observes that “Whenever we say no we imply that on a deeper level there is a yes which provoked and originates it. Rebellion always implies an acquiescence which is both deeper and more free.”

This deeper, freer acquiescence is part of our spiritual DNA. It asks us, as disciples of Jesus, to question and combat, to confront and challenge, laws and traditions that maintain order through oppression. It demands that disciples of Jesus listen to the voice of authority located not in closed, unyielding systems but in the gorgeous cacophony of those on the outside. People like Sarah Moore Grimké who wrote — in 1837 — “I am persuaded that the rights of woman, like the rights of slaves, need only be examined to be understood and asserted.”

Jesus himself practiced divine disobedience: healing on the sabbath, touching what was unclean, eating with sinners, challenging earthly authority, even defeating death. Likewise, there are countless examples of divine disobedience in our nation’s history: Women who chained themselves to the fence around the White House as they fought for suffrage. Freedom riders and lunch counter sitters and bus boycotters who said no to segregation. The Catonsville Nine, Catholic activists who said the Our Father as they burned draft files to protest the Vietnam war. The Philadelphia Eleven and their supporters, who persisted in claiming their place in the priesthood of all believers. Football players who take a knee, a sign of respect for the liberty and justice our flag represents.

For how many of these do the words of Paul ring true: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…”

I suspect that there is not one act of divine disobedience that can be separated from another: they are linked by loyalty to the highest authority, and together they form a wholeness, a holiness, that comes from God and is pleasing to God. In this is our heritage and our hope. Amen.

Read more about Anthony Burns:

http://edu.lva.virginia.gov/online_classroom/union_or_secession/people/anthony_burns

https://www.massmoments.org/moment-details/fugitive-slave-anthony-burns-arrested.html

Sermon Preached by the Rev’d Patrick T. Gray at the Church of the Advent, May 31, 2018, The Feast of Corpus Christi

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

I ’d like to begin this evening by telling you a story, a story that was first told by Will Willimon, who I know is a friend of this parish.  It’s actually a Christmas story, which granted is a little strange on the Feast of Corpus Christi to tell a Christmas story, but I think I’m a little bit justified in telling a Christmas story because today, besides being the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, hence the Feast of Corpus Christi, today is also May 31st, which is the Feast of the Visitation, so this is my little way of honoring that, the pre-natal and natal-ness of Mary and Jesus.  Speaking of Mary, we like Mary in the suburbs, but you all are different when it comes to Mary, and it just so happens that one of my favorite jokes of all time is about Mary.  So I feel like I have to take advantage of this opportunity, because I know folks like you will get it.  So one day Jesus was in the temple teaching the people when the leaders of the people brought to him a woman caught in adultery, and asked Jesus in order to test him, to trap him, what should we do about this, the law requires that we stone her.  And Jesus stood up and said, Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone, and then all of a sudden a rock comes out of nowhere and hits Jesus in the back of the head and Jesus turns around, looking for the person who threw it, and says, Mom!

I knew you would get it.  Thank you for indulging me.  Anyway, Christmas, Willimon.  The year was 1972, and Willimon was at the beginning of his ministerial career, he was the Methodist pastor in a small town in South Carolina.  But as churches did back then, which they don’t seem to do as much anymore, the Methodists shared their Christmas Eve service with the Episcopalians in town, because, no surprise to you folks, Episcopalians know how to do worship on those “high holy days,” and Christmas Eve was no exception. So the Methodists were in the habit of trotting on over to the Episcopal Church on Christmas Eve to get their end-of-year liturgical fix.  Willimon was going to participate in the service that night to some degree or other, but the slightly eccentric Episcopal priest, as Willimon described him, was going to preach, and of course, celebrate.  So before the service, Willimon was getting into the Christmas spirit with one last cup of eggnog, when the news came.  The peace talks had stalled between the warring parties in Vietnam. And so President Nixon had ordered a massive bombing in North Vietnam, what turned out to be the biggest bombing campaign ever by US B-52 aircrafts, who dropped at least 20,000 tons of explosives, most of them on Hanoi.  When Willimon heard the news there on Christmas Eve, anger and resentment surged within me, he said.  What right had the President to do this to our celebration?  What a sick, twisted, ironic way to note the birth of the Prince of Peace – not with the songs of angels unto shepherds but with screaming bombs over bamboo villages.  It wasn’t fair.  Was a brief cease-fire too much for us peacemakers and peacewishers to ask for?  All we wanted was enough time to burn a hopeful candle at the altar of Peace on Earth before the madness resumed.  So Willimon immediately phoned his Episcopal colleague.  Had he heard?  Yes he had.  What should be our response?  After all, Willimon thought, two of the town’s most influential pastors ought to say something!  Would his Episcopal counterpart mention the bombing in his sermon tonight?  “I don’t think we ought to let Nixon get away with it,” Willimon said.  The Episcopal minister agreed, saying, “we ought to blast him for it.”  “A situation like this,” he said, “a situation like this calls for a firm response – something radical, arrogant, even defiant.”  Knowing the sentiments of his Episcopal counterpart, Willimon braced himself for what he thought was coming, which was to be a major antiwar tirade.  “There is only one thing to be done,” declared the priest.  “We must pull out all the stops tonight and praise God as never before.”  What?  Did I just hear him right, Willimon thought?  What did he just say?  “What kind of antiwar statement is that?” Willimon asked.  “Well, can you imagine anybody up at the Pentagon singing a Benedictus?” was the priest’s only reply.  Now eccentric Episcopalians are entertaining, to say the least, but this was almost too much for Willimon.  But he went anyway, still feeling resentful, Willimon trudged through the crisp December night to the little church where the organist was already struggling heroically with a prelude, and a congregation of thirty or so waited in silence for that eleventh hour.  When that hour arrived, in burst the Episcopal priest, accompanied by two disheveled adolescent acolytes.  The priest made a couple of what Willimon thought to be rather awkward bows to the altar, shifted his chasuble and then, leaning over the chancel rail, with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, whispered to the congregation, as if letting them in on some secret that only he knew, “Tonight, the Lord God of Israel has come to set his people free.”  From that moment on, Willimon said, I couldn’t tell you exactly what took place during the rest of the service.  Revelation had caught me off guard, he said, and I was thrown into a kind of “minor ecstasy,” as the Quakers put it.  I remember a couple of great old Advent hymns sung with as much propriety as Episcopalians sing any hymn.  I remember the passing of the peace and the iron-fisted grip of an octogenarian woman.  I remember the smell of the wine and the taste of the bread, and I remember choking clouds of incense which emanated from the incense pot of an overzealous – if not malicious – acolyte.  But mostly I remember old Zechariah’s Benedictus sung lustily, off-key, and yet, “arrogantly and defiantly,” by my priest friend, with the rest of us, Willimon said, with the rest of us faint hearts joining in as best we could: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us . . . through the tender mercy of our God, when the day shall dawn upon us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  You see, Willimon said, the peculiar defense of Christians in the face of the world’s darkness is often best expressed through a most relevant kind of holy irrelevance.  Willimon thought his “response” to the bombing horror was little better than the horror itself – his hate, his resentment, his self-righteousness, his violence merely echoed back in the face of a violent world.  The Pentagon generals and I, Willimon said, the Pentagon generals and I did share something after all: we were brothers in darkness.  And then came the eccentric Episcopalian with a twinkle in his eye, defiant, letting the congregation in on the secret of the ages, supremely confident in the face of all evidence to the contrary, accompanied by a small boy swinging a smoking incense pot, leading us all forth from the little church into the midnight air bellowing out “Joy to the World” at the top of our voices to anybody who had ears to hear.  The world cannot understand this hope of which we sing on Christmas Eve.  In our more worldly moments we do not understand this hope, either.  But that night, Willimon said, for one fleeting, radical, scandalous, arrogant, defiant moment, I understood.  I saw the utter inappropriateness of all my feeble “appropriate responses” to the darkness.  With my eyes opened by incense and my appetite for joy whetted by a little bread and wine, and my hand still aching from the grip of a wise old woman who opened my clenched fist; all evidence in this barren silent night to the contrary, by the grace of God and by my friend’s priestly act, I praised God as never before, and joined with old Zechariah, in singing, The day shall dawn upon us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

So why did I tell you this story?  Well, in many ways, Corpus Christi is just the logical conclusion of what started at Christmas, of what it means that God is with us.  When God is with us, things change.  We change.  You change.  Even your eating habits change.  You know, it’s one thing to have God born in a stable, it’s another thing to have to eat him.  But Jesus is adamant, as we heard in our Gospel lesson, unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you, unless you partake of my body, my body which is broken for you, you cannot be made whole.  Our passage ends before we get to see how the people responded.  Needless to say, it didn’t go over too well, this is a difficult teaching, they said, who can accept it?  Well not them, apparently, because it’s at this point in Jesus’ career when those he had gathered around him start to leave him, when they take one giant step back, away from the crazy man.  But not all of them, at least not yet.  And Jesus asked them, do you also wish to go away?  To which Simon Peter replied, Lord, to whom can we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  But eventually they left him, too.  This meal was bad enough, the cross was even worse.  If this meal led to that, that this is the food that promotes that kind of lifestyle, that kind of life that only leads to death, then no thanks.  This is all too much, and certainly not the way the world works.  Lord knows the world is broken, but broken things don’t fix broken things.  It’s broken things that you’re supposed to fix.  Believe me, I know this, I’m a three on the Enneagram, and that’s what three’s do, we fix things, efficiently and correctly.  This way is not efficient, and it’s certainly not correct, it can’t be correct, and you don’t need to be a three on the Enneagram to know it’s just plain wrong.

But the resurrection says otherwise.  The resurrection says yes indeed, this way is correct.  The resurrection is God’s stamp of approval on the way Jesus lived and on the way Jesus died, that the cross is none other than the way of life, and this meal, this very odd and strange meal, is the kind of food you’ll need for a life like that.  Because it’s a hard life, a difficult life, nothing easy about it.  So you’ll need something, you’ll need some kind of sustenance. You’ll need nothing less than God to live God’s life in the world.  You’ll need nothing less than Jesus to live his life in the world.  And not just that, but you’ll need others living that life, as well, because you can’t do it on your own.  You need God to give you life, and you need others who have been given that very same life to live that life with you.  And Corpus Christi celebrates where that starts, it starts with a meal, a meal that gives you life, the kind of life that Jesus lived, and continues to live through his people.

But let’s not stop there, not on Corpus Christi, you got to keep pulling out all the stops, and so there’s a procession with the food, we get to take it out into the streets and show everyone what’s on the menu.  Now I know you know this, but a lot of Christians think benediction with a procession to boot, is wrong.  Food is for eating, they say.  Which is true, food is for eating, but, come on, who doesn’t like to play with their food every now and then?  The Procession of the Blessed Sacrament followed by Benediction is like a liturgical food fight with the principalities and powers of this world.  But nothing is going to look more ridiculous than us out there on Charles Street.  One big parade of fools, dressed nicely, of course, but foolish, nonetheless.  Completely irrelevant to the world.  And yet we’ve been let in on a little secret, just as the Savior came on Christmas to set the people free, the Savior is still right at it, forming a people to show the world that the world doesn’t need to be like this anymore.  There is another way, and it is relevant, even though it will be hard to see, in fact, it’s quite foolish in the eyes of the world, but when we start to see the way God sees, when we start to live the way God lives, it’s relevant, a most relevant kind of holy irrelevance.

But you know, I told you this story from Will Willimon for another reason, because, if you haven’t already guessed it by now, that eccentric Episcopal priest with a twinkle in his eye is your Rector.  Will Willimon wasn’t the only one who started his ministerial career back in that small town in South Carolina.  And I can tell you from seven years of experience as his assistant here at the Advent, and for almost nine years after that as a beloved friend and colleague, not much has changed since South Carolina.  He’s the same guy now as he was then.  Eccentric as all get out, with always a twinkle in his eye, someone who has spent his entire ministerial career letting us in on the secret of the ages.  So I’ve learned a lot from him, from Boss, I still call him Boss.  I’ve learned that, if there’s anything we do as clerical leadership, it’s that we set tone.  We’d like to think we do other stuff, too, but setting tone is probably the most important.  And the tone Allan set, day in and day out, year after year after year, is that we have to let out all the stops and praise God like we never have before.  Allan has been the embodiment of I worship, therefore I am.  Although I’m glad to see that the sign is still back there in the sacristy Queror, ergo sum.  I complain, therefore I am.  That feels more like church.  Allan loves to worship God with all he’s got, and it shows.  It set the tone for this place for a long time, what was expected of us, not expected, wrong word, invited is better.  We were invited to join in, to praise God with all we got because God is worth it, God has come to set his people free.

Friends, I think we should heed Allan’s invitation at least one more time, knowing there is still one thing left for us to be done.  We must pull out all the stops tonight and praise God as never before.