Collect for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which giveth life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; 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’s Announcements, March 26-April 1, 2017

The flowers at the High Altar are given to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for family and friends.


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.


TODAY!


9:00 Coffee Hour. Michael & Megan Zadig and Barbara Boles host the Coffee Hour this morning. Next week the hosts will be Bette Boughton and Jonnet Holladay.  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. Gabriel Ellsworth, Douglas Bond, Ellie Dixon and Xander Mojarrab host the Coffee Hour this morning. We are 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 Marcos or Daniel German-Domingues (mrbgd@hotmail.com or DGDomingues@outlook.com), Frederick Ou (frederick.ou@gmail.com), or Kyle Pilares (kpilares.uk@gmail.com).


Entr’acte: This morning Jim Wood, our Parish Administrator, continues a Lenten series on “The Death of the Messiah,” an examination of the Passion Narratives in the four Gospels, based on Father Raymond E. Brown’s masterwork of the same name.  In particular, we will explore what the differences in the Gospel accounts tell us about the theology of the Evangelists and their communities.


Today is the Sunday known as Laetare Sunday, the fourth in Lent.  The name is taken from the first word of the Introit of the Mass, Laetare, Jerusalem et conventum facite omnes qui dilitis eam. . . .  “Rejoice, Jerusalem, and come together all you that love her . . .”  (Isaiah 66:10).  Like Gaudete Sunday in Advent, it is a day on which the fast and discipline of the season are relaxed.  A sign of this are the flowers on the Altar and in the Church which are permitted today and the rose vestments of the Mass.

Breaking the Lenten Fast is also a mark of the day, and for that reason today is also known as Refreshment Sunday.

There is yet another name for today, Mothering Sunday.  This is taken from a phrase in the Epistle appointed in the Roman Missal and Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer:  “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”  (Gal 4:26).  This gave rise to the custom of visiting one’s mother on this Sunday—it is the English Mother’s Day—or of visiting the Church where one was baptized and therefore born as a Christian or visiting the Cathedral, the Mother Church of one’s Diocese.


Can You Help?  Morning and Evening Prayer is scheduled to be prayed every day at 9:00 am and 5:30 pm Monday through Friday.  Because pastoral responsibilities, it is becoming more and more difficult for the Clergy alone to maintain these Monday through Friday services, and so we badly need volunteers to conduct services if the present schedule is to continue.  Think about this, and if you are able to take on one of these evening services, please speak to Fr Warren or Fr Wood.


THIS WEEK!


Bible Study Continues—Wednesdays at 10 am—Parish Library—Interested in studying the Bible with others from our parish?  Join us in the Library on Wednesday mornings at 10 am. This week we continue our study of the Book of Revelation.   


On Thursdays during Lent at 6 pm, Stations of the Cross and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will be prayed in the church.  At Stations we meditate on the events which led to the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus.  At Benediction we meditate on his Risen Presence with us in the Blessed Sacrament, which flows from his atoning and sacrificial death.  He had to die in order that we might live with and in Him.  That is a truth we think and pray about during the holy season.  Stations and Benediction is a helpful means to that end.  Consider making it a part of your week.


Confirmation Class on Wednesday Evenings:  Confirmation class continues this Wednesday, March 29, after the 6:00 mass.  We meet downstairs in Moseley Hall from 7 until about 8.30 pm.  We will share a light supper and then Advent parish clergy or our seminarian will deliver a brief talk about the core tenets of Christianity and Anglicanism.  The next Confirmation service will be Saturday, April 29.  Adults and teens who are interested should email frwood@theadventboston.org for more information.


Women’s Bible Study—continues this Saturday, April 1—10 am-11:30 am in the Library:  Women have unique voices in scripture and in today’s church.  This bible study highlights their voices—and ours—by exploring how ancient prayers and stories inform us during this time of contemplation and reflection. Like the traditional Anglo-Catholic liturgy, these sessions will engage participants on many levels.  The facilitator, Advent parishioner Lurie Armandt, will guide participants in using interactive theatrical and artistic storytelling as we prepare to celebrate the Feast of the Resurrection.  Lurie is a graduate student at Emerson College studying Theatre and Community.  Her specific interest is around building community among women in the church.  Meetings will be on Saturdays March 18, March 25, April 1, and April 8, from 10:00 am—11:30 am in the Library.  Women interested in participating or who have any questions should contact Lurie at LuraineArmandt@gmail.com or Deacon Daphne B. Noyes at dbnoyes@gmail.com.


COMING UP


“You Plus One”—Many people make an annual “pilgrimage” to the Advent for Holy Week—the holiest time of the year for Christians, and just about the best thing we do here in our parish.  Why not do “You Plus One” this year—Grab some postcards from the tables in the rear of the church, and invite at least one friend to accompany you to the services of the Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter).  The cards have all the information about our Holy Week services, and you’re free to take as many as you think you can use to invite others to commit to join you!


Advent Family Group Meeting—next Sunday, April 2, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm—Holy Week As A Family   Please join the Advent Family Group next Sunday, April 2, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, for a dinner and talk about how to experience Holy Week as a family.  We will walk through the events in the life of Jesus that week, what we do in the liturgy, and take them through the parts of the church where this all takes place. It will be very kid friendly and engaging!  Please RSVP with Fr Wood (frwood@theadventboston.org).


First Communion Class—The next classes to prepare young people in the parish to make their First Communion will be Saturdays, May 20 and June 3, from 10:30 am to noon in the Rectory.  At least one parent should plan to attend the class alongside the child.  First Communions will be on Pentecost, June 4, this year.

For parents considering whether their child is ready for this step in faith development, here are some guidelines to keep in mind:  Your child must wish on his/her own to begin receiving Communion.  You must agree that this is appropriate, and you should feel that on some level your child understands the meaning of Holy Communion.  We’re not talking Thomas Aquinas here; rather that your child, through emotion or intuition or what has been learned in the Church School, has a grasp of the meaning of the mystery of the Sacrament of the Altar.  If you or your child have any questions, please speak to the clergy, who will be very happy to explain.  To sign up for the class, RSVP to frwood@theadventboston.orgEven if you have already expressed interest to Fr Wood, please confirm with him so you will be on the list to receive information when it goes out in the coming weeks.


MISSION & OUTREACH CORNER


Is your money a discipleship issue?  Are you curious about what the Bible has to say about wealth?  Maybe you’re uneasy with American consumer culture and its emphasis on immediate gratification, tolerance of vast inequalities, and promotion of anxiety.  What if there was an alternate vision of real prosperity?  If you’d be interested in a conversation about how to live more simply, gratefully, justly, and generously, contact Fr Wood (frwood@theadventboston.org).  And watch the Mission Corner in the months to come for details about a parish conversation on financial discipleship.


Upcoming Mission Opportunities with the Advent:

  • BostonServe Project at Christopher’s Haven (May 6)
  • Walk for Hunger (May 7)
  • Parish Work Day (May 20)
  • B-SAFE (July 31-August 3)
  • Common Cathedral (August 20)

Help the Advent love our city to life—Watch this space for details about how you can get involved with these and other projects.


Young Life Boston Leadership Training:  Young Life is an international ministry that reaches out to high school and middle school students with the Gospel.  The mission of Young Life is to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ by providing them with caring adult role models, fun and life-giving ways to spend time and the basic information about the Christian faith.  Young Life will be offering a Leadership Training course on Tuesday nights (7 – 9 pm) starting on April 4 and ending on May 16 at the Emmanuel Gospel Center (2 San Juan Street, Boston.)

Anyone interested in learning more about working with students through the ministry of Young Life in the city of Boston is invited to participate.  For more information, please contact Bjorn Anderson at bjornanderson@gmail.com or 603.475.4324 or Fr Wood at frwood@theadventboston.org.


ODDS & ENDS


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


Can you help the Advent Flower Guild?  Preparing the floral decorations for Easter would be utterly impossible without reinforcements from outside the Flower Guild.  Please join us if you can on any or all of the following days:

  • Maundy Thursday, April 13, 10:00 am to Noon and/or 1:00 to 3:30 pm
  • Holy Saturday, April 15, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Please try to arrive by 11:00 am, but you do not have to stay all afternoon; even an hour or two is helpful
  • Saturday April 22, 10:00 am (Post-Easter cleanup)

You do not need to have any flower arranging skills—if you can carry a bucket, climb a stepladder, use a broom, or fill a trash bag, we can use you!  And if you like flowers but have never made an arrangement, this is a great chance to learn some basic techniques.  Help is especially needed on Saturday, April 15.


A schedule of Holy Week services at the Advent can be found on the penultimate page of this Sunday’s service bulletins and online.

A form for gifts of flowers for memorials or thanksgivings for Easter can be found on the last page of the bulletin. 


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
March 27-April 2, 2017

Monday, March 27
(Charles Henry Brent)
5:15 pm: Girl Scouts

Tuesday, March 28
5:30 pm: Community Supper

Wednesday, March 29
(John Keble)
9:00 am: Advent School Share Event
10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
7:00 pm: Confirmation Class
7:00 pm: Bellringing

Thursday, March 30
10:00 am: Play Group
6:00 pm: Stations of the Cross
7:00 pm: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Friday, March 31
(John Donne)
10:00 am: Play Group

Saturday, April 1
(Frederick Dennison Maurice)
6:15 am: Solemn Intoning of the Athanasian Creed with Antiphonal Heckelphone Ensemble
10:00 am: Women’s Bible Study
10:00 am: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Sunday, April 2
The Fifth Sunday in Lent
7:30 am: Morning Prayer
8:00 am: Low Mass
9:00 am: Sung Mass with the Litany in Procession
10:15 am: Entr’acte / Church School
11:15 am: Solemn Mass with the Litany in Procession
6:30 pm: Family Group Meeting

Sermon Preached by the Rev’d Dr Jeffrey A. Hanson at the Church of the Advent, Sunday, March 19, 2017, the Third Sunday in Lent

Today’s passage from John’s gospel is full of transitions: From the beginning to the end we see the full spectrum of our Lord Jesus Christ’s character, moving from his humanity to his divinity.

We also see a shift from physical, literal water and bodily thirst to spiritual, living water and the thirst of the human heart.

Finally, we see a shift from the way God was worshipped in the past into the future reality of the worship of God.

I would like us to keep all three of these transitions in mind as we proceed, from the humanity of Jesus to his divinity, from literal water to spiritual living water, and from the worship of the past to the worship of the future.

At first we see Jesus’s humanity on full display in his encounter with the Samaritan woman. At the beginning of this story Jesus is tired out, as any ordinary person would be. He has been travelling from Judea to Galilee, and it’s a long wearying walk. John tells us it is the sixth hour, which is noon, so the sun is at the highest point in the sky.

And it is at this hour of maximum heat and dryness that a Samaritan woman—alone—comes to Jacob’s well to draw water. We know that there was hostility between the Jews and the Samaritans. Despite their common ancestry, they had a long and contentious history. The Samaritans declined to worship God at the temple of Jerusalem, having had their own temple on the mountain near where Jesus now sits. Because of this they were regarded as ceremonially unclean.

Despite this history of enmity, and despite the fact that socializing with a Samaritan woman would have been strictly forbidden for a Jewish rabbi, Jesus crosses the border that separates him from her and asks for a drink of water.

But the Samaritan woman knows right away that he is overstepping his bounds. “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” Using the same drinking vessel as a Samaritan woman should be out of the question for Jesus, but he does not seem to regard her or her jar as unclean.

Jesus is indeed not just human, he is also humane. Not only does he disregard the barriers between himself and her, he turns them completely around. “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

We see a complete reversal here: Jesus is no longer talking about his physical thirst but about her spiritual thirst. This is the second transition in this passage, for slowly it is becoming clear that the subject of the conversation is changing.

So what does Jesus mean by living water? Well, in the Hebrew Scriptures, living water is water that flows. The rain that falls from heaven or a spring are sources of living water. Water that is stored in cisterns or that sits stagnant is no longer living. This is an important distinction to the Jewish mind, because rain and springs are natural phenomena. Living water therefore, like all of nature, comes directly from God. By contrast, a well or an irrigation ditch is not a natural occurrence but a manmade artifact. Such water does not come from God but from human effort. Living water was also associated with ceremonial cleansing, because many rituals of purification required living water. These rituals mandated that the water used to cleanse be in contact with its source, like a pool that is fed by a spring. Water that has been stopped up in a jar or a reservoir is no longer living, because it has been cut off from its source and thus cannot purify.

So when Jesus promises the Samaritan woman living water he is promising her an endless supply, a never-ending spring that comes forth thanks to God’s own creative action, a spring that cleanses and purifies and remains forever flowing from, and yet still in contact with, its divine origin.

Naturally the Samaritan woman is curious to know more. If she could drink living water that would never need to be replenished, she would not have to keep coming back here every day.

But Jesus is not done questioning her. When he asks her to bring her husband, she admits that she has none, but this answer, while technically correct, is somewhat evasive, for Jesus knows that she is living with a man who is not her husband, and she has had five husbands before.

Now I think we should be careful not to judge our Samaritan woman too sharply. Many commentators see in her complicated matrimonial history an indication of immorality. Only Jesus knows her full story; we do not. Her current situation may not be wholly of her own choosing; it’s a safe bet that she did not think her life would turn out this way. She may have been abandoned, maybe even more than once.

In any case, Jesus knows her, even the truth about her that is a little embarrassing and that she kept concealed.

And now she is starting to know who he is, little by little. At first she saw only a solitary man, then a foreigner, and now, she sees that he is a prophet. This is a startling admission for a Samaritan, because the Samaritans thought Moses himself was the last prophet. Now she believes she has encountered another prophet, someone who as she will tell her countrymen knows “all that I ever did,” someone who knows all about her and yet does not reject her out of hand.

What else might he know? Perhaps he can resolve a theological dispute. Any prophet should have an opinion on how God is rightly to be worshipped, so now it’s her turn to question Jesus. She might be thinking, “Here is a man who will cross boundaries between his people and mine, who will press typical orthodoxies to their breaking point. What will he say about the biggest question that divides the Jews and the Samaritans?”: Is it right to worship God at the temple in Jerusalem, as you do, or on this mountain, where we do?

This is the final transition in the passage, for Jesus turns away from the past and toward the future, from the way “our fathers” worshipped to the way “The Father” wants to be worshipped. His answer continues to surprise, but it flows from what he has already said. If the living water that comes from God is here, then now is the time when the Father will be worshipped not on the mountain nor at the temple but in spirit and truth.

We heard last week in John 3 Jesus say that the spirit is like wind that blows where it wills. The spirit cannot be confined, not to a temple, not to a sacred mountain. The same is true of water. Living water flows wherever it wants. The spirit—like wind, like water—the spirit is wherever God is working, wherever the divine purpose and plan for humanity is being carried out. And John’s gospel repeatedly asserts that Jesus himself is truth. To worship the Father in spirit and truth then is to worship in the new way that Jesus is personally making possible.

And now finally that full truth comes out. The Samaritan woman says she knows the Messiah is coming and that he will teach everything to the people that they need to know. And for the first time in John’s gospel, Jesus admits that this is who he is. “I who speak to you am he.” In fact, in Greek, the word “he” does not appear. Jesus literally says, the one who is speaking to you, I AM. There can be no mistake about this, for Jesus says of himself what God said to Moses in the burning bush: My name is I AM. The one who is speaking to you is the great I AM. So Jesus is not just human and not just a prophet but divine.

And the Samaritans believe this. They believe because this woman who has had such a remarkable encounter with Jesus testifies that he knows her intimately. And after all is that not our spiritual thirst? Do we not thirst to be known as we are, to be loved despite our failures and shame? And many others who thirst in the same way come to know Christ in turn for themselves and rightly confess that he is not just a prophet but Messiah, the savior of the world.

They knew, and we know, that he is the savior of the world because he has made himself known to a community that is not part of the covenant family of God, a community of outsiders, the unclean and despised, he has made himself known to people just like us. If the Samaritans know Jesus as both God and man then they must know that he is here not just for his own but for the whole world indeed.

So why does Jesus take his message of eternal life, of living water that never runs dry, to the enemies of his own people? We are not told the answer to that question in our passage, but it appears just one verse prior. We read in verse four that to get from Judea to Galilee Jesus “had to pass through Samaria.” Geographically speaking, this is not true. You don’t have to pass through Samaria. In fact many observant Jews refused to do so and preferred to go the long way around rather than set one foot in Samaritan territory.

Jesus had to pass through Samaria because this is his mission. This is his purpose. This is why he is here. Samaria is a literal and spiritual desert. And he desperately wants to make living water flow through their land and through all lands. He goes to the foreigner and the outsider because that is his thirst. His thirst is to bring us all the living water that is his own self. Like a spring in the desert, Jesus in his mission on earth comes from God the Father and remains in contact with God, so he can purify us from sin.

Maybe you are spiritually in the desert today. Perhaps you have been abandoned and left alone. Lent is a time to feel our thirst keenly in body and soul. Bodily thirst reminds us of our deeper need, the thirst to be known and to be loved, and reminds us that this can be quenched as well. Jesus is himself the gift of God. He alone is the endless flow of living water that springs up even in the desert of our lives. Amen.

Collect for the Third Sunday in Lent

Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and 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’s Announcements, March 19-25, 2017

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.


TODAY!


9:00 Coffee Hour. Cassie & Jack Gurnon and Judy Bell & Francesco Piscitelli host the Coffee Hour this morning.  Next week the hosts will be Michael & Megan Zadig and Barbara Boles.  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. Meg & Brent Nelson and Roxy & Jeff Hanson  host the Coffee Hour this morning.  The hosts next week are Gabriel Ellsworth, Douglas Bond, Ellie Dixon and Xander Mojarrab.  We are 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 Marcos or Daniel German-Domingues (mrbgd@hotmail.com or DGDomingues@outlook.com), Frederick Ou (frederick.ou@gmail.com), or Kyle Pilares (kpilares.uk@gmail.com).


Entr’acte: This morning Jim Wood, our Parish Administrator, continues a Lenten series on “The Death of the Messiah,” an examination of the Passion Narratives in the four Gospels, based on Father Raymond E. Brown’s masterwork of the same name.  In particular, we will explore what the differences in the Gospel accounts tell us about the theology of the Evangelists and their communities.


This morning at the 9 am Sung Mass we will begin praying Eucharistic Prayer A once again as the Canon of the Mass.  It may be found on pages 361 to 366 of the Book of Common Prayer.


Advent Tour:  This morning our Verger, Raymond Porter, will give a tour of the church building.  Ours is a fascinating, complicated, and historic building.  Mr Porter will provide a ten to fifteen minute overview of its many facets.  Meet him in the Baptistry.  The tour will begin immediately after the Postlude.


Today is the Third Sunday in Lent:  Lent was a period of preparation for those about to be baptized, and over time it became a period of penitence, self-examination and special devotion by all Christians as they prepared to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.  Lent was more than just an individual discipline, however.  It was something in which the whole community would engage together.  This year we at the Advent will again recapture the corporate nature of Lenten practice, and we call on every member of the Parish to consider joining others in the following common discipline.  Each week, those who wish will fast together from a particular pleasure, whether it’s sweets, coffee, entertainment, technology, etc., and we will all read the same scriptural passages and meditate upon the same theme each day.

A common devotional Guide, The Shape of Lent at the Church of the Advent, is available at the rear of the nave and online, and it lists the suggested fast for each week along with daily scripture readings which begin with the Creation and follow the history of Salvation up to its fulfillment in the New Creation of all things in the Resurrection of Jesus.

Engaging in communal fasts and corporate devotional practices will deepen our sense of community, as well as provide support and accountability for each of us in this rich liturgical season.  If you have questions, please get in touch with one of the clergy who will be happy to discuss it with you.  It is not too late to begin and join your fellow parishioners in this discipline.


This afternoon, at 5:00 pm, the boys from St Paul’s Choir School Harvard Square will sing Evensong, including music of Malcolm Archer, Sydney Nicholson and Josef Rheinberger.  Under the direction of John Robinson, the choir and school have experienced a renaissance, and we always enjoy their visits with us.  Prior to his work at St. Paul’s, Mr Robinson worked and received his education in England.  After training as a chorister and organist at Hereford Cathedral, John became Organ Scholar at Canterbury Cathedral, and subsequently at St John’s College Cambridge.  While at Cambridge, he accompanied the world famous choir of St John’s College on tour, in broadcasts and on recordings, as well as in daily chapel services.  Upon graduating he was appointed Assistant Organist of Carlisle Cathedral, and subsequently Assistant Organist of Canterbury Cathedral.

Prior to the service, at 4:30 pm, St. Paul’s newly-appointed Assistant Music Director Jeremy Bruns will present an organ recital including music of Mendelssohn, Howells and Demessieux.  He has held positions in Buffalo, Boston and Pittsburgh, and at St Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

At 6:00 pm, following the service, a soup supper will be offered and our own Dr Philip Pfatteicher will present a talk on “Music and Martin Luther,” continuing our observance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  Dr Pfatteicher was born in Philadelphia and grew up there as a member of the Church of the Holy Communion.  He is a graduate of Amherst College cum laude with a major in English, the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania with an MA and PhD in English, and Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York with an STM magna cum laude in systematic theology.  For thirty years he was Professor of English and Religious Studies at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania and concurrently campus pastor there.  Upon his retirement from university teaching he was called as Associate Pastor of the First English Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh where he served for twelve years and concurrently was adjunct professor of church music at Duquesne University.  He is the author of some fifteen books, most recently: Journey into the Heart of God:  Living the Liturgical Year.  Philip Pfatteicher is a member of a number of professional societies, among which are the American Guild of Organists; the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers; the Hymn Society; the North American Academy of Liturgy; Societas Liturgica and the Society of Biblical Literature.


Can You Help?  Morning and Evening Prayer is scheduled to be prayed every day at 9:00 am and 5:30 pm Monday through Friday.  Because pastoral responsibilities, it is becoming more and more difficult for the Clergy alone to maintain these Monday through Friday services, and so we badly need volunteers to conduct services if the present schedule is to continue.  Think about this, and if you are able to take on one of these evening services, please speak to Fr Warren or Fr Wood.


THIS WEEK!


Bible Study Continues—Wednesdays at 10 am—Parish Library—Interested in studying the Bible with others from our parish?  Join us in the Library on Wednesday mornings at 10 am. This week we continue our study of the Book of Revelation with Chapters 4 and 5.   


On Thursdays during Lent at 6 pm, Stations of the Cross and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will be prayed in the church.  At Stations we meditate on the events which led to the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus.  At Benediction we meditate on his Risen Presence with us in the Blessed Sacrament, which flows from his atoning and sacrificial death.  He had to die in order that we might live with and in Him.  That is a truth we think and pray about during the holy season.  Stations and Benediction is a helpful means to that end.  Consider making it a part of your week.


Confirmation Class on Wednesday Evenings:  Confirmation class continues this Wednesday, March 15, after the 6:00 mass.  We meet downstairs in Moseley Hall from 7 until about 8.30 pm.  We will share a light supper and then Advent parish clergy or our seminarian will deliver a brief talk about the core tenets of Christianity and Anglicanism.  The next Confirmation service will be Saturday, April 29.  Adults and teens who are interested should email frwood@theadventboston.org for more information.


Women’s Bible Study—continues this Saturday, March 25—10 am-11:30 am in the Library:  Women have unique voices in scripture and in today’s church.  This bible study highlights their voices—and ours—by exploring how ancient prayers and stories inform us during this time of contemplation and reflection. Like the traditional Anglo-Catholic liturgy, these sessions will engage participants on many levels.  The facilitator, Advent parishioner Lurie Armandt, will guide participants in using interactive theatrical and artistic storytelling as we prepare to celebrate the Feast of the Resurrection.  Lurie is a graduate student at Emerson College studying Theatre and Community.  Her specific interest is around building community among women in the church.  Meetings will be on Saturdays March 18, March 25, April 1, and April 8, from 10:00 am—11:30 am in the Library.  Women interested in participating or who have any questions should contact Lurie at LuraineArmandt@gmail.com or Deacon Daphne B. Noyes at dbnoyes@gmail.com.


MISSION & OUTREACH CORNER


Is your money a discipleship issue?  Are you curious about what the Bible has to say about wealth?  Maybe you’re uneasy with American consumer culture and its emphasis on immediate gratification, tolerance of vast inequalities, and promotion of anxiety.  What if there was an alternate vision of real prosperity?  If you’d be interested in a conversation about how to live more simply, gratefully, justly, and generously, contact Fr Wood (frwood@theadventboston.org).  And watch the Mission Corner in the months to come for details about a parish conversation on financial discipleship.


Upcoming Mission Opportunities with the Advent:

  • BostonServe Project at Christopher’s Haven (May 6)
  • Walk for Hunger (May 7)
  • Parish Work Day (May 20)
  • B-SAFE (July 31-August 3)
  • Common Cathedral (August 20)

Help the Advent love our city to life—Watch this space for details about how you can get involved with these and other projects.


Young Life Boston Leadership Training:  Young Life is an international ministry that reaches out to high school and middle school students with the Gospel.  The mission of Young Life is to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ by providing them with caring adult role models, fun and life-giving ways to spend time and the basic information about the Christian faith.  Young Life will be offering a Leadership Training course on Tuesday nights (7 – 9 pm) starting on April 4 and ending on May 16 at the Emmanuel Gospel Center (2 San Juan Street, Boston.)

Anyone interested in learning more about working with students through the ministry of Young Life in the city of Boston is invited to participate.  For more information, please contact Bjorn Anderson at bjornanderson@gmail.com or 603.475.4324 or Fr Wood at frwood@theadventboston.org.


ODDS & ENDS


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


Pledge Envelopes: The following persons have not picked up their pledge envelopes.  They may be found in the Parish House lobby:  Peter Black, Drayton Freeman, Stephen Kennedy, Montgomery Link, Mr & Mr. Anthony Marfeo, Melanie McNaughton, Michael Oliveri, John Smith, and Ryan Taliaferro.


A schedule of Holy Week services at the Advent can be found on the penultimate page of this Sunday’s service bulletins and online.

A form for gifts of flowers for memorials or thanksgivings for Easter can be found on the last page of the bulletin. 


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
March 20-26, 2017

Monday, March 20
(Cuthbert of Lindisfarne)

Tuesday, March 21
(Thomas Ken of Bath & Wells)

5:30 pm: Community Supper

Wednesday, March 22
(James DeKoven)
10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
7:00 pm: Confirmation Class
7:00 pm: Bellringing

Thursday, March 23
(Gregory the Illuminator)
10:00 am: Play Group
6:00 pm: Stations of the Cross
7:00 pm: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Friday, March 24
(Óscar Romero of El Salvador)
10:00 am: Play Group

Saturday, March 25
The Annunciation of Our Lord
10:00 am: Women’s Bible Study

Sunday, March 26
The Fourth Sunday in Lent (“Laetare”)
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 Allan B. Warren III at the Church of the Advent, Sunday, March 12, 2017, the Second Sunday in Lent

From the Lesson this morning:

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Gen. 12:1)

And from the Gospel, the words of Jesus:

The wind blows where it will and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John 3:8)

Now that the rather stupid brouhaha about the parade is resolved, there will be a great deal of hooray and hoopla in this city next Friday, and heaven only knows how many megatons of corned beef and cabbage and gallons of Guinness will be consumed. All in honor of Patrick, St. Patrick, the Apostle to Ireland. Hearing about all this hubbub on the radio caused me to wonder: how much do those, who will be so resolutely and sometimes recklessly, celebrating actually know about the man whose name they invoke? Indeed, how much did I know about Patrick? Not a great deal. And this was a pity and a lack on my part, for the man lived an extraordinary life and much of what we know comes from the saint himself.

Near the end of his life he wrote a kind of spiritual autobiography as a defense against his detractors. And he had many of them. Patrick was not Irish and, because of that, he was never quite accepted by the people and the land he managed to convert. He was accused of all manner of wrongdoing and in his book, My Confession Before I Die, he defends himself and gives us a vivid self-portrait of a deeply humble, totally committed man, who took his mission, but not himself, very seriously.

The details in this document are not always what one might hope for. He tells us, for instance, that he was born and grew up in a village known as Bannaventa Berniae. He neglects, however, to tell us just where that village was. Most scholars place it in what we now know as Scotland, though some say Wales. But this is so uncertain that some French ecclesiastics have ventured to claim Patrick for themselves. And it is true that he spent a great deal of time – nearly twenty years – in what is now France, but . . . can it be? Can it really be? The Apostle to the Irish – a Frenchman? In this claim, what we see perhaps is the Gallic mind being guided by the unspoken, but undoubted maxim: “Whatever is French is good; therefore, whatever is good must be French.”

At any rate, what we know for certain is that Patrick was born in the last decade of the fourth century, and that his father was an administrator in the bureaucracy of Roman Britain – educated, upper class, both parents from highly respected Roman families. Their son, therefore, doubtless grew up in a comfortable and wealthy situation. But. . . he also grew up as a Christian. Patrick’s grandfather had been a priest; his father was a deacon in the local church, and so Patrick was at least raised to be a Christian believer. And yet – by his own admission – his faith meant very little to him as a young man. That is, until his life was changed abruptly. In fact, it was turned completely upside down.

The wind blows where it will, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

A band of Irish pirates attacked the town in which his family lived, destroyed his father’s house and killed his servants, and Patrick – then sixteen – was captured and taken to Ireland to be sold into slavery. He was dressed in skins and sandals. His head was shaved and he was branded. This done, so that his station in life would be obvious if he tried to escape. And he spent the next six years in slavery to a Druid priest, which gave him the unexpected and, of course, unsought-for opportunity to learn the Irish language and to learn about the religion which would later defeat with his conversions. His job as a slave was to be a shepherd, and he spent his days alone with his master’s flocks.

Though we may not like it, we all know – don’t we? – that adversity is not the worst thing that can happen to a person. Often, in fact, God uses adversity to open our eyes, to clarify our vision, and to deepen our understanding. And so it was with Patrick. As a slave, Patrick became a Christian. The Faith he was taught as a child took hold of his life. Alone with the sheep, he learned to pray, and he prayed constantly. And six years after his capture – now twenty-two – at prayer, a voice spoke to him, the same voice that spoke to Abraham. And like Abraham, the voice ordered him to leave.

But to escape slavery was not something easily accomplished. And yet he did it. No roads. On foot. Mostly by night and with little to eat. Patrick travelled over two hundred miles until he reached the southern coast. There he persuaded the crew of a ship to take him on board, and he crossed the Channel and landed in Gaul.

The next twenty years were spent there. First at a monastery in Lérins – an island off the Côte d’Azur – where he studied for the priesthood. Later in the ancient city of Auxerre in Burgundy where he was ordained. All this time, however, he was visited again and again by the idea of returning to those who had enslaved him, to Ireland. The Lord had said, “Do good to those who do evil to you.” Patrick felt an inner determination to follow that counsel.

Even so, he returned to his family in Britain, but then he had a second vision: he saw an angel who handed him a letter. When it was opened the page was blank, but he heard voices. Irish voices. Voices he recognized, begging him to return.

And sometime around the year 431 he did just that. Palladius – the first bishop of the then tiny church in Ireland – was elderly and failing. Patrick was sent by the pope to assist him and to begin the active conversion of Ireland. Again what the Lord had said to Abram, God also said to Patrick:

Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

Patrick went to Ireland first unwillingly as a slave. He returned willingly as a Christian and a missionary and a priest. Within a year he succeeded Palladius and was made a bishop. He asks some who opposed him:

Surely it was not without God, or simply out of human motives that I came to Ireland! Who was it who drove me to it? I am so bound by the Spirit that I no longer see my own kindred. Is it just from myself that comes the holy mercy in how I act toward that people who at one time took me captive and slaughtered the men and women servants in my father’s home? In my human nature I was born free, in that I was born of a Decurion father. But I sold out my noble state for the sake of others – and I am not ashamed of that, nor do I repent of it. Now, in Christ I am a slave of a foreign people, for the sake of the indescribably glory of eternal life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And thirty or so years after that, by his preaching, by his work, by his devotion, by his prayer, by his love, by his legendary conflict with the Druids, Ireland was converted. Christianity had supplanted paganism. Schools and monasteries were built and began to train a native Irish clergy. Patrick battled against the random brutality of the tribal lords. And having been a slave he was particularly fierce in abolishing the institution of slavery. In a letter to a Roman soldier who was a Christian, but who had also sold his captives into slavery, Patrick writes:

And so now you, Coroticus and your gangsters, rebels all against Christ, now where do you see yourselves? You gave away girls like prizes; not yet women, but baptized. All for some petty temporal gain that will pass in the very next instant. “Like a cloud passes, or smoke blown in the wind” so will sinners, “who cheat, slip away from the face to the Lord.”

That’s pretty scary. No wonder the snakes, if there were any, when Patrick expelled them, got quickly out of town.

But again, after thirty years of seemingly thankless work, Patrick established Christianity and Christian morality as the norm of behavior. And so, faith in Jesus Christ became the indigenous religion of the land. And Patrick himself brought this all about. Is it, then, any wonder that the Irish regard him as their apostle?

In his Confession, written – again – near the end of his life, Patrick tells us: “I was like a stone lying in the deep mire; and He that is mighty came, and in his mercy lifted me up, and verily raised me aloft and placed me on top of the wall.” That is how the saint described the saving act of God in his life. It began when he was enslaved and in a mire of despair, and it continued – in good times and in bad times – until his death. This was God’s gift to him, and it was the gift he wished to pass on. It was the good he wished to do and was sent to do to those who had done him evil.

Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven.” The saint we will remember on Friday was a light brought to the darkness. The light of God’s love and his act of salvation in Jesus shone on Patrick’s life and changed it and made him to be the bearer of that light to others. And they saw that light in his life and in his words and in his work. It shone out from Patrick, as it does in their own way in all the saints, and it granted sight to those who were blind.

And now – just because I like it – let’s listen to Patrick once again:

I was like a stone lying in the deep mire; and He that is mighty came, and in his mercy lifted me up, and verily raised me aloft and placed me on top of the wall.

Amen.

Collect for the Second Sunday in Lent

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from thy ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of thy Word, Jesus Christ thy Son; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and 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’s Announcements, March 12-18, 2017

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.


TODAY!


9:00 Coffee Hour. Will Joyner & Linda Jones and Abigail & Alister Lewis-Bowen host the Coffee Hour this morning.  Next week the hosts will be Cassie & Jack Gurnon and Judy Bell & Francesco Piscitelli. 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. Nicholas Dials & Dustin Henderson and Steven Sayers & Ross Wood host the Coffee Hour this morning.  The hosts next week are Meg & Brent Nelson and Roxy & Jeff Hanson.  We are 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 Marcos or Daniel German-Domingues (mrbgd@hotmail.com or DGDomingues@outlook.com), Frederick Ou (frederick.ou@gmail.com), or Kyle Pilares (kpilares.uk@gmail.com).


Entr’acte: This morning Jim Wood, our Parish Administrator, continues a Lenten series on “The Death of the Messiah,” an examination of the Passion Narratives in the four Gospels, based on Father Raymond E. Brown’s masterwork of the same name.  In particular, we will explore what the differences in the Gospel accounts tell us about the theology of the Evangelists and their communities.


If you find the incense this morning disagreeable, don’t be too distressed.  It’s supposed to be that way.  In Lent we use Myrrh at Mass.  Myrrh, you will remember, was one of the mystic gifts presented by the Magi to the infant Jesus.  It is sharp and acrid and its “bitter perfume” evokes tears and signifies death.  Indeed, in the Middle East, where it is called “the incense of tears,” it is often used at funerals to mask the odor of decomposition.

In Lent we are directed to meditate upon the passion, suffering, and death which Jesus endured for us.  Myrrh is an olfactory stimulus to focus our attention towards that end.


Compline at the Advent—This evening, March 12, 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.  There is particular need for parishioners familiar with liturgical practice at the Advent to participate, so if you are interested in helping celebrate this service of prayer before bedtime in the custom of early Christian monasticism, please contact Fr Hanson (frhanson@theadventboston.org) or Fr. Wood (frwood@theadventboston.org).


Today is the Second Sunday in Lent:  Lent was a period of preparation for those about to be baptized, and over time it became a period of penitence, self-examination and special devotion by all Christians as they prepared to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.  Lent was more than just an individual discipline, however.  It was something in which the whole community would engage together.  This year we at the Advent will again recapture the corporate nature of Lenten practice, and we call on every member of the Parish to consider joining others in the following common discipline.  Each week, those who wish will fast together from a particular pleasure, whether it’s sweets, coffee, entertainment, technology, etc., and we will all read the same scriptural passages and meditate upon the same theme each day.

A common devotional Guide, The Shape of Lent at the Church of the Advent, is available at the rear of the nave and online, and it lists the suggested fast for each week along with daily scripture readings which begin with the Creation and follow the history of Salvation up to its fulfillment in the New Creation of all things in the Resurrection of Jesus.

Engaging in communal fasts and corporate devotional practices will deepen our sense of community, as well as provide support and accountability for each of us in this rich liturgical season.  If you have questions, please get in touch with one of the clergy who will be happy to discuss it with you.


About the Lenten High Mass Set.  The Frontal on the High Altar is an exact replica of our first Lenten Frontal.  It displays the colors of the season:  violet and rose.  The Vestments were made to match the Frontal and are embroidered with the Instruments of the Passion of Jesus:  his betrayal, his crucifixion, and his death.  On the Cope are the Five Wounds:  nail prints in his hands and feet, the slash of the centurion’s lance in his side, pictured as his heart.  On the Chasuble:  the nails and the crown of thorns.  On the Dalmatic:  the hammer and tongs, the lance and the pole bearing a sponge soaked in vinegar.  On the Tunicle:  the scourge with which Jesus was whipped, Pilate’s basin and pitcher with which he washed his hands, disavowing his guilt, and delivered Jesus to be crucified.

The Frontal and Vestments were given in memory of John Henry Diehl III, a priest in the Church, by members of his family.


Can You Help?  Morning and Evening Prayer is scheduled to be prayed every day at 9:00 am and 5:30 pm Monday through Friday.  Because pastoral responsibilities, it is becoming more and more difficult for the Clergy alone to maintain these Monday through Friday services, and so we badly need volunteers to conduct services if the present schedule is to continue.  Think about this, and if you are able to take on one of these evening services, please speak to Fr Warren or Fr Wood.


THIS WEEK!


Bible Study Continues—Wednesdays at 10 am—Parish Library—Interested in studying the Bible with others from our parish?  Join us in the Library on Wednesday mornings at 10 am. This week we continue our study of the Book of Revelation with Chapters 4 and 5.   


On Thursdays during Lent at 6 pm, Stations of the Cross and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will be prayed in the church.  At Stations we meditate on the events which led to the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus.  At Benediction we meditate on his Risen Presence with us in the Blessed Sacrament, which flows from his atoning and sacrificial death.  He had to die in order that we might live with and in Him.  That is a truth we think and pray about during the holy season.  Stations and Benediction is a helpful means to that end.  Consider making it a part of your week.


Confirmation Class on Wednesday Evenings:  Confirmation class continues this Wednesday, March 15, after the 6:00 mass.  We meet downstairs in Moseley Hall from 7 until about 8.30 pm.  We will share a light supper and then Advent parish clergy or our seminarian will deliver a brief talk about the core tenets of Christianity and Anglicanism.  The next Confirmation service will be Saturday, April 29.  Adults and teens who are interested should email frwood@theadventboston.org for more information.


Women’s Bible Study—Four Sessions Start Saturday, March 18—10 am-11:30 am in the Library:  Women have unique voices in scripture and in today’s church.  This bible study highlights their voices—and ours—by exploring how ancient prayers and stories inform us during this time of contemplation and reflection. Like the traditional Anglo-Catholic liturgy, these sessions will engage participants on many levels.  The facilitator, Advent parishioner Lurie Armandt, will guide participants in using interactive theatrical and artistic storytelling as we prepare to celebrate the Feast of the Resurrection.  Lurie is a graduate student at Emerson College studying Theatre and Community.  Her specific interest is around building community among women in the church.  Meetings will be on Saturdays March 18, March 25, April 1, and April 8, from 10:00 am—11:30 am in the Library.  Women interested in participating or who have any questions should contact Lurie at LuraineArmandt@gmail.com or Deacon Daphne B. Noyes at dbnoyes@gmail.com.


COMING UP!


Next Sunday March 19, at 5:00 pm, the boys from St Paul’s Choir School Harvard Square will sing Evensong, including music of Malcolm Archer, Sydney Nicholson and Josef Rheinberger.  Under the direction of John Robinson, the choir and school have experienced a renaissance, and we always enjoy their visits with us.

Prior to the service, at 4:30 pm, St Paul’s newly-appointed Assistant Music Director Jeremy Bruns will present an organ recital including music of Mendelssohn, Howells and Demessieux.  He has held positions in Buffalo, Boston and Pittsburgh, and at St Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.


MISSION & OUTREACH CORNER


Meals Needed for Marfeos—1 to 15 March—Baby Gabriella Rose was born to Beth and Anthony Marfeo (and welcomed by proud big sis, Sophia!) on February 14, entering the world at a healthy 8 pounds, 2 ounces!  The whole family is doing well, and our parish family is helping them out by providing meals from 1 to 15 March.  If you can provide a meal (they live at 108 Wright Street in Arlington), go to http://bit.ly/2kIDYVJ to sign up and select a date on the Advent Meal Rota website.  Then contact Beth at 617.840.5310 or beth.marfeo@gmail.com to schedule a delivery. If you find it difficult to deliver a meal yourself, consider leaving food for them at the church to be picked up or delivered.


ODDS & ENDS


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


Pledge Envelopes: The following persons have not picked up their pledge envelopes.  They may be found in the Parish House lobby:  Peter Black, Drayton Freeman, Stephen Kennedy, Montgomery Link, Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Marfeo, Melanie McNaughton, Michael Oliveri, John Smith, and Ryan Taliaferro.


A schedule of Holy Week services at the Advent can be found on the penultimate page of this Sunday’s service bulletins and online.

A form for gifts of flowers for memorials or thanksgivings for Easter can be found on the last page of the bulletin. 


THIS WEEK AT THE ADVENT
March 13-19, 2017

Monday, March 13
6:00 pm: Film Group Meeting

Tuesday, March 14
5:15 pm: Property Committee
5:30 pm: Community Supper
6:15 pm: Vestry

Wednesday, March 15
10:00 am: Bible Study
6:00 pm: Healing Mass
7:00 pm: Lenten Class
7:00 pm: Bellringing

Thursday, March 16
10:00 am: Play Group
6:00 pm: Stations of the Cross
7:00 pm: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Friday, March 17
(Patrick of Ireland)

10:00 am: Play Group
6:00 pm: Barbara Pym Meeting

Saturday, March 18
(Cyril of Jerusalem)
10:00 am: Women’s Bible Study
10:00 am: Advent Choir Rehearsal

Sunday, March 19
The Third 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 with the Great Litany in Procession
4:30 pm: Organ Recital
5:00 pm: Solemn Evensong & Benediction

Sermon Preached by Eric Fialho at the Church of the Advent, Sunday, March 5, 2017, the First Sunday in Lent

“Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down…’” Throw yourself down.

In this time of Lent, which we as the body of Christ have just entered into, we consider many things– especially the things which we account as being unnecessary for us, the excesses of life, or even temptations which we want to throw off from us. How easy would it be if we could wrestle away certain things from our lives and from our world we believe to cause harm, the things which distract, and the things which are evil.

I give you a story from the mid-18th century in which evil, and the physical wrestling of it even, happened not more than an hour north of us.

In the year 1740, the devil came to Massachusetts. Well, by all accounts, the devil had been here a good deal of time, but in that year the Rev. George Whitfield, a renegade itinerant Anglican preacher known as the man at the center of America’s first great awakening of faith, preached in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

His hearers recount an interesting morning, a day in which the devil and Whitefield joined in a physical battle. It was widely believed by townsfolk in Ipswich that the devil lurked within the great glass mirror which was fixed to the wall behind the pulpit. He would often peer out into the congregation from that mirror to distract the congregants from listening to the preaching done from the looming pulpit above their heads.

It was said that when George Whitfield came to Ipswich the forcefulness and great weight of his sermon preyed so inwardly on the devil that he leapt out bodily from behind the mirror, and ran about the church. Such a crowd had gathered, and the devil’s twisted, ancient, winged, singed body darted in between the old box pews and shambled out from the church. Whitefield took to the outside of the church to continue his fiery preaching denouncing the devil and all his ways. The church then, as the new one today does, surmounts a large rocky hill. Whitefield kept preaching and the devil in fits of rage would lunge at members of the massive crowd now forming on the bedrock surrounding the church. Finally it was said that Whitefield and the devil came to blows and that the preacher and the old tempter himself shambled up to the very top–the pinnacle of the steeple–fighting all the way, at which point George Whitefield threw the devil from the steeple and the devil landed on his pointed feet on the rocks below in a loud clap and a burst of smoke. He then took off to the woods and was not seen again in that town.

After Sabbath had ended, some present for Whitefield’s sermon re-visited the spot where they had seen the great man wrestle the devil from them. Upon re-visiting the spot and allowing their eyes to wander down to the bedrock below their feet they spied something quite strange and untoward.

A black and pointed single footprint. Doubtless the very imprint made by Satan himself when he landed on the rocks below the steeple.

Last year my girlfriend Emily and I went to visit this spot, quite intrigued I must say, with this old piece of local folklore which I had known about for some time. We went in search of the “devil’s footprint” as it is now called. Sure enough, on that cloudy April day we looked down and saw it, black, pointed, and seemingly seared into the very rocks. A convincing footprint for sure.

The crowds said Whitefield had thrown the devil down. Thrown him down. In the Gospel of Matthew we are told the devil says to Jesus from the pinnacle, throw yourself down. Throw yourself down.

We have now entered, as a people of Christ, into the seriousness and starkness of Lent. We are in the midst of a time and of a particular mindset which considers our own excesses, and our own temptations. The passage in Matthew is referred to as The Temptation of Jesus.

Our Lord, as we affirm, is fully human and fully divine, and in this passage we see those seemingly irreconcilable characteristics, fully human and fully divine, play out dramatically together. The fullness of humanity and the fullness of divinity meet together. We are told that Jesus, at the end of his forty days and forty nights of journeying into the wilderness, and after fasting, is famished.

Jesus had been baptized by John in the River Jordan over a month before, and God, in the form of a dove and a great voice, affirmed, “This is my Son, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Jesus’ otherworldly nature had shown forth in the waters that day, and now he found himself led by the Spirit to be alone, presumably in the presence of God his Father, and one would think he was rather in his own head–alone with a different mindset. He is famished, delirious, perhaps wishing he had not been so willing to listen to the Spirit’s call to go into the wilderness, into a place where there, lurking within, were temptations of all kinds, evils of all sorts, and that old deluder himself, the devil. Contrary to what the good people of Ipswich believed in 1740, the ancients believed evil dwelled in the desert in the wilderness, and not behind a mirror in their Church– that demons and Satan held sway there. Perhaps this was on Jesus’ brain upon entering into the desert. Maybe it was that He knew, to a small extent, that something wicked would meet him, or come at him there in that place, and it did.

When the tempter came to him, when the devil met him there, he asked, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” Son of God. Is it no wonder that the devil is the only figure in all of the Gospel of Matthew, who, as the Oxford Annotated Bible asserts, “…makes the most comprehensive Christological designation for Jesus”? That is to say it is actually the devil himself who names Jesus for who he is. The Son of God. Fully human, fully divine.

I say that it is no wonder the devil is the one to do this, for the Gospel of Matthew is almost obsessed with the battle between good and evil, angels on the one hand, and demons on the other.

Matthew is concerned with temptation and with the juxtaposition between evils of all kind and the power and grace of God.

The images, perhaps most striking of all in this text, are of those moments when the devil brings Jesus into the Holy City, far before his triumphant entry into that City Jerusalem, and the devil brings him to the holiest of places and asks him to commit an act Jesus knows is wrong, and for him to put his trust in the creature before him, the devil.

Scholars suggest that the pinnacle Jesus was brought to by Satan was the most southeastern corner of the temple in Jerusalem. Below it was a very steep drop which would plunge any person into the Kidron Valley. This valley lay between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives. There below, as it is today, were cemeteries. The Jews call it the “Valley of Jehoshaphat”, that is to say, the Valley where God will Judge.

Throw yourself down.

Then the devil quotes Scripture: “throw yourself down; for it is written ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and on their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone’”. He’s quoting Psalm 91.

Here Jesus, and we too, are confronted with something major. He is told to put his whole trust in God, who will keep him from bodily harm. In a way I believe that this text prefigures what will happen on the cross, and what we as the body of Christ in the world today will consider and think about on Good Friday and on Easter, at the end of our time in Lent.

How could the Son of God, someone who is fully human and fully divine, not save himself on the cross? Was it his willingness even unto death?  Was it his inability to throw off the evils of this world? He spoke truth in the face of the profoundness of human wickedness and human wickedness played a key role in his bodily death.

At the end of Matthew we hear the crowds who deride Jesus on the cross asking him, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross”. Come down from the cross. Throw yourself down. I see a connection here. The connection between the devil’s want for Jesus to die and the crowd’s asking of a similar question, and of their inability to see the situation for what it truly was. Jesus’ inability or unwillingness to come down from the cross had everything to do with who he was. Being fully human, after all as we know, has its limitations.

Jesus says to the devil, quoting from Deuteronomy 6:13, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test”. The sort of faith which the devil is advocating for, one may say a myopic faith, and a faith which, at its base rests on a literal interpretation of the psalmist who wrote Psalm 91, that this sort of faith can lead to extremism and to death even.

Jesus knows he may have come to bodily harm or even death if he indeed had thrown himself down to the valley below, and that in his act of such faith, as the devil advocates for, he would actually be dishonoring God, he would be putting God to the test.

What are we to make of this, as a people of God moving through Lent for the next weeks?

Sometimes we have to say, “Away with you, Satan”. Sometimes we have to claim that knowledge that we have as a people of God, and realize things are not all right at all times for us, and that in our humanness we are glanced by evil often. How easy it would be for us to wrestle evil, or the devil from our midst, and throw him off of us. Perhaps that is what the good people of Ipswich saw that day in 1740. Perhaps they, like us, were a people who knew all-to-well their own limitations and their own distractions which hid God from their sight. Perhaps Whitefield, for them, was a man who claimed that phrase, “Away with you, Satan!” Perhaps in the words they heard that day something was awoken which allowed for them to see, for the first time, the visceral realities of evil, and how simply in the acknowledging of it, it can be thrown away from them.

In this life we have been asked to throw ourselves down and we will continue to be asked to do so. In such temptations that fall upon us our hope is in God alone. Our hope is in God alone who gives us the power and the grace to understand not only our own limitations, but the incredible grace to see our situation for what it really is. The devil couldn’t see Jesus’’ situation for what it was. The devil thought of Jesus, and perhaps thinks of us too, as a people who are fully unaware of our limitations. Yet we know better. If we know them, if we know our own limitations and if we name Satan when it is in our midst, we are able to throw evil and temptation down. We are able to throw it off of us and trample it.

Even if its footprint remains as a visceral reminder of its reality, evil is often just that, something seared and unmoving. Something fixed which does not know of the great weight pressing inwardly on the hearts of humankind from God who brought us into life and calls us to a new life daily.

When evil is thrown down it leaves but a ridged footprint. When we throw it off of us we ascend into new life, ever changing, ever growing life.

Amen.

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.