This Sunday, November 29th, is the first Sunday of Advent and the first Sunday of the church year.
Advent is a season of waiting, a season where we embrace waiting. We wait and we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas – the coming of God here with us, Emmanuel. We also look forward to a future that is not accomplished, where Christ’s reign of peace, justice and harmony will be complete for all of creation. We wait with hope for Christ’s coming again.
Ironically, the waiting we become aware of in Advent draws us to the here and now of our life. I have found that we often find ourselves in “in-between” times, waiting. We wait between the holidays we celebrate. We wait between when our children are born and when they go to school. Some wait between weekends. Some of our waiting is for this pandemic to come to an end. We wait between the events of our own lives. Waiting is not just filler; it is the place where we spend much of our lives. In embracing the wait, we begin to glimpse that the signs and wonders of God are right here, right now.
What are you waiting for? Maybe it’s a new job or career, for the pandemic to end, the renewal of a relationship with an estranged family member or friend, or the results of a test, or a treatment to take effect, or to get pregnant, or to have a child, or for your children to be a little bit older, or your career to take a turn, or for the economy to turn around, or to retire, or to finally feel comfortable in the life you now lead. Advent is a season to pray for what it is you are waiting for – to live into the questions and the promise of what is not yet. And while you wait, where is God right now? Where are there shoots coming out of stumps? Where are mustard seeds germinating? Where are there glimpses of light in the darkness? How can you glimpse God working right now?
In this time that we are pausing having in-person gatherings, and waiting until we can all be gathered in one place again, we will offer Communion Appointments in the St. Paul’s Sanctuary this Sunday from 1-2PM. Communion Appointments are a time when members of your household come for a short private service and receive the Eucharist in the sanctuary. Preregistration is required. You can register here.
This Sunday, we will also try out Drive Through Communion in the St. Paul's Parking Lot from 9AM-10AM and 12 Noon-1PM. Dive through is a time when members of your household come for a short prayer service and receive communion in your car with one of our clergy. Drive Through Communion Appointment does not require pre-registration, though there may be a short wait.
During the Advent season, we will also be using the Zoom platform on the backend for our online worship each Sunday. Due to some recent improvements with zoom, especially sound, this is more practical to use regularly. It will give us some of the features of our monthly collaborative services, including beaming in readers and some musicians into the service. We also will have a different family light the Advent Wreath from their home. As in the past, you will be able to participate with these services on Facebook Live.
There are many ways to mark the season of Advent with St. Paul’s, all of which can be found on the Advent page of our website here. As always, know that you are in my prayers.
The Reverend Noah H. Evans, Rector