Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy New Liturgical Year

The First Sunday in Advent (today) is the beginning of the liturgical church year. Happy New Year!

Today the Gospel lessons we read in church change, as the year changes. Good bye Luke. We’ve listened to you for the past year. Hello Matthew, as we begin the New Church Year.

“Emmanuel” from Hebrew, meaning “God with us.” We sing in Advent the hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

Through the word Emmanuel we express that God is with us.

God is with us. We are not alone. God Almighty is with us.

God is with us. The Great I Am is. Not “was” but “is” with us. We don’t have to go to a special place, like a church building because God is with us wherever we are.

God is with us. Although God is transcendent, throughout and more than “in” the universe, God is also with us, right here, right now. “With” as in among, and inside us. Before we speak God is listening. God is answering before we are finished asking.

God is with us. Us, you and me and all of us. Right now. Right where we are, God is with us. “Emmanuel” does not mean “God is with just some of us.” “When two or three are gathered, God is there.” In community. God is with us and "us" includes how many? All of us? Every one of us? No strings attached? The inclusive God who does not check for ID cards or membership cards?

Advent is the time of waiting, of preparing for the coming of the Christ who is already with us, within us. It is kind of like the family together getting the house ready for the big celebration (like Christmas). The family is there preparing for the celebration and the family will be there during the celebration. We prepare the house and the food for the celebration with the family. Then we turn the corner, the time arrives, and we begin the party. And, we have been together before, during, and after the celebration. In the same way Christ is with us as we prepare for the coming of the Christ.

Happy New Year!

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