BLESSED IS HE THAT COMETH
By the Rev. Gavin G. Dunbar, President, Prayer Book Society USA
Taken from the magazine Mandate
The eighteenth century essayist and moralist, Dr. Samuel Johnson reputedly said: "Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." I suppose the same could be said about the approach of exams, a wedding, guests, or tax day. What concentrates our minds in this holy season, however, is the coming of Christ. "Behold, Thy king cometh unto thee". It is no doubt comforting to think that God is there any time we might need Him - a well-trained God who does not speak unless he is spoken to, a concierge God who stands ready to answer our call. But that it is not the comfort that we have in Christ. Christ does not remain at a polite and safe distance from us, somewhere up there in heaven, or in the past, or in Galilee . He does not hover politely in the background in case we want Him, a butler God waiting upon our whims. He does not wait upon us to invite Him in; no, He comes to us, He invades our space and time, and when He comes, he presents Himself as Messiah, and with the authority of His Kingdom He marches into the Temple , takes charge, and starts cleaning house.
The question therefore is not whether or if He is going to come or not; He is coming. Nor is even the question when He is coming-for He is even now on His way. With every passing moment the hour of His advent draws ineluctably closer: "now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." The only question is whether we are ready to receive Him, and to hail Him as the multitudes did: "Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord: hosanna in the highest." Hear the 17 th century preacher Archdeacon Mark Frank: "the days of holy Advent are to teach us to sing Hosannas to our Saviour, to bless God for His coming, to bless Him for His coming, all His comings, all His ways of coming to us...to bless Him in the highest...that He may also bless us in the highest."
In Advent we prepare to bless God for the coming of Christ, and so Advent is a preparation for Christmas; but it is also a preparation for Epiphany, for Septuagesima, for Lent and Passiontide, for Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost, for the whole of the Church's year, for every Church year, for the whole of our lives, for the whole of time. "Watch ye," says the Lord - which means, stay awake, keep watch, be vigilant, keep your eyes peeled - "for ye know not when the Master of the house cometh: at even or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping." (Mark 13:35, 36) Advent teaches us to look for Christ's coming and to be ready for it at any time, in every time, at all times, in worship but also in work, in prayer but also in play, in the things we do, and things that happen to us, in things that go right - and things that go wrong. "Come, Lord Jesus!"
Nor is this hope of His coming open-ended: this Christ whom we wait for is not some unknown Christ, some new Messiah with a newly minted gospel: He is the same Christ who has already come once in the flesh, has shown forth His glory, has suffered death and risen again, who has ascended up on high and bestowed His Spirit on the church.
As in the Church's year we call to remembrance His first coming, so we learn to hope for and expect His coming again; the past is not merely past but is present and future in all its virtue and power. We go to meet Him from whom we come: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) How shall we make ready for so great a guest - a guest who comes to claim His people as their Lord? In its essence, I think our readiness is a matter of desire: wanting Him to come, as Christ and Lord, wanting Him with everything that you have and everything you are, everything you do and everything that happens to you. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." (Revelation 22:17, 20) Let this prayer be the desire of our hearts, and the design of our lives.
The ladies of the Woman's Guild held their Annual Spaghetti Supper on Saturday, November 5, 2011. It was very successful with over $350 raised for missions. We thank all of you who helped and came.
The Tinley Park Ministerial Association had its Thanksgiving Service at St. George Roman Catholic Church on Sunday evening, Nov. 20, 2011. Rev. Frank Levi and Rev. Phil Tjoelker represented St. Andrew's in the service.
St. Andrew's Preschool had its Thanksgiving Program Tuesday morning, Nov. 22, 2011. The children sang and dressed up as Indians, Pilgrims and turkeys that day.
The Feast Day of St. Andrew was celebrated on Nov. 30, 2011 with a pot luck meal in the Parish Hall at 6:30 and the Service of Holy Communion at 7:30 p.m. The offering went to PASS, the local crisis pregnancy center.
Decorating the Church Saturday, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. with Lunch served
WOMAN'S GUILD BAKE SALE & CHRISTMAS BAZAAR
Sunday, December 11, 2011 after church
Mini Guild Meeting at the sale
SUNDAY SCHOOL & PRESCHOOL CHILDREN
present Christmas Nativity Musical Pageant
Sunday, December 18, 2011 at 2:00 p.m.
Everyone in church, please stay and enjoy the children as they tell the story of Jesus' birth that holy Christmasnight. Refreshment servers needed downstairs after the program; see Patty Levi. Men needed after church the 18th to move some chancel furniture; see Rev. Levi.
NOTE: Christmas Pageant DRESS REHEARSAL
Upstairs Sat. Dec. 17, 10:00 a.m. to noon
FESTIVAL OF NINE LESSONS AND CAROLS
All Saints' Anglican Church
Marian Catholic High School CHAPEL
700 Ashland Avenue , Chicago Heights
Friday, December 23, 2011
Everyone invited. Rev. Levi & St. Andrew's
Church Choir taking part.
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
St. Andrew's Anglican Church
Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011
9:30 p.m. Carol Sing
10:00 p.m. Candlelight Communion Service
11:00 p.m. Refreshments in the Parish Hall
Join with us to celebrate and usher in the Christmas Season.
NO SUNDAY SCHOOL NOR MORNING PRAYER
Christmas Day and New Year's Day
10:30 am Holy Communion Service as usual
VALENTINE DINNER PARTY
Being planned for Saturday, February 11, 2011
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
$20 per couple
Couples from the church and preschool are invited! It is a Fundraiser for the Preschool and an opportunity for church and preschool parents and grandparents to get better acquainted. Come for a fun evening of dining and musical entertainment. Thank you! Servers are needed to wait tables; see Mrs. Levi.
MISSIONARY of the MONTH
Please pray for Judy King, Bible Translator at the Institute of Linguistics & Discipling in Brazil . Judy was recently beset by a tropical illness and came back to the states briefly this fall. See the website for more information on her dedicated work with the Apurina Indians in Brazil : www.recbfm.org/king.htm
Renee June Hassert
by Jo Anne Arrowood
Of all the gifts since time began
There's one that's best by far,
The One God gave in Bethlehem
Beneath the eastern star.
For through that Babe He gave His love
For all mankind to share;
And for this love, Christ gave His life,
Our earthly sins to bear.
Oh, to have been in Bethlehem
That night that He was born,
And heard the heavenly angels sing
That glorious Christmas morn!
For to be sure, God's Gift, His Son,
Was beautiful to see.
He's God's great Gift to you, my friend,
And God's great Gift to me!