A Message from Rev'd Ben - December 2021
Beginnings often start in the dark.
Consider the fall harvest; that bountiful offering of corn, pumpkins, and squash. Their origin was not a bright one, but rather a small seed planted within the cold dark earth. That small seed did its most impressive work while reaching out of the dark, damp, soil towards the warmth and light of the sun.
What would a beautiful sunrise, spread out across the majestic ocean be, if it were not for the prelude of black waters surrounded by darkness?
Indeed, even human life itself begins in the utter darkness of the womb. It is within the womb that we are formed, where our heart learns to beat and our limbs learn to take motion. Where our senses are awakened and our brains begin to cultivate ideas. We are - in our most original sense - creatures of the darkness. And yet even as creatures of darkness, like the seed urging itself towards the warmth, and the sun stretching its bright rays over the ocean, we too stretch our arms towards the light at earliest opportunity, grasping for light, warmth and life.
Genesis 1 teaches us that God’s first act of creation was to enter into the void of darkness and out of an abundant explosion of love create light. Separating the light from the darkness God’s creative activity continued in a pattern of reaching into the darkness and bringing forth light. This is the pattern that we are birthed into. Our journeys begin in the dark and we reach our helpless arms towards the creator of the light who has come to be with us in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the light that has come into the world (John 1) and we are saved.
Advent, the beginning of the Church Calendar, also begins in the dark. In the quiet. The beginning of the Church Calendar draws us into the narrative recall of scripture, leading us to the conclusion that we are in need of a light that comes from above. The ultimate light that comes into the darkness and will not be overcome.
Throughout this Advent season it is my hope that we as a Church may enter into this quiet darkness with open minds, hearts, and hands. That we might be attentive to the light that is coming into our lives, our church and our world. In a season of stress, busyness and noise, I pray that we can also take time to reflect on our need for the incarnate light to come into our life. That in the quietness of darkness, our hearts might be drawn towards the coming of Christ which has come and is to come.
Relatedly, as a part of our Advent practice, I hope that you will join us on December 19th at 5pm for our service of Lessons and Carols as well as for our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. The service of Lessons and Carols is notably one that brings a robust life to the Anglican tradition of our Church. The service is brought to life year after year to remind us of the story that the season of Advent draws us into. It is the story of God and the people of God. It is the story of the Incarnate light, Jesus Christ, who has come into the world. Mark your calendars now for this special service as we continue to dwell richly in this season of Advent.
Advent Blessings to you all, my Saint Andrew’s family,