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AnastasisHallo again to all.

Whether we like it or not, it's a fact that 'round the Anglican Communion our various provinces and national churches use different lectionaries. We are not all on the same page, so to speak, each Sunday. So we can't usefully refer, in these front-page scribbles, to a specific Gospel that 'we all heard' — because we didn't all hear it.

But wherever we are in the Communion, this Sunday is the last in the church's year. Whether it's called the Sunday of Christ the King, the last Sunday after Pentecost, or the Sunday Next Before Advent, this day stands as the end of one year and the gate of another. Advent is just over there; a hushed, solemn, waiting season, clad in dark Sarum blue or deep royal purple. A short sharp significant season whispering: 'Not long now! But not yet'.

A hard message for us get-it-now, on-demand 21st-century folk. Perhaps if there were an eighth deadly sin, 'impatience' would be a contender. It can cause errors of judgement, ruin finances, and run relationships ragged. Its smash-and-grab nature lets sound bites flourish and careful reasoning languish.

Advent should bring us to our senses. 'Stop', it signals. 'Look both ways before crossing'. 'Slow down: incarnation ahead'.

There is a saying that the two most important days of our lives are the day we were born and the day we know why. Our incarnation and our vocation, if you will. Many of us spend longer than we'd like in seeking that last important day; some, through grace, are born knowing it. Occasionally it seems that many of the roils and rumbles in the Anglican news come from people who cannot possess their souls in quiet and who thrash about seeking . . . well, we're not certain what. But now and again the Communion seems filled with people for whom issuing press releases, engineering power plays, and fulminating must bring a sense of purpose and point. Perhaps the Anglican Communion could indeed use a little Advent.

A friend once wrote in passing of:

that anastasis icon where Christ grasps the hands of Adam and Eve with the tenacity of God, holy and strong -- and there is a hope there somewhere that grace will bring us to be what God desires us to be.

May God bring us this Advent to what God desires us to be. And may we accept that when we know it.

Glory and honour and solemnity and joy and awesomeness, all intermingled in the season soon to come.

See you next week, on Advent Sunday.

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Last updated: 20 November 2005

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