4th Sunday in Advent, 2021
Updated: Jan 19, 2022
This final Sunday in Advent we consider questions of identity. John the Baptist is asked, "who art thou?" We are reading St. Athanasius' timeless little book On the Incarnation for our Advent retreat. This book is all about linking the Incarnation of Jesus to his actual identity as the Word of God. We will tie these things together with Jesus' question to his own disciples, "But whom say ye that I am?" (Matthew 16:15) and a reminder regarding our own identity as followers of Jesus. In reference to ourselves, mistaken identity has a range of potentially comical or serious consequences. In reference to our understanding of Jesus' identity, being mistaken has potentially eternal consequences. St. Athanasius' witness to the importance of having a true understanding of the identity of Jesus is why we remember him as one of the giants of the Christian faith. I know COVID and natural disasters have conspired to prevent some people from attending this retreat. Also, the late scheduling, which was necessary to accommodate academic assignment deadlines on my end, did not help. We may try and run the same retreat again (improved upon reflection) on an earlier weekend in Advent. In any event, there is still time to join us for the retreat, and you are of course welcome to join us on Sunday. Follow this link for more information regarding our 8 am and 10 am services and Christmas service schedule. Again, we are a small and young endeavour. Our Christmas services will not be large and extravagant. In simplicity we will be praying, giving thanks, and remembering the events of so long ago, in hopes that we may more deeply treasure and contemplate these truths in our minds and hearts for the purpose of deeper devotion and service.
Also, this Tuesday is our patronal feast day, the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle. There will be a quiet early morning service to celebrate. Perhaps in time, this feast will evolve into a larger and more elaborate celebration. Some of you have wondered why we have named this endeavour after St. Thomas the Apostle. This is worth exploring in more depth in the context of his feast day. For now, I'll simply say that St. Thomas' candour regarding his doubt (which breaks through to faith through his encounter with the risen Lord), and the accounts of his adventurous and far-reaching missionary journey (as far as India where he established a Christian community which exists to this day) serve as excellent examples for contemporary Christians.
Readings for this Sunday, December 19 (The Fourth Sunday in Advent): You may access the prayer and readings by following this link. You may read the RSV and ESV translations of the readings here.
If you have particular prayer requests or thanksgiving reports please share them with me. They will be offered to the Lord through the service and included in the service insert.
Special feasts and fasts* (if you follow or wish to follow the Church's traditional devotion in this way): Tuesday, December 21, The Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, 8 am Holy Communion.
RECURRING AND ADVANCED NOTICES
Christmas Services (all are Holy Communion). Saturday, December 25 (Christmas Day), 10 am; Sunday, December 26 (The feast of St. Stephen), 8 am & 10 am; Monday, December 27 (the feast of St. John the Evangelist), 8 am; Tuesday, December 28 (The Innocents), 8 am; Saturday, January 1 (the Circumcision of Christ) 8 am; Sunday, January 2 (the 2nd Sunday after Christmas), 10 am; Thursday, January 6 (Feast of the Epiphany), 8 am.
Updated COVID19 protocols are in effect (in light of provincial guidelines and the expectations of the landlord). We will be gathered around the Lord's Table, seated by household, socially distanced. We ask that hands be sanitized and masks be worn inside for the duration of the service (exception is made for receiving the bread and the wine, and for leaders who are socially distanced).
Please reach out if you have any questions.
In Christ and Under the Mercy