It is my turn to blog at the advent blog hopeful imagination today. My post is below but you can follow the rest here.
Being a minister at this time of year is an odd experience.
Preparing services that fit the advent season whilst making plans for the
period from Christmas to Easter. Yesterday I was talking about Palm Sunday, this
morning I was thinking about how changes in society affect the church and this
afternoon I’m grappling afresh with advent promises.
Advent is becoming one of my favourite times of year with
its reminders of what Christ’s coming entails. A promised ruler who will be no
petty king or oppressive empire builder but one in whose hands the weakest will
be safe and the oppressed released. A reign in which old hostilities will cease,
in which the scattered are gathered in, drawing back those who have drifted
off. The one who is with God from eternity past comes forth revealing grace and
In thinking about changing culture I was reminded of Leonard
Sweet’s suggestion that post modern and digital culture can be understood to be
Epic where E=experiential, P=participatory, I=image rich, and C=connective.
This is not the moment to discuss the merits, or otherwise, of Sweet’s proposal
but it strikes me that advent fits this well.
Advent invites us to:
Experience the God who is now and the not yet. The growing
familiarity of ritual with readings, candles and hymns magnifies the sense of
God’s promise and presence.
Participate in the faith. The themes of advent incorporate
the great doctrines of the Christian faith but not as propositions to believe
but as truth to live and incorporate into daily living.
In an image driven culture we are reminded that the one who
comes is the image of God; God in the flesh.
Connecting with the community of God’s people, advent is an
invitation to respond afresh to Christ’s invitation to be children of God.
O Come O Come Immanuel