An Advent Letter from the Episcopal Bishop of Upper South Carolina

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Jesus’ parable, the wise bridesmaids were responsible in a relatively simple task: having enough oil on hand. Our baptismal task is more complex: Jesus commands us to love one another as he has loved us (John 15:12). Paul exhorts us “through love [to] become slaves to one another (Galatians 5:13). The task is clear, memorable, hopeful – and challenging. Imagine the chaos of the foolish bridesmaids after their lamps ran out—racing around the village in all directions trying to find more oil. Arguing with each other about who was to blame for their negligence. Furious about being locked out. Imagine, also, the celebrations of the wise bridesmaids—mouths filled with laughter and shouts of joy in fellowship and song.

Perhaps the deepest Advent practice—and life discipline—is to learn where it’s hardest to love and to begin your prayer right there. Perhaps the deepest Advent experience is to serve someone, in love, with whom you disagree. Christ is coming, and we need our lamps to be lit and reservoirs to be filled. Christ is coming, and our common life needs to be painted on the canvas he gave us. For in us, in his disciples, he is indeed already here.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdvent

3 Comments
Posted December 5, 2010 at 6:00 am

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1. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

Bp. Waldo’s message to his diocese has all the appearances of an idea searching for a snippet of scripture to hang it on.  Nice that the daily office Lectionary gave him that opportunity because the Eucharistic RCL for First Advent sure would not have done it.  On the other hand, if one reads the Collect for First Advent and then the Lectionary, one might come away with a much different image of what our time in the Season of Advent is all about. Looking ahead to Advent Two, John the Baptist introduces the theme of repentence in our Advent devotions.  To not talk of those things as important parts of the life diocese in the Season of Advent is curious indeed.

December 5, 4:57 pm | [comment link]
2. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

“Perhaps the deepest Advent experience is to serve someone, in love, with whom you disagree”.

Like your Cathedral dean and his wife?

December 5, 6:27 pm | [comment link]
3. Undergroundpewster wrote:

Do not be fooled. All the blather about serving someone “with whom you disagree” is just a set up for the disagreeable things to come.

December 6, 1:57 pm | [comment link]


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