In order to have unity, we must have reconciliation. As human beings, we must empty ourselves of all hatred and envy and be filled with love, blessing, and the grace of God. This can only happen when we open ourselves to God’s plan for us and for all humanity and become ambassadors for Christ, seeking to share the message of reconciliation.
The Right Rev. Suheil Dawani is the the 14th Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem.
‘Reconciliation’ by Josefina de Vasconcellos at Coventry Cathedral
The prophet Isaiah invites us and ‘all the nations’ to go up to the ‘house of God,’ the place where God dwells (Isaiah 2:2). For the ancient Israelites it was the tabernacle, then the temple. For us the place where God dwells may be the church, or the natural world, or the inner depths of our hearts. It is the place to which we must return to learn to live well.
Br. David Vryhof, SSJE, is a monk, priest, and community Communications Director of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal religious community for men in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
When we raise something, we put it above everything else, make it stronger, better, and more noticeable. What is our focus for all the things that we raise in our own lives: children, questions, concerns, taxes, salaries, walls, fences, money, prayers, and more?
Isaiah proclaims that the mountain of the Lord’s house “shall be raised above the hills.” It will draw all people and nations to God. Advent echoes this prophecy and offers us the ability to focus and redirect all that we raise up in the present to the future hope and promise of Jesus Christ.
Shelagh Casey Brown is the director of Alumni and Church Relations at VTS and is the president of the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes board of directors.
The Lantern Tower at Sheffield Cathedral. ‘The wooden structure represents Christ’s Crown of Thorns and the colours symbolise humanity’s struggle and conflict (blue and violet) transformed through the Resurrection and the Holy Spirit (gold and red) into healing and growth (green)’.
“…do justice…love kindness…walk humbly with your God.” These words from the prophet Micah stand in contrast to the ways of the world, where power and self-importance reign, and humility is seen as weakness. As followers of Jesus we are called to lives of humble service, letting go of ego in order to care for the oppressed, love our enemies, and share Christ’s peace with all.
The Rev. Canon Loren Lasch (VTS ’08) is the Diocese of Missouri Canon for Formation and the president of the VTS Alumni Association Executive Committee.
The Celtic Cross in St Aidan’s Chapel at Bradford Cathedral depicts people of all times and places in their pilgrimage towards God.
Advent proclaims that time is of the essence. But rather than flying away, the Coming of the King reveals that time keeps slipping into the future. And what will God’s future look like? – the truth, beauty and love of a newborn child that no power on earth can withstand.
The Rev. Nicholas Porter is the cofounder and Executive Director of Jerusalem Peacebuilders.
The sundial at Ely Cathedral. The Greek words at the top read ‘Kairon Gnothi’, meaning ‘Choose the timely moment’.
In Palestine, visits are not planned or coordinated in advance. Guests just show up at your door. In traditional Palestinian houses, there is a saloon designated for guests and always available. The household always has food and drink set aside for such occasions. So, when the guests arrive, they can enjoy their presence. So, we should always be ready for God to visit.
Shadia Qubti is manager and lead for faith and development for World Vision in the Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza branch.
The steel nativity in the city of steel ~ Sheffield Cathedral
Happy Advent Sunday to you all ~ Advent Word Global Advent Calendar 2019 starts today!
Advent is a busy time. Lots of events going on, and lots of preparations getting ready for Christmas, so it’s good to stop a little and take some time for meditation on the real meaning of Advent. For the past few years, I’ve taken part in the AdventWord project of the Episcopal Church, and this year too. It’s run by Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) – they invite different people to share a short meditation on a theme word. I will post those meditations and share my own photo linking to that theme word, known as the #AdventWord. This year, VTS are posting in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole, apparently those are the 3 official languages of the Episcopal Church – but there’s no Chinese, sorry about that. So I will post the English meditation, one a day on here, also on Facebook and Instagram. For further info, check out the AdventWord website here. You can sign up yourself to take part. It’s creative – and it’s fun! The photos I post with the meditations are all ones I took at cathedrals while I was in the UK last year and early this year. You can use your own imagination as to why I might have chosen each particular photo.
Today’s AdventWord is UNEXPECTED. The photo was taken in the Lady Chapel at Ely Cathedral.
“The Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” Advent reminds us that accountability (this is what the second coming represents) will be unexpected. It might be the cosmic intervention or it might just be the passing from this life into the next. Either way, the point is simple: Life is precious and short. Are we using the gift of time well? We should treat every second as an opportunity to grow, to forgive, to support someone in need, and to love.
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, PhD, is the Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary.