Saint Andrew the Apostle

The collect for today, the Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle and Martyr, from The Book of Common Prayer (Canadian, 1962):

ALMIGHTY God, who didst give such grace unto thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay: Grant unto us all, that we, being called by thy holy word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfil thy holy commandments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle: Romans 10:8-18
The Gospel: St Matthew 4:18-22

Click here to read more about Saint Andrew.

Preti, Crucifixion of St Andrew

Artwork: Mattia Preti, Crucifixion of St Andrew, 1650-51. Oil on canvas, Sant’Andrea della Valle, Rome. Photograph taken by admin, 28 April 2010.

Saint Andrew is believed to have been crucified on a saltire (X-shaped) cross in Patras, Greece. Around 357, Roman emperor Constantine had his remains transferred to the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantinople. During the Fourth Crusade, Cardinal Pietro Capuano (Peter of Capua) took the saint’s remains to Amalfi. The relics arrived on 8 May 1208 to joyful celebration and were placed in the crypt of the Cathedral of St Andrew.

Amalfi Cathedral, Reliquary of St Andrew

Artwork: Reliquary of Saint Andrew, 17th century, tooled silver, St Andrew’s Cathedral, Amalfi. Photograph taken by admin, 3 June 2010.

Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent

“Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on
the armour of light”

Advent signals the coming of God towards us. But what is our response? Are we watching and waiting? Are we aware of humanity’s need for the coming of the one who alone can redeem? Are we looking for something more beyond the dull, dark empty loneliness of our anxious and troubled lives? In short, are we prepared for the Advent of Christ to us? That is the challenge of the readings on this day.

So often we think of Advent as simply the season of preparation for Christmas. To be sure, it is, but it is also something more. It is a season and a doctrine which has a real meaning and significance in and of itself. For Advent is the coming. Are we prepared for it or not? The coming is about the challenging presence of God. There is the constant coming of God’s Word to us in proclamation and celebration.

In the great gospel for this day, Christ comes to Jerusalem. He enters the city triumphantly. It is a royal procession. The King has come to his own city. All is light and grace and glory, it seems. “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is he that cometh in the Name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest,” “the multitudes that went before, and that followed” cry, both those who went before, them, and those that followed, us. But will we not shortly hear at Christmas that “he came unto his own and his own received him not”? The whole city was moved to say in wondering ignorance and in perplexity, “Who is this?” We know the story. The King – God’s own Word and Son – will be rejected. All that is light and life ends in darkness and death, it seems; the darkness of Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the darkness of the cross and the grave.

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Week at a Glance, 29 November-5 December

Tuesday, November 30th, St. Andrew
6:00pm ‘Prayers & Praises’ – Haliburton Place
6:30-7:30pm Brownies/Sparks Mtg.- Parish Hall
7:00pm Holy Communion

Thursday, December 2nd
1:30-3:00pm Seniors’ Drop-In
7:30pm West Hants Historical Society

Sunday, December 5th, Second Sunday in Advent
8:00am Holy Communion (followed by Men’s Club breakfast)
9:30am Holy Communion at KES
10:30am Holy Communion
4:30pm Evening Prayer at Christ Church

Advent Meditation: The Gentleness Of Wisdom

“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life,
let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom”

Times of transition signal occasions for renewal. We come to the ending of the Church Year and so to the beginning of yet another. The times of endings return us to our beginnings. Advent marks a new beginning.

But what does it mean, these endings which bring us back to our beginnings? What does it mean to begin again? Are we simply trapped in a never-ending cycle, like squirrels on an endless fly-wheel? Is the cycle of the Church Year another dreary round of the same old things in the same old places with the same old faces? Or is it the dance of God’s grace and glory in human lives?

We come to the end of a year of grace and take stock of our lives in the light of God’s grace. It marks a kind of harvest-time for our souls, as it were, a gathering up of the fruits of the past year’s grace in our lives. But it means too, that we are returned to our beginning, to Him who is the foundation and meaning of our lives. The grace is God’s Word revealed.

’In the greyness of the year, comes Christ the King’ (with apologies to T.S. Eliot). Christ strides across the barren fields of humanity to gather us into the barn of his righteousness and truth. We are returned to him who is “the Lord our Righteousness,” our Judge and King, the Shepherd and the Healer of all mankind, the Alpha and the Omega of all creation. Our endings and our beginnings all meet in him. Basil the Great shows us something of what this means:

As all the fruits of the season come to us in their proper time, flowers in spring, corn in summer and apples in autumn, so the fruit for winter is talk.

Talk, you may protest, thank you very much, but we have had enough talk, too much talk in fact, especially, no doubt, preachers’ talk! But talk about what, you might ask? What is the talk in the times of endings, the fruit for winter’s evenings, the talk which marks the occasions for renewed beginnings?

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Advent At Home

The Blessing of the Advent Wreath

Father: Our Help is in the Name of the Lord.
(or Head of Household)

Family: Who has made Heaven and Earth.

Father: Let us pray:

O God, by whose Word all things are sanctified, pour forth your blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from you the abundant graces of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Family: Amen

Then follows the next prayer, which is also said throughout the first week before the evening meal, beginning with Sunday Evening.

The Week of the First Sunday in Advent

Father: Let us pray:

O Lord, stir up your power and come, that by the protection of your grace we may be rescued from the threatening dangers of our sins and be saved by your deliverance; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Family: Amen

One Candle is lit and left burning during the evening meal each night of this week.

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