Sunday 16 December 2018

#Pause for Advent 3

Pause in Advent

Collect for the Third Sunday in Advent

LORD Jesu Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee: Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
The first time I heard this collect, as in "hear, mark, learn and inwardly digest", was only a year or so ago. It struck me then that quite a duty is being laid upon the "ministers and stewards of thy mysteries". To begin with, I assumed these are the Vicar and the Curate, and maybe the Churchwardens. A little more thought and I realised that all of us who follow Christ, who believe in the Holy Trinity, who worship God, are included in "ministers and stewards of thy mysteries".

And who are "the disobedient"?

This looks like a call to all of us followers to reach out and share the Good News.

Today I also read the fourth Chapter of the Gospel of St John. I was feeling a little 'off' as yet again I had nearly, but not quite, made it to the 9am service. I could have got there... and then I didn't.

This is the chapter where Jesus meets the Samaritan Woman at the well. The encounter ends with these words from Jesus, ('The Message' version)

File:Icon of Agia Fotini-Pachia Ammos-Lasithi-2.JPG
19-20 “Oh, so you’re a prophet! Well, tell me this: Our ancestors worshipped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?”
21-23 “Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.
23-24 “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”
25 The woman said, “I don’t know about that. I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we’ll get the whole story.”
26 “I am he,” said Jesus. “You don’t have to wait any longer or look any further.”

The two main thoughts I had on reading this were

firstly that getting to church every week wasn't the main thing to aim for (Phew)

secondly - this is the Good News!


  1. So very true! Yet again a challenging Advent Pause. And you've quoted from The Message, as I have also done today. Thank you

  2. Yay, it is indeed the good news! I have been feeling guilty about not making it to church in the mornings for various reasons but I reasoned that I had made it to church in the evenings for 3 weeks so I should stop feeling so awful!

    1. Looking back over the year (it is now 3rd November!) I can see that Not going to church has happened more often than going to church this year.
      It has become 'doing what I can', and 'not doing what I can't'. This year has been full of needing to 'be there' for people, so that when Sunday and church comes, I'm needing solitude rather than physical fellowship.