Cross Words – Advent by Fr. Rick Cross




   A D V E N T,  2020


A colleague of mine, a Brother at the Society of St. John the Evangelist (an Episcopal Order) in Boston recently wrote:

“We all need chances to start over from time to time. The beginning of a new liturgical year is one of these times for me, but really any day will do. Every day has the potential of becoming the starting point for a new habit or practice, or for renewing a relationship that already exists but that had grown stale or conflicted. What in your life could use a fresh start?

As we enter this particular season of Advent, we recognize that we all have been living through a period of intense darkness associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. While we had hoped that this season of sickness would be short-lived, in reality it has continued to plague us for months beyond the medical community’s initial projections, and though the prospect of a vaccine has shed some light of hope on the road ahead, we [are being] warned that there is more sickness and death in our immediate future. So we continue to hold on, doing what we can to curb the spread of the disease, taking care not only of the sufferers but of their caregivers, and of one another, enduring the darkness until the light shines once more.

Perhaps these circumstances will deepen our experience of Advent this year, as we persevere, waiting for the light’s return to banish the temporary rule of darkness.”

Leaders in our congregation have done a commendable job of holding our community together and transitioning to new formats of worship and communication. Already we have started over to being church in a new way. Discernment with the Mutual Study of Ministry during the next few weeks allows us to creep closer to the manger, and to peek at the miracle of new birth with which God always surprises us.

Letting go of old habits, structures, and institutional expectations to prepare the way for the Spirit’s birth, is frightening and will take mutual support, risk and encouragement. I believe we are being asked to come closer to the manger, closer to the empty tomb, and ask “What in our lives with Jesus could use a fresh start?”

Waiting for the Light together,

Fr. Rick