Several times recently, while signing-off on emails, I found myself writing:
Blessed Advent to you and all whom you love!
In these moments, I wish that those who think my becoming an Anglican pastor to be an odd turn of events could see me. I wish they could see the awkward half-smile on my face as I type words I could not have foreseen writing even 18 months ago. I think my journey is an odd thing, too! In fact, I have set aside most of this month to write a new book for InterVarsity Press: The Accidental Bishop—My Journey From the Jesus Movement to the Anglican Church.
While my story is unique, here is a more powerful corresponding truth: me and my new Christ-following friends at Holy Trinity Church in Costa Mesa, CA are having a blast with Advent and Christmas. Who knew that one could celebrate Christmas for seven weeks? It’s been exciting to decorate the room Rock Harbor gives us. There are Advent colors everywhere, coordinated lighting, an Advent wreath, antiphonal seating (look it up! ) and Christmas Music. All this surrounds us as we sit with humility, and with loyal trust in Jesus, to respectfully listen to the Advent and lectionary readings, and then as we comment (better known as a sermon) on them with the goal of helping us to embody the story the readings tell—and to do so for the sake of others.
Hebrews 10 in The Message says:
…anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust…
This first Advent as Anglicans is teaching us at Holy Trinity to do just that with our lives. As we consider the first and second comings of Jesus and the crucial part they play in the overarching story of God, we are receiving the knowledge that God is indeed sovereign over history and that we can joyfully commit our actual lives to him with loyal trust…for the sake of others.