It’s almost Advent! There are a few changes coming to a bulletin near you that I thought you’d like to know about.
First, we’ll be changing the liturgy from Rite 2 to Rite 1 for the entire season. The reasons for this are many but I’ll highlight some of my own for you. The main prompt for the change is that we celebrate in Rite 2 language for the majority of the year. Let’s face it: contemporary language is easier to understand and visitors to the church can more readily participate when there’s one less barrier to break. Having said that, Rite 1 is in our DNA as Anglicans and I’d like to keep it that way. The service folds deeper into the traditional worship style of our denomination when spoken in the words of that time; I love it, and I hope that if you don’t, then you’ll at least give it a closer look this year. Another reason for using Rite 1 is to have the opportunity to recite the “Prayer of Humble Access” prior to receiving communion—“We do not presume to come to this thy table…” It is arguably one of the best prayers in the whole of our liturgy. And then finally, I want to offer this Rite for some of the people who grew up in the church prior to 1979—before the BCP was changed from the 1928 version. It is dear to many of our long-time members and I want to share that moment with them. I hope you do, too. We can never know where we’re going without knowing where we’ve been.
Second, the blessing at the end of the service, “Be at peace…”, will go on hiatus until December 24th. This allows us an opportunity to anticipate that ‘peace’ that comes from the incarnation of God, the birth of Jesus Christ. Instead, we’ll be using an Advent blessing, so keep an ear open for it!
Third, we will be saying Alleluia. The whole time. There’s nothing in the BCP that stands against using the word during Advent, therefore I am not against it. Honestly, I think it’s about time we understood Advent for what it is: A penitential season of anticipation and joy. Our hearts should barely be able to contain themselves within our chests. We should be so excited about the incarnation of Christ that we not only want to say Alleluia, but we want to SCREAM it from the mountaintops. Remember that penitential seasons call us to look inward and do some naval gazing, so don’t lose that chance to make some changes in your life. However, Advent should be approached with wonder, eagerness, and a sense of the Holy that can’t quite be explained. Say Alleluia. Scream it. Or silently whisper it to your own soul as a gentle reminder that the Savior of humankind is coming once again to free you from darkness.
I look forward to this, and every, season with you. I hope you have a blessed Advent experience and I hope that the liturgy speaks to your souls as it does to mine.