Advent is the liturgical season that is most meaningful to me. I first encountered the Episcopal church during Advent in the middle of the 1980s; the season has continued over the years to embody everything I’ve come to appreciate and embrace both about the Episcopal church and, more importantly, the incremental changes, shifts, and adjustments in my own spiritual journey.
Nine years ago, I was asked for the first time to give a sermon at the small Episcopal church that has become an important part of my life–although we now have a different priest-in-charge than nine years ago, Morgan giving a sermon during Advent has become somewhat of a tradition. When my friend Mitch, our rector, asked me on which Advent Sunday I wanted to preach a few weeks ago, I found that the gospel reading for today is the same as the text I preached on nine years ago: John’s question for Jesus from his prison cell: “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to look for another?” This caused me first to reflect on the past decade, then to start looking forward hopefully–a lot like Advent.
In the interest of killing two birds with one stone, I also used today’s gospel text as the focus of a new essay that was just published in Bearings Online last Thursday. Here is that essay, a very close version of what I’ll be saying in my sermon today. Have a blessed Advent and Christmas season.