So the Church’s New Year, Advent, begins, as we continue to journey through, and God-willing out of, this pandemic, and as our Province is beset by flood and landslide, following on from the extreme wildfires of the summer and early fall. Challenges face us, on several fronts. Advent looks to the fulfilment of God’s kingdom, in judgment, in mercy, in redemption, and in glory.
We are reminded once again of God’s call to repentance, to allow ourselves to be transformed and renewed; of his invitation to walk more faithfully in the way of Christ, who gave and ever gives himself, “for us, and for our salvation”. We are to open our eyes to recognise Christ as he comes to meet us, even in the midst of these uncertain times.
I am thankful for the way in which our community at St. James’ has held together through this Covid-time, not least through our Zoom Liturgy at Home, Daily Office, and Formation Sessions. Thanks be to God for this technology, which though not perfect, continues to be a blessing.
Currently our Sunday congregation shares itself fairly evenly between the 9:00 am Zoom Liturgy at Home, and the 10:30 am Solemn Mass. The Zoom Liturgy quite properly permits those at a distance and those not yet ready or able to come in person to join together in worship. We intend to continue this service certainly into the medium term. Attendance in church is increasing slowly but surely, as we proceed with caution to open up. It is good to have the organ and choir, and for the congregation to be able to sing. It is good too to offer Mass with some of our customary, though simplified, ceremonial.
Liturgy at Home is offered in the contemporary language of the Book of Alternative Services, almost 40 years old now. As we have re-opened, in parallel to this we have been using in church the contemporary language BAS rite, taking advantage of its insights drawn from the liturgical movement, and the different theological perspectives offered in its prayers.
To respect the heritage of the traditional rite drawn from the Book of Common Prayer, during Advent (and later in Lent), we shall use the Confession and a Eucharistic Prayer in traditional language, from the 1962 Rite in the BAS. This will afford different complexions in our celebration of the liturgical seasons, as in the words of Jesus in St. Matthew’s Gospel we “bring out of our treasure what is new and what is old”.
“The Lord says, Surely I come quickly: Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
Download the service booklet here: Liturgy at Home First Sunday of Advent November 28 2021