THEME FOR THE WEEK – THE THREE COMINGS – The Very Rev. Michael Higgins
The hymns we sing today – ‘Hark a thrilling voice is sounding’ and ‘Come, Thou long expected Jesus’ – speak of the vibrancy, the tension, the expectancy of Advent, which begins today. Advent is simply another word for ‘Coming’ and over the next four Sundays we celebrate three Comings.
The first is the Coming at Christmas, the miracle of God made flesh. A miracle so great that we can’t just rush into it. We need preparation. Advent is to Christmas what Lent is to Easter – a time of reflection and preparation for an event beyond human understanding. Let us use it well.
Then there is the expectancy of the Second Coming – Christ returning in glory at the end of time, an event that eludes all attempts to describe it – which is why the Gospels resort to picture language borrowed from the Old Testament to help us do so, as we hear this morning from St. Mark. But one thing is crystal clear, whether we like it or not – this Second Coming will be a time for Judgment, a major theme in our Advent worship. The Church’s prayer for today strikes this difficult note and we reflect on it this morning.
But there is a Third Coming – the coming of Jesus into each of our lives here and now. Without that coming nothing else makes any sense. Jesus has promised that through His Holy Spirit He will come ‘and make his home’ with us. (John 14.23). Making sure this is true for each one of us is at the heart of all our Advent worship.