The Lord be with you!
Advent offers the Christian space to contemplate God’s work in time. It is a season which challenges us to look out over the whole course of history and remember that Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, and in that to find HOPE that the purposes of God will be worked out in the fullness of time.
This Advent we are using the new resources of the Province which emanate from the process to renew our Prayer Book. Celebrating Sunday under African Skies in an African Voice is part of a process of enriching our Worship life through contextualizing and updating our liturgies.
This extract from the Resource helps to explain.
The Season of Advent is an opportunity for us to prepare to welcome the Christ Child in our midst yet again and to anticipate the second coming of Christ. The Theology of Advent involves the three comings of Christ – past, present and future. “in the first, Christ was our redemption; in the last He will appear as our life; in the middle coming, He is our rest and consolation.” At the heart of Advent is the theme of hope and expectation in the midst of waiting!
The imagery of Advent, with all the references to light in the midst of darkness, lends itself to the bleak midwinter of our sisters and brothers in the northern hemisphere. This imaginary is rather abstract in the midst of our Summer and so we have chosen to construct our Advent candles in a Southern Hemisphere constellation and develop a more authentic liturgy around that motif.
We have used it before, but the Advent wreath in the shape of the Southern Cross is a new idea to most of us and so I add some information to help you understand:
The constellation of stars known as the Southern Cross is made up of five stars commonly called: Acrux, Mimosa, Gacrux, Delta Crucis and Epsilon Crucis. A cross with candles will represent this constellation. Two other stars known as the pointers, are represented by the two candles on the altar and this combination of stars is used by navigators to point to Due South. The imagery is a wonderful way to contextualize our celebration and connect us with the wise men who followed the star to find Jesus in Bethlehem.
The candles light each week represent a different focus to our Advent journey
Advent 1: Acrux – the growing light of the dawn of the Kingdom of God;
Advent 2: Mimosa – our need to expose sin to the light;
Advent 3: Gacrux – John prepared the way for the one who baptizes with Spirit and fire;
Advent 4: Delta Crucis – with Mary we carry the light of Christ in us
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: Epsilon Crucis: we refuse to forget who brings the light into the world.
I pray that as we celebrate Advent there will be a renewed joy, peace, hope and love in us as we welcome the King of Kings, and that the Southern Hemisphere imagery will help us to deepen our sense of the closeness of God to us.
May Christ, the Sun of righteousness shine upon you, scatter the darkness from your path and make you ready to meet Him when He comes in glory.
Be assured of my prayers