Monday 28 November

Antiphon: I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

The Centurion

Jesus healing the servant of the Centurion, fresco, Dionysiou Monastery, Mt Athos, 1547.
"Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed."

Advent, by Donna Rudiger

A new day is rapidly cresting the horizon.

Its arrival induces mindful epiphanies, boldly altering our habits of seeing, understanding, believing.

The ascension of music, expressed by voices previously stifled and unjustly silenced, opens deaf ears.

The appearance of celestial illumination separates veils, dispels shadows.

A delegation is forging a previously untraversed path of righteousness,
the advent of a solitary journey where deep calls to deep across the universe.

Wanderers, once labeled immigrants, now anticipate
the arrival of restoration, the opening of gates to liberation, and a renewed spirit of enlightenment to
pursuit their long awaited homecoming.

Isaiah 4:2-6

On that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel. Whoever is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, once the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgement and by a spirit of burning. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over its places of assembly a cloud by day and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night. Indeed, over all the glory there will be a canopy. It will serve as a pavilion, a shade by day from the heat, and a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

Psalm 122

I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’
Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem—built as a city, that is bound firmly together.
To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
For there the thrones for judgement were set up, the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.’
For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’

Matthew 8:5-11

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralysed, in terrible distress.’ And he said to him, ‘I will come and cure him.’ The centurion answered, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, “Go”, and he goes, and to another, “Come”, and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this”, and the slave does it.’ When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day. We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us. We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom. We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence. We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To you we say, "Come Lord Jesus!"Amen.—Henri J.M. Nouwen.

Otto Olsson (Sweden, 1879-1964). Advent, from Advents och julsånger (1917).
Engelbrekts Kammarkör, dir Bengt Eklund, 2011.

Sions dotter, lyft din panna!
Himmelriket är dig när.
Jubla högt ditt Hosianna!
Se, din konung nu ärhär!
Gud sin Son till jorden sänt.
Fröjda dig. det är advent!
Kom med famnen full av palmer,
låt ditt hjärta vidga sig,
kom med sånger, kom med psalmer!
Ärans Konung möter dig.

Salighetens dag han tänt,
salighetens dag han tänt.
Fröjda dig, det är advent!
Sions jubel ej kan stanna.
Liksom stora vattens dån
ljuder evigt: Hosianna.
Hosianna Davids Son!
Sådan fröjd ej världen känt.
Fröjda dig, det är advent!

Zion's daughter, lift your eyes,
as Heaven's kingdom now is near
Shout Hosannah in the highest
Lo, your king is coming here.
God, His son to earth has sent
Sing for joy, this is Advent.
Spread His path with palms and flowers
Open wide your heart to Him.
Trust in Him whose love empowers
light and life in very limb.

Blessed day of His descent
Sing for joy, this is Advent.
Never cease this jubilation,
like the roaring of the sea
we will shout with every nation
praising Him eternally.
King of Glory, heaven sent
Sing for joy, this is Advent
[Apologies for the poor translation!]

May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting. Amen.

St Philip's Anglican Church,
cnr Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602.