Advent 1: Stay Awake & Be The Light in the World

It is Advent One…and the beginning of our liturgical year in my Anglican tradition. My rector greeted us with ” Happy New Year” this morning.

The picture above was on the front cover of today’s bulletin at Small Parish. Every week during Advent, there is a different work of art printed on the bulletin cover. The cover art for this Sunday depicts a famous painting by William Holman Hunt entitled ” The Light of The World’

What strikes YOU when you gaze at this picture? My eyes are drawn to the lantern .

You’ll see that the figure in the painting is knocking on a closed door while holding a brightly lit lantern in his other hand. The figures in the painting are dark & shadowy—but the lantern glows almost blindingly bright.

We Christians are called to bring Light{ The Gospel of Christ’s message of salvation} to the many places in our society that are full of metaphorical *darkness* There are many reasons why someone’s heart might be closed to the Gospel & it is up to you & me to gently ” knock on their door bearing the Gospel Light”. Many people I meet who are nominal Christians, agnostics & athiests tel me that they were{ mistakenly} taught that there is no room for “_______ people” in the Christian community.

Several of my friends who profess to be atheists do so because they don’t see Christ’s message as one of inclusion. In their opinions, so I’ve been told, all we Christ-followers are judgemental towards each other and especially towards those who are not like us. { the poor, people who speak other languages, gays , lesbians, bisexual & transgendered persons, the disabled…ect ect ect} based on what I hear out of the mouths of my well-meaning but unenlightened Christian sisters & brothers, I can understand why so many unchurched people close their metaphorical doors & refuse to let in the Gospel Light.

Look for opportunities in everyday life to ” be the Light of Christ” to a dark & rather frightening world. Share this Light with a stranger, preferably someone who is different from the societal norm.

In the Name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit, Amen

*****First Sunday of Advent 2011*****

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