Keep the Candles Lit!
Our Advent watching is active as we watch while we work and work while we watch. As sin infiltrates and infuriates, that work might seem in vain and that watching might seem pointless, making us believe that our waiting is anticlimactic or a mirage at best. This is precisely the mindset that the Enemy wants us to have, believing that Advent’s mind game is just that—a game on our minds that does nothing to speak to our broken, mourning, yearning hearts. The signs of the times are so bitter for us to digest that microwave-safe instant gratification seems far more prudent than painful yet progress-producing persistence and crock-potted, slow-cooked endurance.
And yet, as the “givens” in life are no longer “givens,” we “fall on our knees” and “hear the angels’ voices” and are awakened by the Spirit from our sin-slouched slumber to seek that which is given through the One who is given for us—Christ Jesus, our Redeemer. The times are intense and the mood is solemn as we round the circle of the Advent wreath’s ever-widening gyre, but “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight,” as William Butler Yeats reminds us in “The Second Coming.”
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
It is obvious that our Lord Jesus is coming back soon; the signs of the times scream it. And yet, the gifts Christ purchased for us through His death on the cross for our sin and His rising from the dead that are delivered to us in Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution, the Holy Eucharist, and the Holy Word continue to enliven and strengthen us as we wait for His glorious return when He will renew all creation. Although the Enemy desires our demise, our Lord has a different plan for us, “one to prosper us and not to hurt us, to bring us a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). He has our best interest at heart and He brings us to victory through it all by His grace through faith. Christ strengthens us in the sorrowing darkness of our world with the love-fueled light that keeps the Advent candles lit well beyond a four week season before Christmas. Active Advent hope becomes our lifestyle as patience is what we embody since we continue to wait actively while we work to watch and actively wait as we watch to work. For us, the candles stay lit because the promise is true, no matter how scary, fear-filled, anxious and tumultuous the times are since the Light of Christ is coming to save us soon.
Sorrowing wand’rers in darkness yet dwelling,
Dawned has the day of a radiance excelling,
Death’s deepest shadows forever dispelling.
Christ is coming soon! Christ is coming soon!
Light o’er the land of the needy is beaming;
Rivers of life through its deserts are streaming,
Bringing all peoples a Savior redeeming.
Come and save us soon! Come and save us soon!
(Nordic hymn, translated by Olav Lee, “Lost in the Night” from Evangelical Lutheran Worship 243:3-4)
Keep the Advent candles lit, saints, and keep vigil—
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Peace and hope in Christ,
Saturday Liturgy: 7PM
Sunday Liturgies: 8AM & 11AM
Wednesday Liturgy: 7:30PM
Anointing with Oil for Healing: Once a month as indicated in the calendar.
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A Brief History
By the mercy of Almighty God, Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Bronx, New York, was founded in 1928.
Members of St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Yonkers who lived in the Wakefield section of the Bronx in...
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Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church
4360 Rev. Theodore Wittrock Crossing
(Boyd and Barnes Avenues)
The Bronx, NY 10466-1804
Phone: 718.324.1288 - Fax: 718.324.2056
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