Monday, December 2, 2019

English Congregation’s Calendar 2019-2020

Advent – Christmas – Epiphany Year A

December 1          Candle of Hope, A Prophet's Prayer of Hope

                              
December 8          Candle of Peace, Shepherd's Behold a Great Light


December 15        Candle of Joy, Shepherds’ Lessons and Carols


December 22        Candle of Love, Waiting for our Savior’s Love


December 24       Combined English-Chinese

                             Christmas Eve Candle Light Service 8:00PM


December 25       English Christmas Service at 9:30AM

                             Father Barker


[Dec 26   Father Barker Departs for Home Leave]

December 29        First Sunday after Christmas
                                                                  Father Tom Reese, Rector of St. Luke's
 Episcopa  
                                       [Epiphany Season 2020]
           
January 5                    January  5              Second Sunday after Christmas
                                                                 Father Tom Reese

January 12            Second Sunday after Epiphany
                                                                 Father Tom Reese

January 19            Third Sunday after Epiphany

                             Father Tom Reese

January 26          Combined English-Chinese Service

                              The Rev. Keith Lee, Rector Good Shepherd

                             

 February 2            Presentation of Jesus in the Templ                 

                              Mrs. Emily Seitz

 February 9        Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

                              Father Herbert Barker, English Chaplain



 February 16          Sixth Sunday after Epiphany

                               Father Herbert Barker


 February 23        Last Sunday after Epiphany

                              Combined English-Chinese Service

                              Father Lee and Father Barker


 March 1                First Sunday in Lent
                               Father Barker


                             


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Advent.   
Watch Out!  
You do not know the hour of the coming of the Son of Man.
                                                                   
“Adventus” means coming.  We Episcopalians/Anglicans believe that Advent is not only the beginning of the liturgical year; we also believe that it is the Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end “again”.  Christ is eternally coming.  Christ is our great expectation.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” [John 1-6 (NIV)]

Christ is the Logos [Creating Cosmic Wisdom], “Word”, that is an eternal creating power permeating the universe’s energy.  Advent is hoping without limits.  God coming” is actually an active noun.  In Genesis 3:8, we read, “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”  God had not been outside the garden.  His Breath was only a peaceful presence in the shade.  God is always within life.

Awareness of God’s presence is not a welcome realization!  It seems that Adam and Eve’s response to “God with us” was to hide. I suppose that we share their dread, because we have been hiding from God since the beginning of our own awaking that God is with us.  We sing, “O come, O come, Emmanuel”, yet, our hearts whisper, “not yet, not now”! Quick, cover up our shame!  Pretend we are not anxious.

We dread God’s judgment of our limitless cravings that bend us to mere
self-endulgences.    Yet, like a child whose bravery insists that she is able to stand and to run own her own, quickly loses her courage when she discovers she has run too far, and run out of sight of Mom and Dad.  She discovers that she has lost the arms of security and found the embrace of despairing loneliness.  Lost!  Alone!

While on one hand we fear Immanuel, “God with us”, as condemnation of our willfulness, on the other hand we fear, “God with us”, as a loss of self and of freedom.  Immanuel exposes our freedom as bondage to self as solitary confinement that separates us from any contentment in fellowship with others and with God, The OTHER. 

We are filled with dreadful discontent that exposes our broken sacred image of God.  He is coming.  We wait.  He arrives with healing in His wings!  Really?  He is born that we no more may die.  Really?  He gives us second birth.  Our image is reclaimed and restored in His coming.  Really?  Really!

That is what Advent brings.  Sound like good news?  God’s coming brings to us hope, peace, joy, and love! Thanks be to God for the manger where his promises are wrapped in bonds of rags and an infant waves from a manger. The baby’s name shall be called Immanuel, “with us is God!
Amen.

Concluding ...Watching, Waiting

As a child I remember the thrill of hiding from my mother’s watchful eyes. 
Freed from her sentry, my brothers and I would run to the creek to dive naked into its warm splendid wetness.  We would splash and have water fights.  I would swing from a rope and fly to free fall into the open arms of sky and water.  

Oh, no!  I hit a tree buried in the creek’s soft bottom.  Bloodied, and full of fear, I sprang from the water running for home.  Running for mother!  My brother caught up with me and shook me.  “Are you an idiot?  You’re OK! It’s just a scratch!  Mother will punish us all for your ugly, bloody face!

I shouted in pain, and rage, and guilt, and disbelief, and hope.  “I’m going home!”  I ran as fast as I could.  Naked, bleeding, I threw my bloody face into my mother’s lap!  I looked up with hope into the eyes of Immanuel, “God with us”, judgment and salvation.

Get ready.  Watch.  Wait.   Come out!  Hope Peace, Joy, and Love comes to each of us in our life’s gardens in the early dawn and in evening’s shadows, and even in the lonely nights.  God is always with us, we need only come out of hiding.

O come, O come, Immanuel!  Amen.