Bishop's Advent message 2017
Lo! he comes, on clouds descending, once for our salvation slain; Thousand, thousand saints attending swell the triumph of his train: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Christ the Lord returns to reign.
(Hymn 57 The Hymnal 1982)
Dear Friends in Christ,
Advent greetings to each and every one of you. Before I begin this reflection, allow me a moment to thank you for your cards and prayers as I continue to recover from shoulder surgery last month. I am making good progress and expect to be back in the office later this month and to celebrate the principal service at the Cathedral on Christmas Eve.
This Advent I am particularly struck by the changing of the liturgical year. Our year concludes with the celebration and deep reflection on what it means to claim Jesus as our sovereign and master as we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. It is a recent feast originating in the last century which scholars remind us has its origins in a word to the world reminding us that we all belong to one greater than our individual and collective selves. Each time I recall this, I am reminded of the words, “the kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ” with Handel’s music playing in the background.
In the midst of all that is happening in our nation and our world, I find the reminder of God’s sovereignty particularly comforting and Christ’s return a deeply heartfelt longing. My mind turns to the last verse of the hymn I quoted earlier,
Yea, amen! Let all adore thee, high on thine eternal throne; Savior, take the power and glory; claim the kingdom for thine own. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Thou shalt reign, and thou alone.
I utter these word as prayer first for myself as I continue to discover parts of me that need to be surrendered to God and renewed by the grace of the Holy Spirit. I am reminded that the way God intends for me is a heavenly way, “thy will be done on earth as in heaven.’” And I ask for God’s grace that Christ might reign in me more fully so that I might be a more effective example in word and action of what it means to belong to Jesus.
I also pray them for our nation and the world because I know, as you do, that only when our world is conformed to Christ, conformed to God’s will, conformed to the example of Jesus will war, violence and poverty in all its forms cease. That day will come! Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Steven Andrew Miller