Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Waiting in Advent 2015 with
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (11)

Love and the Cross … a small heart encircled by a ring on the Dowdall wayside cross in Duleek, Co Meath (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

We are half-way into the second week of Advent, and this evening [9 November 2015], the students and staff of the Church of Ireland Theological Institute are holding are annual carol service at 7 p.m. in Holy Trinity Church, Rathmines. This year the service takes the form of the traditional Service of Nine Lessons and Carols.

The collection this year is going to the Advent Appeal launched by the Anglican mission agency Us (the new name for USPG, the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel) on behalf of the Diocese in Europe and its work with refugees, especially from Syria, in Greece and throughout Europe this winter. This is work that makes the selfless love of Christ visible among suffering people in their very plight today.

Throughout Advent this year, I am tracing my way through my own Advent Calendar. As we wait and prepare for Christmas, I am inviting you to join me each morning for a few, brief moments in reflecting on the meaning of Advent through the words of the great German theologian and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945).

This morning, I offer a brief reflection on Love and the Cross. In Ethics, Bonhoeffer writes:

“A love that left people alone in their guilt would not have real people as its object. As the one who acts responsibly in the historical existence of humankind, Jesus becomes guilty. Out of his selfless love, out of his sinless nature, Jesus enters into the guilt of human beings; he takes it upon himself.”

Readings (Church of Ireland lectionary): Psalms 11, 12; Amos 8: 1-14; Revelation 1: 17 – 2: 7.

The Collect of the Second Sunday of Advent:

Father in heaven,
who sent your Son to redeem the world
and will send him again to be our judge:
Give us grace so to imitate him
in the humility and purity of his first coming
that when he comes again,
we may be ready to greet him with joyful love and firm faith;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Advent Collect:

Almighty God,
Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Yesterday’s reflection.

Continued tomorrow.

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