Written by Bishop Mark Engel
The Reigning King’s Advent Question
November 21, 2022
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I begin this Advent reflection by wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving. (Psalm 50:23)
Yesterday’s celebration of Christ the King Sunday was truly special for me. I had the joyous privilege of ordaining Fr. Aaron Rowley to the presbyterate at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Hudson, OH. (Please be sure to greet Fr. Aaron with a congratulatory message!) Saint Matthew records Jesus’ own words telling us what to expect when, not if, He returns.
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him,
then he will sit on his glorious throne."
Professor Haddon W. Robinson is purported to have said, “If there is a mist in the pulpit, there will be a fog in the pews.” May our Advent worship and preaching be filled with the certainty of Christ’s return!
However, the certainty of Christ’s second advent does come with a question. A question posed by the Returning King himself.
"Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
This query from Jesus’ own lips comes amid his teaching on the importance of persistence in prayer. It comes on the back end of a powerful promise.
"And will God not give justice to His elect, who cry to him day and night?
Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily."
Luke 18:7, 8a
The wear of the world tempts us to feel that the Lord’s justice is not so speedy. It is vital that we celebrate weekly the reality that by Jesus saving work “the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:11) and “…cast out.” (John 12:31) In remembering that “By his resurrection he broke the bonds of death, trampling Hell and Satan under his feet” we find fresh boldness to proclaim the Mystery of Faith.
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.
In St. Luke’s gospel, Jesus continues his teaching on prayer with a parable about humility (Luke 18:9-14) followed by a live example of the need for childlikeness to enter the kingdom of God (Luke 18:15-17).
This Advent season, may we receive a fresh touch of God’s grace granting us persistence, humility, and childlikeness in prayer. May God infuse our prayer with boldness, confidence, and clarity that our Reigning King is coming again! May it be true of us, by God’s grace, that when he comes again, he will find faith in us.
Let us pray.
Holy Spirit, breath of God and fire of love, I cannot pray without your aid:
Kindle in me the fire of your love, and illumine me with your light;
that with a steadfast will and holy thoughts I may approach the Father
in spirit and truth [with persistence, humility, and childlikeness];
through Jesus Christ my Lord, who reigns with you and the Father
in eternal union. Amen.
(BCP 2019, #97)
Your servant for Jesus' sake,
Written by Fr. Dale Minor - Reclaim Ministry - Rutland, OH
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him, bless His name!” (Ps. 100:4)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7)
Lord Jesus, I give You thanks this day for long life and your constant presence with me, especially Lord, during those years when I generally ignored you and went my own way. I especially thank You for your steadfast love and Your faithfulness in calling me back to the realization that without You, I am nothing.
I thank You for the family by which I have been surrounded and in which I was raised, for the base values they crafted in me and for encouraging me to appreciate, not only the depth of your creation, but a thirst for knowledge and an appreciation of humble beginnings. I thank you for my life, having reached the age of 80, an age I never expected to reach, and am now enjoying in relatively good health. Thank you, Lord.
I thank you, Lord, for opportunities which, in my younger years, I would never have imagined, opportunities allowing me to work in fields otherwise foreign to me and which placed me in positions perceivably unattainable. I thank you, Lord, for the worlds I have seen, as I have been privileged to travel in at least 45 of the 50 American states and visited 6 countries on 3 continents. And I thank you for all the friends and acquaintances I have gained in these journeys.
I thank you, Lord, for those opportunities which opened unexpectedly, actions I took almost on a whim, and which only later I realized was divine guidance; of prime importance is the event which took me to Cincinnati where I met the girl who would become my wife, and for the 59 years of marriage we enjoyed before you allowed her to come into your perfect presence. I thank you for the family we raised and how they have been and continue to be the source of my greatest joy and blessings.
I thank you also for the failures of my life, for the growth I received from them. There was that decision I made when I was just 26 years old, one I admit I made without consulting You; the decision to enter into a business partnership which I believed would assure a comfortable future, but which then fell apart within 3 years. Such failure was really tough to take at the time, but I have drawn from that experience for the remainder of my life.
I thank you, Lord, for the call you made on my life, a call which by worldy measure didn’t make sense, in that, at age 52 I was called to give up a solid position in industry to enter into seminary and begin a new life as an ordained minister in Your church and, while this meant giving up some worldly comforts, you replaced these with the blessing of a life of service to you and of being a servant to those you place before me.
I thank you, Lord, for showing me how all the various events of my life which seemed to come together simply by chance, weren’t coincidences at all, but were “God-incidents,” they were ordained by you. For these, I am most assuredly grateful.
To the reader, I leave you with these opening lyrics from the song Give Thanks by Don Moen, praying they may help you sing praises from your own grateful heart.
“Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One, give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son.” Amen!
View and listen here: https://youtu.be/blbslHDgceY
Eclipse, a Poem
Written by Ven. Allen Kannapell - His Church Anglican - Livonia, MI
Photography by Nick Owuor, Unsplash
When fear played prophet and in false friendship
predicted my neighbor's contemptuous glance
to pin my heart--to pierce as with a lance
my trembling will--and my walk's cadence nipped
by disapproval tripped, hesitated
like the tightened ragged in-breaths it aped
through arid mouth unable to swallow,
clarity fled; disjointed thoughts followed.
Then you Lord Jesus revived me again
who conquered death with hell's uncounted fears
and bore the cross' light eclipsing pain
joyfully, for love, enduring the shame.
How did you know in the dark I was near,
alone? No, not alone now with you here.
Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri