Sunday, November 30, 2008

... and that hope will echo prophetically

Advent begins today and so I thought, seeming as no one choose to post today, I'd begin our advent reflections with some thoughts from John Colwell's excellent little book The Rhythm of Doctrine on advent and hope.
The season of Advent has a double reference, looking back to the prophetic anticipations of Christ's coming and looking forward to his final coming, as our judge, at the end of the age. At Advent, then, we begin at the end and end at the beginning, we look forwards by looking backwards and look backwards by looking forwards. We confess the provisionality of our present existence and understanding. We confess that we live in hope.
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Theology that is formed through the prayers and reflections of Advent will never seek to belittle or to minimise the frustrations and decadence of present existence, but theology shaped by Advent will never be overwhelmed by those marks of frustration and decadence nor will will succumb to unremitting despair; theology formed through Advent will hope and that hope will echo prophetically in a world of futility and violence ... a theology of Advent expresses itself in hope.
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The hopefulness that is formed through a theology of Advent is not trivial or superficial; it is not forgetful or belittling of the inevitability of demise and death but neither is it wholly overwhelmed by this inevitability ...
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The hopefulness that is formed through a theology of Advent cannot evade grief and pain but it persists through such; it is a candle that cannot be extinguished ...
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Simply by its hopefulness, the Christian Church - shaped by the prayers and reflections of Advent, indwelling the expectancy of the Old Testament and the continuing expectancy of the New, awaiting the coming of the one who came, the one who is who he was - will live and speak prophetically within a world otherwise devoid of authentic hope.
John's book can be purchased here.

1 comment:

PreachOn said...

I was directed to this blog from another one that I read regularly.

Thank you for today's quotation. It is remarkably parallel in its thought to the sermon I did today, based on Isaiah 64:1-8, and entitled, "Come On Down". To wait the Advent way, actively, begins with knowing the character of God from what He has done in the past and proceeds to participatory waiting, pursuing as a church and as individuals God's ways of justice.