Happy Thanksgiving, Incarnation! I am SO grateful for each one of you and for our common life together.
This Sunday, November 26, is Christ the King Sunday. We will worship outside in a heated tent on the Greenbrier lawn at 10am (not at our usual Drew Elementary!!). I wrote more about this change in last week's letter!
In the words of vestry member Kim McKnight: "This will be an adventure!" And it will be! So dress for the weather and come with an adventurous spirit as we worship Christ the King surrounded by the beauty of his creation. We'll have folding chairs on hand, but bring a lawn chair or blanket if you want to spread out a bit more on the grass! Please note: Greenbrier has requested that we park ONLY in the center 2 rows of the parking lot. If those rows are full, there is plenty of street parking around the church, especially along 7th Road (in front of the church) and 7th Street (behind the church).
This Sunday will also be a trial run for our Christmas Eve and New Years Eve services (also held in the tent). I'm sure we'll learn a LOT in the process, so please be patient and lend a hand as we figure things out together. As we say often around here: just try stuff!
Christ the King Sunday marks the final Sunday of the church year. Our kids help lead us in worship, demonstrating the upside-down kingdom. Then we turn toward Advent and a new year together, retelling the story of Jesus' incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and people through our church calendar.
Advent begins the new church year with a season of waiting and hoping for the coming King. We remember Jesus' first coming in the manger at Bethlehem, we look forward to his second coming at the end of all things, and we pray with longing and hope during the in-between-time in which we now live.
Our theme this Advent is "Imagining the Kingdom." We will preach the lectionary selections from the prophet Isaiah each Sunday of Advent. We hope to allow the prophet's words of judgment, comfort, and hope enlarge our imaginations for the kingdom of God. This feels especially relevant as we anticipate an election year, a time when the divisions and brokenness of our earthly kingdom will be on full display.
Our worship on Sundays will help us imagine the kingdom in what we hear, sing, say, and see. The Advent scriptures each Sunday are full of rich imagery. Our Advent hymns and songs are full of waiting, hoping, and lamenting (if you're new to Anglicanism, you might be surprised to find that we don't start singing Christmas carols until Christmas Eve). And Austin-based artist James Jangknegt has given us permission to use his painting Jesus Rides a White Horse throughout the Advent season to stir our imaginations for Jesus' kingdom.
We are offering multiple opportunities to observe the Advent season together. Check out the Advent page of our website for more details for all of these offerings:
Saint Nicholas Visit. Saturday, Dec 2, 10am on the Greenbrier lawn (5401 7th Rd S). Bishop Chris will tell the story of the real Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, and we'll share snacks, crafts, and photo opportunities. This is a great event to bring friends and neighbors to!
Advent Mini-Retreat. Saturday, Dec 2, 2-4pm (location TBD). Join us for a time of quiet reflection to help us enter the Advent season, led by Catherine Warner (spiritual director, postulant, and wife of Bishop Chris). Please RSVP here!
Saint Nicholas Visit (yes, again). Sunday, Dec 3, 9:30am at Drew Elementary. All families are invited to learn about the real Saint Nicholas before church on Sunday. The content will be the same as the Saturday event, but shorter and with fewer snacks.
Advent Midweek Eucharist and Open Sanctuary. Wednesdays in Advent (December 6, 13, & 20), 12-2pm, Greenbrier Baptist. We will hold a brief communion service at 12pm and then keep the sanctuary open until 2pm for drop-in prayer and quiet contemplation. A priest will be available to pray with you if you like.
In addition, we have opportunities to give this Advent season. I'll write more about those next week!
Thankful for you and thankful to be pilgrims together! See you in the tent on Sunday!