Advent is a poetic time for us to begin our interim journey together. This season of endings and beginnings, of light and darkness, and especially a season of waiting and hope, calls for our hearts to be open in thanksgiving as we await God’s certainly coming future. We are waiting and its good to wait together. I hope you heard Kelly’s sermon this past Sunday. We wait. But as Kelly said and another good Episcopal preacher, Barbara Brown Taylor, phrased “Our waiting isn’t nothing.”  


For me, I wait with a great sense of thanksgiving for this opportunity and for what will happen. There are many uncertainties, there is the cloud of unknowing and some darkness (metamorphically as I stumble around the Rectory in the middle of the night not knowing my way to the kitchen yet!). But the light of God’s presence in Christ is breaking into the darkness. So, let me thank you for being welcoming light to Tippy and me. We have felt embraced by hospitality and love. From Vestry members fueling our many questions about life in Falls Church and bringing over a beautiful welcome basket our first day, to the children’s Ideas Jar telling us their favorite things to do in the neighborhood and Washington, to a gift of a beautiful boxwood wreath for our front door, to so many lovely, heartfelt conversations…the darkness of being a “stranger in a foreign land” has been pierced by your light in Christ. You have reached out to Tippy and me in wonderful ways and we are so grateful. You have embraced us with God’s light and life and love in Christ.

 

I am also grateful for the energy, passion and faith you exude as a parish community. There is much competency. There are so many blessings. There are abundant gifts of time, talent, and treasure you share that help God do what God is hoping to do here. So, Advent is not only about our hoping, it’s also about God’s hoping that we will be the people we are created and redeemed to be. And this is really what our hope and all our waiting is about. While we wait and hope, we are what we wait and hope for. I love what you say about being crew more than passengers on this vessel of faith, this ark of salvation of God’s life! 


As we await God’s future to fully unfold, we will find that even during this period of “not yet” there is much light and life in the darkness we walk. We will find there is much joy and peace even before Christmas. We are already home and in gratitude can sing the Lord’s song even when we feel like we might be strangers in a foreign land. For God is always coming to us in Christ. Not just at Christmas, not just 2000 years ago, not just in the beginning of creation billions of years ago, not only at the fulfillment of time. We are at home with God now! For God’s home is with us, now. That’s how I felt the first time I drove into Falls Church, that’s how I felt this past Sunday, and again with our outstanding staff on Tuesday. 


Advent calls for our focused commitment and renewal to what God is doing at and through The Falls Church Episcopal. In a sense, we have already arrived at what we hope and pray for. Let me close with one of my favorite pieces by the Welsh poet R. S. Thomas, Arrival.  


Not conscious

that you have been seeking

suddenly 

you come upon it

the village in the Welsh hills

dust free

with no road out

but the one you came in by.


A bird chimes

from a green tree

the hour that is no hour

you know. The river dawdles

to hold a mirror for you

where you may see yourself

as you are, a traveler

with the moon’s halo

above him, whom has arrived

after long journeying where he

began, catching this

one truth by surprise 

that there is everything to look forward to.


Blessings,

Andy+

Friend of The Falls Church Episcopal,


One of the things I love about the Book of Common Prayer is that it contains a prayer for just about any occasion.  And at this time of year, I like to turn to the section simply entitled “Thanksgivings.”  There are some beautiful prayers there to give thanks to God for everything from the diversity of races and cultures to the restoration of health, from the birth of a child to those who have served heroically…there are all kinds of prayers tucked back there.


And there is one prayer – simply called “A General Thanksgiving” that I commend to you this week:


Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have

done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole

creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life,

and for the mystery of love.


We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for

the loving care which surrounds us on every side.


We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best

efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy

and delight us.


We thank you also for those disappointments and failures

that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.


Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the

truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast

obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying,

through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life

again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.


Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and

make him known; and through him, at all times and in all

places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.


For the beauty of the world. For the mystery of love. For tasks which demand our best. For all this and more, we thank you Lord.


Happy Thanksgiving and we'll see you on Sunday,

Kelly

To our Friends at The Falls Church,


We have been attending The Falls Church Episcopal for about 3 years, and we are so happy to call TFCE our church home. Having a church home is important because it allows us to be who we are called to be and to worship in the way that God calls us to worship.


For Geoff, that means participating in a vibrant music program, singing with the Historic Church Choir. It is for him, as for his fellow choir members, an act of joyful worship. For Veronica, her background in arts management is of service on the Stewardship Committee. And for George, age 4, having a place to learn the songs and stories of the faith while still being able to belt out “Hosanna in the Highest’ at the top of his lungs during the Sanctus is also nothing short of an act of worship.


In return for our time, we receive, quite fundamentally, a place to call home. To worship, to sing, to serve, to make a joyful noise to the Lord. To be part of a family that also believes in the expression of our faith through song, praise, and good works. So during this Annual Giving Campaign, we pledge and give to the church because the church is the place, and the people, and the home, that enables us to worship our God.


~ Geoff, Veronica, and George Kannan

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