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The Movement of Advent

In many ways, the season of Advent is characterized by movement. The great prophecy of Isaiah 40 envisions the movement of God’s people from their place of exile to the Promised Land. The accounts of John the Baptist’s ministry describe the movement of people throughout Judea to the banks of the Jordan River. The story of the Nativity centers on the movement of the Holy Family toward the stable in Bethlehem.

As we begin the season of Advent at Heavenly Rest, we will begin using Eucharistic Prayer B (which begins on page 367 of the Book of Common Prayer) at the 10:30 service. There are several reasons for this change. In the first place, Advent begins the “Incarnation cycle” of the church year, which includes the seasons of Advent and Christmas, as well as the season after the Epiphany. Eucharistic Prayer B is a particularly appropriate text for this cycle, because it makes explicit reference to the Incarnation several times, most notably right after the Sanctus: “We give thanks to you, O God, for the goodness and love which you have made known to us…in the Word made flesh: Jesus, your son.”

On a deeper level, however, Eucharistic Prayer B captures the movement at the heart of this season. This is particularly evident just before the words of the institution, when the Celebrant says, “In him, you have brought us out of error into truth, out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life.” This prayer reminds us that we have been and are called to be transformed, moved from one state to another, because of what God has done in Jesus Christ.

As you participate in worship throughout the Incarnation cycle, think about the ways you can embrace the movement of this season, recognizing how God is calling you “out of” one state and “into” another.

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