Sunday, December 4, 2011

Advent Video Downplays the Penitential Character of the Season

Thanks to the Anglican Curmudgeon for highlighting the following video about Advent:

I appreciate this video's emphasis on Advent as a season of "expecting, waiting, hoping and praying." But in differentiating Advent from Lent, the video raises concerns when it says that Advent is "about hope not repentance." In a previous posting I've addressed the question "Is Advent a penitential season?", with more thoughts on the penitential character of Advent here.

As noted in my previous postings on this topic, downplaying or denying the penitential character of Advent flies in the face of the liturgy. Today, the second Sunday in Advent (RCL Year B), is a good example. Here's the collect appointed for this day:

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

I note also in today's epistle reading from 2 Peter the admonition to "strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish," as well as John the Baptist's proclamation of "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins" in today's Gospel reading from Mark.

Advent: it's about hope and repentance.


Bill Carroll said...

Thank you for this. Advent is different from Lent but it is penitential. Those who deny this seem to have never read the lessons, prayed the collects, or sung the hymns.

Even Lent has themes of hope. For Christians, the doctrine of sin is bound up with hope in God's mercy through Christ.

Andrei said...

Just as a matter of interest, Bill the Eastern Church has the Nativity Fast, sometimes called the Winter Lent which begins November 15 and runs until December 24 which is very difficult to adhere to being as it is the "ho ho ho" silly season of Christmas parties and so forth.

Even more so perhaps for those on the Julian Calendar.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for catching this. I noticed the same thing and observed to a friend...if you can contemplate the return of Christ without being moved to repentance you may not understand what is happens when he gets back.

Bryan Owen said...

Thanks for the comments all around. I note that anonymous comments are welcome, but please provide a pen name for the sake of disambiguation.