Thursday, November 25, 2010

A New Liturgical Year

I am more than a little embarrassed at how long it has been since I last posted.  It has been so busy this term and the trouble is that once you get out of the habit of posting regularly, it tends to get squeezed out.  But no excuses!  Thank you to those who have been reading older posts and sending comments, you have encouraged me to get back in the saddle.

So what's been happening here?  All the normal things, but rather a lot of them.  We have experienced quite some numerical growth over the past year, which resulted in the largest congregation in our history a few weeks ago.  It is hard to identify any one single reason for this growth, we are, of course, encouraged by it, but it does also pose challenges not least in terms of space.

By far the greatest challenge, though, for me is getting to know the congregation.  How do you get to know so many people in any meaningful way and, more importantly, how do you minister spiritually to them?  Spare a prayer if you are reading this!

Last Sunday was the Feast of Christ the King.  I have written about this occasion in the past.  To save you having to look it up: it is also our anniversary celebration.  Christ Church was officially 77 years old.  Our Bishop was with us for the service, a good number of people were confirmed, and we had a Parish lunch back at the Vicarage.  The weather was really kind to us dry, sunny, and not too hot and many came both for the service and the lunch.

I wrote in the last post about different new years.  That was at the start of the academic new year.  This week it is, of course, Advent Sunday and the start of the new Church liturgical year.  I can't believe we are back to Year A and Matthew's Gospel.  It only feels like last year that I bought some new commentaries on Matthew to help preparing sermons in Year A.  From a preaching point of view, my two favourites are Craig Keener's and Ben Witherington's.  I am going to make use of France this time around as well, and will be interested to see what he has to say.  I generally like France, even if he did once turn me down for a job!

I have enjoyed Luke this year, though.  I have found myself regularly turning to Darrell Bock's large two volume commentary and Craig Evans' much shorter volume, which I have found surprisingly helpful given its size. What always strikes me reading Luke's Gospel is how different it feels to Acts.  Obviously, you might say, given the change of location, but it is more than that.  From the moment Acts opens you feel things are different.  I don't mean in a literary way and it's hard to put into words.  It is just a completely different world in every way.  Maybe there is a sermon there in itself.

Thank you again to those who are still interested in this blog.  I make no promises except to say I'll do my best to do better.

Have a great Advent!

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