Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness. Easier said than done, methinks -- when darkness and division dominate the discourse within the church, violence and oppression dominate the world news and the peace on earth, goodwill to all incarnate in the One whose birth we prepare to celebrate seems further away than ever.
Which is precisely why I am so grateful for this Collect which begins our church New Year by asking God to give us the grace to cast them away in order to choose life and hope and joy instead. Because the truth is we can't possibly do it on our own. And that brings me back to last Sunday -- Christ the King Sunday (or "The Reign of Christ Sunday," if you prefer!)
Here are a couple of snaps from Sunday ... me and my kids having the rare opportunity to all sit together in a pew on a Sunday morning: the three of us out front of church ....
... and Brian with one of the great saints of All Saints -- Lydia Wilkins, who is planning her January birthday party to celebrate turning ... (wait for it) ... 104.
It was a great Sunday and what I'm thinking about this morning is Ed's sermon -- which I believe points us to exactly what we need to take on that hard work of Advent -- of casting away the works of darkness.
It points us to Jesus and it points us to forgiveness. Check it out here and let's give thanks, in these waning days of the old church year, for the gift of the One who loved us enough to become one of us in order to show us how to love -- and forgive -- each other!