This being the first Sunday of Advent, it will also mark the beginning of our annual Advent/Christmas Outreach campaign.
This year our Advent Candle liturgies will call us to consider the various parts of the Advent wreath. This week we are called to consider the circle.
The Scripture Readings this week are:
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
- Luke 1:46-55
Early Thoughts: One of the more common symbols in a wide range of spiritual systems is the circle. Cultures around the globe and throughout history have noticed the rhythms of life: the hours of the day, the seasons of the year; the cycle of life and death and life.
The circle is also used as a sign of the eternal. In wedding services the line I often use before the exchange of rings includes these words:
The most familiar of these symbols is the exchange of rings, made in the shape of a circle without beginning or end; made of gold, a metal which does not tarnish or corrode, but which, like love sustained by God, grows in beauty through the years.A circle is a sign of the unending love of God. The ancient Celtic Christians incorporated this in their great stone crosses which had a circle joining the arms of the cross (coincidentally this also had a practical value as it added stability to the stone). And much Celtic tracery includes intricate weavings which are circular in form, no beginning, no end, or at least where the beginning and end are impossible to locate.
And a third image that comes to mind is the wheel, the wheel of fate that turns over, upending the world, putting what was on top on the bottom and vice versa. Part of our Christmas story is the Magnificat, the Song of Mary, where she sings of the child who will come to turn the world on its head, to toss the proud and mighty from their thrones. At Christmas we remember the wheel turning and the world being changed.
SO this week we pause to think about circles: the cycles of life, the eternal love of God, and teh turning wheel of fate.
Wonder how all three of those will mesh into one sermon?????