When I was a student in graduate school, our chaplain, Cameron Partridge, introduced me to a concept that has never left me: liturgical hinges, or, those places in the church’s year that are marked by their liminality. Places that sit in a fertile tension between the thematic demarcations of two seasons. Days in the liturgical calendar that begin to ease our praying imaginations into the content of a new season, tantalize us with vexing ideas, incongruities, or questions, or provide us space to step back from our habitual readings of our relationship with God and others. Think of those two peculiar days between the last Sunday of Epiphany and the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, or that liminal week after Christ the King as the church begins to hinge itself into the waiting of Advent. If you consult the seemingly arcane groupings of variable propers for the days after the First Sunday of Christmas, you will find that we are, even here and now, in the midst of such a hinge.
I love these oddities of the church calendar because of their signature “fuzziness,” as if we were removing one pair of spiritual glasses—the expanse of Ordinary Time after Trinity Sunday, let’s say—for another—in this case, Advent. We tend to know what to expect from the terrain of Ordinary Time or Advent (or Lent, or Easter). Their contours, while somehow always new, are familiar to us. They remind us that the whole journey of conversion is itself is life-long pivot from the familiar.
Deuteronomy 30:11-14 :: Romans 10:8b-18 :: John 1:35-42
How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.
Today is the last day of the church year, and, coincidentally, the day the church remembers Saint Andrew the apostle and his response to the call of God in Jesus Christ.
If you have been keeping up with the readings in our Ordo, you will notice that the gospel we just heard is not the one prescribed for this morning’s liturgy. The reading originally set for the Holy Eucharist today comes from the fourth chapter of Matthew, where we read that Andrew and his brother, Simon Peter, were fishermen. In Matthew’s account, Jesus meets them at their nets: “follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”
While I absolutely love the scene as Matthew records it, the reading prescribed for Evening Prayer—which we have just heard from the gospel of John—has caught my praying attention in a different way. We see something deeper and more searching in the figure of Andrew in this Johannine account; something worth meditating on as we recall the year behind us.
Isaiah 40:27 – end
Today is a day we have been hoping for and praying for, for a very long time. A day of rejoicing. Our dear brother Nicholas is to make the vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience, as a professed brother of our Society.
Gosh, what a long journey this has been Nicholas, to come to this day! After all the years of seeking, the Lord has found you – and I pray, he has brought you home – a home where you are loved and cherished by your brothers, and by the many men and women whom you serve in your ministries.
Deuteronomy 30: 11-14
Psalm 19: 1-6
Romans 10: 8b-18
Matthew 4: 18-22 (John 1: 35-42)
I hope it has happened to you at some point. Or, if it hasn’t, it will soon. Or if it happened a long time ago and you have forgotten what it is like I hope it will happen again and you will remember that wonderful experience of falling in love.
Falling in love is one of the most wonderful things that can happen to a person. And it is even more amazing when the other person falls in love with you. As corny as it is, it really is like the movies when fireworks go off, when two people share their first kiss.
Matthew 4:18-22, John 1:35-42
“The trouble with the idea of vocation,” writes Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, “is that most of us, if we are honest, have a rather dramatic idea of it.” We tend to think of it as God finding us a part to play in the ongoing work of God in the world. We look at it as a role that God chooses for us to play in the grand scheme of things, a part for which we have been uniquely selected and set apart.