Advent surprise

Around 5 this past Sat. I walked into the chapel to set up for Evening Prayer. Saturday services are not exactly heavily attended; I figured that if the officiant and the reader remembered to come, we’d be able to write “3” in the register – one reader, one officiant, one sacristan.

But the procedures are more or less the same whether you’re expecting 2 or 200. I switched the lights to the daily office setting, uncovered the altar, and checked the psalm.

The blue altar frontal was in place, and the Advent wreath was newly decorated with live greenery and hanging in the middle of the rood screen. It seemed to match the cold and dark of the sudden winter weather, all which seem to highlight the darkness of the world.

the liturgical question of the evening – to light or not to light? I hold to the idea that the new day begins with sundown, and even at 5 PM it was really dark. I couldn’t remember if there was some reason why that rule wouldn’t apply to the first Sunday of Advent, so I had a tall classmate light the first candle.

I just couldn’t wait for the season of waiting to begin.

I rang the bell 9 times and three voices began to say the evening office in a very empty chapel.

The door opened. People I didn’t know came in. A family actually.

We talked with them (well, with the father at least – Evening Prayer was a bit too long for the child) after the service.

They’re new to the neighborhood; in fact, they’ve just moved into one of our surplus apartments on campus. They had looked at the luxury apartments down the street but just couldn’t face living somewhere that, well, soulless. So now they live at a seminary.

You just never know who you’ll meet at an Evening Prayer at the beginning of Advent.


~ by Sophia on December 5, 2007.

One Response to “Advent surprise”

  1. That’s a great story.

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