Parish & Ward Church of St. Botolph without Bishopsgate

ADVENT AT ST BOTOLPH'S

From Darkness into Light

Advent is one of the most poignant times of waiting in the Christian calendar, certainly one of the most prolonged. It does not matter that we know, that we are assured that at the end the long-expected Christ will come. It matters that we learn to wait on God, to wait patiently for the Lord before his arrival. We sit in the dark, waiting for the light of Christ to appear. Our theme for our services, prayers and sermons throughout Advent this year is From Darkness into Light.
Darkness and light have for millennia had metaphorical significances in most cultures throughout the world. Darkness represents both fear and ignorance – Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary’s comments at the start of World War One; “The lights are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life time” is a portent of doom and despair, the fear of the darkness.
We have the Dark Ages – a time of stagnation; The Prince of Darkness – the personification of evil; dark thoughts – the torment of the mind. The long dark nights of winter. Darkness, in Greek thinking is always associated with ignorance, with sinful doings and particularly with humankind’s fear of death, for death was often characterised as a realm of darkness.
The dark is frightening because you cannot see what is around you. You are vulnerable, unsafe and anything could happen to you. Why is it that at night all our problems seem so much harder and unsolvable, yet when the morning comes, and it is light, everything falls into its proper proportion and we realise that things were not so bad after all. In the light there is nothing to worry about; nothing to fear.
Light in the New Testament in particular is an image of both holiness and illumination. But most significantly, light characterises Jesus. He is the light of the world, he is the light that shines in the darkness bringing life. “I am the way the truth and the light” says Jesus. Believers who respond to Jesus are rescued from the realms of darkness to become children of the light. It is our hope and belief that we will walk in the light of Christ all our days, both in this life and beyond.
I believe that our church, St Botolph’s here in Bishopsgate in the City of London is a light. A light which shows what can be done when we put our trust in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We, by our faith in Christ and by truly following his teachings in our everyday lives, can be a light beaming out friendship, welcome and love to all. The choice of our choice of charities for this Advent season embodies that light coming out of darkness for those who are homeless and those who have been in prison.
May God, who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light, bless us all this Advent and Christmas, help us to shine as a light in the world, and fill us with his peace.

Fr David

WEDNESDAY CHORAL SERVICES DURING ADVENT

WEDNESDAY 5 DECEMBER, 1.10 pm
Week of the 1st Sunday of Advent
A SERVICE OF LESSONS AND CAROLS IN ADVENT
St Botolph's Choir sings Advent music from across the centuries

WEDNESDAY 12 DECEMBER, 1.10 pm
Week of the 2nd Sunday of Advent
CHORAL EUCHARIST
Missa 2 vocum aequalium Lotti & Cordans; Ave Maria Donizetti

WEDNESDAY 19 DECEMBER, 1.10 pm
Week of the 3rd Sunday of Advent
CHORAL EUCHARIST
Missa Pastoralis Bottazzo; Nun komm der heiden Heiland, BWV 36 Bach