Advent, beginning again…

/ 27 November 2016

Today is the first day of the new year in the liturgical calendar, the beginning of Advent. This year we cycle through Year A of the lectionary, which focuses on Matthew. There is a delicate path to walk in reading Matthew in the midst of liturgy because the text can be heard in ways that contribute to anti-Judaism, even anti-Semitism, if there is not sufficient context offered.

For that reason I was moved and graced by the way in which the community of St. Basil’s church here in Toronto began the liturgy. They very specifically prayed and offered reflection which strongly affirmed the Jewish roots of Christian faith. It would be hard to make any supersessionist claims from within this liturgy — a grace for which I am indeed grateful!

Towards that end, here is my annual reminder that my favorite Advent hymn — O come, o come Emmanuel — has been given a revised set of lyrics so as not to condone or invite supersessionism. I urge you to sing this hymn with these lyrics, and to share them widely. If you are interested in how they came about, you can also read the commentary on the revised version.