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St. Andrew: Lighting the way for Advent
American Lutheran Publicity Bureau ^ | 28 November AD 2009 | Rev. J. Thomas Shelley, STS

Posted on 11/27/2009 10:00:39 PM PST by lightman

When the buider and I laid off the corners to excavate for my house we oriented the longest side toward the south southwest. By placing most of the windows on this sunniest side, we hoped to capture some of the free heat of every cloudless winter day.

This orientation was to have an unexpected consequence each Advent; one that we could not have anticipated.

As sun moves southward toward the winter solstice, our apparent sunrise actually becomes earlier; closer to the time listed in an almanac. In the summer the rising sun is blocked for several hours by a hill to the northeast; in the winter sunrise is almost directly over the notch in the hills carved by Fishel Creek as it makes its way from its headwater springs at Brown’s Orchards.

For a few days at the end of November the morning sunrise streams through my office window, then through the narrow hallway leading to the rest of the house, above the kitchen counter-wall before coming to rest squarely on a doorway frame on the far side of the great room. The red-orange glow is as focused as a theater spotlight.

This apparition is at its peak on November 30, the Festival of St. Andrew the Apostle. St. Andrew’s Day determines the beginning of Advent: The Sunday nearest is always the First Sunday in Advent. If November 30 falls Monday through Wednesday; Advent begins the Sunday preceding; Thursday through Saturday Advent begins the Sunday following.

After much searching I found a small icon of St. Andrew to hang on that sunlit doorframe. Now, on those days surrounding the Apostle’s festival, the icon’s gold leaf glows with an ethereal radiance for a few minutes at sunrise, for a time just long enough to pray the Benedictus of Morning Prayer:

By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
--Luke 1:79-80

Surely more than ever, our nation and our world stand in need of this mercy. And the icon of St. Andrew can teach us much about how that mercy may come to shine in all the dark places.

The compassionate mercy of our God is a gift of grace, free and undeserved. The saint on the icon, though surrounded by gold, radiates no light of its own. Only when bathed by the focused beam of the rising sun does it emit a glow.

So also for St. Andrew the Apostle, who had no claim of any special talent or ability. My friend and pastoral colleague Jeffrey Wilson has written of St. Andrew:

He never moved to center stage, but played well an essential supporting role. He was, so someone observed, the great introducer. Three times St. Andrew took someone to Jesus, first and perhaps most significantly his own brother Peter, who Jesus appointed to head the earthly church. Andrew’s was a ministry of moving along the fringe of the crowd and making sure someone got the attention he needed when otherwise his needs and gifts might have been ignored.

But when touched by grace, touched by the One who is light from Light, Andrew would emit a glow of grace sufficient to mark him unmistakingly as a disciple of Jesus. Even foreigners and strangers saw that reflected light; some Greeks at Passover approached Andrew with the deepest yearning of the soul: “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

Our journey this Advent and Christmastide is a one that is surrounded by light. We begin the new Church year by hearing Isaiah’s prophecy of peace, which concludes:

O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!
--Isaiah 2:5

And our journey is completed on Epiphany with another prophecy of Isaiah:

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you....
Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

--Isaiah 60:1,3

Throughout this season, may we so radiate the light of Lights that others would see Jesus in us; that they would walk with us in the light of the Lord; and that we all would be guided into the way of peace.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant; Orthodox Christian; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: advent; andrew; icon; lighting; standrew; way
While +John the Baptist is the quintessential Advent guide, our journey to the Christ Child is aided by +Andrew, +Nicholas, +Lucy, and many others.
1 posted on 11/27/2009 10:00:40 PM PST by lightman
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To: aberaussie; Aeronaut; aliquando; AlternateViewpoint; AnalogReigns; Archie Bunker on steroids; ...

Lutheran Ping!
2 posted on 11/27/2009 10:02:07 PM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: Kolokotronis; NYer; Salvation; LibreOuMort; Cronos; Huber; kosta50; sionnsar


3 posted on 11/27/2009 10:04:04 PM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: lightman
St. Andrew: Lighting the way for Advent
Advent Reflections for 2008
Bringing our fallen-away relations back to Church during Advent
History and Symbolism of the Advent Wreath

Rediscovering Advent in the (St.) Nick of Time
Catholic Traditions for Advent and Christmas
Mary's Gift of Self Points the Way, "The Blessed Mother and Advent", Part 1 of 4
The Perfect Faith of the Blessed Virgin "The Blessed Mother and Advent", Part 2 of 4
Theotokos sums up all that Mary is: "The Blessed Mother and Advent", Part 3 of 4

Reclaiming the Mystery of Advent, Part One: The Meaning of Advent
Renewing the Mystery of Advent, Part Two: The Witness of John the Baptist
Why “Gaudete?”, Part Three (Third Sunday of Advent)
Sunday before Nativity
Holy Mary and the Death of Sin - "The Blessed Mother and Advent", Part 4 of 4

Catholic Liturgy - Rose-Colored Vestments on Gaudete Sunday
Advent through Christmas -- 2007
Immaculate Conception Novena -- starts November 30th [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Advent 2007 -- Day by Day
Making Advent a Reality (the seasons are out of whack)

The Advent Workshop -- lots of information and activities
Jesse Trees (genealogy of Jesus activity for families)
Advent Wreath & Candles (Prayers for the Family)
Advent Overview
Reclaiming the Mystery of Advent, Part One: The Meaning of Advent

Celebrating Christ’s Advent [Archbishop Raymond Burke]
Praying through Advent -- 2006
The Paradox of Advent
Experience the Joy of Advent
Advent: the Reason for the Season

The Advent Wreath
Advent Activity - The Jesse Tree
That incredible shrinking Advent-Christmas season (Christmas should start, not end, Dec. 25)
Advent Thoughts: Some of the Church Fathers on the Divinity of Christ
The Relationship Between Advent and the Change in the Seasons (Dom Guéranger)

4 posted on 11/28/2009 12:20:07 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: lightman

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

As first of the Apostles to be called, O Andrew, brother of him (Peter) who was foremost, beseech the Master of all to grant the world peace and our souls great mercy.

Kontakion in the Second Tone

Let us praise the namesake of bravery, the divinely eloquent and first to be called of the Disciples of Christ, the kinsman of Peter. As he called out to him in days of old, so now he calls to us, "Come, we have found Him for whom we yearned."

5 posted on 11/28/2009 5:36:35 AM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: lightman

BTTT St. Andrew’s Day, AD 2010

6 posted on 11/30/2010 9:40:11 PM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: lightman

BTTT, St. Andrew’s Eve, 29 November AD 2011

7 posted on 11/29/2011 8:24:38 PM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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