Fasting while Waiting: Advent

David Russell Mosley

 

English: Advent wreath, First Advent Sunday

English: Advent wreath, First Advent Sunday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

26 November 2013
On the Edge of Elfland
Beeston, Nottinghamshire

Dear Friends and Family,

For those of us in the West, the season of Advent is nearly upon us. In just a few days time our Christian year begins again. I’ve always found it interesting that our New Year begins with waiting. We begin by putting ourselves in the shoes of the Israelites after the exile, awaiting this promised branch of Jesse. We put ourselves in Mary’s shoes, awaiting the nativity of the Son of Man and Son of God. But we also remind ourselves of our own situation; our own waiting for the Lord’s return. We begin each year waiting. Waiting for Christmas, certainly, as we recapitulate the waiting that has gone on before us waiting for the birth of Christ; but also waiting for his coming again.

There are two seasons of waiting, in a sense, in the Christian Year. The first is Advent, but the second is Lent, that waiting for the resurrection. When we celebrate Lent, however, we fast, reminding ourselves that the light has gone out of the world and that we depend on that light for our sustenance. It was traditional, however, to also fast in Advent. In fact, the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Advent for forty days prior to Christmas for that very reason. In the West, however, as well, it was traditional to fast during the four weeks and a bit, usually, that precedes the celebration of the Nativity.

With that in mind, I want to encourage you to fast this Advent. Traditionally, one would have fasted from meats, sweets, etc. during Advent, but as often happens with Lent, this may be a time to fast from other things as well (the internet, social media, Christmas music, Christmas movies, etc.). This Advent I’ll be giving up watching TV on my own. I often fill the silent moments in my life with TV shows and phone games, so I’m going to use Advent as an opportunity to remove some of the distractions in my life and remind myself that God often speaks in the silences.

Have you ever fasted during Advent? If so, from what? How did you find it? Let me know.

 

 

Sincerely yours,
David Russell Mosley

Celebrating Christ the King

David Russell Mosley

Christ the King - Pantocrator - Kuznetsov 01

Christ the King – Pantocrator – Kuznetsov 01 (Photo credit: Waiting For The Word)

Christ the King
24 November 2013
On the Edge of Elfland
Beeston, Nottinghamshire

Dear Friends and Family,

Today we celebrate something truly countercultural and transformational. Today we celebrate Christ as King. It is a fitting way to end this season of Ordinary Time before Advent begins the following Sunday.  Today we remember who it is who upholds the heavens and the earth. Who it is who reigns on high. The one to whom all glory and power and authority has been given.

As you worship today, remember who it is you worship. Jesus is more than the carpenter’s son, though he was that. Jesus is more than a first century Palestinian Jew, though he was that. He was certainly more than a simple moral teacher who’s teachings got him into trouble. He is King. Not just of the Jews or of Israel (though he is that as a descendent of David), he is the King. He is the one from whom our whole notion of kingship derives. He is God; he is man. He both without confusion, and he chose to become the latter without ever ceasing to be the former. This is the one who saves, he rules over us. Worship him with fear and trembling, and joy and gladness.

The Collect for the Day (from Common Worship):

Eternal Father,
whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heave that he might rule over all things as Lord and King:
keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit
and in the bond of peace,
and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet:
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
Amen.

The Collect for the Week (from Common Worship):

Stir up, O Lord,
the wills of your faithful people:
that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,
may by you be plenteously rewarded;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Sincerely yours,
David Russell Mosley

Life Update 2: Twins and the USA

David Russell Mosley

babymosleytake2
Festival of King Edmund
20 November 2013
On the Edge of Elfland
Beeston, Nottinghamshire
Dear Friends and Family,

Well, it is has been an interesting week. Last Thursday, Lauren and I went in for our 12 week scan. We were still a little nervous. For us, this scan was going to make the pregnancy real for both of us. Lauren has had the usual symptoms of pregnancy, but isn’t really showing yet; since the changes aren’t happening to me, I really don’t get to experience the pregnancy. So this scan was going to make it all real and settle any fears we might have had.

We go into the Queen’s Medical Centre, wait, get called into the room and get settled. The technician puts the ultrasound wand on Lauren’s stomach and nonchalantly announces, ‘You’re having twins.’ Lauren and I both assume he’s joking. He then proceeds to say, ‘I love shocking people,’ but not in a way that makes us think he’s serious. It isn’t until he says we’re going to label this one Twin A that it finally dawns on us; this isn’t a joke. We’ve been in a state of shock and joy ever since.

baby a one

Twin A

baby b one

Twin B

We’ve since found out that there is some history for twins on Lauren’s side of the family. Even so, its so remote and only one cousin has had them, with no guarantee that it came from the Peterson side of the family, that we had no notion, no inkling that this could happen to us.

Having twins means a lot of changes are coming our way. For starters, it means having to get two of everything instead of just enough for one baby. It also means our original plans of not finding out the gender have gone out the window. In Lauren’s words, ‘I need to be as prepared as I can be.’ There is another change, however, that the twins aren’t causing, but helping to facilitate.

Ever since Lauren and I made the decision to remain in England and pursue ordination in the Church of England we have felt unsettled. We thought we’d feel content. We expected hardships and doubts, but not to the extent we were having them. We had no time, no breathing room to figure things out. It all needed to happen so fast, too fast. Since finding out we’re having twins, our priorities have needed to change. This means, for the time being, we’re putting a pause on the ordination process.

In other words, after I submit my PhD in the Fall of next year we will be coming home to the USA. We aren’t sure what that’s going to look like yet. We’ll want to spend time with family; I’ll need to spend time preparing for my Viva (the defence of my thesis back in the UK), but other than that things are up in the air. We’re going to be very sad to leave England. We have and do love living here. Nevertheless, we’re looking forward to coming home and spending time with friends and family, sharing the gift of our twins with everyone we can. In terms of ordination in the CoE, I’ll be keeping in touch with our DDO and if God has called to ordination in England, then he’ll bring us back. For now, we’re just going to trust in him, thank him for our twins, and pray that I get my thesis written. And on that note, I’ve got some reading and writing to do.

Sincerely yours,
David Russell Mosley

Faerie and Logres: Interviews and Sermons

David Russell Mosley

4 November 2013
On the Edge of Elfland
Beeston, Nottinghamshire

Dear Friends and Family,

The last two weeks have seen me give a couple of presentations that I thought I’d share with you.

Faerie Ring bw

Faerie Ring bw (Photo credit: Marion Doss)

Last week, on Sunday, I was interviewed by fellow PhD Student on his show ‘Good Reasons to Believe’ on The Place on ustream. Alan, my interviewer, has been running this show for a while now I think, focusing primarily on apologetics, or really, any good reason to believe in the Christian God. Now, I don’t normally do apologetics, and to an extant, this interview was no different. Alan and I discussed the role of Faerie and fantasy in theology (as I have written to you on this subject many times). The interview is about 25 minutes long and there should be a part 2 coming in the next week or two.

English: King Arthur as one of the Nine Worthi...

English: King Arthur as one of the Nine Worthies, detail from the “Christian Heroes Tapestry” dated c. 1385. “Arthur among the Nine Worthies is always identified by three crowns, which signify regality, on his standard, his shield, or his robe.” — Geoffrey Ashe, The Quest for Arthur’s Britain 1969. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week, on Sunday, I gave my first sermon in about 7 years. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous. Not only has it been seven years since I last preached, its been around 8 years since I took a course on preaching. I wasn’t sure if I’d remember how to do it. Fortunately for me, the main texts and title were assigned. I preached on Genesis 6.1-8 and Luke 17.20-37. The sermon was entitled Fallen Culture, but I added a subtitle to it, Fallen Culture: Britain vs. Logres. My sermon was primarily about being the kingdom of God in the midst of the fallen cultures of this world. I preached this at the more traditional service at St Nicholas’ Church in Nottingham. You can listen to it here (it’s the 9 o’clock service one, with my name next to it): http://stnics.org/Groups/226018/Genesis.aspx

I have to say, it’s been a while since I given talks that weren’t paper presentations at conferences. It was a nice change of pace and I hope I have some more opportunities to do so in the days to come.

Please, give each, or either, talk a listen and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Sincerely yours,
David Russell Mosley