The expectation of both the birth of the Christ child, and the second coming of the Messiah echo through the liturgical year. Advent is ever present in the local news as televised German news broadcasts have Advent wreaths burning just off to the sides of the newscasters desks.
While Advent brings the new liturgical year there are somethings that remain constant. I’m glad to say that things are beginning to repeat themselves and I don’t feel like I am climbing such a steep learning curve.
The learning curve isn’t declining for all people however. My final (I hope) language and integration class was spent trying to moderate the religious freedoms represented in Germany. Being the only person that has had opportunity to read a lot of different scriptures from a variety of faiths it made some sense that I would navigate the final discussion on faith and religion. With even a wide variety of Christian denominations and traditions being represented, along with followers of Islam, Buddhism and an Atheist the discussion was curious as people seemed to discover a new curiosity.
The first Sunday in Advent had Bishop Robert Innes presiding over the Eucharist and Confirming three of the youth in the Anglican Church in Freiburg. Bishop Robert was able to speak about confirmation as a commitment. This commitment is certainly true, and is contrary to many feeling that confirmation as a ‘graduation’ for many youth to now leave the life of church community.
While we continue to wait with pregnant expectation this Advent, I also hope that we might rediscover the curiosity of those who are witnessing the freedom of religion in a new country. As I write, the church is preparing a two day Advent Prayer Path where several members of the church have creatively made prayer stations that will certainly awaken our Advent curiosity and help us not to hear an ever fainter echo of Advent, rather a resounding renewal of what it means to see Advent with renewed passion and commitment.