Presiding Bishop on Advent: ‘What is it that you are most waiting for?’

Posted Nov 28, 2012

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Noting that Advent is a time of waiting for “the coming of the Prince of Peace, the one who will reign with justice over this world,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori focuses on two questions in her Advent 2012 message: “What is it that you are most waiting for?” and “How are you going to wait this year?”

The presiding bishop’s Advent 2012 message, videotaped in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd on the grounds of the General Theological Seminary in New York, is available here and below.

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The first Sunday of Advent is Dec. 2.

In addition to the video, the following is the text of Jefferts Schori’s Advent 2012 Message.

Advent 2012
As you prepare for the season of Advent, I would commend two questions to your musings and your prayer and your meditation: What is it that you are most waiting for?  And, how are you going to wait this year?

I’m struck this particular season by the waiting of several women in Christian history.  Mary obviously, waiting for the birth of the Promised One in her part of the world, a child born for the whole world.

Also Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptizer, who comes before Jesus. Elizabeth has been promised a child in her old age, these are both very unexpected births, they are waiting.

And I’m struck particularly this year by Elizabeth of Hungary, a saint of the Church who lived in the thirteenth century, who was betrothed as a child herself, married at 14, a mother of three by the time her husband died when she was 20.  She spent her life giving it away, giving it away both physically through her means and through her presence and her healing.  She was an icon of generosity.

What is it you wait for this year?  Is it an opportunity to meet the surprising around you? Is it an opportunity to reflect on what is most needed in your heart and in the world around you?  How are you going to wait for that gift?  Are you going to wait actively?  Engaged?  Honing your desire? Stoking the passion within you for that dream?  Are you going to wait for a dream that will bless the whole world?

That’s what Christians wait for in the season of Advent – of the coming of the Prince of Peace, the one who will reign with justice over this world.  I believe that’s what the world most needs, this year and every year.

May your season of waiting be fruitful and blessed.  May it be filled with surprise and a willingness to engage that surprise.

A blessed Advent.
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church


Comments (9)

  1. Raymond Hoche-Mong says:

    That’s pretty thin stuff coming from a scientist who is also the PB. Dolly Parton’s book about chasing one’s dream offers more meat.

    1. Katherine Lawrence says:

      I also expected a more pithy address from the PB; somehow expecting her to provide a framework, maybe answers, maybe more informative content. Then I started to think about what the question of “what am I most waiting for” means at this moment in my own faith journey. Indeed, merely ruminating about the question, and further being surprised at some of the answers that appeared made me realize tht indeed the meat of the message is in the personal reaction to the question. Advent is a task of engagement to the deep preparation one must do to prepare a new way of waiting, receiving, seeing, believing that which the LORD is offering to me as a believer. I will pray for your continued journey Raymond and ask your prayers for mine. I am dealing with what it means to have lost my mother in November and now becoming the matriarch of my family, what it means to be relaunching my business, and having the wherewithal to reinvest in doing my art and writing. What am I waiting for when by the accounts of others I need to just be working? To be experienced in the process I would guess. Happy Advent.

  2. The Rev. Robert W Harvey says:

    Thank you for those questions as I have a dream of relocating next year in my continuing retirement years to be closer to most of family. I’m expectant and hopeful that God will have a purpose for me in that new setting.

  3. The Rev. Janet Campbell says:

    I also thank you for those questions, and will engage actively with them in this season of waiting. May you be blessed also, in your waiting.

  4. (The Rev.) Frank J. Corbishley says:

    We are always living in Advent, since we are always waiting for something. As a liturgical season Advent allows us to focus on this ever present aspect of our lives. We continually live in the already/not yet-ness of salvation & fulfillment. How to package that in a sermon? “What are you waiting for?” is a question I have posed more than once. “How are you waiting for it?” is, I think, the challenge here. How to put that challenge to my people in a sermon! And how to put that challenge to myself in my life! These are good questions to ruminate on. My thanks to the PB!

  5. (The Rev.) Charles V. Dayc says:

    Waiting for a birth to take place! What a powerful image. As a hospital chaplain I have had the experience of offering pastoral care for a mother who has just experienced a loss in a fetal death. I can appreciate somewhat that some mothers refrain from telling many people about a pregnancy – what is ‘something happens’. The sadness is deepened by the struggle as to whether to tell any one of the fetal demise.

    Waiting is a risky thing. But often there is no clear choice between taking action and waiting. The PB has put the ball in all our courts. We are reminded of the peculiar nature of Advent – waiting, but active, aware, alert waiting for the moment when we are called to step up and act – wisely, deliberately, and our of our readiness to give our best.

  6. Susan Fiore says:

    Having just come through a painful year in which I experienced intense dismay, anger and grief before finally realizing the deep peace in what I’ve learned, I’m waiting for the next lesson. How will I wait? I hope with greater trust that what may appear to be irrevocable loss is by God’s grace a chance to grow in wisdom and gentleness — dare I say in holiness?

  7. Jen Lovejoy says:

    I, too, have come through a profoundly painful year of those same emotions, dismay, anger and grief as well as fear. All these have been a vessel through which God has taught me about his grace and about patience. I have also learned to lean on Him more and more, to give over to him the struggles and the joys of my life, for He can do more than I can even imagine if I just let Him. So this Advent, I will be waiting for “further instructions” if you will. My life has changed so drastically that I really don’t know where I am headed (not that I really knew before either), so I will wait by listening for God’s direction more intently and purposefully. A good practice to engage in, I believe. Blessings and a happy Advent to you all.

  8. Andy Hook says:

    She said the name Jesus! Granted it was in a sentence about John the Baptist, and she said it with a smirk, but she did say Jesus! That’s the first time I’ve heard her use the name Jesus in one of her video addresses in well over a year! Perhaps our PB is beginning to realize that the Episcopal Church is not about gay people, straight people, poor people, rich people, black people, white people, or even red people, but about Jesus! I do hope she uses the name more often.

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