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St. Mary Magdalene
B o l n e y

■ Advent Procession

THE ADVENT SERVICE

. . .  is often entitled From Darkness to Light in order to encapsulate in a telling phrase what will happen over the next hour. For all its beauty, this is a dark world and we need look no further to see the darkness of our world than our own selves. None of us is free from the shadow of sin, and for all our ingenuity, cleverness and sophistication, we too cast shadows.

The light that shines as a flickering candle at the beginning, and from which all other lights are lit, represents both judgement and hope. The light that shines in the darkness of the Church represents the light of Jesus Christ shining in our dark world. That light dispels the darkness, but not without showing up the dark places of our world and of our lives. The light of Christ sees us as we are, unable to disguise the truth of our human condition. But the light of Christ, which is all-revealing and which judges all, is also the illumination and the warmth, the guiding light, which leads us from darkness into light.

As we enter into this spirit of reflection during the service, we will find ourselves in the dark waiting for the candles to be lit. This waiting is itself part of the imperative of Advent. We are waiting for the light of the world to come. Many of the readings and the hymns pick up this theme of waiting with alert expectation for the Christ who will surely come to us in judgement and hope.

When the single light is lit, we will all feel the particular ambience of this service and the spiritual message it conveys in rather different ways, just as our apprehension of God’s love and mercy to us in our lives is received by each of us in unique ways.

Our response and contribution to the service is by our own silence and stillness as we wait for the light and more importantly, the light of Christ to illuminate our dark corner.