Better Get Ready For Judgement

Bosch The Seven Deadly Sins and the Last Four Things

I’ve been trolling about on my favorite Lutheran blogs this week. The Brothers of John the Steadfast are concerned with Redeeming Holy Days from Pagan Lies – Christmas or clearing up Common Misconceptions About the Advent Narrative while on the Lutheran Confessions blog you can read about How to Celebrate Advent and Lower Anxiety. I’ve seen no discussion of the last four things, neither from the confessional Lutherans, nor the ELCA clergy. In fact all of the “popular” talk about Advent being a time of peace and calm, a time to focus on taking the time to breathe just makes me wonder:

Is there a type of anxiety that is good or appropriate in Advent: a kind of nervous excitement as we trim our wicks while those foolish virgins are out at “holiday parties”? Think of the hymns that we sing in Advent: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel“, “But for You Who Fear My Name“, “O Savior, Rend the Heavens Wide” or “Judgement“.

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Of course this is the second Sunday in Advent, and we do think about Judgement, and the warnings of John the Baptizer, but it’s also the day that Saint Nicholas came to visit the children at Saint Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church in New York City. Nicholas the Wonder-worker has been coming to Saint Ignatius for the last three years. He comes with questions about what the children have been learning in Sunday School, and expectations that the children will have a song or prayer that they’ve learned, and can recite for him. The Patron of Children, Travelers, Virgins, Pawn Brokers, Sailors, and Prisoners also has stories for the children. Today  he told the story of the three virgins that he saved from a life of prostitution, only slightly sanitized for the little ones, and gave the children gifts of chocolate coins, gingerbread, and oranges: three things in one small bag so that they might be reminded of the Trinity. A few children came late, but as Nicholas reminded them “Even those who come to the feast late will not go away hungry”.

Below are some pictures from the last three episcopal visitations from the Bishop of Myra:

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After three years of visits from Nicholas there is at least one child who expects that whenever there is an episcopal visitation the Bishop will bring oranges.

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