We did not pray the traditional collect (prayer) for the season of Advent in my little parish yesterday. We offered a modern substitute. I was sorry about that. I understand that some might find the old petition outmoded and a little scary. It seems to arise out of a consciousness of life lived within a cosmic struggle between good and evil, not the usual stuff of sophisticated "modern" thought.
The prayer from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer reads:
Or, as the Rev. Scott Gunn once explained the season:
This seems particularly apt in these sad days when our country has chosen to drive further off the rails. We find ourselves fearing freefall into rapacious greed and oppression of the vulnerable and weak. The works of darkness are all around, and we're going to need all the "armor of light" we can find, wherever we find it. It's long been conveniently forgotten that the oldest Christian self-consciousness was formed in tension with the most powerful, most brutal, empire of its day. For those of us for whom this tradition is a source of meaning, there's a lot there.
Another Advent theme also seems appropriate to our current moment. "Keep awake ... you also must be ready ..." say the ancient admonitions in the Gospel passage from the book of Matthew. Or, if we want to be more contemporary, #Stay Woke in every meaning of that catch phrase. Nothin' else to do ...