Anglican Catholic Church

The Bishop Reflects on Advent

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The Four Last Things: Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell.

The Four Last Things: Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell.

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Jodie Hall lights the first candle on the Advent Wreath in Canterbury.

Jodie Hall lights the first candle on the Advent Wreath in Canterbury.

Bishop Damien Mead writes:

"Last week one of my priests, Father Jeen Thomas, was visiting with me for the weekend. We watched my Consecration DVD from 2008, which he hadn't seen before - All 2.5 hours!

I hadn't watched the DVD for a long time and it was rather moving to see so many of my family, friends and colleagues who made the effort to be there but who have since died.

From Father Joseph E. Dehart, from the USA, who was the first to enter his eternal rest just 5 months after the service, to the most recent, Mrs Marie Sales, a dear friend from the Constitutional Monarchy Association here in Kent, who died very recently.

Far sadder still, perhaps, are those I viewed who have either left the Church, or I have lost contact with or / and - in a handful of cases - am not on good terms with.

Today as I start to write Christmas Card I have been going over the address list and am having to remove so many names since last year. This has reinforced something which is very appropriate at this time of year.

Last Sunday, 27th November, was the first day in the Church's new year. The First Sunday in Advent. In Advent, a time of preparation for the Coming of Christ, it is traditional to consider the four last things; Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. In Canterbury I preached on death last Sunday, and tomorrow is the turn of Judgement. As I look at my depleted address list, as I recall the departed, I am reminded starkly that life is transitory, life is brief ...

Our first reading from Mass last Sunday was taken from St Paul's Letter to the Romans XIII 8-14 when St Paul issues a wake up call!

" Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."

Now is the time to wake up. Now is the time to stop making excuses. Now is the time to stop putting off what is truly important. Now is the time to use your time wisely. Yes, we rejoice in the First Coming of Christ in that stable in Bethlehem BUT more importantly we rejoice to have the opportunity to prepare ourselves for His Second Coming!

Death and Judgement comes to us all freely and equally ... whether to Heaven or Hell is our choice."