The Dec. 2 edition of The Living Church is available online to registered subscribers. In this edition, Zachary Guiliano interviews the Rev. Fleming Rutledge about themes in her latest book, Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ. Guiliano writes:
“Every year, Advent begins in the dark.” This phrase opens and punctuates a series of sermons by the Rev. Fleming Rutledge, from the mid-1990s to the present day. It condenses into one poignant phrase a theme that emerges again and again in her preaching, speaking, and writing: the necessity of confronting realities and topics that modern people, Christians, and perhaps especially Episcopalians want to avoid, even when the sharp edges of those realities recur. The problem of evil, the judgment and wrath of God, the inescapable strangeness and power of the biblical witness — all these animate Rutledge’s thinking and expression.
“That’s what I think is so important about the season,” she told TLC. “The uniqueness of Advent is that it really forces us more than any other season, even more than Lent, to look deeply into what is wrong in the world, and why the best-laid plans don’t work out the way we meant them to, and why our greatest hopes are so often confounded, and why things happen the way they do, and why sometimes it is so difficult to see where God is acting.”
Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ (Eerdmans, 2018) is her latest offering, a collection of 46 sermons delivered in the past three decades, paired with a thematic introduction and other writings. Her intended audience includes preachers, teachers, liturgists, and laypeople “who want to live more deeply out of the gospel as it is dramatized in the church’s year” (p. 30) She admits the volume “has a conspicuous Episcopal (Anglican) flavor” but her “hope is that Christian believers of all persuasions will find that the depth of theological meaning in the observance of Advent holds inexhaustible significance for them as well in these days” (p. 31). To that end, the sermons and other resources refer constantly not only to Scripture, but to Advent liturgies and hymns, Handel’s Messiah, and the poetry of Auden and Eliot — each drawing out and extending the themes of the appointed lectionary readings.
- What We Remember on Remembrance Day | By Matthew Townsend
- Christmas and Humility in Los Posadas | By G. Jeffrey MacDonald
- Bishop Love’s Lone Stance on Same-sex Marriage | Analysis by Kirk Petersen
- Fleming Rutledge: “Advent Begins in the Dark” | By Zachary Guiliano
- Past and Future Meet in Advent | By Lawrence N. Crumb
- Rothko’s Icons | By Dennis Raverty
O Wisdom | Review by Emily Hylden
The Oxford History of Anglicanism, Volume III | Review by Peter Doll
- People & Places
- Sunday’s Readings
Living Church Partners
We are grateful to Church of the Ascension, Lafayette, and St. Matthew’s Church, Richmond, and Grace Church Broadway, the Diocese of Dallas, and St. George’s Church, Nashville, whose generous support helped make this issue possible.