On this second Sunday of Advent, perhaps the paraments should be red rather than blue or purple. Red has become our Holy Spirit hue, the liturgical color that accompanies occasions of heightened concentration on pneumatological presence and power. Hanging red isn't like firing a signal flare, as if the Spirit has suddenly been glimpsed after a long absence or concealment.
As a child, I remember hearing in church about the second coming and Jesus returning. Long before the Left Behind series arrived, I heard the mournful strains of "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" around our church campfires.
According to a Pew Social Trends poll
released today, almost 40 percent of Americans think that marriage is on its
way to becoming obsolete in American society. The number includes both people
who are indifferent to the end of marriage and those who are sorry to see it
North Korea may be the most dangerous country in the world for Christians. About a fourth of the country’s Christians, who number between 200,000 and 400,000, are thought to be living in forced labor camps because of their refusal to participate in the cult that surrounds the nation’s founder, Kim Il-sung. Animosity toward Christians is so strong that North Koreans with Christian grandparents are denied important jobs. Kim Il-sung’s mother, who is the great-grandmother of current leader Kim Jong-un, was a Presbyterian deaconess (Crux, December 20).