December 1 is the first Sunday of Advent, the season of preparation for Christmas. Advent is about preparing for God’s coming into the world in Jesus Christ. We remember how God prepared the people of Israel for Jesus’ first coming through the words of the prophets, and how God revealed to Mary and Joseph that they would serve as Jesus’ earthly parents. We recall how John the Baptist prepared the people of Israel for Jesus’ ministry by “preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. And, as well, we remember that Jesus will come again at the end of the age — an event which we need to look forward to, and prepare ourselves for.
Advent is a time for us to look toward the future with hope and anticipation. It’s also a time to take stock of ourselves and renew our commitment to God, by identifying and turning away from sinful attitudes and behaviors.
Advent is the first of the 6 seasons of the Christian Year. It always has 4 Sundays. The symbolic color for Advent is purple, symbolizing preparation and penitence.
The Lord’s Prayer is so called because it was taught by Jesus himself. Two versions of this prayer are found in the New Testament, one in the Gospel of Matthew (6.9-13), and a shorter one in the Gospel of Luke (11.2-4). Matthew’s version is the one that most churches use. In our congregation, we normally use the translation found in the King James Version of the Bible, notable because it says “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” — which is an accurate translation of Matthew’s original Greek. The translation that uses the word “trespasses” is apparently an older translation than the KJV.
The traditional location for this prayer in the service is at the end of the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving in the Communion liturgy. On non-Communion Sundays, many congregations place the Lord’s Prayer at the end of the Prayers of the People. In our congregation, we place it at the end of the opening prayer, before the children go out for Church School, so that they have an opportunity to join in the Lord’s Prayer each week, and learn it. On Communion Sundays, we use the new ecumenical translation of the Prayer that’s printed at the end of the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving in the hymnbook (#564). This translation was made by the English Language Liturgical Commission in 1988.
Training Teachers in Afghanistan
Presbyterian World Service & Development has been working
in Afghanistan for five years to raise awareness about the importance of girls’ education. We have seen the positive impact
—a total of 5,400 girls have enrolled since the project began.
PWS&D is also taking steps to improve the quality of education children receive. Through a series of trainings, teachers are learning how to make the classroom one that is welcoming for students,
where education is interactive and student participation matters. “Since we started using these methods within our classes, it seems that the students are really motivated and coming to school with lots of passion,” says Nasreen, a teacher at the BibiMaryam School.
PWS&D Responds with education and training