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Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2018.
Perhaps one of the most delightful, if curious, ‘church trends’ over the last few decades, amongst a broad range of Christian traditions and denominations, is the turn back to the treasure trove of formational goodness that is the Church’s liturgical life. It is into this movement that Fleming Rutledge’s delectable Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ presents itself. As an introduction and companion to the first (and last – depending from which angle you look at it) season of the Church year, this substantial volume offers the Church a much needed vision for living as God’s peculiar people in the now-and-not yet Kingdom of God. For, as she states, “Of all the seasons of the church year, Advent most closely mirrors the daily lives of Christians and of the church, asks the most important ethical questions, presents the most accurate picture of the human condition, and above all, orients us to the future of the God who will come again” (p. 1). In order to explore this extensive and ambitious concept of Advent, Rutledge’s volume begins with a series of essays and writings on the historical, theological, and pastoral background to the season – an excellent introduction to the less-initiated liturgist. The second, and largest, section presents a collection of her Advent sermons from many years of preaching practice. While these are “arranged in a carefully planned sequence” they are also “meant to be minded as needed; [as] each individual contribution stands on its own” (31).
Form - Gifts - Book - Richness - References
In true Rutledge-like form, one of the greatest gifts of this book is its richness. It abounds in references to Dostoyevsky, W. H. Auden, and T. S. Eliot, not to mention a veritable army of Anglican Advent anthems. And yet, these are employed in such a...
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