Advent Forums
Advent Forum Series
Time, Eternity, and God
 
More than any other season in the Church year, Advent is concerned with time. For many of us, this is most evident in our countdown to Christmas; indeed, much of Advent is concerned with lamenting how little time is available to us as we attend various holiday gatherings, shop for family and friends, and do our end-of-year charitable work. In this sense, Advent simply becomes an extension of our over-scheduled and excessively busy lives. When understood properly, however, Advent reveals the unique relationship Christians are meant to have with time. It is the moment in the liturgical calendar when we acknowledge that in Jesus Christ, the eternal has come to dwell among us. The implications of this recognition are profound: we are free to live our lives understanding that time is not a commodity to a spent, but a gift from God. Moreover, we can view the world not from our parochial historical vantage, but from the perspective of eternity. This year, our Advent forum series will explore the ways that time is measured in the Christian tradition and how this can change the way we experience the world.
 
December 3
A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven
We generally assume that there is only one way to measure time, but in fact, the measurement of time is often relative and dependent on many variables. This is a persistent, if unfamiliar theme in the Bible. Indeed, one of Scripture’s fundamental assumptions is that our faith can reorient our understanding of time. Join Jo Ann Jones as she explores the biblical understanding of time and consider how it can shape our perspective on the world. 
 
December 10
“You are Unchangeably Eternal”: Theological Time in Augustine’s Confessions
Despite revolutionizing Christian theology, Augustine of Hippo is probably best remembered for writing Confessions, one of the world’s first autobiographies. Modern readers of Confessions tend to focus exclusively on the lurid details of Augustine’s young life and the story of his conversion to Christianity. This, however, ignores the more important and, frankly, more interesting part of the book, in which Augustine lays out his theological vision. In particular, the African bishop describes time in a way that fundamentally challenges our experience of the world. Join Peter Vanderveen as he examines a new translation of this ancient autobiography and explores how it might shape our lives today.
 
December 17
Messiah and the Sovereignty of God
There are few pieces of music that are more familiar than Messiah, George Frideric Handel’s sweeping oratorio about the coming of God’s anointed. Unlike some of Handel’s other oratorios, Messiah does not have much of a plot. It is not particularly focused on the life of Jesus, though he is purportedly its main character. Indeed, Messiah’s text seems to go out of its way to avoid anything that is directly applicable to our situation. This is because Messiah is not about us: ultimately, it is meant to illustrate how God transcends time and our experience of it. Join David Romanik as he examines this extraordinary piece and considers how it illuminates our understanding of God.
Last Published: November 29, 2017 5:32 PM