O Antiphons: A Guest Post by Thomas Turner

You know those people you overlapped with in life for a short time, but somehow, you manage to get to know them better after that point? Thom Turner is one of those folks for me. We went to college together; our lives overlapped in a variety of activities, but I wouldn’t say I knew him well. Instead, I’ve gotten to know Thom through the magic of the internet, as we’ve continued to overlap in the organizations we know, the publications we write for, and, of course, that place of wondrous connection: the Facebook newsfeed. He’s graciously allowed me to guest post at Everyday Liturgy on occasion, too. I’ve enjoyed watching the turns his life has taken and have always appreciated reading his writing. Now he’s written a book of Advent prayers, a new reading of the traditional “O Antiphons,” and it’s available on Noisetrade. Read on to see what he has to say about it! -Cg-

O AntiphonsDecember is one of the busiest years of the month for me. Not just the usual bustle of presents and parties and pageants at church. I work in fundraising at International Justice Mission, and on top of all the holiday hustle I am pulled in many directions at work as well. It seems like the wrong time to start spreading the word about a prayer book for Advent that I have written…

But then again, it is precisely the right time. Because not only do I think you need this book (and you do!), but I need it as well.

In the midst of the hustle and bustle I need to slow down and realize that Jesus Christ came to this earth, is coming to the earth through his Kingdom and will come again in the second Advent, to unite heaven and earth under his glorious reign. I need to take some time to be still and know that the Lord of Lords and Prince of Peace came in the flesh to dwell among us. I need to prepare my body and soul to worshipfully meet the King of Kings on Christmas day.

The aim of the Advent and Christmas seasons are so rich in meaning: the first and second coming of Jesus, the Incarnation, the Kingdom, Mary’s song about what the Messiah, who is in her womb, will do when he is birthed into the world. All of this, and yet by the time I get to Christmas day I just want to eat a nice dinner, gorge on some cookies and take a nap. Where’s the worship in that?

Simply put, O Antiphons: Prayers for the Advent Season is a prayer book for you and me to use to prepare our bodies and souls to worship on Christmas day. The “O Antiphons” are one way that Christians for over 1500 years have been preparing their hearts, souls, minds and bodies to celebrate the coming of Christ at the first Advent, Christmas. In this book, I have given a fresh reading of the O Antiphons, along with an Old and New Testament scripture reading and a meditation with discussion questions to guide you during the last week of Advent. From December 17th to December 23rd, you can use this prayer book to prayerfully come into the presence of the baby Jesus, born of a virgin, fully God and fully human in form, who is Wisdom in the flesh, our Lord, the Savior promised from David’s line, our Eternal Light, the King who unites all peoples and our Emmanuel, the God-who-is-with-us.

Starting today, you can pick up your free copy of O Antiphons: Prayers for the Advent Season on Noisetrade. And if you are truly in the Christmas spirit, all of the tips I receive on the book will go toward a nice gift for Jana Miller, who contributed awesome illustrations that you can turn into Christmas or Jesse tree decorations, and toward ending everyday violence against the poor.

Have a Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas!

TTurner PicThomas Turner is the Strategic Partnerships Research Manager at International Justice Mission and curates Everyday Liturgy, a source for worship and liturgical ideas. He is happy to be living back below the Mason-Dixon line again after a lengthy sojourn in the NYC metro area. You can follow Thomas online, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Catching Up

I’ve not written here in a while, but I’ve been posting elsewhere. Here are a few things that have gone up on other blogs and sites:

Journey Through the Faith Series Everyday Liturgy

Three posts about my childhood experiences in very different faith communities overseas, and how they shaped my own understanding of faith

“A Year in Asia with Anglicans”
“A Year in Asia with Evangelicals”
“A Year in Asia with Bible Christians”

fountain penWhen I was nine years old, my family moved to Hong Kong for a year. Though a child of an internationally transient family, I, until that point, had grown up in a single church in the north central United States and had very little church experience outside our Baptist-in-name-and-form-but-not-denominationally-affiliated. My parents would probably not have defined themselves as fundamentalist Baptists, even my church may not have fit that definition, but it was definitely the direction my young ecclesiology leaned.

And then we went to Hong Kong.

“The Feast of Grace”—Church at Charlotte Blog

We’re surrounded by marred shalom today. We see it in a passenger airliner downed by a missile meant by one warring party for another. We see it in two brothers on opposite sides of the world who have just lost their whole family.

And we can’t do anything about it. But we are invited to be part of the restoration of shalom.

“The Ice Bucket Challenge”The Curator

My parents were always generous donors to many individuals, missions, and charities. They gave regularly through our church. But the moment at the cash register was rare. It wasn’t often that I saw them say “yes” to that kind of request for a cause.

And I knew why the yes had been said. I knew what the pause meant. Those three little letters had made all the difference: ALS.

This one was ours.

“Ask a Teacher Series: Eight Questions from Writers to Teachers, Back-to-School Edition”—WriteWorld

You are communicating ideas. Writing is simply a vehicle for doing that. We’ve got a lovely language that is flexible and strange and has all sorts of cobbled-together rules for use because it’s been a cobbled-together language from the start. And some of those rules are worth noting and remembering and following and some of them should be thrown out the window with the silly people who made them up. English is a living language. The rules you learn today may be out of date by the time you’re forty. Such is the nature of having a living language.

“Exploring Infinity”Church at Charlotte Blog

Last week, I got into a discussion about time and the quantum universe on Facebook. Yes, this sort of thing happens in my newsfeed. A friend who is a physicist had started the discussion thread—he’d been pondering some ideas as he drove home from work, and decided to share them in a group we’re both part of.

I never took physics. I didn’t even take chemistry. I enjoyed science in school, but my math skills are abysmal. When the math required in my science classes got beyond me, I found other sciences to study. But I’ve always been fascinated by science—particularly physics and astronomy—and while much of my friend’s post was beyond my understanding, I still loved entering the discussion with him and sharing my thoughts on the topic.

Catch these posts at the links, and catch up on my past writing here.

The Stories I Rub Shoulders With – New Post at Everyday Liturgy

I have a 1938 edition of Webster’s Students Dictionary: Upper School Levels on my shelf. It’s my go-to resource for the definitions of words I find in old books. Some of them are words we still have today, but so often their connotation has changed.

Take “charity” for instance. Today, the first definition most people would think of is an organization or system for giving to the poor. It’s not a wrong definition at all, but it’s not the main focus the word has always held. “Charity” is an old-fashioned word, one that in my 1938 dictionary is primarily defined as “Christian love.”

That’s a challenging definition. I’m not sure that we could all agree on what “Christian love” looks like.

The secondary definitions begin to give it focus: 2. An act or feeling of generosity or benevolence. 3.The giving of aid to the poor and suffering. 4. Leniency in judging men and their actions.

Interestingly, the organization or institution for aiding the needy doesn’t get mention until definition #5.

I’ve been thinking a lot about charity of late. I’ve been pondering through the idea, and particularly focusing on the “benevolence” and “leniency in judging men and their actions.”

I’ve been thinking about kindness.

Some of these thoughts formed themselves into a guest post for Everyday Liturgy. Here’s a snippet:

Photo by Loic Parent

I read a social media post recently in which the author chastised himself for making snap judgments about the people he was seeing in the airport. I can’t remember who posted it or where, but the author challenged his readers to extend grace rather than judgment toward those we see around us. It was a good challenge, a gentle reminder. But as I thought about it, I realized that my observations of those around me rarely lead to what I would consider judgment.

Read the rest over at the site.

I Write Stories During Sermons

A couple of weeks ago my friend Thomas posted a link on his blog to an article he’d written for SermonCentral.com. The title was, “You Preach, I’ll Doodle.”

It is a great article that looks at preaching in light of varied learning styles and multiple intelligences. I thought it was good enough to share. I did so, tweeting it with the statement: “I write stories during sermons.”

The tweet led to a “tweet-versation” with Thomas, expanding on my original statement. It culminated in a suggestion that I might write something about it as a guest post for his blog, Everyday Liturgy, in response to his article.

And that’s how, today, I have a snippet of a post to share with you. Head on over to Everyday Liturgy to read the whole thing:

“I sit under the preaching of my pastor or other teachers, and I fully intend to keep my mind on what they’re saying. I have out my notebook and my pen for the purpose of recording the points and insights they plan to make from the text. But I have characters teeming inside my head at all times, paused in the living of their lives until I choose to awaken them again, just waiting for their next course of action.”