Monday Morning Devotional

Week of November 25, 2019

“A voice cries out:  ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” --- Isaiah 40:3

Everett “Terry” Fullam, a renowned Episcopal priest, tells a humorous story about how traditions get started.  A small-town church in upstate New York had a rector for over thirty-five years who was loved by the church and the community.  After he retired, he was replaced by a young priest.  It was his first church and he had a great desire to do well.  He had been at the church several weeks when he began to perceive that the people were upset at him.  He was troubled so eventually he called aside one of the lay leaders of the church and said, “I don't know what's wrong, but I have a feeling that there's something wrong.”

The man said, “Well, Father, that's true. I hate to say it, but it's the way you do the Communion service.”

“The way I do the Communion service? What do you mean?”

“Well, it's not so much what you do as what you leave out.”

“I don't think I leave out anything from the Communion service.”

“Oh yes, you do. Just before our previous rector administered the chalice and wine to the people, he'd always go over and touch the radiator. And, then, he would…”

“Touch the radiator? I never heard of that liturgical tradition.”

So the younger man called the former rector. He said, “I haven't even been here a month, and I'm in trouble.”

“In trouble? Why?”

“Well, it's something to do with touching the radiator. Could that be possible? Did you do that?”

“Oh yes, I did. Always before I administered the chalice to the people, I touched the radiator to discharge the static electricity so I wouldn't shock them.”

For over thirty-five years, the untutored people of his congregation had thought that touching the radiator was a part of the holy tradition associated with Communion. 

It is not part of the holy tradition of Advent, but since 2005 when Dr. Daniel Goodman edited the first devotional guide, the Advent Devotional Booklet at Gardner-Webb University has become an important tradition for our community of faith and learning and for many friends of Gardner-Webb University.  This year, we are sharing the Advent devotional electronically with the subscribers to the Monday Morning Devotional.  Each day of Advent, beginning on December 1, that day’s devotional will be delivered to your inbox.  The regular Monday Morning Devotional will resume on Monday, January 6, 2020.  It is our prayer, in the words of our President, Dr. William Downs, that “these words of hope inspire us all on our Advent journey this year.” 

Prayer:  Lord, let every heart prepare room for your coming.