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Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ

4.55  ·  Rating details ·  340 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Advent, says Fleming Rutledge, is not for the faint of heart. As the midnight of the Christian year, the season of Advent is rife with dark, gritty realities. In this book, with her trademark wit and wisdom, Rutledge explores Advent as a time of rich paradoxes, a season celebrating at once Christ’s incarnation and his second coming, and she masterfully unfolds the ethical ...more
Paperback, 426 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Eerdmans
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Meshach Kanyion
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Many people may expect one of those 4 week advent sermon series books. This is not that! Through sermons she helpfully articulates how a preacher and church can fully observe the Advent season. If a reader is hoping for something that will give them a program for the end of the year they will be disappointed. If the reader is looking for something that will help their congregation regain the spirit of anticipation that accompanies Advent, here it is.
Melody Schwarting
The Peanuts Christmas movie is on to something.

Charlie Brown: “I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I'm not happy. I don't feel the way I'm supposed to feel.”

Lucy: “Look, Charlie, let's face it. We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket.”

Linus: “Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about....”

Christmas in the contemporary world does feel forced sometimes. The materialism and commercialism crowd out the goodwill and peace t
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Summary: A collection of sermons and writings organized according to the lectionary calendar of pre-Advent and Advent Sundays and special days, focusing on preparation for return of Christ.

Advent is often thought of as the four Sundays before Christmas, and a time of anticipating the celebration of Christ's birth. It is that, and Fleming Rutledge would propose, far more. Reading Advent, it became more for me as well. This book is a collection of sermons given over many years and various location
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fleming Rutledge is a blessing to our generation. After reading her renowned Crucifixion, I grabbed this text. It is not a theological treatise, but a series of Advent sermons. The thesis of the sermons is that Advent is about waiting for Christ to return. In her sermons, she guides her congregation to expectantly wait the intervention of God. She uses the Bible adeptly, and weaves in anecdotes and current events. Some of her sermons are a little dated, but they all add to the dialogue. Very muc ...more
Dec 31, 2020 added it
Technically I didn’t finish the entire book, but I’m finished with it until next Advent. I did read a lot of it and enjoyed it even though me not being Episcopalian means I had some theological disagreements with the author. But the writing was excellent and it will continue to be a resource for me in the years to come.
Jan 20, 2021 added it
Highly recommend this as pre-Advent/Advent devotional reading! I will never think of Advent or Christmas in the same way again
Sep 05, 2018 marked it as to-read
Some videos here, here, and here. Related CT article and sermon adaptation by the author. ...more
Rick Shafer
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A superb book. I hated for it to finish. It's repetitive in the very best way. A chance to meditate. To marinate. ...more
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: preaching, theology
I'm a big fan of advent and Fleming Rutledge, so in many ways this book was just confirmation bias for me : )

Rich reflections and powerful language in these short sermons. I'm amazed at her ability to convey such rich reflections on scripture in short Anglican-style homily-packages.

I was encouraged, as a young preacher, by her courageous engagement with Advent's less-than-pleasant aspects of the return of Christ and the judgement of God. And this as a preacher in the Episcopal church in Manhat
Alex Joyner
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are some consistent themes in Rutledge’s writing (and she warns early on that these sermons, delivered over the course of her long career, will contain some repetition.) There is the apocalyptic theology that she explored so memorably in her previous book, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ. There is the “essential affirmation” that “God is the active agent in creation and redemption,” (18) and that God’s salvation comes into a context defined by a conflict with “the ...more
Roy Howard
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I can't imagine a better book for preachers to read in preparation for Advent. Fleming Rutledge, who is a brilliant preacher herself, has collected her essays and sermons on the scripture passages that appear in the Advent season. The writings span nearly thirty years and the result is a stunning deep dive the Biblical themes that appear during this season: hope, judgment, the coming of Christ, the promise of God, Christian practices during times of disorder. She quotes Karl Barth that Christian ...more
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This will not be your typical "Advent devotional." This is a seasonal treasure. Rutledge has compiled a lifetime of preaching Advent into this volume. It is to be soaked in slowly during Advent and it is not for the light-thinking believer.

Rutledge delivers hard-hitting thoughts on judgment and sin and the needed longing for the return of Christ.

I chose to read a sermon each day between the Advent Sundays (though the third Sunday had more than 7 readings). Being sermons, this is not a five-min
Sooho Lee
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fulsome collection from one of America’s celebrated preachers. I was first introduced to Rev Fleming Rutledge two years ago and her monumental The Crucifixion—still one of the best, albeit a bit long, treatments on the crucifixion. She’s not a scholar by profession, but she’s a scholarly preacher through and through! This work is not as technical as The Crucifixion, but her rhythmic prose still flows!

Her homilies are rich, deep, and short (thanks to her Episcopalian tradition!). Each sermon t
Tim Hoiland
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Advent begins in the dark and moves toward the light – but the season should not move too quickly or too glibly, lest we fail to acknowledge the depth of the darkness.”
Dec 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Exceptional. Rutledge rightly brings awareness of the dark to bear during Advent and illumines hope with the Savior himself.
Chris Tweitmann
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fleming Rutledge is one of my heroes in preaching. Her messages are intelligent, thoughtful, relevant, and artful. Every sermon she preaches is deeply rooted both in the specifics of a particular scriptural passage and the overarching themes and spirit of the word of God as a whole. Reading a collection of her sermons from over the years was the perfect way to enter into and savor the Advent season!
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A must to re-read in future Advents, starting before the season.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: keepers, netgalley
This book is going to be key to me "taking back Christmas" this year. The past few years, I have been on a mission, a mission to "take back Christmas" from the overly merchandising of the season, the rushrushrush and less than jolly and Holy feelings that I have been prey to as an adult during the Christmas season.

This book kind of pointed out to me that I was looking at Christmas, specifically the season leading up to it, Advent, all wrong. Christmas is Christmas eve and the day itself. Leadin
Dave Pettengill
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book of sermons throughout the years from Fleming Rutledge on the weeks leading up to and including Advent.
Bob Price
Dec 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Advent... or as the world calls it, "Pre-Christmas" is the time between Christ the King Sunday (usually the Sunday after Thanksgiving) and Christmas Eve. It is a time that is overlooked by the world and misunderstood by large portions of the Church. It is a time that is seen as 'preparation for Christmas,' or a celebration of Old Testament prophesies.

Not so fast, says Fleming Rutledge. She brings her own perspective, history and understanding of this important season of the Church year. In her b
Paul Dubuc
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Fleming Rutledge gets real about the Advent Season for the Christian Church. The Episcopal Church's traditional understanding of Advent that she expounds upon in this series of sermons is one I hope more churches will adopt in contrast to the prelude to Christmas that gets us so wrapped up in the commercial trappings of our society. It makes more sense of the darkness of the season in many parts of the world, for "Advent Begins in the Dark" (p. 251).

In contrast to the more common understanding,
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There's so much in this series of Advent sermons to ponder and absorb. I'm writing this two days after Christmas 2020. And here's the passage I relate to today:

"But now notice an extraordinary thing. Just as Malachi reaches the climax of this extraordinary universal prophecy, he suddenly narrows the focus to the most homely, most personal, most intimate circle you could possibly imagine. The final words of the prophecy are these: 'And he (God) will turn the hearts of parents to their children a
Will Turner
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ministry
Fleming Rutledge's sermons on Advent are a helpful source of pointing the church back to Christ's first coming and forward to his second coming. She argues that advent isn't so much about the birth of Jesus, but the longing and hope for his return. I'd say it's both/and.

There is a lot of repetition in these sermons. She warns about the it in the introduction. I'd say about 25% could have been cut with no significant loss. Nonetheless, there are some really solid pieces in here.

As a complementa
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
What comes to your mind when you hear the word Advent? The Baby Jesus, shepherds, wise men, Peace on Earth, hope, light, sentiment and nostalgia? Fleming Rutledge’s take on Advent focuses on pain, hopelessness, darkness, suffering, repentance and the absence of God. Advent is the season of preparation for Christ’s return, but Advent begins in the dark. It begins with the fiery preaching of John, calling sinners to repentance. It’s about judgment that leads to liberation. Peace on Earth is yet to ...more
This is a wonderful book. As one reviewer stated it is easy to consume but more challenging to digest.

The book is almost 400 pages in length comprising a lengthy introduction (which is brilliant), a series of essays and then around 45 five to six page sermons (over 30 years) separated between pre-Advent and during-Advent. Because I only started the book a few days before Advent, I haven't read the pre-Advent sermons but will come back to those next year.

Rutledge's emphasis focuses on the future
Derek Winterburn
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
Rutledge repeatedly tells us that a. Episcopalians do Advent well and b. that she enjoys it particularly. This seems to be because Advent, as a period of waiting for Christmas, maps onto a Christian's real situation, waiting for the End. She makes a habit of bring up 'dark stories' that illustrate that everything is not getting better, and the world needs God's intervention.

Oddly this book includes some sermons preached from before Advent (chiefly from the Kingdom season.) Nevertheless there is
A book of short sermons divided by topic (kind of) focusing on the Advent season. Rutledge is an Episcopal priest, so I learned a lot about how a different denomination celebrates Advent. I come from a very conservative background while she comes from a more liberal one, so she often assumes theological positions that I don't see in the churches I've attended, but reading outside one's own tradition is a good practice. I found this book to be very enjoyable and good for Advent season reading.

Joel Wentz
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fleming Rutledge is a treasure. This is another stunning collection of sermons that span decades, and explore every nuance of the Advent season. The reader can skip around and enjoy specific passages or chapters, but much is gained from reading straight through. Rutledge is a master at true preaching - preaching that engages deeply with culture, is utterly committed to scripture, and speaks directly to the heart and soul.

I just adored this book, and will be returning to it year after year. Spec
Mitchel Lee
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was so impactful for me this Advent. While the sermons are a bit repetitive in theme, I liked that because the main point of Advent as a time of preparation for judgment and restoration resounded throughout. I appreciated her conviction about the importance of John the Baptist, and I felt urged on to prepare for Christ's coming again.

This is definitely a volume that I will come back to each Advent at least for one or two devotional readings.
Margaret D'Anieri
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a collection of sermons preached in and on Advent, and I will come back to it. (Published sermons are sort of an oxymoron ... so think of them as essays). Not a book to read start to finish. But worth the price for the introduction alone that recovers the power and purpose of Advent, which has become mostly “time to get ready for Christmas”. As she says, Advent is not for the faint of heart, and neither is this book, but it will change your approach to the season.
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“Our lives are eschatologically stretched between the sneak preview of the new world being born among us in the church, and the old world where the principalities and powers are reluctant to give way. In the meantime, which is the only time the church has ever known, we live as those who know something about the fate of the world that the world does not yet know. And that makes us different. —Will Willimon, Conversion in the Wesleyan Tradition” 2 likes
“In the church, this is the season of Advent. It’s superficially understood as a time to get ready for Christmas, but in truth it’s the season for contemplating the judgment of God. Advent is the season that, when properly understood, does not flinch from the darkness that stalks us all in this world. Advent begins in the dark and moves toward the light—but the season should not move too quickly or too glibly, lest we fail to acknowledge the depth of the darkness. As our Lord Jesus tells us, unless we see the light of God clearly, what we call light is actually darkness: “how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:23). Advent bids us take a fearless inventory of the darkness: the darkness without and the darkness within.” 1 likes
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