A brief Advent reflection

Advent’s just begun.

Ordinary Time closed with a celebration of Christ the King; now we’re waiting for that King to be born…while at the same time, looking for him to “come again in glory.” Even while Christmas preparations must be done, we hold those celebrations at bay during this strange season of remembering the eschaton and anticipating Christ’s birth 2,000-some years ago, all while continuing to meet his Real Presence in the Sacrament at every Mass we attend. Advent is “timey-wimey,” as the Doctor might put it:

Well, in the Church, we usually use the phrase, “already and not yet,” but it’s a similar idea.

The entire Church year, in fact, is like this—not just Advent. When we walk the Way of the Cross with Christ during Holy Week, we’re also busy preparing for Easter celebrations, while celebrating the Eucharist before, on, and after Maundy Thursday. We know that Christ was born, lived, died, rose again, ascended into heaven, and sent the Holy Spirit to his Church, but we mark the days of our year in ways that combine memory, anticipation, presence, longing, and participation in ways that allow us to find, afresh, our own place in the story, year after year. We sound the depths of the traditions, which have accrued and continue to grow through the centuries, and find that they echo back our own longing, fear, joy, pain, faith, doubt—whatever we might be experiencing right now. We have the opportunity to put our lives as they are this year in conversation with that story which is both historic and eternal, the story of the One who was, and is, and will be.

Blessed Advent. May the mysteries we ponder with Mary resonate in our lives throughout the coming year.

Annunciatory Angel, Fra Angelico, c. 1450-1455. Detroit Institute of Arts.

Annunciatory Angel, Fra Angelico, c. 1450-1455. Detroit Institute of Arts.

PS: I’d be remiss not to mention that today, Detroit’s application for bankruptcy protection was approved by a judge. I ask for your prayers for the city and its residents, as well as the surrounding region, and for wisdom and a spirit of servanthood in the leaders who will be hashing out a plan going forward. For more information:

USA Today’s report, which gives a general overview of today’s news on the subject.

Huffington Post’s report centering on the fate of the Detroit Institute of Arts’ collections.

The Nation’s report, which considers the really bad precedent(s) that could come out of this.

Maccabees at Midtown

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I can’t say too much about this restaurant, since I’ve only been there once. We had brunch on the Sunday of my visit to Detroit and, as I’d mentioned a couple posts ago, I had strep and couldn’t swallow very much. Which was a shame. The pancakes I’d ordered were delicious.

Mmm...pancakes.

Chocolate chip pancakes with a berry-infused maple syrup, and a mimosa to drink.

My friend Paula had planned on our eating here for Sunday brunch, since we were meeting my sister and her boyfriend. It’s a place she’s been impressed with.

There weren’t many people in the restaurant when we arrived, and only a few more when we left. The area where we were sitting was very brightly lit, thanks to the building’s large windows, but based on the rest of the interior, it seems to me like more of an evening venue. However, I didn’t see any non-brunch menus. But you can check them out here!

Interior of Maccabees at Midtown

The server walked into the frame just as I pushed the button. I do that all the time at my job, too.

The service was excellent. So were the mimosas, which came with brunch.

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Sunday in Midtown: Brunch all day, complete with cocktails!

The restaurant is, as the name suggests, in the Maccabees Building, which is owned by Wayne State University these days. (It used to be owned by the Detroit Public Schools.) Adjacent to the WSU campus, it is located in that part of Midtown otherwise known as the Cultural Center, because of all the cultural institutions there: the Detroit Institute of Arts and Detroit Film Theatre, the Detroit Historical Museum, Wayne State University, the Detroit Public Library‘s main branch (which houses the Burton Historical Collection), the Michigan Science Center (formerly the Detroit Science Center), the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Scarab Club, and the College for Creative Studies. Am I forgetting anyone? Well, the Maccabees Building is kitty-corner from the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (Episcopal), which is worth a visit, if only to see its Pewabic tile floors.

So here’s my suggestion: Go to church at the cathedral (beginning this fall, the main service is at 11:00 on Sundays), have brunch at the Maccabees, then go to a museum or two. The DIA will absorb a whole day quite easily, and you still won’t have seen everything. If you’d rather breeze through a couple museums, I think the Detroit Historical Museum and the Charles Wright Museum of African American History would go together nicely, although you could spend an afternoon at just one of them as well.

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The Maccabees Building, taken from across the street at the DIA (near the Farnsworth entrance). The restaurant is located just to the left-hand side of the large, front door in this photo—conveniently right off of Woodward.

I still wish I’d been well enough to finish off those pancakes. They were delicious.