Advent2A.5.12.2010

Revd Rex A E Hunt

 eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au
Web site:  www.rexaehuntprogressive.com


LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

5 December 2010. Advent 2A. (Blue).
Celebrating community: Sacrament of the Lord's style of Supper


Acknowledgement of land
(An act towards reconciliation)

For thousands of years Indigenous people have walked
in this land, on their own country.
Their relationship with the land is at the centre of their lives.

We acknowledge the (NN) People and their stewardship
of this land throughout the ages.


(NN) is a safe place for all people to worship regardless of
race, creed, age, cultural background or sexual orientation


GATHERING

Gathering music

Entry into the celebration
The gong is sounded three times

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life in the presentness of God.

Music of celebration (with DVD/slide images of people - closeup, night life and people)

Lighting of the community candle
The candle is lit

Advent wreath – ‘Source of light’
Advent 2
v1 Mysterious moon
silver crescent, milky sphere
reflecting, changing

Light second candle

v2  Mother God
we give thanks for the moon
for its waxing and waning that never fails.

We pray for all people in the night-time,
be with those who sleep
be with those who are awake,
may we be refreshed by the hours of darkness.  Adapt.HJohnston/ssb
All Amen.

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing.  Children move to Sunday Club.
"Carol our Christmas"   (Tune: Reversi)   9 (v1-2) AA
Carol our Christmas,
an upside down Christmas;
snow is not falling and
trees are not bare.
Carol the summer, and
welcome the Christ Child,
warm in our sunshine and
sweetness of air.

Sing of the gold and the
green and the sparkle,
water and river and lure
of the beach.
Sing in the happiness
of open spaces,
sing a nativity summer
can reach!
Remain standing

Opening sentences
The season of Advent challenges us
All to see God's vision of what is yet to be,
to hear God's voice calling anew,
All to smell the scent of God in our world.

Prayer of awareness
v1 We pray:
Now is the moment of magic, when the whole,
round earth celebrates the sun.
So here's a blessing:
the universe is ablaze with lights
and the whole world is glad with Christmas singing.

v2 And here’s another blessing:
we already possess all the gifts we need,
we've already received our presents:
ears to hear music,
eyes to behold lights,
hands to build true peace on earth
and to hold each other tight in love.  (VSafford/adapted)
Amen.

Hymn Advent song”      281 GA
Refrain:
Gather in hope, people of God.
Sing the Advent song!
Song of faith, song of trust,
a song to welcome the Christ.

Let the warmth of our love,
like the long summer days,
prepare the way of the Lord,
prepare the way of the Lord.
Let our will for justice,
as strong as the sun,
prepare the way of the Lord,
prepare the way of the Lord.

Refrain:

Let our thirst for the truth,
like the dry, parched earth,
prepare the way of the Lord,
prepare the way of the Lord.
Let our dream for peace,
as bright as the sky,
prepare the way of the Lord,
prepare the way of the Lord.

Refrain:

Let the prophet be heard,
like the blaze of fire,
prepare the way of the Lord,
prepare the way of the Lord.
Let the poor and the rich,
as the lamb and the lion,
prepare the way of the Lord,
prepare the way of the Lord.  DBrowne

Refrain:
The people sit after the hymn

Welcome
In your own words

A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are worshipping at (NN) for the first time
or who have returned after an absence.

Your presence both enriches us and this time of celebration together.
Refer to printed liturgy.
Fellowship hour following worship.
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.

Reflection
"Circles of grace"
By Keri Wehlander. Shine on, star of Bethlehem/23.

Holy One:
We live at mystery's edge,
Watching for a startling luminescence
Or a word to guide us.
In fragile occurrences
You present yourself
And we must pause to meet you.

Daily, there are glimmers,
Reflections of a seamless mercy
Revealed in common intricacies.

These circles of grace
Spill out around us
And announce that we are a part of you.

Centering silence
Let us now take a moment to settle into the silence. 

May we become conscious in this moment
and in every moment of our gathering,
that the Holy One, Creativity God,
is the life giving energy pulsing through us...

EXPLORING

Readings from our religious tradition
Some readings from our broad biblical and religious tradition
shall be read by (NN) and (NN).

Hebrew scriptures:
Isaiah 11:1-2  (Inclusive Text)

A shoot springs from the tree of Jesse,
from Jesse’s roots a branch will blosson:
the spirit of God will rest there,
a spirit of wisdom and insight,
a spirit of counsel and power,
a spirit of knowledge and reverence for God.

Nag Hammadi Library:
The Infancy Gospel of James 1:1-10

In the histories of the twelve tribes of Israel,
Joachim was an extremely rich man.
He always brought a double offering to the Lord, telling himself,
‘My offering for all the people is from my surplus
and my own offering to the Lord God is for forgiveness,
to atone for my sins’.

As the great day of the Lord was drawing near
and the children of Israel were bringing their offerings,
however, Reubel stood in his way, saying,
‘You cannot offer your gifts first because you have not conceived a child in Israel.’

And Joachim became extremely frustrated
and went away to the history of the twelve tribes of his people, saying to himself,
‘I will look in the history of the twelve tribes of Israel
and see whether I am the only one
who has not conceived a child in Israel’.

And he searched and found that all the righteous people
had raised children in Israel.

And he reminded himself about the patriarch Abraham
and that the Lord God gave his son Isaac to him in his last days.

Then, Joachim was extremely frustrated and did not appear to his wife,
but gave himself to the desert and pitched his tent there.
He fasted forty days and forty nights.

All the while, Joachim was saying to himself,
‘I will not go down for food or drink until the Lord my visits me;
prayer will be my food and drink’.

Hymn "God given energy, flaring and fiery(Tune: ‘Spean’, 11 10 11 10, 310(ii) TiS)
God given energy, flaring and fiery,
stella collisions of fury and pace;
shafts of the light from the cosmic conception
searing to earth from infinity's space.

Stars from eternity, driven by forces
formed at the birthing of matter and time;
mystical sinews restraining the planets,
elegant science and God's hidden rhyme;

These are the visions of wonder and rapture,
signs of significance, pointers to place,
drawing us out from our narrow discernment,
windows to love and God's infinite grace.  © APratt

OR

This is the man…(Tune: ‘Stewardship’, 11 10 11 10)
This is the Baptist, unkempt and yet ready,
calling the people to listen and act;
calling them down to the water for washing,
talking of holiness, Godliness, fact.

This is the man who will call to repentance
fisherman, Pharisee, zealot and priest;
here in the river the sinners will gather,
taking God's blessing and sharing God's peace.

This is the prophet announcing the crisis,
moment for turning for challenge and choice;
quenching of hatred, demanding repentance,
giving a reason to praise and rejoice.

This is the man, in humility pointing
others to one who would soon take his place.
Jesus is coming, the Spirit confirming,
this is my Son who will channel my grace.

Up from the waters the Christ is arising,
up from our slumbering we will rise too;
waking to love and to work every dawning,
each a disciple with Christ's work to do © APratt 1/12/2009

Gospel:
Matthew 3:1-8, 10-11  (Inclusive Text)

In due course John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea and saying:
'Repent, for the reign of heaven is close at hand.'

This was the one the prophet Isaiah spoke of saying:
A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for our God, make straight God's paths.

John wore a garment made of camel-hair
with a leather belt round his waist,
and his food was locusts with wild honey.

Then Jerusalem and all Judaea and the whole Jordan district
made their way to John, and as they were baptised in the River Jordan
they confessed their sins.

But when John saw a number of Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism
he said to them,
'Brood of vipers, who warned you to fly from the retribution that is coming?
‘But if you are repentant, produce the appropriate fruit…

‘Even now the axe is laid to the roots of the trees,
so that any tree which fails to produce good fruit
will be cut down and thrown on the fire.

‘I baptise you in water for repentance,
but the one who follows me is more powerful than I am,
and whose sandals I am not fit to carry;
this one will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire…’

Contemporary word

Silence for personal reflection

AFFIRMING

An affirmation of faith
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand and share an affirmation of faith…
The people stand

May our time together renew our hope.
All May the stories we share refresh our courage,
and the songs we sing, lift our spirits.
May the touch of hands, the sound of laughter,
and the sight of faces new and familiar,
All
restore us in faith.  CODame.

The peace
Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace and of our shared friendship.

The peace of God is here... to stay.
All Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn of the Month

"Now the star of Christmas (Tune: 'Kupe', Colin Gibson OR 'Noel Nouvelet', 382 TiS)   105 HoS

Now the star of Christmas

shines into our day,

points a new direction:

change is on the way -

there's another landscape

to be travelled through,

there's a new-born spirit

broadening our view.

When the Christ of Christmas
speaks to heart and mind,
clears the clouded vision
hurting humankind,
kindred spirits gather,
drawn toward the light,
sharing revelation,
joyful at the sight.

If we choose to follow,
we may yet be wise.
Where the three kings travel,
three great faiths arise:
Jesus Christ for Christians,
Jesus, Judah's son,
Prophet for the Muslim,
wisdom in each one.

Where the star enlightens,
light is shared around.
God has drawn no borders,
faith sees common ground:
Peace the hopeful journey,
justice without bar,
God's illumination
from a Christmas star (SEMurray)

Reflections and prayers
Care candle:
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and concerns shared.

Listening response:
In sheltering one another
All  May we be strong.
In holding one another
All  May we be tender.
In the expectations we have of one another
All  
May we be realistic  
(GVosper/ab).

In all our joys and in all our concerns, may we be ever mindful
of the presentness of God among us,
and to see the new possibilities of the now.
The Care candle is lit

And let us recommit ourselves to the inclusive ways of Jesus.

Pastoral prayers:
The Abba Prayer:
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as that is appropriate

All Father, may your name be holy.
May your rule take place.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Pardon our debts, for we ourselves pardon
everyone in debt to us.
And do not bring us to trial
into a trying situation (B Mack/Q)

CELEBRATING

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF THE LORD'S STYLE OF SUPPER
Offerings

Our offerings and gifts to the Christmas Bowl, along with

our bread and wine, shall now be received.

Presentation
The riches of God's gracious love have been entrusted to us.
May we share the beauty of God
with all who walk with us, in caring service
(FMacnab).

Setting
Source and Sustainer of life we name God,
present and active from the beginning of time...
in the Big Bang, in our Planet and the Milky Way...
we are gathered in your ever presentness.
All  And it is right that we give thanks and praise,
and tell our stories of celebration and connectedness.

Thanksgiving
In time beyond our dreaming
Creativity God hovered over the water,
and was revealed in fire and storm and precious law.

Likewise, humanity in this creative likeness evolved on this earth,
along with earth’s minerals and waters,
flowers and fruits,
living creatures of grace and beauty!
All  We offer this our thanks and praise.

Our myths and stories go on to say:
Noah was shown a rainbow,
Moses gained courage to free his people,
in the face of danger Miriam would sing,
Esther found new strength, and Ruth stayed loyal.
All   We give thanks for women and men
in many different cultures and times and places who spoke about
our connectedness with each other, and with all of creation.

In this age and season, with its TV and shopping and summer sun,
we wait again with expectant hearts and hopeful spirits,
as we seek to once again discern your presentness among us.

So we join our celebration to all people:
All  Holy, holy, holy, compassionate God,
the whole universe is full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
All  Hosanna in the highest.

Bread and wine
Long ago our special tradition says, Jesus came in the humble birth of a child,
a child of amazing and divine love,
a child of Mary's 'yes' to you,
a child of Joseph's acceptance,
a child of our humanity.
All  We pledge ourselves to be embodiments
of the dream he dreamed.

Long ago our tradition also says, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and broke it:
v2   'This bread is broken, as my body will be'.
Bread is broken

And he handed it to his friends, inviting them to eat:
v2  'Remember all that I have been to you'.

Long ago our tradition says, Jesus poured a cup of wine,
offered thanks for it, and gave it to his friends:
Wine poured out

v2  'This wine is poured out as my life will be poured out.
As you drink give thanks for all I have given'.

May this gathering of this community of faith
be comforted and challenged during this Advent season.
All   May people see in us the courage and the generosity
that characterised Jesus' life.

Communion
Served at the front by intinction

After communion
We are one with the mystery and Source and Sustainer of all that exists.
We rejoice in our human capacity
to wonder and marvel,
to appreciate,
to rejoice,
and to give thanks.

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
God on earth”  (Tune: ‘O waly waly’, 654, 536 TiS)    70 (v1-4) HSNW
When God Almighty came to earth
He took the pain of Jesus’ birth,
He took the flight of refugee,
And whispered, “Humbly follow me.”

When God Almighty went to work
Carpenter’s sweat he didn’t shirk,
Profit and loss he didn’t flee,
And whispered, “Humbly follow me.”

When God Almighty walked the street,
The critic’s curse he had to meet,
The cynic’s smile he had to see
And whispered, “Humbly follow me.”

When God Almighty met his folk,
Of peace and truth he boldly spoke
To set the slave and tyrant free,
And whispered, “Humbly follow me.”
Remain standing

Words of mission
Let us take on this week’s life with renewed hope and imagination...
The community candle is extinguished

And now may the rhythms of our coming together:
the melodies of our celebration,
and the harmonies of our farewells,
All make musical our living, soothing our spirits,
and uplifting our souls this day,
and into the beckoning future.

Blessing words
Go in peace.

Live simply, at home in yourself.
Be just in your word, just in deed.
Remember the depth of your own compassion.
Crave peace for all peoples in this world, beginning with yourselves.

And as you go, go with the dream of that peace
set firm in your heart.  (MBelletini/adapted)
All Amen!

Hymn (Cont)God on earth”  (Tune: ‘O waly waly’, 654, 536 TiS)        70 (v5-6) HSNW
When God Almighty took his place
To save the sometimes human race,
He took it boldly on a tree
And whispered, “Humbly follow me.”

When God Almighty comes again,
He’ll meet us incognito as then;
And though no words may voice his plea,
He’ll whisper, “Are you following me?”  Iona Community
The people sit after the hymn

'This week' at (NN)
Notices
Birthdays and anniversaries
Significant events
Journey candles

Music

Fellowship
Morning tea is now served.
You are invited to share in the moment of fellowship.

You are invited to keep this copy of the liturgy and take it home with you
to share with another member of your family, or with a friend.

I recommend the use of
LicenSing - Copyright cleared music for churches.


Some of the resources used in shaping this liturgy:

(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa.  Hymns and songs for all churches. 1993. NZ: Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Bell, J; G. Maule. 1989.  Heaven shall not wait. Wild Goose Songs Vol. 1. Revised edition. Gt. Britain: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2001.  Shine on, star of bethlehem. A worship resource for advent, christmas and epiphany. Gt. Britain: Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
(FFS) Faith forever singing. Songs for a new day. 2000. NZ: Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust. 
(GA) Gather Australia. 1995. Vic: Ashburton. NLMC Publications.
(HoS) Hope is our song. New hymns and songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. 2009. NZ: Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Inclusive readings. Year A. 2004
. Qld: Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. 2001.  Iona abbey worship book. Scotland: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Mack, B. L. 1993.  The lost gospel. The book of Q and christian origins. NY: New York. HarperSanFrancisco.
Macnab, F. 1996. Hope:  The deeper longings of the mind and heart. VIC: Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
Vosper, G. 2009/2010.  Another breath. Prayers for celebration and reflection. QLD: Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought, Brisbane.

Web sites:

Safford, Dame, Belletini. UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Andrew Pratt  Hymns & books blog site. UK. <http://hymnsandbooks.blogspot.com/>
Early Christian Writings. http://www.gospels.net/translations/infancyjamestranslation.html

rexae@optusnet.com.au