Revd Rex A E Hunt
Web site: www.rexaehuntprogressive.com
LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
19 December 2010. Advent 4A. (Blue).
Featuring several new Advent Hymns
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
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 sunset, people on beaches, creeks, water)
Lighting of the community candle
The candle is lit
Advent wreath – ‘Source of light’
v1 Orange flame burning
fire, breathing, consuming,
refining our thoughts.
Light fourth candle
v2 Holy God Spirit
we give thanks for the flame,
symbol of your presentness that never fails.
We pray for all people
that we may keep the Advent flame alight in our lives,
may we not to extinguish it when Christmas is past.
All Amen. (Adapted-HJohnston/ssb)
Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing. Children move to Sunday Club.
"Carol our Christmas" (Tune: Reversi) 9 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
Shepherds and musterers
move over hillsides,
finding, not angels,
but sheep to be shorn;
wise ones make journeys
whatever the season,
searching for signs of the
truth to be born.
Right side up Christmas belongs
to the universe,
made in the moment
a woman gives birth;
hope is the Jesus gift,
love is the offering,
here on the earth. SEMurray
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 candles are kindled
and clear voices whisper secret music.
So here's a blessing:
it is the warmth of summer love that enables us to overcome
the barriers we place around ourselves, and
love that strengthens us to take risks.
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)
Past, present and future are brought together in Advent. To see God's vision of what is yet to be.
Sentiments expressed in the ancient Advent hymn…
“O come, Emmanuel” (Tune: ‘Veni Emmanuel’, 88 88 & refrain) 265 TiS
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.
O come, O come, great Lord of might
who to the tribes on Sinai's height
in ancient times did give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe.
O come, O key of David, come,
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high
and close the path to misery.
O come, O branch of Jesse, free
your own from Satan's tyranny;
from depths of hell your people save
and give them victory o'er the grave.
O come, O dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by your advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death's dark shadows put to flight.
The people sit after the hymn
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.
“We gather here”
By Barbara Hamilton-Holway (Edited)
We gather here as individual people:
young and old,
male and female,
gay, lesbian and straight,
abled and differently abled,
regular and visitor…
We gather here as a community of people who are more than categories.
We gather here, each ministering to the other,
meeting one another’s strength,
We give thanks for this extraordinary blessing.
Here may our minds stretch, our hearts open, our spirits deepen.
Here may we acknowledge our brokenness
and be ever stirred by love’s infinite possibilities.
Hymn “Anna’s Song” 55 ISIT
Lift this child to the sun,
Raise this child to the sky;
God has come from above,
Come to earth from on high.
Lift this child, lift this child to the sun.
Lay this child on the ground,
One with us, one with earth;
Let God know in his son,
Human clay, human birth.
Lay this child, lay this child on the ground.
Place this child in the shade,
Hang this child ‘neath a tree;
With his hand on the wood,
May this child set us free.
Place this child, place this child in the shade.
Give this child to the world,
Let him be common folk;
God has come to be born,
As an ordin’ry bloke.
Give this child, give this child to the world.
Send this child down the road,
Let him ride hard the track;
To be king of the bush,
And the harsh world outback.
Send this child, send this child down the track.
Lift this child to the night,
To the silence of God;
Let this child cry for us,
And the silence be heard.
Lift this child, lift this child to the night. © NHabel
Hymn “Star-Child, earth-Child” 40(ii) COC
go-between of God,
love Child, Christ Child,
heaven's lightning rod,
This year, this year,
let the day arrive,
when Christmas comes
Street child, beat child
no place left to go,
hurt child, used child,
no one wants to know,
Grown child, old child,
mem'ry full of years,
sad child, lost child,
story told in tears,
Spared child, spoiled child,
having, wanting more,
wise child, faith child
knowing joy in store,
God's stupendous sign,
star of stars that shine,
For many of us life can be just a bit ordinary.
But on occasions we catch sight of something
truly exciting and life-giving.
That is the invitation we call Advent.
Copies of several Christmas cards have been placed around the worship space.
You are invited to go and select a card/design which appeals to you
and then share with the person next to you
a memory of a Christmas past, or why
you selected that particular card.
Let us prepare a manger in our hearts
for the birth of the sacred.
For something sacred needs to be born:
born from the mating of what is, and what might be.
All Let us remind ourselves it is a hopeful world,
with a future yet to be constructed, a future
wanting to enlist builders of a better tomorrow.
This is the season when angels tell us
that something sacred wants to be born.
But it needs a manger.
All Let us prepare a manger in our hearts
for the birth of the sacred. DLoehr/adapted
Readings from our religious tradition
Two readings from our broad biblical and religious tradition shall be read by (NN).
Nag Hammadi Library:
The Infancy Gospel of James 3:1, 4:1-2, 5:5-9
And Anna looked up to the heavens and saw a nest of sparrows in the laurel tree…
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood in front of her, saying,
"Anna, Anna, the Lord God has heard your prayer.
You will conceive and give birth and your child
will be spoken of everywhere people live."
And Anna said,
"As the Lord God lives, whether I give birth to either a male or a female child,
I will bring it as an offering to the Lord my God
and it will be a servant to him all the days of its life."
And Anna's pregnancy came to term.
After nine months, she gave birth and she said to the midwife, "What is it?"
The midwife said, "A girl." Anna said, "My soul exalts this day."
And she put her baby to bed.
After her days were completed, Anna cleansed her menstrual flow
and gave her breast to the child
and gave her the name, Mary.
Matthew 1:18-25 (Inclusive Text)
This is how Jesus came to be born.
Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together
she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
Her husband Joseph, being righteous, and wanting to spare her publicity,
decided to divorce her informally.
Joseph had decided to do this when the angel of God
appeared in a dream, and said,
‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife,
because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit.
‘She will give birth to a child whom you must name Jesus,
because this is the one who is to save this people from their sins.’
Now all this took place to fulfil the words
spoken by our God through the prophet:
The young woman will conceive and give birth to a child
and they will call this child Emmanuel,
a name which means "God-is-with-us".
When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of God had said
and took Mary to their home.
Silence for personal reflection
An affirmation of faith
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share an affirmation of faith…
The people stand
We experience the holiness of God
All in wonder of creation
in endless sky and sea;
in breathless beauty and quiet bush;
in acts of courage and silent heart.
We know the God in Jesus of Nazareth
All in gifts of healing and liberations of life;
in recognitions of love and callings to serve;
in sufferings for others and glimpses of grace.
We live from God's Spirit
All in moments of faith
in dreams beyond hoping
and in rhythms of new energy.
We name the God who is our centre.
All We claim the goodness that is ours in God.
We announce the truth that lies at the heart of the gospel.
We believe we are not alone
in our struggle to be the church. (DMcRae-McMahon/eoj)
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
kindred spirits gather,
drawn toward the light,
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,
from a Christmas star (SEMurray)
Hymn “At the census in the city” (Tune: 477 TiS, 87.87D)
At the census in the city,
at the crossing place of life,
where the homeless and abandoned
share the scars of human strife;
mid the rubble and the ruins
shedding God's prophetic light
see, a star is softly shining
through the horror of the night.
In the cross of shafting shadows
see a mother and her child,
see the wetness of his features,
freshly born, so not yet filed.
In a world of cold statistics
yet another mouth to feed,
for the parents' love holds tension
with a calling, crying need.
So from Bethlehem in hist'ry
to this present place and time,
God has entered human anguish,
sung in tune to human rhyme;
yes, the baby that we welcome,
yes, the Christ of Palestine,
are as one, we seal remembrance
in a feast of bread and wine.
For the ruin of the manger,
this prefig'ring of the cross,
offers Christ as our relation
in our chaos and our loss,
puts the Christ into the present,
places God in human hands,
tests our loving and our living
here in this and every land. APratt, © Stainer & Bell Ltd.
Our offerings and gifts to the Christmas Bowl, shall now be received.
Presentation People stand as they are able, as the gifts are presented
We are called to make real
the sharing of the gifts God has given to us.
We offer what we have for the good of all.
Reflections and prayers
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and concerns shared.
May our thoughts be filled with transformation,
All May our words reflect the yearnings of our hearts.
And may the spirit that binds within us as we gather
All Hallow each and every passing moment
we know here together (Adapt.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.
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)
Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
“Sing a different song” (Tune: Different Song) 62 (v1-2) HSNW
Sing a different song now Christmas is here,
Sing a song of people knowing God's near:
The Messiah is born in the face of our scorn,
Sing a different song of welcome and warn.
Shout a different shout now Christmas is here,
Shout a song of joy and genuine cheer:
Fill the earth and sky with the news from on high,
Shout a different shout that all may come by.
Words of mission
Time has now come for us to leave this sacred place.
As we do, may we embrace the challenges
of our lives and our world...
The candle is extinguished
Leave here with the certainty that God
loves you and travels with you.
All Relax in God’s love,
and love in openness to God’s spirit moving within you.
Go to live as God’s people:
All as God’s eyes, God’s heart and God’s hands,
in the name of Christ.
May the blessing of God,
sower of seed,
nurturer of hope, and
gardener of harmony,
stay with us today, tomorrow, and always.
Hymn (Cont) “Sing a different song” (Tune: Different Song) 62 (v3-4) HSNW
Love a different love now Christmas is here,
Love without condition, love without leer:
With the humble and poor, with the shy and unsure,
Love a different love. Let Christ be the cure!
Dance a different dance now Christmas is here,
Dance a dance of war on suffering and fear:
Peace and justice are one and their prince is this Son,
Dance a different dance. God's reign has begun! (Bell/Maule)
The people sit after the hymn
'This week' at (NN)
Birthdays and anniversaries
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.
(HSNW) Bell, J; G. Maule. 1989. Heaven shall not wait. Wild Goose Songs Vol. 1. Revised edition. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Burgess, R. 2001. A book of blessings. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
(COC) Carol our christmas. A book of New Zealand carols. 1996. NZ: Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2001. Shine on, star of bethlehem. A worship resource for advent, christmas and epiphany. GtB: Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
(FFS) Faith forever singing. Songs for a new day. 2000. NZ: Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
(HoS) Hope is our song. New hymns and songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. 2009. NZ: Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
(ISIT) In spirit and in truth. A worship book. 1991. Switzerland: Geneva. World Council of Churches. Seventh Assembly.
Inclusive readings. Year A. 2004. QLD: Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. 2001. Iona abbey worship book. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
McRae-McMahon, D. 1993. Echoes of our journey. Liturgies of the people. VIC: Melbourne. JBCE.
Mack, B. L. 1993. The lost gospel. The book of Q and christian origins. NY: New York. HarperSanFrancisco.
(TiS) Together in song. Australian hymn book 2. 1999. NSW: Sydney. HarperCollins Religious.
Vosper, G. 2010. Another breath. Prayers for celebration and reflection. QLD: Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought, Brisbane.
Safford, Hamilton-Holway, UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site: hymns.uk.com
Early Christian Writings. http://www.gospels.net/translations/infancyjamestranslation.html