Christmas1A.26.12.2010

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au

Web site:  www.rexaehuntprogressive.com




LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

26 December 2010. Christmas 1A. (White).



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 worship

The gong is sounded three times


v2 The joy of the Companion Jesus be with you all.

All And also with you.


Our God welcomes and invites us

to share in the joy of this day.

v2 We come to experience 

the wonder of love and acceptance.

Let us rejoice and be glad!

All Alleluia! Praise be to God!


v1 Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life

in the presentness of God.


Lighting of the community candle

The candle is lit


Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing

Chant for the Seasons(Tune: ‘Praha’, Irreg.)   73 (v4) SLT

Vernal clouds have turned the star-wheel,

summer is upon us. (Repeat)

Gliding are the hawks,

hovering above

the hot and yellow hillside.

Vernal clouds have turned the star-wheel,

summer is upon us.

crickets in the night,

chirping in our ears

the sound of moon-lit music.

Vernal clouds have turned the star-wheel,

summer is upon us. (MLBelletini)

Remain standing


Opening sentences

v1 Do you hear what I hear?

The warmth of the summer sun encourages

travel and fairs and lazy days at the beach.

All Rest in heavenly peace!  Rest in earthly peace.

v2 Do you see what I see?

Every moment is pregnant with possibility.

The miracle of each moment awaits our sensual wonder.

All Holy life, so tender, yet so wild and free.


v1 Do you feel what I feel?

Our energy and well-being is strong

and our celebrations cherish life together.

All Inner calm, outer light.

v2 Do you know what I know?

Discern what gifts you will bring:

compassion, mercy, courage, justice and care.

All Love’s pure light.  New life, new ideas, are born (Adapt.ILawton/C3 web site)


Prayer of awareness

We pray:

God of surprises,

startle us with truth we do not see,

amaze us with your power and grace,

beckon us, and lead us far above

restricted hope and narrow faith (MRose-adapt/sco).

Amen.


Hymn Christmas is real(Tune: ‘Highwood’, 11 10 11 10. 620 TiS)

Christmas is real when the cost that we measure

reaches the manger and touches the skies,

shop fronts give way to divine revelation,

God is among us and selfishness dies.


Christmas is real when the gifts that are given

mirror the love of this God upon earth,

God who is known in self-giving and loving

crowning our poverty, coming to birth.


Christmas still echoed when screams of the children,

slaughtered by Herod inflamed people's fear.

Christmas remains when the trees and the tinsel

make way for news that we'd rather not hear.


Christmas is real when we enter the squalor

mirrored in Bethlehem so long ago;

off'ring the love that was seen in the God head,

total self-giving not baubles and show. © APratt 2006

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.


Silence

Summer is here!


In the warmth and light of this holiday season it is easier

to smile,

to play

to laugh,

to relax…

Our sun-kissed faces reflect abundant sunlight energy.

For a summer christmas is here.


Yet even as we delight in life’s rich pleasures,

we also remember that some of us are in pain…

suffering from breaking relationships or physical hurt,

watching loved ones fade into dementia or slip from life,

battling anxiety from financial fear or addiction’s ongoing grip.


So, this today, let us breathe deeply and embrace life’s gifts.


Let us be gentle with ourselves and with each other,

caressing all our glorious yet often flawed humanity.

Let us find balance as we dive head-first into life’s rhythms.


And let us reach out to support and hold each other close.

(Silence)                                                                               (Adapt.MAckerson/SBNR blog site, 2009).


Music of reflection (with liturgical dance)


EXPLORING

Reading from our broad biblical tradition

A reading from biblical tradition shall be read by (NN).


Gospel:

Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23  (Inclusive Text)


After the astrologers had left, the angel of God

appeared to Joseph in a dream and said:

‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you,

and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you,

because Herod intends to search for the child

and do away with him’.


So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him,

left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead.

This was to fulfil what God had spoken through the prophet:

I called my child out of Egypt.


After Herod’s death, the angel of God appeared

in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said:

‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and go back

to Israel, for those who wanted to kill the child are dead.’


So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him,

went back to the land of Israel.


But when Joseph learnt that Archelaus had succeeded

his father Herod as ruler of Judaea, he was afraid to go there,

and being warned in a dream,

left for the region of Galilee.


There they settled in a town called Nazareth.


In this way the words spoken through the prophets were to be fulfilled:

He will be called a Nazarene.


Contemporary Word

• A Sermon suitable for this day can be found in my forthcoming book, Against the Stream. Between Pulpit and Pew.

Silence for personal reflection


CELEBRATING

Litany for endings and beginnings

The people stand


Call us on to the adventure

of your passionate life, Loving God.

All Carry us past the boundaries,

the near horizons of our small dreams.

Paint our world in vivid colours so that we see

a whole new vision of your possibilities.

All Hold the cup of living water to our lips

and breathe into our souls

the life of your Spirit.

Pour over us the oil of your annointing,

that we may stand tall

as the royal children of your birthing.

All Fill us with a fire which burns from a flame of truth,

refining our beings so that we dare to take in our hands

your cross of courage, justice, hope and love.

And plant it abroad in all the earth.

All For you have walked this way before us

and we need you until the end of time. (Source unknown)


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 Birth of a boy-child…(Tune: ‘Away in a manager’, 11 11 11 11)   43 RP

The birth of a boy-child, the growth of a man:

his mother's enigma; a part of God's plan?

Uncertain, now standing a part of the crowd;

the still of the water foreshadows a shroud.


The death of an old life, the birth of a new,

as values are challenged, past choices askew.

Fierce currents of feeling, encounters of love,

a man by a river, a voice and a dove.


That voice stills the crowd at the slow river's rim:

'My son, my beloved, now listen to him.'

The birth of a boy-child, the growth of a man:

his mother's enigma; a part of God's plan? (APratt)


AFFIRMING

Offering

Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,

shall now be received.


Presentation The people stand as they are able, for the presentation of gifts

We give these gifts as an act of celebration.

All With them we celebrate our own new life,

and the worldwide proclamation

of the good news to all people, everywhere.


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 the light and beauty of day

All We give thanks in awe and wonder.

In the dark and stillness of night

All We dream of healing and hope (GVosper/wwg)


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


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 O Birther! Father-Mother of the Cosmos,

Focus your light within us - make it useful:

Create your reign of unity now.

Your one desire then acts with ours,

as in all light, so in all forms.


Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.

Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,

as we release the strands we hold of others' guilt.

Don't let surface things delude us,

But free us from what holds us back.


From you is born all ruling will,

the power and the life to do,

the song that beautifies all, from age to age it renews.


Truly - power to these statements -

may they be the ground from which all

my actions grow:  Amen. (NDouglas-Klotz/pc)


SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing

Come celebrate…(Tune: ‘Gift of life’, CGibson)   17 (v1-2) HoS

Come celebrate the gift of life:

creation’s journey from the star

whose first great flaring forth of light

responded to God’s word of power.

Enable us, O God, to see

your living word is in us still;

this vibrant possibility

within our human lives fulfil.


Come celebrate the gift of love,

potential in each human soul,

revealed by Jesus as he strove

to heal our world and make us whole.

Enable us, O God, to choose

beyond the inborn needs of self;

in loving, be prepared to lose

our boundaries, and find new life.

Remain standing


Words of mission

Let us embrace the wonder of this week

with expectation and imagination...

The community candle is extinguished


As we depart one from another,

let our hearts be secure

through every human season.

All Let our hearts be secure

in seasons of anguish as in seasons of joy,

in seasons of failure as in seasons of success,

in seasons of uncertainty as in seasons of security.


Let our hearts be secure in this dual reality:

we are worthy recipients of love and support

we can never earn,

All and we are worthy providers of love and support 

others cannot earn.


Let our hearts be secure,

All for hearts know and understand

and will respond if invited in. JA.Hobart


Blessing words

v1 Go as far as your courage takes you,

for you cannot go beyond the reach of God.

v2 Give as extravagantly as you may,

for you cannot spend all the riches of God.

v1 Care as lavishly as you are able,

for you cannot exhaust the love of God.

v2 Keep journeying as a servant,

for God will always be with you. (BHughes)

All Amen!


Hymn (Cont)Come celebrate…(Tune: ‘Gift of life’, CGibson)     17 (v3) HoS

Come celebrate the gift of power:

the flow of God within each soul,

which calls us in this present hour

to see creation as a whole.

Enable us, O God, to know

your life is present in all things;

and may our lives, within that flow,

reflect the joy creation sings. (MBond)

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:

Douglas-Klotz, N. 1990.  Prayers of the cosmos. Meditations on the aramaic words of Jesus. NY: New York. Harper & Row.

Duncan, G. (ed). 1998.  Seeing christ in others. An anthology for worship, mediation and mission. GtB: Norwich. The Canterbury Press.

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.

(RP) Pratt, A. 2006.  Reclaiming praise. Hymns from a spiritual journey. GtB: London. Stainer & Bell Ltd.

(SLT) Singing the living tradition. 1993.  MA: Boston. UUA.

Vosper, G. 2008.  With or without God. Why the way we live is more important that what we believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.


Web sites:

Hobart, Hughes. UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>

Andrew Pratt. UK. Hymns&Books blog. <http://hymnsandbooks.blogspot.com/>

Ackerson. SBNR.org blog site. USA.

Lawton. C3Exchange web site. USA.  <http://www.c3exchange.org/>

rexae@optusnet.com.au