Advent1A.27.11.2016

Revd Rex A E Hunt

International eMail: rexae74@gmail.com
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Now Published
Rex A E Hunt 
When Progressives Gather Together:
Liturgy, Lectionary, Landscape… And Other Explorations

Melbourne: Morning Star Publishing, 2016
(In the USA published by Wipf & Stock)

Suggestion: ’Refresh’ each page before reading to make sure to get my latest edition
Details on the availability of my books, supporting progressive religious thought, HERE


LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
27 November 2016. Advent 1A. (Blue).

Celebrating Solidarity: The Jesus Meal Tradition


jacarandatree2

           

Acknowledgement of Country/First Peoples
(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.

Music of Celebration (with DVD/slide images of nature and people)

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

Advent Wreath – ‘Source of Light’
Led by the children and leaders of Sunday Club

Advent 1
v1 Spontaneous sun
v2 generous giver of light,
v3 heat and energy…
Light first Advent candle

v4  We give thanks that throughout this season of hope
we are warmed by the signs of hope
we see in our world
and in our own lives. (Gretta Vosper/ab).

OR

Advent 1: ‘Earth’
v1   Today, we remember the earth and light
with this candle of hope.
All   The earth is home for all creation.
It feeds us and sustains us.

v1   Yet, we humans exhaust it and foul it
with our garbage as if we don’t care,
as if we have lost hope for the future of our planet.
(Silence)
v2   We light this first advent candle…
The candle is lit

All  and as we do we renew our commitment
to live gently and hopefully on this earth.

v1   May it be so. 

Presentation of the Christmas Bowl
v5  Without hope, people struggle to find their way.
The bowl, made by the children previously, is placed near the Advent wreath

PS: A short history of the Christmas Bowl Appeal can be found at:  https://www.actforpeace.org.au/Christmas-Bowl/About/What-is-the-Christmas-Bowl

Blessing of the Christmas Bowl
v4  We pray a blessing on this Christmas Bowl,
on all who give to it,
and all whose lives will be affected by it.

All  May our hearts burn within us, enabling us
to become reflections of love, and hope in the world.

Note: (i) A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE
(ii) Additional Special Purpose Hymns that cover major international events or themes can be found HERE  They include the categories: 1. Bush (Brush) Fire, 2. Tsunami, Storms/Cyclones, 3. Earthquakes, 4. War/Remembrance, 5. Caregiving, 6. God as Mother, 7. Human Trafficking, 8. Disabled, 9. Migration/Refugees

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing.  
Children move to Sunday Club.
"Carol our Christmas(Tune: Reversi)    9 (v1) 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.
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.

Act of Awareness
We come together in this hour…
in a wider search for truth and purpose.

In this quest, may we greet one another with open hearts and minds;
inspire each other to consider new questions
and seek deeper meaning;
and cultivate both wisdom and compassion.

Let all who enter this sacred place
find comfort in this community.

OR

v1 We pray:
Now is the moment of magic, when the whole,
round earth celebrates the sun.
So here's a blessing:
days will continue to get longer and brighter.

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)

Hymn When Our Heart is in a Holy Place”   1008 STJ
Refrain:
When our heart is in a holy place,
When our heart is in a holy place,
We are blessed with love
And amazing grace,
When our heart is in a holy place.

When we trust the wisdom in each of us,
Ev’ry colour every creed and kind,
And we see our faces in each other’s eyes,
Then our heart is in a holy place.
Refrain:

When we tell our story from deep inside,
And we listen with a loving mind,
And we hear our voices in each other’s words,
Then our heart is in a holy place.
Refrain:

When we share the silence of sacred space,
And the God of our Heart stirs with in,
And we feel the power of each other’s faith,
Then our heart is in a holy place.  John Poley
Refrain:
The people sit after the hymn

OR

In the Northern hemisphere
Let Christmas Come(Tune: ‘Danby’, LM)    224 SLT
Let Christmas come, it’s story told,
when days are short and winds are cold;
let Christmas come, its lovely song,
when evening’s soon and night is long.

Let Christmas come, its great star glow,
on quiet city, parks of snow;
let Christmas come, its table gleam,
love born again: the truth of dream. (John H Morgan)
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
“Grace Confounding”
By Amos N Wilder. Grace Confounding/1

He came when he wasn’t expected
as He always does,
though a few on the night-shift had the release early.

He came where he wasn’t expected
as He always does,
though a few mages were tipped off.

He came where even the Apostles couldn’t go along,
in Nazareth of all places, on the edge of nowhere;
they had to place it in David’s home town.

He is always one step ahead of us;
the space-age calls for new maps
and its altars and holy places are not yet marked.

OR

"Prayer of the Earth”
By Andrew Hill.

Space-hanging Earth,
fragile as a Christmas babe
delicate as a Christmas Tree ornament:
nurture us as a mother nurtures children,
like Mary nursing Jesus.

Forgive our hurtful ways.
Help us to fairer sharing.

And so may you sustain all earth's children and all earth's beings
even your Earthly self
unto all generations and
into all time to come.

Centering Silence
In this familiar place, listen:
to the sounds of breathing,
creaking chairs,
shuffling feet,
clearing throats,
and sighing all around.

Know that each breath, each movement, holds a life within it.
(Silence)

These are signs that we choose to be in this safe place.  BPescan/adapted

EXPLORING

Readings from our Religious/Biblical Tradition
Some readings from our broad religious tradition
shall be read by (NN) and (NN).

Hebrew Scriptures:
Isaiah 2:1-4  (Inclusive Text)

The vision of Isaiah son of Amos saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In days to come the mountain of the Temple of God
shall tower above the mountains and be lifted higher than the hills.

All the nations shall stream to it.
Peoples without number will come to it and they will say,

‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of our God,
to the Temple of the God of Jacob, Leah and Rachel,
that we may be instructed in God's ways
so that we may walk in God's paths.’

God will wield authority over the nations 
and adjudicate between many peoples; 
these will hammer their swords into plowshares, 
their spears into sickles.

Nation will not lift sword against nation,
there will be no more training for war.

OR

Psalm 122 & 123
Francis Macnab. A Fine Wind is Blowing/45

These psalms speak of a sacred place.  In its biblical version its focus is on Jerusalem the so-called "holy city".  Today as much as any time, we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  But we all need our Jerusalem - our sacred place, where we discover a strong peace emanating from the Good Presence.

What a scramble our lives can be.
We rush from place to place.
We live on a knife-edge, ready it would seem,
to throw our lot in with those who surrender to the negatives of our humanity.

What a relief to come into a place like this
where we can feel a quietening presence;
where people can come together
and find a common purpose and a unifying spirit.

This whole city needs to re-find its sanity
lest people come to believe that all their stresses are inevitable.

So I say, let a good peace come over this city;
let peace come to these walls;
let all who come here, all their friends and their families
know a strong and healthy peace with them.

O God, we have been too long and too much
with our eyes on the wrong things,
even though we believe them to be right.

Lift our eyes to a bigger better dimension,
to be participants in your broadening good presence.
We know the pains and the prejudices of life…

Help us to experience the best kindness and the gentlest healing
that flow from the very heart of the universe.

I name you to be God;
I believe you to be God.
God, the source of all that is good!

OR

From the World Around Us:
"Open Your Eyes!!”
By John Cranmer

What is there to be seen
Out the corners of our eyes

Those possibilities opening to us 
Just beyond the addictive wonders
Of multiple flickering screens
Here in this Suburban BlackHole
That sets so hard the limits 
Of what we might experience
In our 24/7 intensity

Open your eyes!! 
(Open our eyes)
What is here to be seen?

Come work with these eyes
Yes yours and mine
Here in this immediate ecology
This myriard of crouching things
Ready to be engaged
By a steady eyes-open awareness
Ambienced in love and imagination

IMPOSSIBLE!!! --- (you say)
Nothing here but stuff and weeds!!
Untidy mess
Scraps of bits
Unsanitized oddities
Things that attract birds 
And snails 
And slugs
And crawling things
And mud --- And dirt --- And poo!!

Ahh — yes
Life in all its wonder of Being!!

Hymn "Let Justice Roll Down"   85 AA
Refrain:
Let justice roll down life a river,
let justice roll down like a sea,
let justice roll down like a river,
let justice begin through me.

Justice for all who go hungry,
crying to God to be fed,
left in a world of abundance
to beg for a morsel of bread.
Refrain:

Justice for those who are homeless,
victims of warfare or need,
trapped on the borders of no-where,
lost in the canyons of greed.
Refrain:

Justice for all who are powerless,
yearning for freedom in vain,
plundered, and robbed of their birth-right,
silently bearing their pain. Colin Gibson

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 24:36-40  (Inclusive Text)

Jesus said to the disciples:
'As it was in Noah's day, so will it be when the Promised One comes.

'For as in those days before the Flood
people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands,
right up to the day Noah went into the ark,
and they suspected nothing until the Flood came and swept all away.

'It will be like this when the Promised One comes.

'Then, of two workers in the fields one is taken, one left.
Of two at the millstone grinding, one is taken, one left.'

'So stay awake, because you do not know
the day your God is coming…

(For those interested…
You can purchase a copy of the Inclusive Texts/Readings (AU$50) from:
Inclusive Language Project
PO Box 1303
Toombul QLD 4012 Australia)

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Celebration of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share a celebration of faith…
The people stand was they are able

v1  The creativity of God fills the universe.
v2  Like rain falling upon the earth
and sun warming the rocks,
All  the heart of God flows over us all
in renewing grace and love.

v1 The generosity of Companion Jesus fills our lives.
v2  With company on the journey
and mercy in understanding,
All  the Bread, the Way and the Truth
set us free to live again.

v1 The faithfulness of the Spirit fills our future.
v2  It surrounds us with a cloud of hope
and lifts our tired feet once more.
All  In courage born of costly life,
it calls and sings and dances on.

v1 We are the people of freedom.
v2  We lay down our past in God’s forgiveness.
All  We will walk on into God’s new day. (Adapt/Dorothy McRae-McMahon)

Sharing '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 (Iona).
All Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

CELEBRATING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
"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 (Shirley Erena Murray)

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

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
The choices we make
All  craft us into who we are becoming.
Whether good or ill,
All  It is what comes from within
that tells of who we are…

May we ever remember that we are light, 
secure that truth within our hearts,
All  and choose to live beauty and love
into the world. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

And so we take a flame and light our special Care Candle…
The Care Candle is lit

For ourselves, for those named or remembered, and in solidarity with those
who have not the freedom to express their concern or celebration
for fear of discrimination or condemnation.

In all our joys and in all our concerns, may we be ever mindful
of the presentness of the sacred among us,
and to see the new possibilities of the now.

The 'Abba' Prayer: (Optional)
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.  
(Burton Mack/Q)

CELEBRATING SOLIDARITY: THE JESUS MEAL TRADITION
Offerings
Our offerings and gifts to the Christmas Bowl, 
shall now be received.

Presentation
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.

Invitation
In faith and love, gathered in this place,
we celebrate the brightness of community
and the summer season.

Thanksgiving
v3  In the early spring, pale green blades of wheat
broke through the earth's surface.
v4  This hand of mine began to take shape millions of years ago
as the first leaves stretched out for nourishment and light.
v5  Eons ago the earth itself was glowing with heat
as it separated itself from the sun.
All (singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.

v3  By mid-summer the wheat stems sway heavily
in the breeze for acres and acres
of green and golden earth.
v4  The early species of kangaroo,
able to move quickly and nimbly in a way
we can only imitate, learned which plants
were best for them to eat and sought them out.
v5  The ground we stand on carries in it
the remnants of volcanos and oceans
which once dominated the landscape.
All (singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.

v3  This morning we gather around the bread,
which comes from the wheat in the paddocks.
v4  This morning we celebrate our oneness
with the plants and the animals,
which precede and surround us.
v5  This morning we remember we are earth people,
united with each other and to all on this globe
by the ground under us.
3,4,5  One body, one history, one home for us all.
All (singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.

3,4,5  One body, one history, one home for us all.
All (singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.

Silence

3,4,5  One body, one history, one home for us all.
All (singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.

The Tradition
v1  On the night of his arrest, so the story is told,
Jesus once again shared again a meal with his friends.

He took the bread, offered thanks...
v2  Blessed is the Holy One of Israel,
sovereign of all that is who brings forth
the bread from the ground
v1  broke it, and gave it to them, inviting them to eat.
And we remember…

Afterwards, he poured a cup of wine, offered thanks...
v2  Blessed is the Holy One of Israel,
sovereign of all that is who brings forth
 grape from the vine
v1  and gave it to them,
inviting them to drink.
And we remember…

v3  Life grows from the earth.
The kernel of wheat lives in the soil before it breaks ground.
As it stretches itself skyward, it also reaches deeper into the earth.
v4  Water and nourishment blend with sunlight as the stalk
begins to produce kernels of its own.
v5  This bread holds those kernels, that sunshine, that soil and water.
As we take it into ourselves, we affirm our own roots in the earth.

v1  This is the ground we stand upon,
the earth yearning to be inside us.
It is the life we have taken in order to live ourselves.
v3  Life flows toward us from the Source beyond us.
It is a stream that creates us anew each day.
v4  It is a stream that wants to make its way through us.
A stream that flows through the city and country.
v5  A stream that readies a harvest in every season.

v1  This is the life we have received from the earth
and from our forbearers.
This is the pulsing energy that has made a home in us
and that we give on.

Communion
The bread and the wine will be served 'coming forward' around the Table

Bread, that was once scattered as grain in a paddock
and gathered together
and baked into a loaf.
Bread broken

Wine, that was once grapes grown on a hillside
and gathered together
and pressed into juice.
Wine poured out

Bread and wine…

Let us eat and drink.
Let no one be forgotten or denied.

After Communion
We have eaten broken bread and have tasted poured out wine.
Let us now commit ourselves to a life of justice and compassion.

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand, as they are able, to sing
Dream a Dream”   12 (v1-2) FFS
Dream a dream,
a hopeful dream,
as children do on Christmas Eve,
imaginings,
surprising things
to hold and to believe.

Dream a time,
this Christmas time, 
when no one’s hungry or afraid;
that weapons go
and harvest grow,
that friends are met and made.
Remain standing

Parting Words
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 Community Candle is extinguished

May you live forever
All May you live forever
in the name of love.
All in the name of love.

May you love forever
All May you love forever
in the name of life.
All in the name of life.

Called by God
All Called by God

filled with the spirit
All filled with the spirit

compassionate and faithful
All compassionate and faithful
rejoicing always
All rejoicing always,

may you live in love
All may you live in love
forever. Amen.
All forever. Amen.  (Miriam T Winter/wpws)

Words of Blessing
The worship of the gathered community is now ended.
Go in peace.
Go in joy.
Go in love.

Carry with you what is precious to us all:
reverence for all life,
beauty that displays itself in love,
deep, abiding peace. (Gordon B McKeeman)
All Amen! May it be so!

Hymn (Cont) “Dream a Dream”   12 (v3-4) FFS
Dream a peace,
our planet’s peace,
the greening of the earth at play,
the holy ground
where life is found,
where God has touched the clay.

Dream a gift,
the Christmas gift
that changes everything we see:
the shimmering
of angel wing,
the Child, the Mystery.  Shirley Erena Murray
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 this time 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. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 1993.
Duncan, G. (ed).
Shine On, Star of Bethlehem. A Worship Resource for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2001.
(FFS)
Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000. 
(HoS)
Hope is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.
Inclusive Readings. Year C. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2006.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2004.
Iona Community.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
McRae-McMahon, D.
The Glory of Blood, Sweat and Tears. Liturgies for Living and Dying. Melbourne. JBCE, 1996.
Mack, B. L.
The Lost Gospel. The book of Q and Christian Origins. New York. HarperSanFrancisco, 1993.
Macnab, F.
A Fine Wind is Blowing: Psalms of the Bible in words that Blow you away. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2006.
Seaburg, C. (ed).
The Communion Book. Boston. UUMA, 1993.
(SLT)
Singing The Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
(STJ)
Singing the Journey. Boston. UUA, 2005.
Smith, D. E. & Taussig, H E.
Many Tables. The Eucharist in the New Testament and Liturgy today. Eugene. Wipf & Stock, 1990.
Vosper, G. 2009/2010. 
Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane.
Wilder, A. N.
Grace Confounding. Poems by Amos Niven Wilder. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1972.
Winter, M. T.
Women Prayer. Women Song. Resources for Ritual. Hartford. Meyer Stone Books, 1987.

Web sites/Other:
Safford, Hill, Pescan, McKeeman. UUA Worship Web. Boston.  < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
David Galston. Material used from the Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. <http://www.questcentre.ca
Advent 1: Earth. Adapted from ‘The Four Elements’ by Dean Salter, UCC. 2006
John Cranmer. “Open Your Eyes!!” Used with permission of the author (An Australian colleague in ministry) 27 September 2016

rexae74@gmail.com