Advent1B.30.11.2014

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au

Bookmark my Web site:  www.rexaehuntprogressive.com


GATHERING FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

30 November 2014. Advent 1B. (Blue).


Acknowledgement of Country
(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

Advent is about the birth of something sacred.

For something sacred needs to be born:
born from the mating of what is,
and what might be.

It needs a manger.

So let us prepare a manger in our hearts
for the birth of the sacred (DLoehr/First UU Church of Austin). 

Lighting of the Community Candle
The community candle is lit

In this special season, let us celebrate the richness
and diversity of life.

(Note: A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE)

Hymn  The people stand as they are able, to sing
"All Will Be Well" (Tune: 'Julian', Alison Carey)       4 HoS
All will be well,
all things shall be well!
This is the peace
of the deep blue dream;
this is the light
of divinity.
this is the flow
of love'e healing stream.

All will be well,
all things shall be well!
Deeper than pain
lies buried delight;
deeper than grief
dwell life's joyful songs;
all of our wounds
can nurture new light.

Now is the time
to dance heaven's dance;
time to discern
eternity's face;
moment of knowing
beyond all sight;
day of God's smile
and tender embrace.
(WLWallace)

OR

Advent Song”      281 (v1-3) 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.
Refrain:  DBrowne
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
The presentness of Creativity God is among us,
Wm  in the wilderness of our cities,
Mn  furrowed by freeways and shaded by skyscrapers.
v2  Prepare a way…

The presentness of Creativity God is among us,
Wm in the wilderness of our countryside,
Mn where farmers eke out a drought-feed existence.
v2 Prepare a way...

The presentness of Creativity God is among us,
Wm  moving in the air, the land, and the waters,
Mn  making our world whole.
v2  Prepare a way...
All  Smooth the rough places, move the mountains;
let Creativity God’s glory be displayed. (Adapt.BPrewer/ap)

OR

We know not at what hour
we will experience our God,
All whether in the middle of the night or at the break of day,
at a time to come or in this very hour.

We know not in what place
we will experience our God,
All whether in the darkness of a city alley
or on a beach warmed by the sun’s rays,
in a far-off, distant land or in the stillness of this place.

We know not through whose face
we will experience our God,
All whether in the tired eyes of a stranger
or in the warm embrace of a loved one,
within a people yet unknown
or within this community of faith.

Ever-present God, we come together today
with the hope that we will encounter you.
All Keep us awake; keep us alert
that as we pray and as we sing,
as we make a joyful noise and as we keep holy silence
we might encounter you in this time,
in this place, within this community.
(JPetersen/ct)

Act of Awareness
Sing out happiness upon the morning.
Celebrate the famous sun and the comely earth.
Think upon love, that it may grow within us,
and compassion, that it may call us to its service (KPatton/sscl)

OR

We pray:
God of all time bless this season of Advent.

May we recognise your presentness,
rather than merely scuttle to and fro,
in a frenzy of cooking and shopping,
parties and glitter.

For this season is precious time... of waiting, of hoping.
May it be so.

Hymn "May God's Wisdom"  (Tune: ‘Stuttgart’, 87 87, 272 TiS)
May God's wisdom deep within us
Shape the joy within our hearts,
Smooth the road we travel gently
Using all our loving arts.

May fair blossoms dropping petals
On the living path we tread,
Make a cushioned, glorious carpet,
Fragrancing the way ahead.

May we root our dreams and longings
In a true integrity,
Clearing out all that will hinder
Love's own creativity.  JBoyce-Tillman/wb
The people sit

Welcome
In your own words

A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are here 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.

THE CHILDREN LEAD US...
Advent Candle Lighting 1

Hope

v1   As this season of “sparkle and bright” unfolds before us,
the glimmering promises of hope lie like boxed jewels
awaiting an adoring light.

v2 May we hold fast to hope’s patient possibilities.
v3 May we lift them high that they might catch the light of our dreams
and shine bright in our broken world.
v4 And may we instil hope’s challenge in the hearts of our children
that they, too, will live it into meaning–pouring their lives,
as we do ours, into making it real:
for themselves,
for each other,
for the world.

Light candle

v1   May Hope light the world this Christmas. (GVosper)

OR

Advent Candle of Hope
Summer is in the air:
we look for the joys ahead;
for holy-days and recreation,
waiting and incarnation.
All Come, Companion Jesus, Come. (Adapt.BPrewer/bpa)

The first candle
This candle reminds us of the light of hope.
In the stillness of our worship here, we light this candle,
watching it burn and glow,
and we affirm once again that we are a people of God.
The candle is lit.  

Presentation of the Christmas Bowl
Let us remember that without hope,
people struggle to find their way.
The bowl is place near the candle

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

May our hearts burn within us,
enabling us to become reflections of Christ's love,
and hope in the world.
All Amen. May it be so.

Hymn "Child of Christmas Story(Tune: ‘Incarnation’, 65 65)  12 (v1) AA
Child of Christmas story,
stable straw and star,
small and sweet and gentle:
tell us who you are. SEMurray
The children leave to go to Sunday Club

CENTERING

Centering Silence
Let there now be a silence among us…
(Silence)

May God’s stillness and peace rest upon us.
May God’s presence permeate all our living.
May God’s blessing bloom around us.
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Some readings from our broad religious tradition shall now be read.
The reader is (NN).

(i) Traditional Gospel:
Mark 1:2-3   (Inclusive Text)

As it is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah,
Look, I am going to send my messenger before you,
who will prepare your way.

A voice cries in the wilderness:
‘Make ready a way for God,
clear a straight path.’

From the World around us:
'Roadwork'
By Bruce Sanguin. If Darwin Prayed/12.

O Holy One,
we acknowledge that we have domesticated
and downsized you,
turned you into our own cuddly teddy bear.

But, along with our Sunday Notices,
you pass out hard hats
and roadside warnings
that we are entering a construction zone
in preparation
for the Baptist's announcement:

"Every mountain and hill be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight."

Keep us safe, O Holy One.
Even now, the dynamite of the prophet's proclamation
is lodged in the granite of our hearts;
O Holy One, break us open.
Let the roadwork begin.
(SIlence)

(ii) Traditional Gospel:
Mark 13:33-37  (Inclusive Text)

Jesus said to the disciples:
‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know
when the time will come.

‘It is like someone travelling abroad, who has gone from home,
and left servants in charge, all with their own task,
and has told the doorkeeper to stay alert.

‘So stay awake, because you do not know
when the owner of the house is coming,
evening,
midnight,
cockcrow,
dawn.

‘If the owner comes unexpectedly, you must not be found asleep.
And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’

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

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany: ‘Advent - Clear the Way’ (Optional)
On this first Sunday in Advent and in response to the word reflected on,
let us stand and share an Advent litany
The people stand as they are able

God of surprises you call us
from the narrowness of our traditions
to new ways of being church,
from the captivities of our culture
to creative witness for justice,
from the smallness of our horizons
to the bigness of your vision.
All  Clear the way in us, your people, that we
might call others to freedom and renewed faith.

Jesus, wounded healer, you call us
from preoccupation with our own histories
and hurts to daily tasks of peacemaking,
from privilege to pilgrimage,
from insularity to inclusive community.
All  Clear the way in us, your people, that we
might call others to wholeness and integrity.

Holy, transforming Spirit, you call us
from fear to faithfulness,
from clutter to clarity,
from a desire to control to deeper trust,
from the refusal to love to a readiness to risk.
All  Clear the way in us, your people, that we
might all know the beauty and power
and danger of the gospel.  JPuls, GCashmore/cw

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.
May a heart of peace be with you. (DGalston/q)
All  And also with you.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours

CELEBRATING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
There Is No Child So Small(Tune: ‘Jewel’) 133(i) HoS
There is no child so small,
no scrap of life so precious
who is not born like Jesus,
whose cry is like us all.

There is no child unfed,
left hungry now at Christmas
but God will ask for justice,
for shelter and for bread.

There is no child so lost,
no refugee so nameless
that God will hold us blameless,
who share no care or cost.

There is no child so cheap,
in warfare or destruction
that love cannot take action
when God is made to weep.

There is not one of us
who could not be more giving,
and in the gift more loving,
to light a star for peace. (SEMurray)
People sit

Offerings
Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,
shall now be received.

Presentation
We give thanks to God for our life
and the courage we are given to live it.
Let our gratitude for life be expressed in our generosity.
Let our faith be expressed in good causes.
Let our belief in the future find full expression
in our daily attitude of mind.  (FMacnab/h)

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:
May we have courage in uncertain times,
All Let it all happen.  No mood is final.
May we recognise new beginnings
in what seem to be endings,
All Let it all happen.  No feeling is final. (3C Exchange)

OR

Song  “Spirit of Life(Tune: ‘Spirit of Life’ 8 12 8 12 8 10) 123 SLT
Spirit of Life, come unto me.
Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion.
Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;
Move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.
Roots hold me close; wings set me free;
Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me. (CMcDade)

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

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

All  Eternal Spirit
Source of all that is and ever shall be,
Loving Parent in whom we discern heaven,
May knowledge of your holiness inspire all peoples.

And may your commonwealth of peace and freedom
flourish on earth, until all of humankind
heed your call to justice and compassion.

May we find the bread that we need for today.
And for the hurts we cause one another
may we be forgiven in the same measure
that we forgive.

In times of trial and temptation,
help us to be strong;
When life seems overwhelming,
Help us to endure;
And thus from the yoke of sin deliver us.

May you reign in the power of human love,
Now and forever. (THall)

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
Touch the Earth, Reach the Sky”  (Tune: ‘Touch the earth’, 6 7 9 8)     301(v1-3) SLT
Touch the earth, reach the sky!
Walk on shores while spirits fly
over the ocean, over the land,
our faith a quest to understand.

Touch the earth, reach the sky!
Children ask the reasons why.
In our lives the answers show,
and by our love they learn and grow.

Touch the earth, reach the sky!
All are born and all shall die;
Life’s the time left in between,
to follow a star, to build a dream.
Remain standing

Parting Words
Let us go in faith to ponder in our hearts
the mystery and the wonder of this season...
The community candle is extinguished

Gathered together
All We wait for the light.
Standing together
All We trust in the light.
Praying together
All
We hope for the light.
Seeking together
All
We step out with the light.
Singing together
All
We are blessed by the light.  (TWatts/s)

Words of Blessing
Go now in joy, building, living in, and enjoying
a community full of welcome and equality.
All Thanks be to God(J Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

Hymn (Cont.) Touch the Earth, Reach the Sky”  (Tune: ‘Touch the earth’, 6 7 9 8)    301(v4-5) SLT
Touch the earth, reach the sky!
Hug the laughter, feel the cry.
May we see where we can give,
for this is what it means to live.

Touch the earth, reach the sky!
Soar with courage ever high;
spirits joining as we fly,
to touch the earth, to reach the sky.  GLewis-McLaren.
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. Raumati: New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2000. A World of Blessing. Benedictions from every Continent and many Cultures. Norwich: The Canterbury Press.
(GA) Gather Australia. 1995. Ashburton: NLMC Publications.
(HoS) Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. 2009. Palmerston North: New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. 2005. Brisbane: Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Macnab, F. 1996. Hope: The Deeper Longings of the Mind and Heart. Richmond: Spectrum Publications.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, J. & B. Hesle. 2005. Worship in the Spirit of Jesus. Theology, Liturgy, and Songs without Violence. Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press.
Patton, K. 1967. Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. Boston: Beacon Press.
Prewer, B. D. 2000. Australian Psalms. Revised and expanded. Adelaide:  OpenBook Publishers.
Prewer, B. D. 1992. Brief Prayers for Australians. Vol 3. Adelaide: OpenBook Publishers.
Sanguin, B.  2010. If Darwin Prayed. Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics. Vancouver. EOS.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. 1993. Boston: UUA.
Ward, H. J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed). 1995. Celebrating Women. New edition. London: SPCK.
Watts, T. & G. Lord. 2005. Sanctuary. Where Heaven Touches Earth. A group of Resource for those seeking Simplicity, Silence, and Nurture. Kelowna: Wood Lake Books.

Web sites/Other:
C3Exchange, Spring Lake. MI. <http://www.c3exchange.org/
Tom Hall. ''The Abba Prayer'. Reprinted in Laughlin, P. A. 2009. “Pray without seeking. Toward a truly mystical Lord’s Prayer” in The Fourth R 22, 6, 20-24.
Jessica Petersen. Advent 1. Creative Transformation 20, 3-4, Summer/Fall 2011. Process & Faith. http://processandfaith.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/CT/CT%2020.3-4_1.pdf
Advent Candle Lighting. Gretta Vosper. ProgressiveChristianity.Org web site
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/

rexae74@gmail.com