Advent2B.10.12.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
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GATHERING FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
10 December 2017. Advent 2B. (Blue).
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion

Worth Pondering during Advent
Two mature trees provide enough oxygen for a 
family of four


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

Rich and Striking Visuals (Projection)
“The function of beauty… is to make us aware of a reality
which is richer and deeper and more marvellous than anything we can dream or conceive.” (H. N. Wieman)

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.  (Davidson Loehr/First UU Church of Austin). 

OR

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

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

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

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 these 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, 10. Terrorist Attacks
(iii) PLUS some specific resources on Terrorism
HERE

Hymn  The people stand as they are able, to sing
"God Given Energy, Flaring and Fiery"  (Tune: ‘Liebster Immanuel’, 11 10 11 10)
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. 
Andrew Pratt
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.Bruce Prewer/ap)

OR

A voice cries out in the wilderness,
“Prepare the way of our God.” 
All We hear God’s voice and so we come
to proclaim God’s justice for all.

A voice cries out in the wilderness,
“Prepare the way of our God.”
All We hear God’s voice and so we come
to announce peace to all our neighbours.

A voice cries out in the wilderness,
“Prepare the way of our God.”
All We hear God’s voice and so we come
to live out God’s unconditional love.

You cry out to us, O God,
calling us to come to you.
All Open our ears to hear your voice of love
that we might experience your unending grace
as we are gathered here today.

Open our ears to hear your voice of justice
that we might boldly work to realize your peace
throughout all creation. 
(Adapt.Jessica Perersen/ct)

Act of Awareness
The thought manifests as the word.
The word manifests as the deed.
The deed develops into habit.
And habit harden into character.

So watch the thought and its ways with care.
And let it spring from love
born out of concern for all beings (The Buddha/lp).

OR

We pray:
Gentle God, as the sun rises each day,
and light lifts our world out of darkness,
give new energy to our bodies,
new healing to our minds,
new strength to our spirits.
May it be so.

Hymn In the 19th century John Mason Neale translated the 9th century hymn ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel’.
As we sing this traditional Advent hymn we do so honouring our past, even as we affirm we have moved on in our religious journey and thinking.
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.
Rejoice! rejoice!
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.
Rejoice! rejoice!...

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.
Rejoice! rejoice!...

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.
Rejoice! rejoice!...

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.
Rejoice! rejoice!...
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 2

Peace

v1   As this season of “sparkle and bright” unfolds around us,
the silent prayers of peace lie like stars
hidden in a clouded night,
v2 May we inspire the world with peace.
v3 May we touch it to our lives that in every place of stress, frustration, or fear,
we might feel the presence of peace easing our hearts
and transforming our lives.
v4 And may we share the its healing power with our children,
that they might become the inspiration through which
peace makes its way to a new yet-dreamt-of world.
Light candle

May Peace light the world this Christmas.

OR

Advent Candle of Trust
The winds are scented with every growing thing;
the jacaranda blossoms,
clothes fit for a royal person.
All
Come, Companion Jesus, Come. (Adapt.BPrewer/bpa)

Last Sunday we lit the first Advent candle, the candle of hope.
We light it again remembering the hope,
which will always be brought to birth
in, through, and among, all creation.
First candle is lit

The second Advent candle is the candle of trust.
In the stillness of our worship here we light it,
watching it burn and glow.
Second candle is lit

And we affirm that we are a people of God
willing to walk and live in partnership
with all who seek to be people of peace.

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

Song  "Child of Christmas Story(Tune: ‘Incarnation’ 65 65)     12 (v1-2) AA
Child of Christmas story,
stable straw and star,
small and sweet and gentle:
tell us who you are.

Child whose baby finger
round our own is curled,
come to melt our hearts, and
come to change the world.  
Shirley Erena Murray
The children leave to go to Sunday Club

CENTERING

Centering Silence
Let there now be a silence among us…
(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...
(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:
"Apocalyptic Awakening"
By Bruce Sanguin. If Darwin Prayed/11.

O Holy One,
we are a sleepy lot,
slow to stir to the calling of the cosmos,
deaf to the cries of the Earth
and the forgotten ones,
human and other-than-human.

We distract ourselves
with trivialities that have become idols;
while the sun and the moon darken,
and the stars fall from the skies,
we are mesmerized by the market's alluring power,
eyes unflinchingly fixed upon the naval of our own net worth.

"O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,"
cries the prophet,
or at least tear open our hearts, pry open our eyes,
and end this slumber that blocks out pain,
but with it, wonder.

Our hope, O Holy One, is found in eyes wide open,
in hearts linked in common cause,
in small gestures of compassion,
and in alertness to your coming,
again and again.
As fire kindles brushwood
and causes water to boil,
so we await to be set on fire
with hope and gospel passion.

OR

"The Flame-Tree Blooms"
By Judith Wright. Collected Poems/291.

It was you planted it;
and it grew high and put on crops of leaves,
extravagant fans; sheltered in it the spider weaves
and birds move through it.

For all it grew so well
it never bloomed, though we watched patiently,
having chosen its place where we could see
it from our window-sill.

Now, in its eighteenth spring,
suddenly, wholly, ceremoniously
it puts of every leaf and stands up nakedly,
calling and gathering

every capacity in it, every power,
drawing up from the very roots of being
this pulse of total red that shocks my seeing
into an agony of flower.

It was you planted it;
and I lean on the sill to see it stand
in its dry shuffle of leaves, just as we planned,
these past years feeding it.

(ii) Traditional Gospel:
Mark 1:4-8  (Inclusive Text, adapted)

And so it was that John the baptiser appeared in the wilderness,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to John,
and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan,
they confessed their sins.

John wore a garment of camel-skin, and lived on locusts and wild honey.

In the course of preaching John said,
'Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am,
and I am not fit to kneel down
and undo the strap of his sandals.

'I have baptised you with water,
but the One to come will baptise you
with
the Breath of God.'

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Celebration of Faith (Optional)
On this second Sunday in Advent and in response to the word reflected on,
let us stand and share a celebration of faith.
The people stand as they are able

Unpredictable, irrepressible,
dancing, laughing Spirit,
when we're tempted to be cautious and hesitate,
All  Draw us forward
into the surprising and joyful future
you have waiting for us.

Unpredictable, elusive Spirit,
when we're tempted to opt for certainty,
All  Free our spirits to adventure and risk, 
as your people have always done.

Unpredictable, people-loving,
freedom-loving Spirit,
when we're tempted to be shackled to comfort and conformity,
All  Enable us to leave such things behind,
call us through your people
into the surprise of each new day.

Clear our vision, so we may see things,
to which we've paid no attention in the past.
All  Sharpen our listening,
so we may hear pleadings and cries
we've never heard before.
Strengthen our hands,
so we may do things we've previously not dared try.
All
  Put a new spring into our step,
so we may follow your leading into new situations.
Draw us dancing and laughing into tomorrow.
  JConnan

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.
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
"Bring Many Names"  (Tune: Westchase, 9 10 11 9)       182 TiS
Bring many names, beautiful and good,
celebrate in parable and story, 
holiness in glory, living, loving God
Hail and Hosanna! 
Bring many names.

Strong mother God, working night and day,
planning all the wonders of creation,
setting each equation, genius at play:
Hail and Hosanna,
strong mother God!

Warm father God, hugging every child,
feeling all the strain of human living
caring and forgiving, till we're reconciled:
Hail and Hosanna,
warm father God!

Old, aching God, grey with endless care,
calmly piercing evil's new disguises,
glad of good surprises, wiser than despair:
Hail and Hosanna,
old, aching God!

Young, growing God, eager, on the move,
seeing all, and fretting at our blindness,
crying out for justice, giving all you have:
Hail and Hosanna,
young, growing God!

Great, living God, never fully known,
joyful darkness far beyond our seeing,
closer yet than breathing, everlasting home:
Hail and Hosanna,
great, living God!  Brian Wren
People sit

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

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
As one heart is lifted
All May we share its celebration

As one heart is burdened
All
May we share the pain it knows  (Gretta Vosper/wwg)

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...
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 Abba/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.  (Tom Hall)

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
Offerings
Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,
and our gifts of bread and wine, shall now be received
.

Presentation
Blessed are you, Holy Wisdom,
inweave the fabric of our common life
that the many-coloured beauty of your love
may find expression in all that we do and give.

Invitation

In faith and love, gathered in this place,

we celebrate the brightness of community

and the season of early Summer called 'Balalambar'
 (Season of Butterflies)
by the Djab Wurrung and Jardwidjarli People.

Thanksgiving
In time beyond our dreaming, at a time
when earth was desolate, not-yet inhabited…
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 stories go on to say:
Noah was shown a rainbow,
Moses gained strength to free his people,
in the face of danger Miriam would sing,
Esther found courage, and
Ruth stayed loyal.
All We give thanks for women and men
in many different cultures and times 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 discern your presentness among us.

So we join our celebration to all people:
All  Holy, holy, holy, compassionate God,
heaven and earth are 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 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,
Bread is broken

And handed it to his friends, inviting them to eat.

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

Inviting them to drink.

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

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
"Where Is The Room?
(Tune: Michaela)    48 (v1-3) COC
Where is the room, 
where is the house of Christmas?
Where shall we welcome Jesus,
where are the signs of home?
Where are the signs of home?

Let Christ have space,
place at the heart of living,
centre for birth's new breathing,
cradle for hope and peace,
cradle for hope and peace.

Let there be room,
room for the friend and stranger,
room without hurt or anger,
room for whoever come,
room for whoever come.
Remain standing

Parting Words
Let us embrace the wonder of this week
with expectation and imagination...
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.  (Trisha Watts/s)

Words of Blessing
Go now in joy, building, living in, and enjoying
a community full of welcome and equality.
All
Amen. May it be so(Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

Hymn (Cont.) "Where Is The Room?(Tune: Michaela)    48 (v4) COC
Let love be here,
love from the Christmas stable,
love at our open table,