Advent3B.17.12.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
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GATHERING FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
17 December 2017. Advent 3B. (Blue).

Worth Pondering During Advent
By cooling the air and ground around them,
the shade from trees helps cool the Earth’s temperature


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

Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
Anna’s Song”      55 (v1-3) 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.
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

God invites us to engage in ministry with her,
to share the good news of God’s unconditional love.
All What a joy it is to work with our God!
What a joy it is to share the good news!

Through the power of love,
Ri: through the work of our hands,
Le: those who were hungry are filled.

Through the power of love,
Ri: through the work of our hearts,
Le:   through the power of love,
Ri: through the work of our minds,
Le: those who were oppressed are freed.

We rejoice in God’s amazing love.
We rejoice in the life-changing opportunities open to us.
All Out of that joy, we offer our thanks and praise as we gather in this place.
May we be challenged.
May we be encouraged.
May we be empowered.
So that we may continue to live as joyous partners
in creating a world filled with love
and ruled by justice.
(Adapt.Jessica Petersen/ct)

Act of Awareness
Is it morning, really morning, or is it just another day?
A new beginning
or just a continuing yesterday…?

May we greet each day as gift and blessing
fold its promise into who we will become,
and live the fullness of its teachings:
new thoughts,
new ideas,
new potentials,
new promises.

OR

We pray:
May we give thanks for the opportunity we have
to worship and celebrate this day.

May we be surrounded with a very real sense
of the presentness of Creativity God
as we spend this time together.
May it be so.

Song  (Cont)  Anna’s Song”     55 (v4-6) ISIT
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. (Norman Habel)
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 3

Joy


v1  As this season of “sparkle and bright” unfolds around us
the transforming wonders of joy await discovery
like shimmering sugar crystals on a favourite treat.

v2 May we create joy in all our surroundings as we share gifts, meals, and simple pleasures with family and 
v3 May the easy gift of a smile bring the power of joy’s touch to those we meet through these busy days.
v4 And may we experience the joy of this season as though
with the eyes and hearts of children
that we might be transfixed by power of what could be.

Light candle

May Joy light the world this Christmas. (Gretta Vosper)

OR

Advent Candle of Courage
The light grows brighter and the nights are mild;
excitement is building
in every true child.
(Bruce Prewer/bpa)
All
Come, Companion Jesus, Come.

Last Sunday we lit the candle of trust,
the second Advent candle.

We light it again, along with the candle of hope,
which will always be brought to birth
in, through, and among, all creation.
First and second candles lit

The third Advent candle is the candle of courage.
In the stillness of our worship here we light it,
watching it burn and glow.
Third candle lit

And we affirm that we are a people of God
seeking to muster enough courage amid
the many other voices which surround us.

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

Song  "Child of Christmas Story(Tune: ‘Incarnation’ 65 65)     12 (v1-3) 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.

Child of Jew and Gentile,
child of white and black -
teach us how to love you,
teach us what we lack. 
Shirley Erena Murray
The children leave to go to Sunday Club

CENTERING

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

In these brief moments of silence may we find strength.
May our lives be rich in affection,
deep in understanding and
sympathy for each other.

May the blessings of life be known to all.  Bob Holmes/adapt
(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:
"Taking the Plunge"
By Bruce Sanguin. If Darwin Prayed/8

We gather at the shore of a new start.
John the Baptist is proclaiming an apocalypse:
reality shorn of pretence,
the facade of religiosity,
the clamouring for acclaim,
and the make-believe madness.
He stands there, dripping wet,
eyes of fire burning through the dry brush of our egos,
our half-hearted commitments,
and all that we've settled for.

Buck-naked souls,
stripped down and seduced by words of life,
we wade in,
reminded by John's uncompromising countenance
of what it looks like
to hold nothing back,
and wonder how new-born souls
behave in the real Spirit-drenched world.

"Bear fruit fit for the kin-dom,"
the Baptizer responds,
and everybody knows -
we know,
taking the plunge -
what is required of us.

(ii) Traditional Gospel:
John 1:6-8, 19-28  (Inclusive Text, adapted)

A man came, sent by God. His name was John.

John came as a witness,
as a witness to speak for the light,
so that everyone might believe through him.
John was not the light, only a witness to speak for the light.

This is how John appeared as a witness.

When the Jews sent priests and Levites
from Jerusalem to ask him, 'Who are you?'
John not only declared, but declared quite openly,
'I am not the Christ.'

'Well than,' they asked him, 'are you Elijah?'
'I am not.'

'Are you the Prophet?'
'No.'

So they said,
'Who are you? We must take back an answer to those who sent us.
What have you to say about yourself?'

So John said,
'I am, as Isaiah prophesied:
a voice that cries in the wilderness:
Make a straight way for God.’

Now these priests and Levites had been sent by the Pharisees,
and put this further question to John,
'Why are you baptising if you are not the Christ
and not Elijah, and not the Prophet?'

John replied:
'I baptise with water.
But there stands among you unknown to you
the one who is coming after me.

'And I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap.'

This happened at Bethany, on the far side of Jordan,
where John was baptising.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A 'Faith-in-Action' Litany (Optional)
On this third Sunday in Advent
and in response to the word reflected on,
let us stand and share a Faith litany.
The people stand as they are able

With those who are poor
All  We believe in life before death.
With those whom nobody notices
All  We believe in life before death.
With those who have nowhere to lay their head
All  We believe in life before death.
With those who can’t rely on government,
or armies, or the world community to help them
All  We believe in life before death.
Because you, O God, came among us as one of these
All  We believe in life before death.
Silence

As we plan and make decisions
All  God be our way.
As we learn and ask questions
All  God be our truth.
As we grow and as we change
All  God be our life.
(Christian Aid/ssb)

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.
May a heart of peace rest with you. (David Galston/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
In A Grain…” (Music: D A Barker, 87 87 87 87)      8 TEN
In a grain behold the planet.
In a tear drop taste the sea.
Look within and there discover
depthless soul, infinity.
Sound a note of deepest longing:
hope within for all without.
In the stillness, hear a roaring.
Silence bears a joyful shout.

In the chaos find an order.
Will it with a keening mind.
Fill the cosmos with high meaning.
Render holy all you find.
Paint the universe with colour.
Daub it with a passion true.
You the brush, your heart the palette,
you the ever-loving hue.

*In the warm dark earth beneath us,
In the flower’s brief unfolding,
There, the universe’s life.
Dance your footfalls to the rhythm
of the planet’s beating heart.
Tumble breathless at its ending,
which was known before its start.

In the whirlwind find a centre.
Keep the howling at the door.
How the rantings sound poetic!
Madness is creation’s womb.
Jot your words within the notebook
of the planet’s beating heart.
With the dot of your last sentence,
offer up your wisdom’s store. (DABarker. *Additional words: RAEHunt)
People sit

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

Presentation
Love kindness, humbly walk with God
and, through compassion, trace
the person we are called to love
in each and every face. 
(Andrew Pratt/ea)

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)

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
You Are Born In Us Again”  (Tune: ‘Dunstan’)    52 (v1-2) COC
You are born in us again
Like the warmth of the summer wind you come,
to melt away the icicles of vanity and pride;
you come to blow the very doors of loving open wide.
Like the warmth of the summer wind you come,
like the warmth of the summer wind you come.

You are born in us again
Like the scent of the summer rain you come,
You come to quench the thirsty and to freshen up the land;
you come to clean away the dust that settled in our hand.
Like the scent of the summer rain you come,
like the scent of the summer rain you come.
Remain standing

Parting Words
The God we worship is never confined to this holy place.

So go and travel with the God
who is found in ordinary and surprising places.
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
Thanks be to God(Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

Hymn (Cont.)You Are Born In Us Again”  (Tune: ‘Dunstan’)    52 (v3) COC
You are born in us again
Like the light of the summer sun you come,
to give light to the places that have never seen the Son;
you come now to embrace us, you’re the holy, holy one.
Like the light of the summer sun you come,
like the light of the summer sun you come.  MWilson
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.
(TEN) Barker, David A. Ten! New Songs for a New World. Canada. Direct from the author, 2008.
(COC) Carol our Christmas. A Book of New Zealand Carols. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 1996. 
Duncan, G. (ed).
Entertaining Angels. A Worship Anthology on Sharing Christ’s Hospitality. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2005.
Duncan, G. (ed).
Shine On, Star of Bethlehem. A Worship Resource for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2001.
Holmes, R. H.
The Bob Holmes Worship Materials. Vol 1.  Little Falls. Self published., 1972
Inclusive Readings. Year B. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2005.
(ISIT) In Spirit and In Truth. A Worship book. 1991. Geneva. World Council of Churches. Seventh Assembly.
Prewer, B. D. 1992. 
Brief Prayers for Australians. Vol 3. Adelaide. OpenBook Publishers.
Prewer, B. D. 2000. Australian Psalms. Revised and expanded. Adelaide.  OpenBook Publishers.
(SLT) Singing The Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.

Vosper, G. 2008. With or Without God. Why the way we live is more important that what we believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
Watts, T. and G. Lord. 2005. 
Sanctuary. Where Heaven Touches Earth. A group resource for those seeking simplicity, silence, and nurture. Canada: Kelowna. Wood Lake Books.

Web sites/Other:
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 3. Creative Transformation 20, 3-4, Summer/Fall 2011. Process & Faith. http://processandfaith.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/CT/CT%2020.3-4_1.pdf

rexae74@gmail.com