Advent4B.24.12.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
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A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
21 December 2011. Advent 4B. (Blue).
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion

Worth Pondering During Advent
Trees are the longest living and largest living organisms
on Earth

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
          “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.” (Henry N. Wieman)
          Artwork OR Floral/Symbols display (cloths, candles, stones, wood, leaves, flowers, earth, water) OR projection of Film/Slides 

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.

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, 11. Science/Cosmology
(iii) PLUS some specific resources on Terrorism
HERE

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Christmas in Southern Hemisphere(Tune: ‘Cranham’, 65 65)
Christmas in the summer?
Heat instead of cold?
Flowers instead of freezing?
Skies that shine like gold?
This is Southern Christmas,
Seasons in reverse!
Can the Northern pictures
Speak in Southern verse?

Inner space is timeless
God is everywhere
Cries of newborn infants
Reach for Mary's care.
When we nurture wonder
'Till its grace abounds
We create new pictures
Outside Northern bounds.

Sing the Christmas story
Carol South and North
Sing of pregnant seasons,
Nature’s songs of birth.
Raise the Christchild’s praises
Lift both joy and pain
Touch the realms of oneness
Live the birth again.  (William L. Wallace/ssb)
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

In the presence of God, amazing things can happen.
All In the presence of God, we, though many, are made one.
Through the love of God, miraculous things are possible.
All Through the love of God, peace wins out over violence.

Trusting in the presentness of God,
All may we dare to go where ever there is need,
proclaiming peace with every step.

Trusting in the unsurpassable power of God’s love,
All may we boldly follow where ever we are led
spreading justice all along the way.

We open ourselves to the presentness of God—
eyes, ears, hands, and hearts opened wide.
We are here.
With help we will travel the challenging road ahead.  
(Adapt.JPetersen/ct)

Act of Awareness
The earth turning…
Exploding orb of helium and hydrogen,
firing our lives into existence.
We are here.
We mindfully take our places in life again.

Imagine… we are one, connected, human family.

Be and know that you are the ones the world awaits.
Each of you here and now:
a difference,
a beautiful presence.

Each… of you.  (Adapt.Bob Kleinheksel/C3Exch)

OR

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)
May it be so.

Song  "Sarah's God(Tune: ‘Leoni’ 66 84D). Verses: 1, 2, 4, 5 125 TiS
The God of Sarah praise
who turned her grief to joy
when, after many barren days,
she held her boy.
For laughter out of tears,
and bitterness and strife,
she praised God, after ninety years,
for the gift of life.

The God of Miriam!
She saw her brother found,
and learned, like him, that all God's earth
is holy ground.
When Moses sang a psalm,
'God has triumphed gloriously!'
She led the girls in song and dance
across the sea.

All praise to Mary's God
who overcame her dread.
'Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Amen!' she said.
She sang, 'My soul, adore
God who brought down mighty kings,
and fills the hungry and the poor
with all good things.'

The matriarchs' God and ours
who leads us onward still,
inspire our hearts, unite our minds
to work God's will.
Rock, Saviour, Maker, Lamb,
we sing your praise anew.
Mother, Father, great 'I am',
we worship you. 
BMoss/ssb

OR

In parts of the Northern hemisphere
"
Throughout this Winter Season”   (Tune: “Tyrolese’, 86 86D)   22 TMT 
Throughout this winter season,
in nature’s darkened womb,
Christ, grant your life and laughter
to lighten frosty gloom;
to lift our flagging spirits
beyond these short-lived days
to Advent and each coming
which fills our lives with praise.

You come as puddles crackle
beneath the children’s feet;
you come in leafless branches
outlined against the sleet;
you come when lives diminish
as cold envelops all;
you come as snow which blankets
earth’s grime beneath its fall.

You come as fire and candle
and all that warms the heart;
you come in party feasting,
in music, dance, and art;
you come in ancient stories,
of years that are no more;
you come as liberation
and power for all the poor.

We seek to know your presence
in grey days and in bright,
in all the earth’s abundance
and during nature’s night;
but when we can not see you
through blindness or through pain,
enfold us in your dying
and rise in us again. 
(William L Wallace)

OR

Winter's Long Night”  (Tune: ‘Slane’)          22A OHV
A Song for Winter Solstice

Deep in the darkness of winter’s long night,
coming and going without sun for light;
As our good planet revolves in its course,
winter's lone starlight is our northern resource.

These days of solstice in which we now dwell—
whether or not we can sing of Noel-
drive us to find the warmth of dear friends,
love light to shine, and the cold to transcend.

May we not hope for our summer too soon,
missing the blessings of dark night and moon.
May our long shadow not raise our complaint,
but stir our will to let inner light reign. 
(Christopher New)
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 4

Love

As this season of sparkle and bright unfolds around us
the welcome beauty of love is found,
woven into the simplicity of every moment.
v2  May love flow from our hearts with abundance
filling every moment with the season’s gifts of
hope and peace and joy.
v3  May it be shared truly and deeply that all who encounter it
be charged with its message and become, themselves,
the agents of love.
v4  And may our children, who love without reckoning,
teach us the truth of this most precious gift:
we are nothing without each other.

Let us live, then, in the blessing of love.

Light candle

May Love light the world this Christmas. (GrettaVosper)

OR

Advent Candle of Love
Each night we sleep wearily
under a large summer moon.
The nights are short
and the dawn comes soon. 
(Bruce Prewer/bpa)
All
Come, Companion Jesus, Come.

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

The fourth Advent candle is the candle of love.
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
always seeking to break down the walls
that divide and separate us, as a community
and in the lives of people near and far.

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

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

Child of Mary's courage
birthed in human pain,
tell us what your name is -
be our hope again.  Shirley Erena Murray

The children leave to go to Sunday Club

CENTERING

If in Southern Hemisphere
Summer Solstice
We come together this morning as celebrants,
as seekers and companions.

We enter into this, the longest day, joyfully,
allowing ourselves the beauty of this time together
in which we may rest our cares and sorrows,
and allow our hearts and spirits to be uplifted.

I invite you to take a deep breath,