Advent4C.20.12.2015

Revd Rex A E Hunt
 eMail:  rexae@optusnet.com.au
Web site:  www.rexaehuntprogressive.com


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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

20 December 2015. Advent 4C. (Blue).


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

v1  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.

v2  Peace be upon all who enter this house.
Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Music of Celebration

THE ADVENT WREATH WITH THE CHILDREN
Advent 4
Each night we sleep wearily under a large summer moon.
The nights are short
and the dawn comes soon.
All
Come, companion Jesus, walk with us.

v1  Let us prepare a manger in our hearts for the birth of the sacred.
v3  Why do we light a fourth candle?
v2  This fourth candle reminds us of love.
A fourth candle is lit.

We give thanks that throughout this season of love
there are so many who love with delight
and take no account of cost. (GVosper/ab)

OR

v4  love
in a young girl's song;
fearful,
determined,
hopeful,
bursting.

love in a mother's song;
tender,
embracing,
challenging,
stern.

love is god's song;
curious yet timid,
playful and wondering,
coming among us again.

This is why we light a candle for love.  KHawker

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

Hymn  In solidarity with those for whom standing is not easy or possible we will remain seated to sing...
Anna’s Song    55 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.

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.
  © NHabel.

Opening Sentences
Let us acknowledge the awesome mystery embodied in every person.
All
Through us God comes to unique and personal expression.

Let us give thanks
for the abundance of life on this earth.
All Through it we and all people
may be nourished. 
(MMorwood/adapt)

Act of Awareness
We gather grateful for the companionship of hearts and minds
seeking to speak the truth in love.

We gather grateful for our heritage,
for the women and men before us
whose prophetic words and deeds
make possible our dreams and our insight.

And we gather grateful for the gift of life itself,
mindful that to respect life means both
to celebrate what life is
and to insist on what it can become (Adapt/MSMilner)

OR

We pray:
Spirit of God, you are the breath of life within us.
You call us to be one with you.
You breathe among us in all of creation.

Give us the strength and courage to live in your love.
May it be so.

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
"Sarah's God" 
(Tune:  'Leoni', 66 84D. 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
The people sit

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.

CENTERING

Reflection
"The Rainbow Prayer"
By Andrew Hill
/adapted

Great Rainbow Arch
your bright light
your seven colours
link sky and earth above the Christmas stable.

Hold us all in your encompassing arms.

Forgive our exclusion of others:
earth and life and child.

May we too forgive those who have excluded us.

Show us the returning light;
for the light and the colours,
all space and time,
and your seven-fold rainbow compassion
dwell ever in God.

Centering Silence
Let there now be a quiet time among us.
(Silence)

Hear and feel your quiet breathing.
Hear and feel the quiet of this place
and this community of people.

I invite you look at your hands.

They've been through a lot, those hands...
they have strengths, scars, beauty.

I invite you to remember that it is your hands
that do the work of love in the world:
hold another's hands,
type emails to politicians,
sign cards of consolation and congratulation,
write words urging peace,
bathe children, feed elders, nurse the ill.

These hands are God's hands, your hands, our hands.
A great mystery of flesh and intention,
A great potential of embodied love.
  CRobinson/adapt
(Silence)

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Some readings and a reflection from our broad religious tradition
shall now be read.

The reader is (NN)

Reader:  May we be struck by the wisdom of these words
and marked by hearing them.
All For within story lies meaning, and
within meaning, the wisdom for which we seek
(GVosper/ab)

From the Mystics:
"You are Christ's Hands"
By Teresa of Avila. The Essential Mystics/206.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,

Yours are the eyes through which is to look out
Christ's compassion to the world

Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless all now.

Gospel Meditation:
"The Magnificat”
Based on Luke 1:46-55 (Scholars Version)
Originally arranged by John Bell (Iona Community, 1993)
A suggestion: A combination of lit and unlit (but burnt wick) candles (of various sizes) being presented.
Lit candles to stand upright. Extinguished candles to be left flat on surface of table, etc.

Those who present come from different parts of the building and not necessarily from just within the worship space.
Nothing to be rushed...

And Mary said, “My soul extols the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has shown consideration for the lowly status of his slave.

“As a consequence, from now on
every generation will congratulate me;
the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name,
and his mercy will come to generation after generation
of those who fear him.
(Candle 1 lit)

“He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has put the arrogant to rout, along with their private schemes;
(Candle 2 extinguished)

he has pulled the might down from their thrones,
(Candle 3 extinguished)

and exalted the lowly;
(Candle 4 lit)

“He has filled the hungry with good things,
(Candle 5 lit)

and sent the rich away empty.
(Candle 6 extinguished)

“He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
(Candle 7 lit)

remembering his mercy,
as he spoke to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."

OR

Traditional Gospel:
Luke 1:39-42, 46-
(Inclusive Text)

(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)


Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could
to a town in the hill country of Judah.

She went into the house of Elizabeth and Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled
with the Holy Spirit.

She gave a loud cry and said,
'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb...'

Silence

(i)  She Who has power to open the womb
has done things for me.

Holy is Her name.
Her mercy flows
through mother to daughter
from generation to generation.

Her maternal strength
strikes at the roots of evil,
and it departs.

She pushes the proud
from the pinnacles of power
and lifts up little people.

She feeds her hungry daughters,
but those who are filled to the brim
with opportunity,
She sends away.

She soothes all those who turn to Her,
remembering Her compassion,
keeping Her promise to
Her progeny forever. (MTWinter/lp)

OR

(ii)  And Mary sang a song of praise,
jubilant praise,
prophetic praise,
to the glory of her God.

(Can be sung solo)
"Magnificat"
By Miriam T Winter. Woman Prayer. Woman Song/218.

My soul gives glory to my God.
My heart pours out its praise.
God lifted up my lowliness
in many marvelous ways.

My God has done great things for me:
Holy is Her Name.
All people will declare me blessed,
and blessings they shall claim.

From age to age, to all who fear,
such mercy Love imparts,
dispensing justice far and near,
dismissing selfish hearts.

Love casts the mighty from their thrones,
promotes the insecure,
leaves hungry spirits satisfied,
the rich seem suddenly poor.

Praise God, whose loving Covenant
supports those in distress,
remembering past promises
with present faithfulness.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany: Power, Love, and Strong Minds (Optional)
The people stand, as they are able

v1 Within our religious tradition many women have been silenced.
They are given no name.

Today, let us break that silence.

v2 God of our years, our lives are in your hands.
We remember today our foremothers,
who throughout time have used their gifts
of power, love, and the strong minds you gave them
to change the world.

We call upon these foremothers
to help us discover within ourselves our gifts.
All We remember Sarah, a strong woman of faith
who answered God's call to forsake her homeland
and to put her faith in the promises and covenant of God.

We pray for her power of faith.

All We remember Esther, Deborah, and Rahab,
who by acts of individual courage saved her people.
We pray for their sound minds and courage
acting for the greater good.

All We remember Mary Magdala, Johanna, Mary,
and the other women who followed Jesus
and who were not believed
when they announced the resurrection.

We pray for their love and faith in the face of skepticism.

All We remember Phoebe, Priscilla, and all
the women leaders of the early church.
We pray for their power and creativity that spread the gospel
and inspired congregations.

All We pray for the love and creativity
of women who were first in their field.
We pray for their power of leadership and their creative thinking.
All
May they be granted power and responsibility
as they open up new possibilities for all women.

We pray for our daughters and granddaughters.
May they be granted the power, love and creative minds
to seek that life which is uniquely theirs.
Wn We have celebrated our power.
We have celebrated our love.
We have celebrated our strong minds.
We have been given these gifts from God.

v1 Spirit of God be with us
in our speaking,