Advent4C.20.12.2015

Revd Rex A E Hunt
 eMail:  rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
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xxxx

A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE

23 December 2018. Advent 4C. (Blue).

Worth Pondering
“We are to go on the journey that Jesus chartered
rather than to worship the journey of Jesus”
(Walter Wink)


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

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 

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. (Gretta Vosper/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.  Kathy Hawker

xxx

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.
  © Norman Habel.

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. 
(Michael Morwood/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)
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