ChristmasDayB.25.12.2020

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

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The Other Lectionary’ - a suggested ‘southern hemisphere’ Lectionary (with a few Resources added) offered in parallel to,
or even replacement of, the RCL which is in standard use by many.


A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE

25 December 2020. Christmas DayB. (White).

Worth Pondering
“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it.
It just blooms”
(Kenkei Shibayama)

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 or the (NN) Nation, past, present, emerging,
and their stewardship of this land throughout the ages.

First Peoples Statement to the Nation 2017 called “Uluru Statement from the Heart” HERE
A Response from Common Dreams5 Conference of Religious Progressives,
Australia/South Pacific 2019 HERE

(NN) is a safe place for all people to worship regardless of
race, creed, gender, 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

May the love and creativity that breathes life
into all humanity
and all of creation
All  Be born in us today.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

On this (Australian) Christmas morning,
let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
"O Come All Ye Faithful(Tune: ‘Adeste Fideles’, Irreg.)                                                  23 FSSC
O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold this child born of Mary.
Refrain:
O come, let us adore them;
O come, let us adore them;
O come let us adore them;
Mother and child.

Sing choirs of angels, sing in exultation,
Sing, all you messenger's of God's holy word.
Glory to God in-carnate, all glory.
Refrain:

Christ-child, we greet thee, born this happy morning,
Born of the Woman Mary, glory given;
Word of creation, now in flesh appearing.  
(Genia P Haddon/adapt)
Refrain:
People remain standing

OR

"Good Christian Friends, Rejoice!”  (Tune: Traditional)                                                   60 SiF
Good Christian friends, rejoice, 
with heart and soul and voice!
Give ye heed to what we say:
News! News!
All our dreams are born today.
Love has come to lead the way
and will with us forever stay,
Dreams are born today!
Dreams are born today!

Good Christian friends, rejoice, 
with heart and soul and voice!
Now ye hear of endless bliss:
Joy! Joy!
Every child was born for this.
Love has opened heaven’s door
and we are blest for evermore.
Joy is born today!
Joy is born today!

Good Christian friends, rejoice, 
with heart and soul and voice!
Wondrous news have we to tell:
Peace! Peace!
Love with us is born to dwell.
Born within, it outward grows
and then to all the world, it flows. 
Love is born today!
Love is born today!  (John Mason Neale, 1853, alt., Gretta Vosper, 2007)

Opening Sentences
On a gentle summer’s breeze, a peaceful Word is whispered,
All  
From the mountain tops, a triumphant Word rings out,

From the depths of the ocean comes the roar of a mighty Word,
All  The birds sing out a joyous Word,

All of creation calls out the Word:
All  Jesus the Christ is born today, Hallelujah.
(www.mccchurch.org)

Act of Awareness
Life is a gift for which we are grateful.
We gather in community
to celebrate the glories and
the mysteries of this great gift. (MMontgomery/slt)

OR

We pray:
Days of bright sunlight, clear blue skies and sunbaked earth,
colourful birds,
fiery bottle brush,
pastel jacaranda,
the fragrance of each season beneath the Southern Cross...

We offer our praise and thanks,
for Creativity God is in our midst.
May it be so with us.

Hymn/Song "Carol Our Christmas(Tune: Reversi)                                                              9 AA
Carol our Christmas,
an upside down Christmas;
snow is not falling and
trees are not bare.
Carol the summer, and
welcome the Christ Child,
warm in our sunshine and
sweetness of air.

Sing of the gold and the
green and the sparkle,
water and river and lure
of the beach.
Sing in the happiness
of open spaces,
sing a nativity summer
can reach!

Shepherds and musterers
move over hillsides,
finding, not angels,
but sheep to be shorn;
wise ones make journeys
whatever the season,
searching for signs of the
truth to be born.

Right side up Christmas
belongs to the universe,
 made in the moment
 a woman gives birth;
 hope is the Jesus gift,
 love is the offering,
 everywhere, anywhere,
 here on the earth.
(Shirley Erena Murray)
People sit

OR

Troublesome Carol(Tune: By Colin Gibson)
The Christmas Child is a troublesome child,
as troublesome as the Word
that stirred the waters from the deep
and let God's voice be heard.
The Christmas Child is a spirited child
who questions given rule,
who flouts convention's pious face,
who laughs and plays the fool.

The Christmas Child is a generous child,
extravagant in excess,
who spends the coin of life and hope
to recreate and bless.
The Christmas Child is a dangerous child
when to a prophet grown,
whose vision takes a thorny path,
whose cross may be our own.

The Christmas Child is a troublesome child,
as troublesome as the Word
that stirred the waters from the deep
and let God's voice be heard.
The Christmas Child is a luminous child
whose peace the angels sing,
whose star no darkness overcomes,
whose life lights everything.  (© Shirley Erena Murray, 2011)

Welcome
A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are gathering here at (NN) for the first time
or who have returned during this festive season
to be with family and friends.

Your presence both enriches us and this time of celebration together.
Refer to printed liturgy.
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.

Lighting of the Christmas Candle
v1  As we find ourselves wrapped in the season of wonder and light,
the astonishment that is life ignites our spirits,
and we feel, if merely for a moment,
that we are as we were meant to be.


v2  May we hold fast to this sliver of mystery,
this truth upon which we set the whole of who we are.

v3  May we call ourselves back to it time and again,
until we are filled with the wonder that is our life:
its hope, its peace, its joy, its love.

v4  Infused, then, with all that we are, may our energies
be given to the transformation of this world:
from despair into hope;
from darkness into light;
from fear into love.

May we be bold.
May we be daring.
May we be love.

Light candle

Love lights the world this Christmas. (Gretta Vosper)

OR

Over the past four Sundays we at (NN) have lit our Advent candles.

We light them again and remember...
the ways peace, hope, joy and love
are always brought to birth
in, through, and among, all creation.
Four candles lit

Last night we lit our Christmas Eve candles.
It was a time for memories and remembering.
To wonder and to give thanks…

And of quiet awakening to beauty
that still lives on through the strife of personal griefs
and an economically challenging world.

Now we come to light our Christmas candle.
It is a friendly candle.
It brings light and love
as we celebrate in the warmth of summer.

It is a candle of understanding which drives away fear.
It is a candle of truth.
It will lead one in unknown paths
to learn more about the mysteries of life.
All  Once upon a time a baby was born
who taught us to love and understand one another.
And they called his name, Jesus.
The Christmas Candle is lit

Presentation of the Christmas Bowl
Let us remember that without peace, joy, love, and hope,
people struggle to find their way.
The Bowl is place near the Candle

Hymn/Song  The people stand, as they are able, to sing
In Every Face…”  (Tune: ‘Northbrook’, 11.10.11.10)
In every face that stares out from the manger,
each person bears the image of our God,
in Christ is human flesh affirmed and honoured,
for God has walked where human feet have trod.

In every face of youth, of age, each baby,
uplifted by the earth life of the Christ:
the stable bed, the cross of common torture,
marked off his life, these markers once sufficed.

And this we show, when we live incarnation,
to make God's presence real for humankind,
the wine we drink, the bread so freely broken
speak of the love of God so richly mined.

And those who live and suffer in this moment,
the dispossessed, oppressed throughout the earth,
are raised beyond frustration and existence,
to know, in living, their uncommon worth.  
© Andrew Pratt 28/11/2011

OR

You Are Born In Us Again”  (Tune: ‘Dunstan’)                                                                  52 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.

You are born in us again
Like the light of the summer sun you come,
to ive 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. 
M Wilson

OR

Each Christmastide…(Tune: ‘Purerua’)
Musical Score: www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundless life
(As six verses this hymn may be sung to ‘Spean’)

Each Christmastide gives us space for a journey,
Journey to places that dwell deep within.
There we find sparkles of night’s silent stillness,
Wombs where re-birthing of spirits begin.
Wombs of our newness hold angels’ sweet voices
Singing the songs that the Cosmos still sings,
Songs of the cattle and all of creation,
Nurturing mangers that Nature still brings.

Hearing the songs hidden deep down inside us
Helps us view wonder through shepherds’ bright eyes,
Sensing God’s presence on Earth as in Heaven;
God of the wonder and God of surprise.
Journeys beyond all our wombs of belonging
Take us to places where Herods still rule.
After our fleeing to needy dependence
Love gives us strength for confronting the cruel.

God was not absent till Mary bore Jesus,
God did not need to be freed from the skies;
Christ came to waken our sense of God’s presence,
Present in laughter and present in cries.
Each day is Christmas for wonder-filled pilgrims,
Each day holds birthing God calls us to choose,
Birthing within the great womb of God’s mystery,
Mystery that points to the Gospel’s good news.  (William L Wallace)
The people sit

CENTERING

Centering Silence
Let us now claim some silence
in the midst of the busyness of our Christmas lives.
(Silence)

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

As we remember the birth of the one we call Jesus
we see that the love and peace which he spoke of
must be cherished, nurtured and defended
in every generation.

Source of Life and Love,
your presentness among us is a tiny light of hope
which will never be extinguished. 
(Adapt.Dorothy McRae-McMahon)
(Silence)

EXPLORING

Wisdoms from the Religious Traditions
          “Wisdom is not just special knowledge about something. Wisdom is a way of being, a way of inhabiting the world.
          The beauty of wisdom is harmony, belonging and illumination of thought, action, heart and mind.”
(John O’Donohue)

Reader:  We listen for truth, yet it is elusive - a thought here, a verse there.
All 
May we collect it all, write what is worthy on our hearts,
and let the rest spill past our consciousness
leaving us clear and whole. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

• “Canticle of Hope”
By Robert Charles Howard. Unity Tree/61-62

The whole earth resounds
with the exuberant songs
of nature’s majestic harmony.

And sways to the steady pulse
of all that breathes and roams the land,
that inhabits the rushing brooks
or soars through borderless skies,
of every seedling, flower and chrysalis.

And every newborn calf and golden Field.
all that rise to greet the sun
intone their festal hymns
to nature’s exultant harmony.

The boundless wonders of nature’s realm,
sustain our spirits and illumine our paths
with wisdom taught by the lakes and mountains
and solace sung by the forests and plains.
So with steady and transfigured hearts,
we forge our trails through hallowed land.

When the sun has run its daily course
and when twilight claims the fading light,
we offer thanks for the nascent moon
and the radiant star-jeweled night -
tuning our faith and aspirations
to the music of the spheres.

The whole earth refunds
with the exuberant songs
of nature’s majestic harmony.

• Luke 2: 8-20  (Inclusive Text)

In the countryside close by there were shepherds
who lived in the fields and took it in turns to watch
their flocks during the night.

The angel of God appeared to them and the glory of God
shone around them. They were terrified, but the angel said ,
'Do not be afraid.  Listen, I bring you news of great joy,
a joy to be shared by the whole people.
Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you who is the Christ.

'And here is a sign for you:
you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.'

And suddenly with the angel
there was a great throng of the heavenly host, praising God and singing,
'Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace to all who enjoy God's favour'.

Now when the angels had gone from them into heaven,
the shepherds said to one another,