Revd Rex A E Hunt

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16 December 2018. Advent 3C. (Blue).

Worth Pondering

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 Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is rung 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

Advent 3
The light grows brighter
and the nights are mild;
excitement is building
in every true child.
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 third candle?
v2  This third candle reminds us of joy.
A third candle is lit.

We give thanks that throughout this season of joy
there are so many opportunities
to lift hearts in celebration.  (Gretta Vosper/ab)


v4  joy
is found in the moment
when the tables turn
and the veil of denial is lifted
displaying vulnerability and fear,
colliding with hope and promise,
mingling together.

a tingle growing warm,
lurching forward is joy.

This is why we light a candle for joy.  Kath Hawker

Hymn   In solidarity with those for whom standing is not easy or possible we will remain seated 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.
  © Norman Habel.

Opening Sentences
Let us acknowledge the awesome mystery embodied in every person.
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
Silently a flower blooms.
In silence it falls away.

Yet here now, in this moment, at this place,
the world of the flower,
the whole of the world is blooming.

This is the talk of the flower,
the truth of the blossom:
the glory of eternal life is fully shining here (Adapt.ZShinayama/lp)


We pray:
Holy One of many names,
whose presence we most often recognise only in retrospect,
may we be blessed this day.

In this season of Advent,
may we become more aware of your presentness.

May we see you in each other,
hear you in the music,
hold you, as we give and receive gifts of love.
May it be so.

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

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
Star-Child, Earth-Child”    40(ii) COC
Star-Child, earth-Child
go-between of God,
love Child, Christ Child,
heaven's lightning rod,
This year, this year,
let the day arrive,
when Christmas comes
for everyone,
everyone alive!

Street child, beat child
no place left to go,
hurt child, used child,
no one wants to know,

Grown child, old child,
mem'ry full of years,
sad child, lost child,
story told in tears,

Spared child, spoiled child,
having, wanting more,
wise child, faith child
knowing joy in store,

Hope-for-peace Child,
God's stupendous sign,
down-to-earth Child,
star of stars that shine,
                       (Shirley Erena Murray)


We Stand in Awe”  (Tune: ‘Crucifer’, 10.10 Refrain)      60 SNS4
We stand in awe; the mystery is supreme;
The cosmos sings aloud the sacred dream.

All time and space proclaim this melody
Of order and chaos, strange complexity.

Stars shine above; our sun gives warmth and light;
We bathe in its gifts and that with great delight.

Earth in its beauty showers us with wealth,
All things that we need for human least and health.

With all of nature in diversity
We are the heirs of endless energy.  (George Stuart)
The people sit after the hymn

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.


"The Moment of Magic"
By Victoria Safford/

Now is the moment of magic,
when the whole, round earth sits warm under a summer sun,
and here's a blessing:
the days are longer and brighter now.

Now is the moment of magic,
when people beaten down and broken,
with nothing left but misery and candles
and their own clear voices,
kindle tiny lights and whisper secret music,
and here's a blessing:
the universe is suddenly illuminated by the lights of Christmas,
and the whole world is glad and loud with summer singing.

Now is the moment of magic,
when an eastern star beckons the blazing sunset
to linger a little longer,
and here's a blessing:
they find nothing in the end but an ordinary baby,
born at midnight, born in poverty, and the baby's cry,
like bells ringing, makes people wonder
as they wander through their lives,
what human love might really look like,
sound like,
feel like.

Now is the moment of magic,
and here's a blessing:
we already possess all the gifts we need;
we've already received our presents:
ears to hear music,
eyes to behold lights,
hands to build true peace on earth
and to hold each other tight in love.

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

This moment of silence is an invitation
to be calm in the midst of the noise of the world
and our over-busy lives...

To bring together
thought and feeling,
mind and spirit,
and to find some centre - some still point, of perspective and peace.


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 open ourselves to the seeds of wisdom

that lies dormant in these readings.

All And may our minds be fertile soil

in which they may grow strong and true

From the Mystics:
"The New Creation"
By Bede Griffiths. The Essential Mystics/214.

This earth and all that is in it,
and the whole cosmic order to which it belongs,
has to undergo a transformation;
it has to become a "new heaven and a new earth."

Modern physics helps us to realize that this whole material universe
is a vast 'field of energies' which is in a continuous process of transformation.
Matter is passing into life and life into consciousness,
and we are waiting for the time
when our present mode of consciousness
will be transformed and we shall transcend
the limits of space and time, and enter 'the new creation.'

Traditional Gospel:
Luke 3:10-17 
(Inclusive Text)

The crowds asked John, 'What must we do?’
He answered,
'Let the one with two coats share with the one who has none;
let those who have food do the same.'

There were tax collectors too who came for baptism, and these said to John,
 'Teacher, what must we do?’
John said to them,
'Exact no more than your fixed rate.'

Some soldiers asked him in their turn, 'What about us? What must we do?’
John said to them,
'Do not bully anyone! Do not accuse anyone falsely!
Be content with your pay.'

A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people,
who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ,
so John declared before them all,
'I baptise you with water, but someone is coming,
someone who is more powerful than I,
the strap of whose sandals I am not fit to undo.

'This one will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

'A winnowing fan is in his hand to clear the threshing floor
and to gather the wheat into a barn;
but the chaff will be burnt in a fire
that will never go out.'

Contemporary Exploration/Presentation

Contemporary Exploration 2

Silence for Personal Reflection


A Litany: We Are People Of All Ages (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and our concerns.
All We come together in hope.

We greet each other warmly
with our voices and our smiles.
All We come together in peace.

We share our growth and our aspirations.
All We come together in wonder.

We share our losses and our disappointments.
All We come together in sorrow.

We share our concern and our compassion.
All We come together in love.

We sing and pray and listen.
We speak and read and dream.
We think and ponder and reflect.
We cry and laugh and center.
We mourn and celebrate and meditate.
We strive for justice and for mercy.
All We come together to worship God.

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take some time to celebrate each other.

May a heart of peace rest with you.
All  And also with you. (DGalston/q)
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
This Land of Bursting Sunrise(Tune: ‘Andujar’, 76 86D)   82 SLT
This land of bursting sunrise,
all lavender and blue,
its cloud-strewn, light-swept day skies flow,
and every day renew.
To east the glow of dawning,
to west the blaze of night,
‘round all the long horizon’s rim,
the everlasting light!

This land of open vistas,
life rooted deep and free,
the canyoned plains, the mountains vast,
plumb earth’s immensity.
Here in life’s fragile balance,
the sun and stars above,
find hand in hand, and heart to heart,
the everlasting love. (JHHolmes)
The people sit

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

As we bring our gifts and our offerings forward,
may our whole life move forward,
in good faith,
with good feelings,
and with a good belief about the future. 

Reflections and Prayers
Care Candle:
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and concerns shared.

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
Holy God, as you have touched us

All  May we now touch others

with your love in us
. (Adapt.KGalloway/cw)

And so we take this 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 presence of the sacred among us,
and to see new possibilities of the now.

The 'Abba' Prayer:
You are invited to pray the Lord's Prayer in your original language,  as that is appropriate.

All Father, may your name be holy.
May your rule take place.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Pardon our debts, for we ourselves pardon
everyone in debt to us.

And do not bring us to trial
into a trying situation. 
(B Mack/Q)


Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"As The Sun Beats Down(Tune: 10 7 10 7)     2 (v1-3) FFS
As the sun beats down and the heat invades,
and creation burns and dries;
let us sing to God of a promised hope
in the midst of anxious cries.

As the parching winds relentless blow,
and creation browns away;
let us sing to God, who restores and calms
all foreboding and dismay.

As the feed dies back and the stock decline,
and creation's bones show through;
let us sing to God of the bread of life,
to refresh, restore, renew.

Parting Words
And now may the rhythms of our coming together:
the melodies of our worship,
and the harmonies of our farewells,
Make musical our living,
soothing our spirits and uplifting our souls
This day
and into the beckoning future.

Words of Blessing
Go into this week,
held together by the love of God
clothed with the nature of Jesus our Companion
reinforced by the strength of the Holy Spirit.
Amen. May it be so.


May the ways of wisdom,
imbedded in the codes and laws of nature,
confront our consciousness
so that we recognize, celebrate, and sustain
the mystery of the blueprint that sustains us
and informs the incredible impulses
deep within the ecosystems of our planet.
All   May it be so! (Habel/rm)

Hymn (Cont.)  "As The Sun Beats Down(Tune: 10 7 10 7)    2 (v4-5) FFS
As the silent birds sing a silent song
in creation's still blue sky;
let us sing to God of the songs of hope,
through a gentle rain's reply.

As the season comes and the season goes,
and we search the skies each day;
let us sing to God of a rainbow faith,
and a promised green display. 
Bill Bennett
The people sit after the hymn

'This week' at (NN)
Birthdays and anniversaries
Significant events
Journey candles


Morning tea is now served.
You are invited to share in the moment 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:
(COC) Carol Our Christmas. A book of New Zealand Carols. 1996. Raumati: New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Galloway, K. (ed). The Pattern of Our Days. Liturgies and Resources for Worship. Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 1996.

Habel, N. Rainbow of Mysteries. Meeting the Sacred in Nature. Kelowna: Copper House/Wood Lake Publishing, 2012.
Harvey, A. (ed). 1996.
The Essential Mystics. New York: HarperSanFrancisco.