Advent Candle-lighting Hymn

Candle Lighting Hymn: “Advent Waiting”
(Tune: 668668D with refrain / OLWEN / “All Poor Ones and Humble” / Voices United 68)

In faith, come together,
in dry or wet weather,
this people of Christ-alive!
Awaiting his story,
of coming in glory,
his birthday will soon arrive!

Refrain:
This advent we give him
songs filled to the brim
with joy that we cannot describe.
We come to the stable,
we meet at his table,
and welcome him into our lives!

Christmas-time changes,
all life re-arranges,
our world gets turned inside-out!
God dreams into being –
our fears, they are fleeing –
Christ’s presence we will not doubt!
Refrain.

The Wise-Ones went searching,
on camels, were lurching,
to find the babe in their midst!
We, too are wandering,
on Christ’s life, we’re pondering,
believing that he does exist.
Refrain.

This Christmas we’re giving
all of our living –
our hopes and our dreams and our days.
In joy and thanksgiving – 
forgiven, forgiving –
our souls and our hearts set ablaze!
Refrain.

(As I post this I realize how corny it sounds. Ah, well – I guess I’m not a hymn-writer! *grin*)

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Advent Candle Lighting Litany

Advent 1
One: Have you ever sat outside, on a moonless night,
watching the sun go down?
There’s this feeling, that when the sun finally disappears,
it’s going to be pitch black.
In some ways, it’s true –
the warm dark surrounds and holds us safe.
Two: Then, when you least expect it,
you see a point of light, twinkling in the night sky.
A pin-prick of brightness appears,
adding a moment to the night-sky.

One: And then, as you open your eyes,
you see another, and another, and another,
until the sky is glowing,
the night and the starlight joined.
Two: In that moment, before darkness comforts –
All: our hearts beat,
waiting for what comes next.

Two: In that moment, before the first light shines –
All: our hearts beat,
waiting for what comes next.

One: In this moment, as we prepare our lives
for the story of the Christ-child’s birth –
All: our hearts beat,
waiting for what comes next.

One: In all moment, as we celebrate
the presence of the Holy One,
alive in our lives!
All: Our hearts beat,
waiting for what comes next.

(The first Advent candle is lit.)
Two: In this moment, in all moments,
we ask God –

All: Help us to wait, when we need to wait.
Help us to act, when we need to act.
Help us to live, as you want us to live,
today and forevermore!
Amen.

Advent 2
1: I have a dream.
2: I have a dream.
3: I have a dream.
1,2,3: That one day all Creation
will live together as one.
1: Wait a minute!
That’s my dream!
2: No. It’s my dream!
3: You’re both wrong – it’s my dream.
1: That the strong will care for the weak;
2: and that nations will work to help all;
3: and that a child’s voice,
every child’s cry,
will call us to live justice and peace.
1,2,3: That’s MY dream!
All: That’s God’s dream.
That’s God’s hope.
That’s God’s vision for all.

4: (A child reads Isaiah 11.1-9)
Hear the witness of God’s people.
All: Thanks be to God!
Advent Candles 1 & 2 are lit.
4: That’s God’s dream.
All: That’s God’s dream.
That’s God’s hope.
That’s God’s vision for all.

4: God of all life, God of all love –
All: help us to see your vision.
Help us to be your vision.
Help us to live your love –
in this place,
in all places.
ALLELUIA! AMEN!

Advent 3
1: I’ve looked in the manger.
I’ve looked in the creche.
I’ve looked on the mountain tops,
and in the valleys.
I’ve looked in the largest cities
and in the smallest towns.
I guess I’ll have to keep on searching.
2: Whatever are you looking for?
1: The Christ. The Messiah. The Anointed One.
The One whose supposed to help me make sense
out of this senseless world.
The One whose supposed to bring peace.
2: Maybe, rather than looking just out there –
All: You need to look inside, too.
1: Inside?
All: Inside your heart and mind and soul.
1: Inside?
2: The Christ does meet us,
sometimes when we’re looking,
and sometimes when we’re not –
visible in the rush of the wind,
in the laughter of a child,
in the justice-seeking of an elder,
in the challenge of a youth.
Perhaps, if you look, you’ll find the Christ inside you.

1: But how can I be sure?
2: John the Baptizer wasn’t sure.
He had his disciples go and ask.
Some of Jesus’ disciples knew right away.
Some of Jesus’ disciples never quite got it.
Sometimes, we have to trust that even if we aren’t sure –

All: In life, in death,
in life beyond death,
you, God, are with us.
We give you thanks
that  we are never, ever, alone!
Thanks be to God!

2: Thanks be to God.
(Lighting Candles 1, 2, and 3)
1: Thanks be to God.

Advent 4
1: It’s Christmas!
2: It’s Christmas!
3: It’s Christmas!
All: How can you tell?
1: The tree is up.
2: The lights are hung.
3: The malls are full.
All: But why does that mean it’s Christmas?
1: Pardon me?
2: I don’t understand!
3: These are the things that make Christmas, Christmas!
All: No, they’re not.
1: PARDON ME?!
2: I don’t want to understand.
3: Don’t be a Grinch!
All: But they’re not the things that make Christmas,  Christmas.
1: But what would Christmas be without the tree,
2: without the lights,
3: without the shopping-malls.
All: Christmas would be the same as every other day.
1: Exactly!
2: Exactly!
3: Bor-ing!
All: What would every other day be like,
if we saw it as a day
to remember the Christ-child’s birth?
If we lived it in celebration of his love?
If we remembered that every day
is Christ’s day, too?

1: (lighting a candle) If we lived in expectant hope.
2: (lighting a candle) If we lived God’s dream.
3: (lighting a candle) If we lived, seeing Christ in everyone we meet?
4: If we lived, knowing that every day,
is Christ’s birth day.
All: It would change the world!
Tonight is the night we celebrate –
Christ alive in the world.
Alleluia. Alleluia! ALLELUIA!

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“Onward Christian Soldiers” Rewrite

Text: Richard Bott, based on Sabine Baring-Gould’s “Onward, Christian Soldiers”
Music: ST. GERTRUDE Meter; 65.65D with refrain.

Onward, all Christ’s people, dancing on The Way,
with the flame of God’s love leading night and day.
Christ, our guide and shepherd, challenging all ills;
pro-claim-ing God’s peace and justice, ’till all warring stills.

Refrain:
Onward, all Christ’s people, dancing on The Way,
with the flame of God’s love leading night and day.

At the signs of new Life, evil’s ways must flee;
on then, all Christ’s people, forgiven and free!
Stand with all creation, challenging the wrong,
people, lift your voices, sing out loud and long! Refrain.

Like a mighty ocean moves the church of God;
people, we are dancing where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all Christ’s body, we;
one in hope and mission, one as family! Refrain.

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A retelling of 1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in ways that grab your attention (or your desire), but don’t speak from my heart; then what I have to say is as senseless as the feedback coming from a cheap speaker. I could foretell the future or uncover the mysteries of the fabric of the universe – or have so much faith as to cause the impossible – but, not knowing love, truly know nothing. I could give away everything that I have, everything that I am – but, if I did it without love, it would be a grand, empty, gesture.

Love is… so much more than we can understand.
It’s patience beyond patience.
It’s kindness beyond kindness.

Love doesn’t desire what it shouldn’t.
It doesn’t boast.
It doesn’t stand in the face of others and shout, “Look at ME,”
or “My way or the highway!”

Love isn’t angry.
Love doesn’t keep score.

Love does not revel in brokenness – it rejoices in the healthy and whole.

Love always protects.
Love always pushes on.
Love always looks for the possibilities.

Love. Never. Ends.

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Litany for Nostalgia

Do we grieve that we are no longer infants?
No longer children?
Sometimes.
Do we grieve that yesterday is gone,
and we can no longer be what we were?
Often.
Do we look back,
remembering only the good times –
like the People in the desert,
calling for a return to the fleshpots of the Past,
forgetting the bite of the lash?
Nostalgia is like that.
We make the good better than it was,
hiding the difficult
in the gentle wash of memory.

Is this “remembering” just?
Is it fair to the work of our grandmothers and grandfathers?
Could we not celebrate in who they really were…
who we really were –
Celebrate and learn.
Learn and grow.
Grow and change.
Change and be.

Be who God is calling us to be.
Be not afraid!
Be Christ’s people for this time,
for this place.
Be not afraid!
God is with us – with all!
Christ is with us in the world!
The Spirit is moving… and so are we!
Be not afraid! Alleluia!

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A Paraphrase of Jesus’ Prayer

Source of all life,
Divine Mother and Father of us all,
may your Name be held sacred by all creation.
May your kingdom and your will be lived here,
(as it is lived by that great communion of saints who have entered your Household!)
I ask that what we need – what we really need –
would be provided.
I ask that you would forgive me my sins – and –
(God!) help me to forgive the people who have sinned against me.
Keep me from that which would break me completely.
Help me to recognize – and stand in the face of – evil…
knowing that you hold me safe.

Yours is the kingdom.
Yours is the power.
Yours is the glory.

Not mine. Yours.

Yesterday. Today. Forever.

Please… let it be so.

 

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For a “Church School Startup” Sunday

One: I am a child of God.
Children: I am a child of God.
Teens: I am a child of God.
Mid-Adults: I am a child of God.
Elders: I am a child of God.
One: We are children of God!
All: We are children of God!
One: Learners…
All: and teachers.
One: Loving…
All: and loved
One: by each other…
All: and by God!
One: We gather, at God’s call…
Under-45: to share what we have and who we are.
45+: to sing and to pray and to worship our God! Alleluia!
Under-45: Alleluia!
All: ALLELUIA!

(First printed in “gathering: resources for worship planners” Summer/Autumn 2007)

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Proper 18 – Year C

Shaper of our hearts,
birther of our souls,
potter of all creation –
you are our life!
In each breath, you breathe in us.
In each step, you move in us.
In each moment, you live in us.
Alleluia!
Open our ears,
our lips
our selves –
that we might be your love,
this day, and all the days to come.
Amen!

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Christmas Eve

On this Night of nights, God most holy, we give you thanks –
thanks for this time together…
thanks for our families – by blood or by Spirit –
who gather with us to celebrate.
We give you thanks that you created us to be in this world.
Before we were born, you knew us.
You watched as our very bones began to form.
You continue to watch us – and to love us –
each and every day of our lives.
Thank you, loving God.
Thank you, loving God.

Out of that love you have given us an extraordinary gift –
a gift that is difficult to comprehend –
a gift of lived love –
the Christ!
Infant, child, teacher, healer, prophet, saviour –
one of us – one with you!
Thank you, loving God!
Thank you, loving God!

Even as we give thanks for this and all your gifts to us,
we realize that we have not always lived your love.
There are times we have closed our ears
to your messengers’ words.
There are times we have joined with the crowd in condemnation.
There are times we have turned away from real need,
saying, “No room. No room!”
There are times we have buried the presence of the Christ
so deeply within ourselves that our sharing becomes almost impossible.
For these – and all the times –
we have separated ourselves from you, O God –
we ask for your forgiveness.
Even more than forgiveness,
we ask for your wisdom and strength.
That when we face choices which allow us to turn away,
we would choose instead to turn towards you
and your love.

Loving God, hear the prayers of our hearts…
(a time for silent prayer)
Knowing that we are a forgiven and forgiving people,
we lift up our prayers for all who are in need…
* we pray for parents who must make hard decisions;
* we pray for children who are hurting and alone;
* we pray for those whose bodies or spirits are in need of healing;
* we pray for…

God, hear our prayers.
And, in your love, answer.

We pray all these things,
sharing in the words that Jesus gave to his disciples
and gives to us: Our…

(First printed in “gathering: resources for worship planners” Advent/Christmas/Epiphany 2007-2008)

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