“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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“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” Rewrite

it is sometimes difficult finding Christmas Carols that reflect the beliefs that we’re trying to profess.

So, I’m reworking the lyrics of some that are in the Public Domain.

Here’s a version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” (with my changes in bold).

God rest ye, merry gentle ones, let nothing you dismay.
Remember Christ, our saviour, was born upon this day
To heal us of our brokenness,
Recall us to God’s Way,

Oh tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy!
Oh tidings of comfort and joy!

“In Bethlehem, in Israel,
This blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn
The which His Mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy”

From God, the world’s Creator,
A blessed Angel came;
And unto certain Shepherds
Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

“Fear not then,” said the Angel,
“Let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Saviour
within the Maiden’s sight,
To free all of Creation
From hatred’s warring blight.”

O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind:
And went to Bethlehem straightway
The Son of God to find.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our dear Saviour lay,
They found Him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His Mother Mary kneeling there,
beside The Child, did stay.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Now to the Christ sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love, in communion, (or in fellowship,)
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas,
a taste of God’s great grace.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy.

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Isaiah 65.17-25

All: Delight in us, God.
Be in our joy and our hope and our wonder.
Open our eyes to your presence
in us and with us –
renewing your Creation.
Make us build on what has been.
Help us to grow,
through the faith of our grandmothers,
help us to live,
in the love of our children.
Help us to be who you call us to be!
In Christ’s name we ask it. Amen.

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Isaiah 65.17-25

One: When God looks at this world,
what do you think God sees?
All: Apathy and greed,
hatred and fear,
war and pain and loss.

One: Really?
When God looks at this world,
what do you hope God sees?
All: The caring and sharing,
the working for peace,
the moments where love
conquers all.

One: Then, in our lives, in our worship,
in times together,
in times apart,
let us show God,
the love, the peace, the care,
that we wish to be.
All: In our worship
and in our lives,
let us be the new heaven
let us be the new earth.

One: Let us be moved by the spirit,
Children of God,
disciples of Christ!
All: Now and always!

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Remembrance Day Sunday.

All: O God, hear our prayers.
O God, hear our cries.
O God, hear the words of our hearts
that our mouths cannot speak.
We ask for your help.
We ask for your guidance.
We ask for your wisdom.
With your love,
make us into
peace-bearers and justice-sharers,
in the life of all creation.
In your love, we ask it.
Please, let it be so.

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Remembrance Day Sunday

One: We stand, in silence –
All: remembering the death.
One: We stand, in silence –
All: remembering the destruction.
One: We stand, in silence –
All: remembering the loss.
One: We stand, in silence –
All: remembering the horror of war.
One: To the soldiers, of both sides.
All: To the women, men and children.
One: To the land and all that lives on it.
(silence)
We stand, in silence –
All: Remembering.
Waiting.
Watching.
Working for peace –
in our lives,
in our community,
in our country,
in our world.

One: In all these things, with all these things…
All: We worship God.

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For Luke 18:9-14

One: With our lips (touch lips)
All: we give thanks!
One: With our hearts (touch heart)
All: we give thanks!
One: With our minds (touch head)
All: we give thanks!
One: With our lives (swish from head to toe)
All: we give thanks!
One: For our lives within – (both hands to centre)
All: for the world around – (big round earth)
One: We give thanks, (cupped hands)
All: Loving God! (crossed arms)
Alleuia, ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA!
AMEN!

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For Luke 18:9-14

Holy One,
we have been told
that you know us –
from before we were born,
today, tomorrow, forever.
You know us in our difficulties.
You know us in our successes.
And you love us, no matter what.
Thank you.
In our words and in our worship,
bless us.
Help us to know, deep within,
that you are with all your Creation –
now and always!
In Christ’s name, let it be so.

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For Luke 18:9-14

One: (said in extremely pious tones)
Oh, God! We are so glad that we are not like
those people. The ones out there.
We come to church.
We know what it is like to…
All: Wait a minute!
One: Pardon me?
All: Stop right there!
One: Excuse me?
All: We aren’t better than “those” people.
We aren’t better than anyone.

One: But –
All: No. We are “those” people.
We are women and men,
happy and sad,
lost and found,
loved and loving.
We are people trying to live our lives,
the best way we know how.

One: And in that living –
All: we talk with God
and walk with God.
We celebrate that we are not alone.
We celebrate that God is with us –
and that God is with everyone!

One: Alleluia!

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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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