Nov 24, 2015

Awaiting the Coming of Christ

Here’s a reflection/poem which might serve as a call to worship for an Advent or Blue Christmas worship service.  It was written by Christine Sine after the death of her mother.  It was posted on Godspace.

Advent Reflection

On this long dark night we await the coming of Christ.
We long for the light of his presence,
With us and in us.

When our souls are deeply troubled,
and our hearts break with the weight of sorrow,
may our grief be seasoned with love,
and our sorrow be buoyed by hope.

In our times of God-forsakenness and estrangement,
May we gaze on the innocent One,
made perfect through suffering.
and see in him our vulnerable God,
who saves in weakness and pain.

May our suffering empty us of pride,
and lead us to true joy 
our only security,
in Christ the infinite depths of God’s grace.

Opening Responses: Blue Christmas Worship

Here is an opening litany and prayer for a Blue Christmas or Longest Night service during Advent.  It comes from a longer Blue Christmas liturgy (When Christmas Hurts).  See below for link.

Opening Responses for a Blue Christmas service

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with you all.
And also with you.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
on those who live in a land of deep shadow, a light has shone.
For the yoke that was weighing upon them,
and the burden upon their shoulders,
you have broken in pieces,
0 God, our Redeemer. (Isaiah 9:1-4)

Let us pray:
God of mercy,
hear our prayer in this Advent season
for ourselves and for our families
who live with painful thoughts and memories.
We ask for strength for today,
courage for tomorrow
and peace for the past.
We ask these things in the name of your Christ,
who shares our life in joy and sorrow,
death and new birth,
despair and promise. Amen.

~ from a complete Blue Christmas liturgy (“When Christmas Hurts”) posted on The Young Clergywoman Project blog.

Advent in the Dark

Here’s a prayer meditation for Advent on the theme of darkness.  It comes from the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and was posted on Sunday Papers.

Advent in the Dark

We wait in the darkness,
expectantly, longingly, anxiously, thoughtfully.

The darkness is our friend.

In the darkness of the womb,
we have all been nurtured and protected.

In the darkness of the womb
the Christ-child was made ready for the journey into light.

It is only in the darkness
that we can see the splendour of the universe –
blankets of stars, the solitary glowings of the planets.

It was the darkness that allowed the Magi to find the star
that guided them to where the Christ-child lay.

In the darkness of the night,
desert people find relief from the cruel relentless heat of the sun.

In the blessed desert darkness
Mary and Joseph were able to flee with the infant Jesus
to safety in Egypt.

In the darkness of sleep,
we are soothed and restored, healed and renewed.

In the darkness of sleep, dreams rise up.
God spoke to Joseph and the wise men through dreams.
God is speaking still.

Sometimes in the solitude of the darkness
our fears and concerns, our hopes and visions
rise to the surface.
We come face to face with ourselves
and with the road that lies ahead of us.
And in that same darkness
we find companionship for the journey.

In that same darkness
we sometimes allow ourselves to wonder and worry
whether the human race is going to survive.

And then, in the darkness
we know that you are with us, O God,
yet still we await your coming.

In the darkness that contains both our hopelessness and our hope,
we watch for a sign of God’s hope.

For you are with us, O God,
in darkness and in light.

~ from the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand (abridged).  Posted by James Hawes, on Sunday Papers.

Gathering Words for Advent

Here’s a gathering rite or opening litany inspired by Isaiah 11:1-10: “Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot….”  It was written by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on Mucky Paws.

Gathering Words
(inspired by Isaiah 11: 1-10)

From the bulb there comes a flower
from the desert rock a flow of water
from the rainbow there come the hope of life
from the bible there comes the word of truth
from the cross there comes the love of God
from the tomb there comes the resurrection
from the prophet comes the vision of new earth

but from the stump
from this dried out log
from a family tree that has lost all integrity…

…there comes the shoot of David
the lifeline of salvation
the promise of justice
the longing for transformation
the word of life
the expectation of Messiah

from the stump of Jesse
comes a covenant

~ written by Roddy Hamilton, copyright © Mucky Paws.

Advent Prayer: Seeking Shalom

Here’s an advent prayer from Joanna Harader’s Spacious Faith website.

Advent Prayer

Holy God of Peace,
We seek your peace in these darkening days.
We seek a calm within, yes.
And an absence of conflict between people and nations.
But more deeply, we seek your shalom –
the deep and abiding peace
that will come only through the justice of your kingdom. Amen.

~ written by Joanna Harader, and posted on Spacious Faith.