Dec 10, 2017

Call to Worship for Longest Night

Here is a call to worship for a Longest Night or Blue Christmas service, or (as Cheryl Lawrie puts it), “a call to worship for those for whom this Christmas comes at too much of a cost.” It was posted on [hold this space].

Call to Worship: Alleluias

It takes faith beyond imagining
to have come to hear this story
if you are living things too difficult
to be made sense of
by an ancient memory of angels and wise men.

It takes faith beyond imagining
to have come to hear this story
when you know that it will be a greater miracle
than any virgin birth
for love to be born right now in our world.

The alleluias we sing today
will not be to drown out the world’s truths that would deny them;
but to pray they will hold us in their faith.

So we gather
the bewildered, the broken hearted, the fragile and the hopeful
the faithful and the faithless
because all we have left when we stand in the world’s darkness
is this longing for love to be born once again.

~ written by Cheryl Lawrie and posted on [hold this space]. http://holdthisspace.org.au/

Prayers of the People: Blue Christmas

Here’s a prayer of petition and intercession for a Blue Christmas or Longest Night service. It was posted on The Young Clergywoman Project blog.

Prayers of the People:
Blue Christmas

In the spirit of this season
let us now confidently ask our God
for all the good things we need:
For ourselves
as we participate in this Christmas
coping with our many different losses.
God, hear our prayer.
And in your mercy, answer.

For our families and friends,
that they may continue to help and support us.
God, hear our prayer.
And in your mercy, answer.

For any person we have loved who has died,
for all the losses we know in our lives,
that all may be redeemed by your Easter promise.
God, hear our prayer.
And in your mercy, answer.

For our family and friends,
that you may bless them with love, peace, and joy.
God, hear our prayer.
And in your mercy, answer.

For peace throughout the world
as proclaimed by the Christmas Angels
on that faraway hillside.
God, hear our prayer.
And in your mercy, answer.

For greater understanding of the lessons of love and acceptance
as taught by Jesus your Christ.
God, hear our prayer.
And in your mercy, answer.

God of great compassion and love,
listen to the prayers of these your people.
Grant to all,
especially the bereaved and troubled ones this Christmas,
the blessing we ask in the name of Jesus,
who taught us to pray, 
Our Father, who art in heaven….

~ from a complete Blue Christmas liturgy (“When Christmas Hurts”) posted on The Young Clergywoman Project blog. http://youngclergywomen.org/blue-christmas-service-when-christmas-hurts/

Call to Worship: Psalm 13

Here’s a responsive call to worship inspired by Psalm 13:3-6. It comes from the Godspace website.

Call to Worship
(inspired by Psalm 13: 3-6)

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him” –
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

We come to you O Lord,
seeking answers to our questions.
We come to you O God,
because you are the Creator.

But I have trusted your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

We come looking for a song to sing;
We wait for your voice
to call us from beyond our fear.

~ from a longer “Litany for a Blue Christmas,” posted on the Godspace website. See the entire litany here: https://godspace-msa.com/2015/12/18/litany-for-a-blue-christmas/

Advent Prayer of Longing and Waiting

Here’s an advent prayer from Ann Siddall, and the Stillpoint Spirituality Centre and Faith Community.

A Prayer of Longing and Waiting

Holy One, we have waited
through many a long night,
for your coming:
like those of old our eyes
have been red from weeping,
our minds numb from anxiety,
and our hands held out in longing.

And this Advent season
sees us waiting again,
alongside our own struggles,
and alongside a world
torn apart by greed and need,
poverty and affluence,
hunger and obesity.

When will You come to us?
When will we see a star we can trust?
When will wise ones rise up in our midst?
When will humble workers see angels?
How long, O God, must we wait
for the promises to be fulfilled?
How long will You keep us waiting?

So as once more we play the waiting game,
unable to bring about the changes we seek,
unable to put an end to society’s pain,
unable to appease all the hunger,
help us to be tenacious,
unyielding in our expectation
that Christ has come, and Christ will come again. Amen. 

~ written by Ann Siddall, and posted on the Stillpoint Spirituality Centre and Faith Community website. http://stillpointsa.org.au/prayer/prayers-and-liturgies/

Invitation to the Table: Stronger than Death

Here is an invitation to the table from the Third Space website.

Invitation to the Table

We remember the time when Jesus faced
difficult decisions and destructive forces:
Facing his winter – the days and nights of his searching,
– in facing failure – in facing death

When we too experience the winter of our lives
may we find the courage to let go
and trust in your guiding, warming light.

And we remember
Jesus has shown us that life is stronger than death.

And as we share the bread and wine together
we remember the words and the actions of that ancient meal…
Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it,
and gave it to his friends.

He poured a cup of wine, offered thanks for it,
and shared it also with his friends.

Ancient symbols.
Common acts.

~ posted on Third Space. http://third-space.org.uk/