December 2015: Nine
0: Opening prayer - Rebecca:
This Christmas may it be our care and our delight to hear the story once again, from the first light of creation to the coming of the new light in Jesus. And as we celebrate his coming with words and music, we rejoice in his unending love for all and in the promise of his kingdom of justice.
And we recognise that it is our calling to make that kingdom a reality; and we pray that like Jesus we may be ready to greet the outsider, uphold the rights of everyone who suffers injustice, and seek to change the world through prayer and action.
God our Father and our Mother, we offer you our praise and worship that it may be pleasing to you. And we offer you our lives that you may use them to fulfil your purpose. In the name of your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
(Adapted from Christian Aid)
1. Genesis 1, vv 1-5, 26-8, 31: The Creation – Sue
The story begins in darkness - not perhaps a place where we are always comfortable but it begins in the dark.
Poem: 'Dark Malling Abbey Church' from 'Praying Like a Woman' by Nicola Slee (SPCK, 2004)
Music: 'Darkness Darkness' written by Jesse Colin Young, performed by Robert Plant
2. Genesis 3, vv 8-15, 17-19: The Fall – Jonny
3. Isaiah 9, vv 2, 6, 7: The people who walked in darkness... – Helena and Dave
4. Isaiah 11, vv 1-3a, 4a, 6-9: Isaiah's vision of the kingdom – Ben
5. Luke 1, vv 26-35, 38: The Annunciation – Dean
6. Luke 2, vv 1, 3-7: The Nativity – Mike
7. Luke 2, vv 8-16: The Shepherds – Peter
8. Matthew 2, vv 1-12: The Magi – Paul and Ken
9. John 1, vv 1-14: The Word – Rebecca
[spoken] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Crown Him the Son of God,
Before the worlds began,
And ye who tread where He hath trod,
Crown Him the Son of Man;
Whom every grief hath known
That wrings the human breast,
And takes and bears them for His own,
That all in Him may rest.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Life found in him its source, death found its end.
Light found in him its course, darkness its friend.
For neither death nor doubt
Nor darkness can put out
The glow of God, the shout, "I am for you."
The light shines in the darkness.
And the darkness? The darkness has met its match. No amount of darkness can hide a light. No darkness will obscure this light.
The Word was in the world which from him came;
Unrecognized he was, unknown by name;
One with all humankind,
With the unloved aligned,
Convincing sight and mind, "I am for you."
The Word was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.
The Word is everywhere... All pervasive...
Even if you cannot perceive it.
Even if you don't know it is there.
Even if you deny it is there.
He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.
Where did our story begin? We began with the creation, and then the fall.
We messed up. God created us, and we messed up. We were made in a way that could mess up.
So God took the hit. The Word was God. We are reconciled to God through the Word.
We are left with many problems, but they are human. They are many, they are great, but they are on human scale. Climate change, injustice, war, terrorism. FEAR. Can we solve them? With God's help we will.
All who received the Word by God were blessed;
Sisters and brothers they of earth's fond guest.
So did the Word of Grace
Proclaim in time and space
And with a human face, "I am for you."
Music: Cantique de Jean Racine by Fauré
The story has been told. Now go and live it.