Advent water wreath (particularly for southern hemisphere, and Australia
Using water as the entry point for the advent themes, especially suitable for the southern hemisphere as summer approaches and for the season of drought in many places.
Christmas Bowl Resources, including songs, prayers and Advent Candle litanies here.
God is at work in the world, renewing, remaking, resurrecting, bringing hope through the faith, the gifts, and the work of the church. We trust in God, and together we work for peace and justice through God’s Spirit. Let us rejoice in our God-given opportunity to share in God’s work. The offering is collected.
Thank you, God of Love, for the promise of this season. We are grateful for the generosity aroused in us by Christ’s coming into the world. May these gifts represent a new spirit of joyous sharing among us, for the sake of all your children everywhere. Amen.
Learning to walk in the dark (Barbara Brown Taylor)
‘Through darkness, we begin to see the world and sense God’s presence around us in new ways, guiding us through things seen and unseen, and teaching us to find our footing in times of uncertainty. Like seeds buried in the ground, we will find how darkness is essential for our own growth and flourishing’.
‘I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.
Recognising our tendency to associate all that is good with light, and all that is evil and dangerous with darkness, BBT asks whether God doesn’t work at night too?
In Advent, themes of light and dark are explored, often with light trumping the darkness. But maybe this duality is unhelpful. At Pilgrim, we are doing a study of BBT’s book as our Advent study this year. The wonderful Helen Wiltshire has penned some Advent introductions for our services in 2014 which will deliberately juxtapose hope with its opposite, love with its opposite etc and thereby explore the dark shadows, and discover God is in the darkness too.
Smuggling God into the world inside your own body
In a sermon about Mary’s response to God, Barbara Brown Taylor once said:
“If you decide to say no, you simply drop your eyes and refuse to look up until you know the angel has left the room and you are alone again. Then you smooth your hair and go back to your spinning or your reading or whatever it is that is most familiar to you and pretend that nothing has happened…. Or you can set your book down and listen to a strange creature’s strange idea. You can decide to take part in a plan you did not choose, doing things you do not know how to do for reasons you do not entirely understand. You can take part in a thrilling and dangerous scheme with no script and no guarantees. You can agree to smuggle God into the world inside your own body.
From “Mothers of God ” in Gospel Medicine
Reflection on consumerism and the realm of God
on Sojourners, by Scott Bessenecker
“The gospel ought to consume us; instead we have turned it into a consumable. I believe the good news about the reign of Christ over the all creation, the invitation to love our enemies, the vision of communities beating their weapons into agricultural implements, has been turned into a product. For many the gospel has been reduced to a privatized salvific experience purchased through a ministry outlet mall – the church dressed up like a coffee shop selling cups of Pumpkin Spice Saviour. When the gospel is reduced to a highly individualized and highly privatized experience, we lose the larger picture of God’s plan to make all things new. We see our part in God’s mission exclusively through the lens of producing a convert, not restoring the cosmos. If the gospel were only about words, then I suppose it could be wrapped in packaging and sold at gospel outlet malls. But its nature is cosmic and its purveyors are organic. It defies the easy reduction to a sales pitch. If the mission of God is the renewal and reconciliation of all things – people, planet, and powers – then the people of God need to be about the activities of God”.
Who’s birthday is it anyway? Advent Studies by Walter Brueggeman
- First Sunday of Advent (Being in Jeopardy, Impinged Upon)
- Second Sunday of Advent (Massive Purification, Deep Yearning)
- Third Sunday of Advent (Outrageous Hope, Unseemly Preparation)
- Fourth Sunday of Advent (Promises Kept Through the Lowly)
- Christmas Eve (When Heaven’s Hope Comes to Earth)