Iona resource: Winter
A book of helpful resources by Ruth Burgess. It is for Northern Hemisphere winter, so includes key events in the church calendar in the Nov-Jan period (Christmas, Blue Christmas, Advent etc).

Opening Prayer
Holy One,
today the cold wind
chased us from our homes
across the car park
and into the warmth
of this church, the warmth
of your welcoming love, and
the warmth of our community.
As we gather together today,
let us not forget those who are homeless,
and have no warmth awaiting them:
keep us aware and compassionate.
May the fire we kindle here
fill our hearts with your love,
and may we carry it away within us
and warm the hearts of others. Amen.

There is a winter in all of our lives
There is a winter in all of our lives,
a chill and darkness that makes us yearn
for days that have gone
or put our hope in days yet to be.

God, you created the seasons for a purpose.
Spring is full of expectation
buds breaking
frosts abating and an awakening
of creation before the first days of summer.

The summer sun gives warmth
and comfort to our lives
reviving aching joints
bringing colour, new life
and crops to fruiting.

Autumn gives nature space
to lean back, relax and enjoy the fruits of its labour
mellow colours in sky and landscape
as the earth prepares to rest.

Then winter, cold and bare as nature takes stock
rests, unwinds, sleeps until the time is right.

An endless cycle
and yet a perfect model.
We need a winter in our lives.
A time of rest, a time to stand still.
A time to reacquaint ourselves
with the faith in which we live and breathe.
It is only then that we can draw strength
from the one in whom we are rooted,
take time to grow and rise through the darkness
into the warm glow of springtime,
to blossom and flourish,
bring colour and vitality into this world,
your garden.

The day of the storm
Through driving rain and howling wind
You call us.
When the light fades and a blanket of grey sky
reflects our moods, our fears, our darkness
You call us.
From the comfort of our homes
where we feel safe and secure, comfortable and content
You call us back into life.
(Source: ‘The day of the storm’ by Katy Owen)

Act of Awareness
In the seed is the flower,
In the weed and the apple tree,
In the chrysalis hides a promise
Of life that soon will be free.

In the deadly cold of winter storms
Waits the spring for you and me,
In the silence is the song
In which dreams come alive
(Robert Hasley)

The end of a cycle has come
This is the time of harvest, of thanksgiving and of leave-taking and sorrow. Life appears to decline. The season of barrenness is upon us, yet we give thanks for that which we have reaped and gathered. The end of a cycle has come. We enter our resting season. The seed now begins its time of gestation in the rich dark earth. It is the great cold of night; not the negative images of darkness, but the dark richness of that unknown, fertile, deep part in each of us where our intuitive creative forces abide. The Christ energy enters the earth at this season. The nights grow shorter, the light returns and in time we experience rebirth.
Wendell Berry

Winter… is a time of turning inwards
a time of snow and wetness.
The days are short and cold,
the deciduous trees are bare.

a time for cutting away
dead wood from roses,
and pruning unwanted branches
from grape vines.

a time of shaping things,
tying up the waste,
a time for clearing.

Yet, in this time,
there is still growth:
the flower withers
to form the seedcase…
tubers shrink and turn inside out,
sending up the shafts of stem
and sending down the anchoring roots.

Underneath everything,
in the darkness,
new life is seething,
yearning to break through the surface.

The husks fall away from the seed
and the ticking kernel starts to shoot. (Trisha Watts. Sanctuary/84.adapted)

Throughout this winter season, by William L. (Bill) Wallace

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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