Christmas/Incarnation

Love came down

A Celebration of the Incarnation 1998

 (Quiet music as bubbles are blown up into the air to fall gently on the worshipers. If possible, tear drop shaped glass could be hung in a suitable place.)

All:

Love came down at Christmas –

restoring hope, renewing sight,

freeing captive lives,

healing broken souls,

and offering life to all.

Love came down.

Love came down.

Love entered our world at Christmas –

shared our existence,

and lived our pain,

yet resisted our weakness.

Love enters us,

challenges us,

changes us.

Love comes down.

Reader:

Into a world of violence and oppression,

love came down,

risking life …

risking death.

Response:

Into our own trouble and strife,

love comes down,

bringing peace,

giving hope,

and reminding us of the calm which follows the storm.

Reader:

To a people who had turned their backs,

love came down,

reaching out,

mending bridges, and calling them home.

Response:

When we go our own way,

love comes down,

calling us back,

gathering us once more under Love’s wings.

Reader:

In a world where people looked for God,

but could not see the truth,

love came down,

to die and to begin all over again.

Response:

When we fail to see,

love comes down

holding out Love’s hands

holey hands, holy hands,

healing hands,

loving hands.

Love comes down,

holding our hands

on the journey to wholeness.

Prayer:

Love, our sister, mother, friend,

            come into our midst gentle as dream,

            whisper into our hearts a soft word of hope,

            enfold us in your arms,

            that we may rest in your goodness,

            and being restored once more,

            radiate your compassion to a world crying out to be loved. Amen.

Song:

Reader:

In the dark of night,

Love came down –

tearing the air with the cry of birth

and the terror of leaving all that was known.

Response:

In the darkness of our own nights,

Love comes down –

wiping our tears,

calming our fears,

and assuring us that the future is as full of joy

as it is of sorrow.

Reader:

In a bed of hay, where donkeys fed,

Love came down,

forsaking power,

and abandoning the comfort that was Love’s by right.

Response:

Into the ordinariness of our lives,

Love comes down,

walking beside us,

sharing our hardships,

and reminding us that the smallest detail

is never out of Love’s sight.

Anointing:

(One at a time gently rub oil into the hand(s) of the person on your right saying:)

God is love. May God’s love live in you.

Song:

Sharing: If you feel that it is appropriate take some time to share your experience of Love, or an insight from this time of worship.

Concluding prayer:

            Love made flesh,

            God in human form,

            as you took our weaknesses and frailties,

            and lived them into holiness,

            take us as we are

            and love us into Godliness. Amen.

Song:

***************

Appropriate songs include Miriam Therese Winter

“Thankyou God”, “Mother and God” and “Sing We a Blessing” (in WomanPrayer:WomanSong)

Or from Together in Song

Love Divine

God is love

Copyright: Marian Free, 1998. If you think that these words are worth using please acknowledge the author.

*******************************

Graced by God

 

    A Celebration of the Incarnation 2004

 

Opening Prayer:

 Holy God surround us,

and saturate us with your grace.

Unveil our eyes,

liberate our minds,

and expose our hearts to your presence.

 

May we experience you now

as a new born child –

naked, vulnerable and open

wanting only to be loved

and received by us. Amen.

 

Hymn:

 

Prayer:

Vulnerable God,

forced from the womb into a hostile world,

bursting into life, risk and danger.

Come to us now.

Gentle God,

crying out to take a first breath,

trusting arms reaching for love,

mouth searching for nipple.

Come to us now.

 

Risk-taking God,

revealing yourself to your creation,

exposing yourself to its hazards,

sharing with those you love

the costs and benefits of life on earth.

Come to us now.

 

Collect:

God, to whom all things are sacred,

and who in Jesus, graced the world, humanity

and even our human form,

free us from the dualisms we create,

that we may see you in all things

and know all things in you.

We ask this through the same Jesus,

born of a woman, to prove all things holy. Amen.

 

Readings:

 

Time of reflection/symbolic action (You will need a collection of scarfs, sequins, lace, needles, thread, glue and anything else that takes your fancy.)

Take a scarf from the basket. Consider what it means to believe that God shares our human existence.

Place the scarf on your head – feel God’s presence as shelter,

on your shoulders – know God’s close embrace,

around your hands – allow God to include in God’s creative plan,

beneath you feet – what is the path God has laid before you?

 

Holding one hand close to yourself, draw the scarf through your hand into the distance – bring forth the God within.

 

Using the materials available, decorate your scarf in such a way that you are reminded that God incarnate shared our human existence and that God continues to be incarnate in those who love God.

 

If you feel like it, share something of your experience.

 

Hymn:

 

Prayer:

 God who brought creation to birth,

now born into that same creation,

make us co-creators of a world in which

all are fed, all are safe and in which all have hope.

God beside and within us.

Stand with us always.

 

God who took on creation’s fragile existence,

transform our pain into joy,

our sorrow into laughter,

our striving into peace,

our transience into eternity.

God beside and within us.

Stand with us always.

 

God, rejected by your creation,

strengthen the victims of violence and oppression,

all who are abused and neglected,

and those who struggle to find a place to belong.

God beside and within us.

Stand with us always.

God who rose beyond the constraints of creation,

free us from the bonds of  fear, cowardice and inaction,

release in us a passion for justice,

a yearning for change,

a belief in re-creation

and a desire to bring it about.

God beside and within us.

Stand with us always.

 

Sending out:

 Go into a world formed by God, graced by God

and transformed by God’s love.

Blessing:

 Bring to birth the God within

and so grace the world with your presence.

Transform it with love,

fill it with joy,

inspire it with courage,

challenge it with vision,

and renew it with passion. Amen.

 Greeting of Peace

 

Copyright: Marian Free 2004. If you think these words are worth using in your context, please acknowledge the author.

************************

A Celebration of the Incarnation

God with us  2008

Marian Free

Opening Prayer:

God of energy and love,
steal into the hidden places of our hearts,
flow through the desolation of failed dreams and unmet goals,
lighten the darkness of fear and
breathe your spirit into the emptiness of our existence,

batter down our walls,
shatter our resistance,
undermine  our arrogance
disturb our self-confidence,
overcome our shame,
banish our embarrassment,
confront our timidity,

until at last,
we are no longer afraid to open ourselves to your presence,
and are ready to allow you to make your home in us. Amen.

Hymn: 326  Love’s the secret

Collect:

God whose creative energy formed us,
whose messenger speaks to us,
whose spirit hovers over us and,
whose Son grows within us,
fashion in us a desire to so nurture your presence within
that we may bring you to birth,
and in so-doing transform the world. Amen.

Reading: Northumbrian sequence IV Kathleen Raine

Scripture:

Gal 4:4-6
Rev 3:14-22
Luke 1:26-38

Reflection:

In what ways do you resist God’s presence in you?
How can you open yourself more fully to God?
If you would like, use the fabric and bits and pieces to make something that represents how you can better respond to God’s
call.

Prayers:

Jesus you entered our world
silently, inconspicuously, insignificantly,
enter our lives,
quietly, confidently, definitely.

Jesus, you lived a life that was
courageous, confronting, faithful,
make us
confident, risk-taking, true.

Jesus, you faced death
isolated, abandoned, sorrowful,
come to us when we are
anguished, betrayed, hopeless.

Jesus as you have known what it is to be us,
may we struggle to learn what it is to be you, Amen.

Jesus I know you in me in ..
as you name how Jesus is present in you, you might like to light a
candle, or offer the results of your reflection

Hymn: Thou didst leave thy throne

Prayer:

Jesus, come to us in the silence
Jesus, come to us in the clamour
Jesus, come to us in the commonplace
Jesus, come to us in the exceptional
Jesus come to us in the holy,
Jesus, come to us in the mundane
Jesus, come to us on the mountain top,
Jesus, come to us in the valley.
Jesus, come. Come to us. Enter into us. Fill us. Be born in us. Amen.

Copyright Marian Free 2008


Graced by God – A Celebration of the Incarnation 2004
Marian Free

Notes: You will need enough “scarves for each person. This is expensive so find some cheap sheer fabric and make some strips about 8 inches wide. Provide scissors, thread, glue, beads, ribbon sequins or other decorative materials.  (Always allow participants the freedom to join in or not as they feel comfortable.)
Choose readings that are usually read at Christmas time, or others that speak to you of God sharing our existence.

Opening Prayer

Holy God surround us,
and saturate us with your grace.
Unveil our eyes,
liberate our minds
and expose our hearts to your presence.

May we experience you now
as a new born child
– naked, vulnerable and open –
wanting only to be loved
and received by us. Amen.

Hymn:

Prayer:

Vulnerable God,
forced from the womb into a hostile world,
bursting into life, risk and danger.

Come to us now.

Gentle God
crying out to take a first breath:
trusting arms reaching for love,
mouth searching for nipple.

Come to us now.

Risk-taking God,
revealing yourself to your creation,
exposing yourself to its hazards,
sharing with those you love
the costs and the benefits of life on earth.

Come to us now.

Collect:

God, to whom all things are sacred,
and who, in Jesus, graced the world, humanity
and even our human form,
free us from the dualisms we create,
that we may see you in all things
and know all things in you.
We ask this through the same Jesus,
born of a woman, to prove all things holy. Amen.

Readings:

Time of reflection/symbolic action
Take a scarf from the basket. Consider what it means to believe that God shares our human existence.

Place the scarf on you head – feel God’s presence as shelter,
on your shoulders – know God’s close embrace,
around your hands – allow God to include you in god’s creative plan,
beneath your feet – what is the path that God has laid before you?
Holding one hand close to yourself, draw the scarf through your hand into the distance – bring forth the God within.

Using the materials available, decorate your scarf in such a way that you are reminded that God incarnate shared your human existence and that God continues to be incarnate in those who love God.

If you feel you can, share something of your experience.

Hymn:

Prayer:

God who brought creation to birth,
now born into that same creation,
make us co-creators of a world in which
all are fed, all are safe and in which all have hope.
God beside and within us.
Stand with us always.

God who shared creation’s fragile existence,
transform our pain into joy,
our sorrow into laughter,
our striving into peace,
our transience into eternity.
God beside and within us.
Stand with us always.

God, rejected by your creation,
strengthen the victims of violence and oppression,
all who are abused and neglected,
and those who struggle to find a place to belong.
God beside and within us.
Stand with us now.

God who rose beyond the constraints of creation,
free us from the bonds of fear, cowardice and inaction.
Release in us a passion for justice,
a yearning for change,
a belief in re-creation
and a desire to bring it about.
God beside and within us.
Stand with us now.

Sending out:
God into a world formed by God, graced by God
and transformed by God’s love.

Blessing:

Bring to birth the God within
and so bless the world with your presence.
Transform it with love,
fill it with joy,
inspire it with courage,
challenge it with vision
and renew it with passion. Amen.

Greeting of Peace

Copyright: Marian Free 2004

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