Prayers from the New Zealand Hymnwriters

John Thornley, Palmerston North, led the second Advent service at Wesley Broadway on 10 December 2018. Theme focus: Peace.

Each of the four Advent services focused on one country as a recipient of CWS aid, and John’s country was Palestine. John’s chosen theme: ‘No peace without justice/No justice without peace’. Three of the carols chosen were texts by Shirley Erena Murray – Peace Child, Dream a Dream, and All Over Creation.

In the whole service there was a continual linking of the Christmas story 2000 years ago, and the realities of peace/justice issues in 2018. A fourth hymn text – ‘God Weeps’ – was adapted as a response prayer, described not as ‘Confession and Assurance’ but ‘Confession and Commitment’:

Leader: God weeps
at love withheld,
at strength misused,
at children’s innocence abused
All: and till we change the way we love
God weeps.

Leader: God bleeds
at anger’s fist,
at trust betrayed,
at women battered and afraid,
All: and till we change the way we win,
God bleed.

Leader: God cries
at hungry mouths,
at running sores,
at creatures dying without cause,
All: and till we change the way we care
God cries.

Leader: God waits
for stones to melt,
for peace to seed,
for hearts to hold each other’s need,
All: and till we understand the Christ.
God waits.

[Used by permission]

John says, ‘There are many hymn texts in the four NZ hymnbooktrustlogocollections  published by the New Zealand Hymnbook Trust that find a place in worship as prayers/ reflections.’

To order the books: Website: www.hymns.org.nz
Or email Philip Garside Publishing Limited, Christian mail order specialists.

Advent is Here – a prayer of approach from Rosalie Sugrue

advent 02

Prayer of Approach (read antiphonally)

Advent is here
In this liturgical season of anticipation
Free us to embrace Christmas in all its fullness
Help us enter the magic world of myth and story
With the unfettered imagination of children
Present in the moment
Living in the story

Advent is here
In this liturgical season of preparation
Free us from becoming overburdened
By the many things we have to do
Help us meet angels in our story
May angels quell our fears
As they did for Mary and Joseph

Advent is here
May angels give us safe directions
As they did for the Magi
May angels startle us to wonder
As they did for the shepherds
And may we sing from angel song-sheets
Songs of hope and peace that evoke joy
and spontaneous acts of love. Amen

Rosalie Sugrue

Preparing for Advent

But wait – there’s more, from Rev Silvia Purdie, Minister at  Cashmere Presbyterian Church, Christchurch –http://www.conversations.net.nz/  (24 Nov 2017) –

PictureFor the Cashmere congregation this year we have prepared a simple photocopied booklet of Christmas readings, including a daily reading guide (with help from Catholic.com). It is not my own work but you’re welcome to view it HERE. It includes a couple of lovely poems from Madeline L’Engle’s fabulous ‘Winter Song’ book, as well as a couple of our very special Kiwi authors, Shirley Murray and Joy Cowley.

The light of the Christmas star to you
the warmth of home and hearth to you
the cheer and good will of friends to you
the love of the Son and God’s peace to you

An Advent and Christmas Miscellany

A Collection of Advent Poems, Prayers and Blessings

A Liturgy for Advent and Christmas

Betty Shore has sent us an Advent/Nativity reflection/study she used with a group. You may be able to use all or part of this

A Birth in Bethlehem – a Nativity Play – by Joy Kingsbury-Aitken

If Jesus Came for the First Time This Year – A Nativity Story with a Modern Twist – by Joy Kingsbury Aitken

A Collection of Christmas Prayers and Blessings

Psalms for Advent & Christmas

Also from Rev Silvia Purdie, Minister at  Cashmere Presbyterian Church, Christchurch –http://www.conversations.net.nz/  (24 Nov 2017) –

Looking for a Call to Worship during December … look no further!

Image result for waitingThe Lectionary Psalms this year are 80, 85, 126, 89, 97 & 98. These (plus a little extra) are paraphrased and formatted here for use in worship.

Click HERE to download the pdf.