A Liturgy for 2020

A liturgy for the New Years – secular, lectionary and national.

Call to Worship

(L = Left side; R = Right side)

Leader: 2020 is upon us
L:  A new decade has begun
R:  Children are back at school
L:  Our working year is underway
R:  The Lectionary cycle is Year A
L:  Once again we are reflecting
R:  on the Gospel of Matthew
L:  the first book in the New Testament
All: May 2020 visions bring new insight

Leader: Let us worship God

All: with heart and soul and mind

Prayer of Approach

We gather in this place as Christians,
We meet as local community of persons
who seek to be good people
by acknowledging the Divine.

The Divine exists within each individual 
and is present in all Creation.
The Divine has many names
but we most commonly call you God.
We believe we can best worship God
by following the Way of Jesus.

As we delve into the Holy Scriptures
we are confronted by stories of conflict,
we read of struggles, hardships and horror.

But Jesus teaches us that you are with us
in our struggles, hardships, and horrors.
In Matthew’s Gospel we learn that You
care for us with that special parental bond

that offers unconditional love
to each of your children. Open us:
to seeking this love
to seeing this love
to feeling this love
to being this love
and living in it forever and ever, amen.

Offertory

We ask your blessing in this place
humbly seeking to know your grace.

We know that this significant year
brings new hopes and also new fears.

May what we give help lessen strife
and what we do bring light and life. Amen

Prayer for the People

(allocate a verse each to 4 people)

God of Love,
We come to you aware that although we try
we often fail to love, as you want us to love.
We want to do better but often don’t know how.
In this year of 2020 we accept that
perfection is beyond reach for most of us.
But 20/20, so called ‘perfect vision’
does not mean exceptional and unattainable.
It is a measure of normal good vision,
a state that some have always lacked
and most will lack with increasing age.

Perfect sight would not mend the world,
but insight might…
insight plays a vital role in perfect outcomes.
We ask that you bless us all with increasing insight
and give more to those who need it most …
Please bless all leaders with visions of perfection,
and the insight of compassionate understanding
required to reform the world to a place where
all people are valued, as you value all people.

This month we celebrate(d) our National Day –
the signing of The Treaty of Waitangi.
And sadly, as with many National Days,
some citizens do not consider
the chosen date worthy of celebrating.
We ask for the insight to better understand our history.
Give all, the will to right wrongs with good actions and good grace,
and may all good will, and good actions, be accepted with grace.

Help us to reflect on The Treaty as did the missionaries
and some Maori signatories – as a Holy Covenant, made
between Maori and Pakeha – in the manner of Covenants
God made with chosen people in the Old Testament –
as a promise and binding commitment made in faith.
May such reflecting lead to a spirit of hope, that brings
peace with justice, and a better future for us all. Amen

(Silent prayer followed by the Lord’s Prayer)

Benediction/Commission

2020 is upon us!
A new decade has begun!
Embrace this significant year!
We give thanks for the year 2020.
We will look for new insights
to better serve the bringer of light.

Some Resources for 2020

I would like to suggest that Calendars (well, the right calendars) are a valuable but often overlooked resource

As we draw towards the end of another year, those of us that like to plan ahead start thinking about what resources we might need to support our calling as preachers in the coming year.  Of course, the problem is not that there is a paucity of choices – quite the opposite, in fact, ranging from comprehensive resource manuals such as the Abingdon Manuals through to simple Lectionary listings.

I would like to suggest that Calendars (well, the right calendars) are a valuable but often overlooked resource.  Think about it – calendars are positioned in conspicuous places, are constantly glanced at and can take advantage of that fact to gently encourage one to think about the themes and messages that the calendar promotes.  Here are a couple of options that lay preachers may like to consider.

The Climate Justice CalendarPRL191028 CJWG 2020 Calendar FrntCover

The Methodist Church of NZ last year created a Climate Justice Working Group to work nationally to support parishes and other church bodies to respond to the current Climate Emergency.  There are a number of elements to the group’s mandate, one of which is providing education and awareness resources.  They have published a 2020 Calendar as the first step to this end.PRL191028 CJWG 2020 Calendar BackCover

The end result is an A3 portrait calendar, produced on Forestry

Council Certified matt satin light card and (where available) printed with entirely vegetable-based dyes.  The calendar features stunning images and graphics contributed by members from throughout the Methodist Church community.

Each month of the calendar focuses on one aspect of climate change and climate justice.  It provides theological perspectives and practical actions on 12 climate issues facing Aotearoa NZ today.  The themes are based on reflections written for the calendar by Dr George Zachariah, lecturer in Biblical Studies at Trinity Methodist Theological College.  These reflections are combined with Practical Actions to address the issues relating to the months’ theme, for individuals, families and congregations to consider and adopt during the year.

Of specific relevance to lay-preachers, the calendar provides the Lectionary Reference & Liturgical Colour for each Sunday and special days from the 1992 Common Lectionary Revised as published by the MCNZ and the PCANZ.  Also, a Collect or Prayer has been written for each month and the Climate Justice Working Group encourages all congregations to consider using these regularly in their worship throughout the year.

The Religious Diversity CalendarRDC FrntCover

A second calendar that lay preachers may find helpful is the Religious Diversity Centre’s 2020 Calendar.

The goal of the Religious Diversity Centre is to foster appreciation, understanding and deeper relationships among the religious, spiritual and secular communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.  This will ensure that New Zealand is an inclusive and safe society, where understanding and respect can lead us to a productive future in diversity

The calendar promotes that appreciation RDC BackCoverand understanding by including dates for Bahá’í, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Māori, Muslim, Sikh, and Zoroastrian celebrations and commemorations. They have also added New Zealand holidays and commemorations, moon phases, solstice and equinox dates, and astrological dates.  The 2020 calendar includes photos depicting the wide variety of faith and belief groups in Aotearoa New Zealand, all taken by local photographers.

How to get a copy.

The Climate Justice Calendar

The Climate Justice Calendar should be available from any Methodist congregation, or you can email either peter.lane@sdcs.co.nz or marion.hines@xtra.co.nz to order a copy.

Calendars are available in English, Samoan, Tongan and Fijian.  Please specify what languages are required when ordering, together with a postal address for delivery.

Calendars may be purchased at $20 each including P&P.  Bulk orders for 10 or more delivered to one NZ address will attract a discount.  Payment can be made by cheque or internet banking – details will be provided at the time of ordering.

A donation will be made from the proceeds of sales will be made for solar panels in a Methodist Solomon Islands project, through MCNZ’s Mission and Ecumenical division.

The Religious Diversity Calendar

The Religious Diversity Calendar can be ordered by emailing the centre administrator, bex@rdc.org.nz.

The cost is $15 each, plus $5 P&P for up to five copies, or plus $10 P&P for up to ten copies.  Payment can be made by cheque or by internet banking – details will be provided at the time of ordering.

(PS: in the interests of full disclosure, I am a member of the Climate Justice Working Group and was part of the group that put it together.)

Two Prayers for the New Year

Image result for New Year blessing

Gathering Prayer
Loving God, as we gather today in this place,
We thank you for your unfailing love.
We pray that we may be rooted and established in your love.
We pray that we have power, together with all the saints,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge –
that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of you.

Morning Prayer
Sometimes, Lord, it seems
my faith is mere gravel flying against the wind
of lovelessness and pain.
Yet You have chosen and placed me here;
laid Your grace deep within my being
used my fragments in Your kingdom-building plan.
I pray, Lord, that today
even my shakiest stones
might be a safe place for others to tread.
In Jesus’s name. Amen

From http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/worship/starters_for_sunday/january
(for 17 January 2016) (Webmistress’s note: I see this source page is no longer available.)

Resources from Rosalie Sugrue

ten playsRosalie Sugrue is a prolific producer of resources for small groups, children, worship services, women’s fellowships, and the like, and just recently sent us a list of some of the results of her labours, together with an invitation to contact her if you have a need for resources such as devotions, prayers, games, skits or Bible puzzles.  In the meantime, here is her list of Resource Leaflets and Scripts already available from various sources, at very reasonable cost.