Lectionary resources for worship, faith formation, and service
This week’s blog begins with a reflection from Sarah Agnew, a member of the Advent, Christmas, Epiphany writing team
At Belair, we are using the liturgies from SeasonsFUSION, and the theme for Advent 2 was words of comfort. The words we were praying gained a new depth this morning, as we heard of the pain and sorrow in the lives of folk from our community. I haven’t mentioned that they are my words, and there’s part of me that doesn’t want to draw attention to that – perhaps I will once the Advent, Christmas Epiphany season has finished and we move onto using prayers written by others. We prayed specifically for a couple of people this morning, but it struck me as we spoke together the call to worship that these words were crafted by their minister, and all of a sudden it was as if I had written the words just for us. I know that people in churches around the country and the world prayed those prayers on Sunday, and I wonder what made the words particularly significant for them. What are the needs of their communities and their members, that will help them to feel that those words were written just for them? I hope they feel that.
Writing for Seasons, you’re about 12 months ahead, or more, and it can feel a little odd, a bit removed from the moment of gathered worship. When you write, you have a community in mind, one that you know, but you also know that you’ve got to write in such a way that the words invite people from different countries, hemispheres, experiences, ages… to worship God, and you don’t want to compromise so much that you say nothing at all. So as we prayed the words I wrote 12 months ago, I had a moment of deep gratitude for the way they spoke into our longing for comfort today. And for that, I can only thank that wondrous, mysterious, Sacred Spirit, as well as the courage of those who shared their pain with our community this morning.
In some traditions, the third Sunday of Advent is known as “Rejoice Sunday.” To rejoice is to affirm our confidence that God is present in our lives, even when we do not see evidence of God’s presence. The scripture readings for December 11 call us to rejoice all the time and to “come home with shouts of joy.”
Do take time to read Michelle Cormam’s compelling story of her experience of “Coming Home with Shouts of Joy” on page 63 of SeasonsFUSION. Perhaps you will copy and distribute it on Sunday, or email to people on your email list.
What are your stories of hope restored?