Advent Two, Year C

 

Musical Reflection
Counting Down by Nataly Dawn

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Invocation

Lord of the wilderness way,
whose word scours our smooth evasions:
take us on the unbending road
to the raw centre of our world
with a cry of invitation
and the call of sudden grace;
through Jesus Christ, the one who is to come.
Amen.
First Reading
The Delta

by Bruce Bond

If you are going there by foot, prepare

to get wet. You are not you anymore.

You are a girl standing in a pool

of clouds as they catch fire in the distance.

There are laws of   heaven and those of   place

and those who see the sky in the water,

angels in ashes that are the delta’s now.

They say if you sweep the trash from your house

after dark, you sweep away your luck.

If you are going by foot, bring a stick,

a third leg, and honor the great disorder,

the great broom of waterfowl and songbirds.

Prepare to voodoo your way, best you can,

knowing there is a little water in things

you take for granted, a little charity

and squalor for the smallest forms of life.

Voodoo was always mostly charity.

People forget. If you shake a tablecloth

outside at night, someone in your family

dies. There are laws we make thinking

it was us who made them. We are not us.

We are a floodplain by the Mississippi

that once poured slaves upriver to the fields.

We are a hurricane in the making.

We could use a magus who knows something

about suffering, who knows a delta’s needs.

We understand if   you want a widow

to stay single, cut up her husband’s shoes.

He is not himself anyway and walks

barefoot across a landscape that has no north.

Only a ghost tree here and there, a frog,

a cricket, a bird. And if the fates are kind,

a girl with a stick, who is more at home,
being homeless, than you will ever be.

Second Reading
Ikebana
by Cathy Song
To prepare the body,
aim for the translucent perfection
you find in the sliced shavings
of a pickled turnip.
In order for this to happen,
you must avoid the sun,
protect the face
under a paper parasol
until it is bruised white
like the skin of lilies.
Use white soap
from a blue porcelain

dish for this.

Restrict yourself.
Eat the whites of things:
tender bamboo shoots,
the veins of the young iris,

the clouded eye of a fish.

Then wrap the body,
as if it were a perfumed gift,
in pieces of silk
held together with invisible threads
like a kite, weighing no more
than a handful of crushed chrysanthemums.
Light enough to float in the wind.
You want the effect

of koi moving through water.

When the light leaves
the room, twist lilacs
into the lacquered hair
piled high like a complicated shrine.
There should be tiny bells
inserted somewhere
in the web of hair
to imitate crickets

singing in a hidden grove.

Reveal the nape of the neck,
your beauty spot.
Hold the arrangement.
If your spine slacks
and you feel faint,
remember the hand-picked flower
set in the front alcove,
which, just this morning,
you so skillfully wired into place.
How poised it is!
Petal and leaf
curving like a fan,
the stem snipped and wedged
into the metal base—
to appear like a spontaneous accident.
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Gospel Reading
Luke 3:1-6

In the fifteenth year of the rule of the emperor Tiberius—when Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea and Herod was ruler over Galilee, his brother Philip was ruler over Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was ruler over Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas—God’s word came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. John went throughout the region of the Jordan River, calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins.This is just as it was written in the scroll of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

A voice crying out in the wilderness:
    Prepare the way for the Lord;
        make his paths straight.
Every valley will be filled,
    and every mountain and hill will be levelled.
The crooked will be made straight
    and the rough places made smooth.
All humanity will see God’s salvation.

 

Musical Reflection
My Silver Lining by First Aid Kit

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Celtic Prayer
adapted

O, Ruler of the Tree of Life,
The blossoms on the branches are your people,
The singing birds are your angels,
The whispering breeze is your Spirit.

O, Ruler of the Tree of Life,
May the blossoms bring forth the sweetest fruit,
May the birds sing out the highest praise,
May your Spirit cover all with a gentle breath.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

O Source of the Radiance,
dancing in and about all-that-is,
Shine forth into the depths of our beings,
and enkindle there the flame of thy essence.
Grant that it may blaze forth
and fill us with its searing creativity,
Until, fully united with thy fiery desire,
light pours out from us, taking form.
May we be revitalised each day
with nourishment for body and spirit,
And be liberated from all that oppresses us,
as we struggle to mend the fabric of our world.
Let us not be enmeshed in the nets of illusion,
but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment.
For from thee shine forth
the precepts, the sustenance, and the generative fire,
from centring to centring. Ameyn.

Musical Reflection
Anthem by Alana Yorke


Blessing

May the Maker’s blessing be ours,
encircling us round
above us
within us.

May the angels’ blessings be ours
and the joy of the saints
to inspire us
to cherish us.

May the Holy Child’s blessing be ours,
the wine and the water,
the bread and the stories
to feed us
to remind us.

May the Spirit’s blessing be ours,
the wind, the fire,
the still small voice
to comfort us
to disturb us.

And may we all bless each other –
a blessing rooted in our common pilgrimage,
the blessing of friends.

May the blessing of God – the Creator, the Human, and the Spirit,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

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Sources:

Artwork by Monir Farmanfarmaian

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Counting Down by Nataly Dawn

Poem The Delta by Bruce Bond

Poem Ikebana by Cathy Song

Musical Reflection My Silver Lining by First Aid Kit

Traditional Celtic Prayer

Aramaic Lord’s Prayer by Mark Hathaway

Musical Reflection Anthem by Alana Yorke

Blessing from The Pattern of our Days

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