After Christmas, Year C

 

Musical Reflection
City With No Children by Arcade Fire

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Invocation

Lord, your wisdom echoes
in the child’s question,
the raw insight of youth:
renew our curiousity
and deepen our desire
for a truth that lives
and grows before you;
Hidden God,
who made the face of Moses shine
with the gift of your friendship:
teach us the law of love,
carried by the breath of spirit
and planted in hearts of flesh
that we might be children again
and the world restored to you;
through Jesus Christ, the Question and the Answer, the Glory of God.
Amen.

First Reading
In Childhood

by Sarah A Chavez

In childhood Christy and I played in the dumpster across the street
from Pickett & Sons Construction. When we found bricks, it was best.
Bricks were most useful. We drug them to our empty backyard
and stacked them in the shape of a room. For months
we collected bricks, one on top another. When the walls
reached as high as my younger sister’s head, we laid down.
Hiding in the middle of our room, we watched the cycle
of the sun, gazed at the stars, clutched hands and felt at home.

 

Second Reading
Childhood Stories
by Matthew Rohrer

They learned to turn off the gravity in an auditorium
and we all rose into the air,
the same room where they demonstrated
pow-wows and prestidigitation.
But not everyone believed it.
That was the most important lesson
I learned—that a truck driven by a dog
could roll down a hill at dusk
and roll right off a dock into a lake
and sink, and if no one believes you
then what is the point
of telling them wonderful things?
I walked home from the pow-wow
on an early winter night in amazement:
they let me buy the toy tomahawk!
As soon as I got home I was going
to hit my sister with it, but I didn’t know this.
jeff wall insomnia
Gospel Reading 1
Luke 2:41-52

Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. When he was 12 years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to their custom. After the festival was over, they were returning home, but the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t know it. Supposing that he was among their band of travelers, they journeyed on for a full day while looking for him among their family and friends. When they didn’t find Jesus, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple. He was sitting among the teachers, listening to them and putting questions to them. Everyone who heard him was amazed by his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were shocked.

His mother said, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Listen! Your father and I have been worried. We’ve been looking for you!”

Jesus replied, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that it was necessary for me to be in my Father’s house?” But they didn’t understand what he said to them.

Jesus went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. His mother cherished every word in her heart. Jesus matured in wisdom and years, and in favour with God and with people.

 

Gospel Reading 2
John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word
    and the Word was with God
    and the Word was God.
The Word was with God in the beginning.
Everything came into being through the Word,
    and without the Word
    nothing came into being.
What came into being
    through the Word was life,
    and the life was the light for all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.

A man named John was sent from God. He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him everyone would believe in the light. He himself wasn’t the light, but his mission was to testify concerning the light.

The true light that shines on all people
    was coming into the world.
The light was in the world,
    and the world came into being through the light,
        but the world didn’t recognize the light.
The light came to its own people,
    and its own people didn’t accept it.
But those who did accept the light,
        those who believed in that name,
    were empowered to become God’s children,
        born not from blood
        nor from human desire or passion,
        but born from God.
The Word became flesh
    and stayed for a little while among us.
We saw the Word’s glory –
    glory like that of a parent’s only child,
        full of grace and truth.

John testified, crying out, “This is the one of whom I said, ‘The one who comes after me is greater than me because this One existed before me.’”

From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace;
    as the Law was given through Moses,
    so grace and truth came into being through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
    God the only Child,
        who is at the Parent’s side,
        has made God known.

Musical Reflection
What Child is This? by Vince Guaraldi Trio

 

Wall-Picture-for-Women
Child’s Prayer
by Edith Rutter Leatham

Dear God,
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you, God, for everything. 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
Forever Young by Bob Dylan


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 Jeff Wall

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection A City with No Children by Arcade Fire

Poem In Childhood by Sarah A Chavez

Poem Childhood Stories by Matthew Rohrer

Musical Reflection What Child is This by Vince Guaraldi Trio

Child’s Prayer by Edith Rutter Leatham

Aramaic Lord’s Prayer by Mark Hathaway

Musical Reflection Forever Young by Bob Dylan

Blessing from The Pattern of our Days

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