Advent Three, Year A

Musical Reflection
The Message by M.I.A.

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Invocation

God of the burning sand
and thirsty ground:
you called John into the wilderness
to announce a new creation
far from palaces of royal power;
make us ready for your intensity,
the judgement that opens our senses
to the poverty of our world
and calls to life
what lingers in death;
through Jesus Christ, the one who is to come.

Amen.

First Reading

God Blows a Message
 by Edward Sapir

Through her gaunt cheeks and sunken eyes
God blows a message
Delivered at the first sunrise
Of a forgotten age.

Her fingers point not truthfuller
To evanescence
Than the soft planetary whirr,
Eternity’s pretence.

The soul that disarranges hair
Puts out the firefly –
And strewed the stars upon the air
And gave them word to die.

Second Reading
An Oregon Message
by William E Stafford

 

When we first moved here, pulled
the trees in around us, curled
our backs to the wind, no one
had ever hit the moon—no one.
Now our trees are safer than the stars,
and only other people’s neglect
is our precious and abiding shell,
pierced by meteors, radar, and the telephone.

From our snug place we shout

religiously for attention, in order to hide:
only silence or evasion will bring
dangerous notice, the hovering hawk
of the state, or the sudden quiet stare
and fatal estimate of an alerted neighbor.

This message we smuggle out in

its plain cover, to be opened
quietly: Friends everywhere—
we are alive! Those moon rockets
have missed millions of secret
places! Best wishes.

Burn this.

 

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Gospel Reading
Matthew 11:2-11

Now when John heard in prison about the things the Christ was doing, he sent word by his disciples to Jesus, asking, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”

Jesus responded, “Go, report to John what you hear and see. Those who were blind are able to seeThose who were crippled are walking. People with skin diseases are cleansed. Those who were deaf now hear. Those who were dead are raised up. The poor have good news proclaimed to them. Happy are those who don’t stumble and fall because of me.”

When John’s disciples had gone, Jesus spoke to the crowds about John: “What did you go out to the wilderness to see? A stalk blowing in the wind? What did you go out to see? A person dressed up in refined clothes? Look, those who wear refined clothes are in royal palaces. What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. He is the one of whom it is written: Look, I’m sending my messenger before you, who will prepare your way before you.”

“I assure you that no one who has ever been born is greater than John the Baptist. Yet whoever is least in the realm of heaven is greater than he.”

Musical Reflection
Message by Jamie Woon

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A Prayer for Wanderers
from Queer Theology  

God of the seekers and the dreamers,
of the disaffected and the disillusioned,
of the worn-out and the burnt-out,
of the rejected and the leavers:
We ask for blessings as we travel,
as we doubt, as we meander.
We ask for grace to leave when necessary,
to come home when we can,
to create new homes when we need to.
We ask for protection of our souls
from those who don’t understand,
who judge, who mock.
We ask for the fortitude to undertake the journey,
even when it’s scary,
or maybe especially when it’s scary.
We know that as we wander, we are not alone.
And that, as Tolkien said, “Not all who wander are lost.”
We know that sometimes we have to leave
the confines of what we knew to see the truth,
to hear your voice, to find out what to do next.
We pray you lead us where we need to go
by whatever route it takes.
We pray for new ways to see you,
to understand new ways of being in the world.
We pray for healing and for redemption,
and, where possible, reconciliation.
We pray for all of this so that
we can know wholeness, know our bodies,
know each other, know you,
and be found.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Most compassionate Life-giver,
may we honour and praise you:
may we work with you to establish
your new order of justice, peace and love.
Give us what we need for growth,
and help us, through forgiving others,
to accept forgiveness.
Strengthen us in the time of testing,
that we may resist all evil.
For all the tenderness,
strength and love are yours,
now and forever. Amen.


Musical Reflection
A Message from the Meters by The Meters

 

Blessing

Bless to us, O Lord,
the earth beneath our feet;
bless to us, O Lord,
the path we tread:
our walk this day with the Creator,
our walk this day with the Redeemer,
our walk this day with the Spirit.

May the blessing of God – the Existing, the Living, and the Speaking,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

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Sources:

Artwork by Neil Gall

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection The Message by M.I.A.

Poem God Blows a Message by Edward Sapir

Poem An Oregon Message by William E Stafford

Musical Reflection Message by Jamie Woon

Prayer from Queer Theology

Lord’s Prayer by W Wallace

Musical Reflection A Message from the Meters by The Meters

Blessing from Celtic Daily Prayer

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