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Month: December 2015

Guinea Pig Nativity

 
This is a really good book for the smallest room in the house. It’s just the biblical narrative (yeah, not the Sunday school nonsense) with pictures of Guinea pigs dressed up. Buy yourself a copy!

Paper Chain Prayers

At the Christmas Rock Mass we prayed for Jesus to bring light into the dark situations around the world and in our lives.  I bought a couple of paper chain making kits from eBay.  With suitable music playing, people wrote their prayers on the back of their links and added them to the chain.  It was really powerful as our prayers joined together and we all gathered around the altar together.  We all took a glow stick (or many as some of our kids saw fit) and made bracelets to symbolise the light of Christ entering into the world.  Then the president brought all of the prayers together at the end and offered them before God as they were placed around the crib scene.

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Yes, that’s Richie Sambora on the telly.

Mary’s Lullaby (Away in a Manger) – Lyrics Adapted by Ruth and Robb

Since the late 19th century, The Church has been held hostage to one of the most theologically facile songs that has ever been sung during a service. All of the accusations of “pie in the sky when you die” and a “bearded man in the sky” can be found in this universal favourite.  When combined in a service filled with “baby” Jesus and the Christmas “Story” references, The Church has been inoculating people to the revolutionary faith we have in Christ.

Away in a Manger has become such a large part of our wider cultural memory that planning a service without it can cause disagreements both inside the church community and outside of it. Ruth and I have talked about this problem for many years.  A couple of years ago we wondered what it would be like if Away in a Manger was as revolutionary as the Magnificat. Using those words as our inspiration we decided to rewrite Away in a Manger from the perspective of Mary looking at her newborn child.

We have used it for the last couple of years in a variety of different contexts and it goes down really well.  We reworked it for Metanoia and the Rock Mass but we’re only half way through recording it so here is a simple arrangement to show how it could be used on organ or guitar.

Let’s take back Christmas!  Please use it freely in worship and schools.  If you want to credit us as “Ruth and Robb Sutherland” you’d make our day.

Mary’s Lullaby (Away in a Manger)

“Away in a manger, asleep on the hay,
I will watch over you at the end of the day,
The stars in the bright sky shine down where you lie,
As angels sing ‘Glory be to God on high’.”

“My spirit rejoices, for news of your birth
Like wildfire will spread over all of the earth;
A light in our darkness, a hope for the poor,
God’s gift to all people of life evermore.”

“Your name shall be Jesus, for this holy night
Is fulfilment of promise through God’s saving might;
But now sleep in peace, as I sing lullaby,
I will stay by your side til your dawning is nigh.”

– Lyrics adapted by Ruth and Robb Sutherland

Nursery Rhyme Christingle

The Nursery Rhyme Mass is one of the most interesting developments in sacramental ministry with children that I’ve come across.  Fr Simon and other contributors like Mtr Leah have been using familiar tunes to engage the young and old with the sacraments.

I haven’t yet had time to be able to incorporate a regular worship event like this myself.  However, our annual Christingle service is the perfect occasion for something like it. I discovered a book called Nursery Rhyme Nativities on Amazon and looked through it.  It’s great if you are putting on a Nativity Play but we build the crib during the service.  We had to pick and choose bits from different parts of the book.  We rewrote a few bits of it here and there to improve the scan of the lyrics.

I combine a knitted nativity set and a last supper set to give a big gang of Magi in one part of the church and shepherds in another.  Mary and the angel Gabriel start in one corner and Joseph in another.  Children run around the church finding the characters as we place them under the altar and recount the history of our faith.

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Our service was also Star Wars Themed but that came through the use of videos, building a life sized Sith Lord, playing with lightsabers and the sermon.

Christingle 2015

Welcome

Carol – Come and Join the Celebration

Find Mary and Angel – Tell our story

Mary’s Song – To The Tune of London Bridge
The angel came to Mary’s home,
Mary’s home, Mary’s home.
The angel came to Mary’s home,
In the morning.

Mary wondered why he came,
Why he came, why he came.
Mary wondered why he came,
In the morning

The Lord our God has chosen you,
Chosen you, chosen you.
The Lord our God has chosen you,
This fine morning

You’ll be mother to his son,
To his son, to his son.
You’ll be mother to his son,
Precious baby.

He will lead us back to God,
Back to God, back to God.
He will lead us back to God,
Precious baby.

Let it happen as you say,
As you say, as you say.
Let it happen as you say,
Mary whispers.

Find Joseph – Tell our story

Hymn – O Little Town of Bethlehem

Lullaby – To The Tune of Frere Jaque
Baby’s sleeping, baby’s sleeping,
In the straw, in the straw.
Angel’s promise keeping,
Angel’s promise keeping,
Son of God,
Son of God.

Baby’s sleeping, baby’s sleeping,
In the straw, in the straw.
Joseph now is peeping,
Joseph now is peeping,
Full of joy, full of joy.

Baby’s sleeping, baby’s sleeping,
In the straw, in the straw.
Mary now is weeping,
Mary now is weeping,
Tears of Joy,
Tears of Joy.

Carol – See Him Lying in a Bed of Straw

Reading – Luke 2

Find Shepherds – Tell our story

The Shepherds’ Song Part 1 – To The Tune of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
Shepherds go down to Bethlehem,
Bethlehem, Bethlehem,
Shepherds go down to Bethlehem,
On Christmas day in the morning.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem,
Bethlehem, Bethlehem,
Jesus was born in Bethlehem,
On Christmas day in the morning.

The shepherds found Jesus in Bethlehem,
Bethlehem, Bethlehem,
The shepherds found Jesus in Bethlehem,
On Christmas day in the morning.

They worshipped the baby in Bethlehem,
Bethlehem, Bethlehem,
They worshipped the baby in Bethlehem,
On Christmas day in the morning.

Carol – Silent Night

Take Shepherds back to the hillside – Tell our story

The Shepherds’ Song Part 2
Back to the hills near Bethlehem,
Bethlehem, Bethlehem,
Back to the hills near Bethlehem,
On Christmas day in the morning.

Find The Magi – Tell our story

The Magi’s Song – To The Tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Lead the wise men from afar,
Up above the sky so bright,
Letting in the heavenly light.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Now we know just where you are.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Stable door is now ajar.
Up above the sky so bright,
Letting in the heavenly light.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Now we know just where you are.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Magi bring gifts from afar,
Up above the sky so bright,
Letting in the heavenly light.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Now we know just where you are.

Silent Night Video

Sermon – The Light of the World vs The Dark Side

Take the Magi away to the east end.  Tell of Mary, Joseph and Jesus fleeing to Egypt as refugees – Tell our story

Prayers

The Lord’s Prayer

Song – Sing Christingle
Give Out Christingles
Song – Mary’s Lullaby (Away in a Manger)

This is a post in itself.

Glow Sticks to Take Into the World

Blessing
May the joy of the angels,
The eagerness of the shepherds,
The perseverance of the Magi,
The obedience of Mary and Joseph
And the peace of the Christ Child
Be yours this Christmas,
And the blessing…

Carol – Come and Join the Celebration

After coffee during which the kids were playing, this had happened!

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