Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Be Not Afraid -- Advent Candle Liturgy

THe sung piece while the candles are lit is #90 in More VOices "Don't Be Afraid"

Advent 1 – November 30, 2008 – Be Not Afraid a new world is coming
(one person reading paper, tosses it down in disgust)
Reader 1: What's the matter?
Reader 2: Oh I just find the news so depressing these days. It seems that there is nothing but bad news out there.
Reader 1: I know what you mean. Between mill closings and stock market news and street shootings in Toronto it sounds really bad doesn't it.
Reader 2: You said it. Sometimes I wonder if it is really worth trying to improve things any more.
Reader 1: Oh it is always worth trying to make the world better. And things will get better. I am sure of it.
Reader 2: How can you be so sure?
Reader 1: I guess I just have faith. Remember that the Bible keeps telling us that there is a new time coming, a new world? Well I just believe that is true and that the new world will be better.
Reader 2: You really think so? I am not sure. I wish I could be as sure as you are but I am afraid for us right now.
Reader 1: Don't be afraid. God is with us even when the world seems to be falling apart. And all will be well some day.
Reader 2: I hope so. As we light a candle as a sign for our hope in that new world let's sing the song on our insert “Don't Be Afraid”. In fact, let's sing it twice.
(they light 1 purple candle and then return to their seats while the song is sung)

Advent 2 – December 7, 2008 – Be Not Afraid Prophetic Peace be with you
Reader 1: May the peace of Christ be with you.
Reader 2: And also with you. But what do you mean?
Reader 1: Pardon? I don't know what I mean. I was just following the minister's instructions to pass the peace.
Reader 2: But what does “the peace of Christ” mean?
Reader 1: Well, uh, uh, I guess it means everybody getting along and being nice to each other and...well(trails off) Why are you asking?
Reader 2: Well I was reading about the prophets the other day, and they don't always sound peaceful. Sometimes they sound really angry. Sometimes they talk about people getting punished. John the Baptist talks about axes and fires attacking people...
Reader 1: Really, well is that all?
Reader 2: No, they talk about these things happening to bring peace to the world, to make the world a better place.
Reader 1: Maybe that is what we mean by the peace of Christ. That time after the struggle and change.
Reader 2: Maybe. Anyway, it's time to get on with the rest of the service. What say we light some candles for peace while we sing the song on the insert a couple of times.
(they light 2 purple candles and then sit down while the song is sung)

Advent 3 – December 14, 2008 – Be Not Afraid sing for joy
Reader 1: (sings 1st verse of Joy to the World)
Reader 2: How can you sound so happy?
Reader 1: What do you mean?
Reader 2: Well with everything that is happening around us. With all the bustle of trying to get ready for Christmas. How can you be so happy and relaxed?
Reader 1: It's Christmas! How can anyone be anything but happy? All I need to do is look at the excitement of the kids and the bright lights and listen to the cheery music. Then it is easy to be happy.
Reader 2: But aren't you worried?
Reader 1: Sometimes I am. None of knows for sure what next year will bring.
Reader 2: But you're happy anyway?
Reader 1: Yep. I made a choice to not let the worry take over. God is coming to live among us as a baby. That's more than enough reason to sing!
Reader 2: You made a choice?
Reader 1: That's right. I chose joy and hope over fear and worry. It's Christmas! Don't be afraid, sing instead. In fact let's light candles while we sing the song in the bulletin about not being afraid. We will sing it twice.
(they light 2 purple candles and the pink candle and then sit down while the song is sung)

Advent 4 – December 21, 2008 – Be Not Afraid Justice shall be done
Reader 1: You know, sometimes I think that life really isn't fair.
Reader 2: Why do you say that?
Reader 1: Well the news keeps telling us that the rich get richer while the poor fall farther behind. It sometimes seems that nobody really works for the people who have the least. It just isn't fair.
Reader 2: Well you know, nobody ever promise life should be fair. But you are right. It just doesn't seem right that so many people have so little to live on.
Reader 1: No it doesn't. Where is the justice in all of it? Aren't things like food and shelter basic to life? Why don't we find a way for everyone to get them? When the revolution comes...
Reader 2: (interrupting) Ok ok, down off the soapbox. Take a breath. I agree with you. Well maybe not the revolution part, but I do agree with you. And you know what?
Reader 1: What?
Reader 2: God agrees with you too. God wants us to live in a time of justice when everybody has what they need to live.
Reader 1: Really?
Reader 2: Yep. The Bible talks about it all the time. It is a big part of what people of faith pray and work for. And I really believe it will happen some day.
Reader 1: I hope it happens soon. I am afraid of what might happen if things don't change.
Reader 2: Oh try not to be afraid. Fear gets in the way a lot. While we light candles to remind us of God's light and justice why don't we sing “Don't Be Afraid” which is on the insert in the bulletin. We'll sing it twice.
(they light all 4 of the candles in the wreath and then sit down while the song is sung)

Christmas Eve – December 24, 2008 – Be Not Afraid the Baby means Change
Reader 1: Christmas Eve is here at last. Soon we will hear about angels and shepherds.
Reader 2: And the angels will remind all of us not to be afraid.
Reader 1: The candles on our wreath remind us not to be afraid to. One reminds us to not be afraid of the bad news around us because a better world is coming (lights a purple candle)
Reader 2: And this one reminds us to not be afraid of the tough choices and changes that need to come before we have peace in the world. (lights second purple candle)
Reader 1: This pink candle reminds us that even when the world is going crazy we can choose to be less afraid, we can choose to sing for joy (lights pink candle)
Reader 2: And this last candle reminds us that when we work past the fear we can see God's hope for justice in the world. (lights last purple candle)
Reader 1: Now there is only one candle left. The one in the middle.
Reader 2: That's right. What does it remind us of?
Reader 1: Well Christmas is about a baby right? And a baby means change right? Well some people think that change is very scary.
Reader 2: SO let's light this candle to remind us of the Baby, and of the changes that might happen, and to not be afraid of those changes (lights center candle)

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