GalaXies

O Illuminated Night!

An Advent Carol Service

St Andrew’s on the Terrace

8 December 2002, 7.30pm

Choir: In Dreams                                                                                        Fran Walsh and Howard Shore

When the cold of winter comes, starless night will cover day.

In the veiling of the sun we will walk in bitter rain;

But in dreams I can hear your name,

And in dreams we will meet again.

 

When the seas and mountains fall and we come to end of days,

In the dark I hear a call, calling me there.

I will go there and back again.

Reading: from Virgin Territory                                                                                            Sara Maitland

Remember, I am also Sophia, the joyful wisdom, the child at play, who dances in the small open space on the hard bright sand before the eternal throne. I am the everlaughing baby, who sings the creation into life; I am the voice of the voiceless moments, I am the space for dancing, I am the dancer and the dance. Don’t be afraid, come to me and live outside the rules. Chaos is not dark, as opposed to light, chaos is before all light and dark, and after it. In chaos you cannot walk, but you can dance.

All: Draw the circle wide                                                                                                         Gordon Light

Draw the circle wide.

Draw it wider still.

Let this be our song,

No one stands alone,

standing side by side

draw the circle wide.

 

1

God the stillpoint of the circle,

Round whom all creation turns;

Nothing lost, but held forever,

In God’s gracious arms.

2

Let our hearts touch far horizons,

So encompass great and small;

Let our loving know no borders,

Faithful to God’s call.

 

 

 

 

 

3

Let the dreams we dream be larger,

Than we’ve ever dreamed before;

Let the dream of Christ be in us,

Open every door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bidding Prayer

Beloved friends, let it be our joy and delight to join again the dance of the angels, and in heart and mind to go with them and see the wonder of our world set out before us.

But first, let us pray for the needs of the whole world; for peace on earth and goodwill among all people; for concord and communion, and especially among this congregation gathered here.

Let us remember all those for whom justice has not yet been done and for whom peace is but a dream: the poor, the helpless, the cold, the hungry, the oppressed and those at war. 

Lastly let us remember before God all those who dance with us, but on another shore, and in a greater light, that multitude which we cannot number, whose hope was in the Dance made flesh, and with whom, in Jesus, we are one for evermore.

These prayers and praises let us offer to the Eternal Spirit.

All: Prayer to the Eternal Spirit                                                                                                  Jim Cotter

Eternal Spirit,

Life-Giver, Pain-Bearer, Love-Maker,

Source of all that is and that shall be,

Father and Mother of us all,

Loving God, in whom is heaven:

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!

The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.

From trials too great to endure, spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,

now and for ever.

AMEN

Song: Sure on this shining night                                          Words: James Agee, Music: Samuel Barber

Sure on this shining night of star made shadows round

Kindness must watch for me this side the ground.

The late year lies down the north.

All is healed, all is health.

High summer holds the earth.

Hearts all whole.

 

Sure on this shining night I weep for wonder

Wandering far alone

Of shadows on the stars.

Reading:Harakeke from Uenuku                                                                      Trixie Te Arama Menzies

Roots clustered, entwined in the body of Papatuanuku

In slow searching plant time, patiently growing

Seedheads leaning, reaching upward to Rangi

Gathering light and air, sunshine and strength

Into fibres for the scraping, the soaking, the rolling,

Delicate golds and half tones of different green

Humble colours, not dazzling like scarlet kaka feathers

Not striking like the bright plumes of kotuku or hawk

But homely, strong as a woman built for childbearing

Provider of warp and weft, the fabric of being.

 

Wharikitia te whare mo te manuhiri

Kia pai te whare mo te manuhiri

 

The house must be prepared to welcome the manuhiri

The whariki woven and spread, life is the guest -

On the whariki we were conceived and born, and there we slept

Feeling it firm beneath us, sheltering and warm.

The whariki supported our coupling and when life was spent

There we were laid to be mourned, our spirit farewelled

At the last we were wrapped in a whariki, returned to Earth.

Season succeeded on season, dark followed light

Unblinking eyes of our foremothers gazed to the future

To us their descendants, knowing their strength was sufficient

Despite betrayal for guns, death in the swamps

Bequeathing a cloak to cover us, a kete for treasures.

We are part of the pattern that must never be broken

We must continue the weaving, even the bruised ones

Our work will fashion the nets to catch the stars.

All: O come, O come, Emmanuel                                                                               arr. David Willcocks

All:         O come, O come, Emmanuel! Redeem thy captive Israel,

              That into exile drear is gone far from the face of God's dear Child.

              Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

 

Men:       O come, thou Branch of Jesse! Draw the quarry from the lion's claw;

              From the dread caverns of the grave, from nether hell thy people save.

              Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

 

Choir:     O come, O come, thou Dayspring bright! Pour on our souls thy healing light;

              Dispel the long night's lingering gloom, and pierce the shadows of the tomb.

              Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

 

Men:       O come, thou God of David's key! The royal door fling wide and free;

              Safeguard for us the heavenward road, and bar the way to death's abode.

              Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

 

All:         O come, O come, Adonaï, who in thy glorious majesty

              From that high mountain clothed with awe gavest thy folk elder law.

              Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Reading: I am who I am                                                                                                     Carter Heyward

The people of Israel wanted to know more about this God in whose being they were bound up. So Moses spoke to God and asked God what he, Moses, was to tell the people God's name was. For the Israelites there was much in a name - the revelation of a person's true character.

And God responded. God did not give a long list of credentials or a speech about power, authority, and might. God did not spell things out, but responded "I AM WHO I AM".

God could hardly have given a more enigmatic reply; certainly it was evasive. God was evasive. Moses could not pin God down. Approaching God in fear and tremors, seeking clarification, he is met with a riddle. I am who I am.

What is God saying?

Could it be that God is not being evasive, but rather clear, straightforward, and to the point? And that the point is that God is, in fact, evasive, elusive, not one to be pinned down, boxed into categories and expectations? God will be what God will be:

God will hang on the gallows.

God will inspire poets and artists.

God will be battered as a wife.

God will judge with righteousness, justice and mercy those who batter, burn, sneer, discriminate, or harbour prejudice.

God will have a mastectomy.

God will experience the wonder of giving birth.

God will be handicapped.

God will run the marathon.

God will win.

God will lose.

God will be down and out, suffering, dying.

God will be bursting free, coming to life, for God will be who God will be.

If this is so, then God is suggesting to the people of Israel and to us that the very minute we think we have God, God will surprise us. As we search in fire and earthquakes, God will be in the still small voice. As we listen in silent meditation, God will be shouting protests on the street. God is warning us that we had best not try to find our security in any well-defined concept or category of what is Godly - for the minute we believe we are into God, God is off again and calling us forth into some unknown place.

Song: When you believe                                                                                                    Steven Schwartz

1

Many nights we’ve prayed

with no proof anyone could hear.

In our hearts a hopeful song

we barely understood.

Now we are not afraid,

although we know there’s much to fear:

We were moving mountains

long before we knew we could.

2

In this time of fear,

when prayer so often proved in vain,

hope seemed like the summer birds,

too swiftly flown away.

Yet now I’m standing here,

with heart so full I can’t explain,

seeking faith and speaking words

I thought I’d never say.

 

You can make miracles when you believe;

Though hope is frail it’s hard to kill.

Who knows what miracles you can achieve,

When you believe somehow you will,

You will when you believe.

 

Ashira l'Adonai ki gaoh gaah.

Micha mocha ba-elim Adonai,

Micha mocha ne darbakodesh.

Na chitah v’chasd’cha am zu ga-alta.

Ashira, ashira, ashira.

I will praise God

Who is like You among powers, God?

Who is like You, majestic in holiness,

Awesome in praise, doing wonders?

 

Reading: from AIDS : the spiritual dilemma                                                                     John Fortunato

The most powerful place from which to renew the face of the earth is the bottom of the heap.

 

I often think of the motley crew of gay and lesbian Christian refugees I hang out with as a remnant, as our Jewish forebears in the desert were a remnant. Banished from Egypt with no sure home to go to, with no societal myth to hide behind, they too were thrust down to their spiritual roots. And in that desolate place, they glimpsed in an incredibly powerful way the unity of God.

 

The alternative to trying to force our way back into the myth is to embrace our exile. Not passively. Not with resignation. But with vigour and passion. Drinking deeply from the cup we have been passed as an oppressed people, seeing it as an opportunity both for profound spiritual deepening and for being empowered to do some very holy work in an especially potent way.

 

And what is that work? Just to love. And in our case, frequently enough, to love anyway. To give when nobody wants our gifts. To be present when many would like us to go away. To speak our pain when most would rather ignore it. We are called be. To be fully who we are. In the moment. In the world. That is loving.


Carol: Leander                                                                                           Early American hymn arr. D.G.

Come, let us join our cheerful songs with angels round the throne,

A thousand thousand are their tongues, and all their joys are one.

 

But we are come to Zion’s hill

The city of our God,

Where milder words declare God’s will,

And spread great love around.

There shall we join, and never tire,

To sing immortal lays,

And with the bright seraphic choir,

Sound forth Immanuel’s praise.

 

 

Behold the innumerable host

Of angels clothed in light.

Behold the spirits of the just

whose faith is turned to sight!

 

 

 

 

 

Reading: Meditation 2 from the Third Century of Meditations                        Thomas Traherne (1699)

All appeared New, and Strange at the first, inexpressibly rare, and Delightfull, and Beautifull.  I was a little Stranger which at my Enterance into the world was Saluted and Surrounded with innumerable Joys.  My Knowledg was Divine.  My very Ignorance was Advantageous.  I seemed as one Brought into the Estate of Innocence.  All Things were Spotles and Pure and Glorious: yea, and infinitly mine, and Joyfull and Precious.  I knew not that there were any Sins or Complaints, or Laws.  I Dreamed not of Poverties Contentions or Vices.  All Tears and Quarrels, were hidden from mine Eys.  Evry Thing was at Rest, Free, and Immortal.  I knew Nothing of Sickness or Death or Exaction, in the Absence of these I was Entertained like an Angel with the Works of GOD in their Splendor and Glory; I saw all in the Peace of Eden ; Heaven and Earth did sing my Creators Praises, and could not make more Melody to Adam and Eve, then to me.  All Time was Eternity, and a Perpetual Sabbath.  Is it not Strange, that an Infant should be Heir of the World, and see those Mysteries which the Books of the Learned never unfold?

Choir: Laudate Dominum                                                                                                                 Mozart

Praise God all you nations!

Praise God all you peoples!

God’s love for us is strong

and God’s faithfulness lasts forever.

Reading: All mothers speak to Mary                                                                                     Ruth Sawyer

Send forth the star;

And Mary, take his hand –

He may not understand

How changed we are.

Light towering candles, rim

The earth with them;

Let angels sing “Amen”

To his birth-hymn.

Let your sweet laughter

When he was born

Fill this dark time

Sky-rafter to rafter.

 

Mary, can you see

Between the suns

The road that runs

From manger to Calvary?

Let him not fear our measure

Of hate and gall;

He is too small

For agony of soul.

Make then his coming bright

On earth; let every door

Swing wide with peace; nor

Let one evil thing blot out the night.

All: Come now where we least expect you                    Words: Marnie Barrell Music: Herbert Howells

1

Come now where we least expect you,

2

Come where we have tried to own you

 

Christ our hope and longing, come.

 

Locked within the distant past,

 

Show us where we still reject you

 

where your Church has scarcely known you,

 

in the world you made your home.

 

where the least remain the last.

 

Look around! Christ is found

 

Enter still where you will,

 

far beyond our sacred ground.

 

Come to challenge and fulfil.

 

3

Christ-child, come in loving kindness;

 

come, great Judge whom angels praise!

 

Heal us of our pride and blindness,

 

purge our hearts and change our ways,

 

God’s own Word, love outpoured,

 

come to us, O Christ our God.

Reading: from The Singing Tree                                                                                     Kate Seredy
A story told by a Hungarian who fought during the First World War.

Last Christmas Eve we had received orders to be prepared for a surprise attack against the Russians. Our trenches had been under heavy fire for days; we had either to retreat or to advance, and those who plan the moves of war decided on an advance.

We had been waiting for hours, crouching against the walls of our trenches, when the word came: “Go.”

We crept out into the snow, countless silent dark shapes against the whiteness, and ran to the sunken road which lay between our lines and the mountainside where the Russian trenches were. Shells screamed overhead and burst behind us, drowning out all noise we might have made, and when we reached the road, whispered orders from the Captain scurried down the line like mice: “Advance along the road. Don’t dare make a sound or strike a light.”

We tramped in knee-deep snow, skirting the friendly hillside that sheltered us from the Russians. And then, just ahead of me I saw a boy kneel in the snow before a wayside crucifix and light a candle. It flickered in the still air, casting a feeble light on the image of Christ above it. “Oh Lord,” the man next to me sighed, reaching into his knapsack for a candle. Others had seen the glowing light, and as I looked around I saw that more and more candles were lighted all around. A whisper spread, “Light a candle for Christmas Eve,” men whispered and their very words seemed to turn into tiny stars as dozens and dozens, then hundreds of candles came forth from the knapsacks to be lighted and stuck in the snow. The hillside was one glow of light and the crucifix was bright with an unearthly brightness. We were a target for the Russian guns, but we never gave it a thought. For a little while we were lost in prayer, until one of the men cried: “They have stopped firing. Look!”

Across the valley, on the hillside where the Russians were entrenched, a few small flames began to tremble, then more and more. Candles, hundreds of them, thousands, one for every gun that now was silent. Around me men began to sing “Holy Night, Silent Night,” and from across the valley the song came back to us a thousandfold. Behind the lines so facing each other, the guns had ceased to roar and no more shells were screaming between us and the stars. Perhaps the Christ Child had walked between the lines and while he walked, peace had stopped the guns.

Song: Catch the Flame                                                                                                  Rosie Salas (2002)

There’s a fire in me that has been burning all my life

To find out what I can and to share what I can

And I look for that flame in those I meet

And I live for the times the flame leaps to catch the fire that burns in me.

 

Catch the flame! Pass it on!

Let the fire in me feed the fire in you,

Pass around the fire of love and life.

 

Since we met, we have come to know each other very well

I have tried to share what I hold most dear

And now you are moving on,

And there’s something of me in you

And I’ll cherish the part of you that lives in me.

 

For it’s not that I have all the answers, and that you only have to learn

I have learnt of beauty, life and love through knowing you,

And the next one that I meet will catch a flame from me

That is partly a flame from you.

 

Reading: Suddenly there is light all around                                                 Bronwyn Angela White (2002)

 

and the silences

of morning

 

a small town

waking

birds

distant cattle

work-bound traffic on the road outside

voices, muted and curious

laughter, footsteps

 

Such an ordinary light

            skimming a cup

            nudging the rim of a bowl

            gilding one wooden arm

                           of an old chair

            dust spangling in sunshine

 

The smell of grass, baled hay

and wood smoke

bread fresh from a nearby oven

earth

and blood

and new milk

 

And the brightness

the dizzying, commonplace brilliance of

 

            oh!       falling in love:

            the universe contracts

            into one blessed trinity

of elbow, breast and fontanelle


All: Once in Judah’s least known city                                                                                       John Bell

The first verse will be sung by solo voices.

 

1

Once in Judah’s least known city

3

Can he know our youth and childhood’s pattern

 

Stood a boarding house with back-door shed,

 

When we know not how he daily grew?

 

Where an almost single-parent mother

 

Was he always little, weak and helpless,

 

Tried to find her new-born son a bed.

 

Did he share our joys and problems too?

 

Mary’s mum and dad went wild

 

In our laughter, fun and madness,

 

When they heard their daughter had a child.

 

Does the Lord of love suspect our gladness?

 

 

 

 

2

He brought into earth a sense of heaven,

4

Not in that uncharted stable

 

Lord of none and yet the Lord of all;

 

With the village gossips standing by,

 

And his shelter always was unstable

 

But in heaven we shall see him -

 

For his mission was beyond recall.

 

Here as much as up above the sky -

 

With the poor, with those least holy,

 

If, in love for friend and stranger,

 

Christ the King was pleased to live so lowly.

 

We embrace the baby in the manger.

Reading: Holy Night                                                                                                              Lucille Clifton

joseph, i afraid of stars,

their brilliant seeing.

so many eyes, such light,

joseph, i cannot still these limbs,

i hands keep moving toward i breasts,

so many stars, so bright.

joseph is wind burning from east

joseph, i shine, oh joseph, oh

illuminated night.

Choir: Indigo 1                                                                                                                      Jenny McLeod

All about the deep of night

A brightness came upon us.

Deeper still, and stiller yet

the silence where it found us.

Come O Star, O Star from highest heaven sent

Come O holy Star most eloquent.

Holy Star come both for sorrow and for joy.

Come, O purest love’s poetic envoy.

Every star then seemed to shine

new glory round the sky, and wisdom to arise.

Far beyond the sea, beyond the sky,

The holy kingdom lies.

Reading: Godfires                                                                                                          Keri Hulme (1993)

When a child is born into my family group, or to one of my good friends, I light a bonfire on the beach. Haere mai ki Te ao marama, e te pepe! You’ve got a long way to go before you become a full human being, baby, but welcome to the world of light.

 

When someone I love, or respect dies, I light a bonfire on the beach. The sparks fly up, the sparks drown in the dark. Don’t know where you’ve gone to, friend, don’t know whether you are still there, but here’s a light to show respect, to show my love. E te hoa, haere haere haere ki Te Po.

 

Hogmanay fires, solstice fires, fires for celebration and fires for grieving. Some with wine or whisky, some with the water of tears. Some fires solitary, some rowdy with crowds. Some small as a candle, and some where the flames spire fifty feet up in the air.

 

Mana is fire, said the old people, a bit mysteriously.

 

We are fragile, limited beings, and the elemental forces have been around a lot longer than us. One way or the other, when humanity is done, fire and earth and water will still be here.

Meanwhile, kia ora tatou katoa...

Responsories for Christmas in Aotearoa                                                                                 Rosie Salas

Now in the stillness of the dark we wait.

We await the birth of eternal light.

Haere mai, e Ihu.

 

Here we keep watch with the Mother of God;

pondering in our hearts throughout this night.

Haere mai, e Ihu.

 

Come, and welcome to our lives O Christ;

Be the ray that clears our sight.

Haere mai, nau mai, e Ihu.

 

We await the birth and rebirth of hope,

Illuminating our way with radiant quiet.

Haere mai, nau mai, e Ihu.

All: Indigo II                                                                                                                         Jenny McLeod

Light of lights beholden

we from days of olden

sang this song

for to understand

that peace upon this planet

was pledged to come.

Each to other, sister, brother,

born for life and song,

look towards the light and carry on:

let the simple heart and hope among us

keep our family strong.

 

(choir only) Light calling, night falling

Darkness all around us,

light has always found us,

light will come

where the dark is deepest,

greater light will keep us

safe from harm.

Troubled times will always find

a voice of troubled doom,

look towards the light and carry on:

let the simple heart and hope among us

keep our family strong.

Let the simple heart and hope among us

Keep our family strong.

All: Collect for Advent                                                                                                            Janet Morley

You are home to the exile

touch to the frozen

daylight to the prisoner

authority to the silent

anger to the helpless

laughter to the weary

direction to the joyful

Come, our God, come.

Blessing (turn to each other and say together)                                                                      Fra Giovanni

There is nothing which I can give you which you have not;

but there is much that, while I cannot give, you may take.

 

No heaven can come to us unless our minds find rest in it today.

Take heaven.

 

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in the present instant.

Take peace.

 

The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within reach is joy.

Take joy.

 

And so, at this Christmas, I greet you with the trust that for you, now and for ever, the day is reborn and the shadows fall away.

Take Christmas.

Choir: Come now, Lord Jesus                                                                                             Shirley Murray

Come now, Lord Jesus, enter our Christmas,

Come, cold and crying, comfort denying,

Be to us no stranger in this new made manger.

No place to receive you, few yet to believe you.

 

 

Come small and human, born of a woman,

Come poor and simple, enter our temple,

Yet a Son much greater of our own Creator.

In your body feeling hurt as well as healing.

 

Come gift and token, bread to be broken,

star and sign still point you, myrrh will yet anoint you.

 

---

 Thanks to all who took part in this service, particularly the members of the choir, who turned up faithfully on Friday evenings to rehearse no matter how tired they were.  I estimate that approximately 1000 person hours have gone into preparing this service!

 

Thanks also to the instrumentalists, Peter, Clare, Dick, Mary Ellen, Deb, Ken, Martin and Ann-Marie, and the vocal soloists, Rosie, Clare, Georgia, Martin and David for the extra work you have put in.