God’s Going to Trouble the Waters

An Advent Carol Service

St Andrew’s on the Terrace

7 December 2003, 7.30pm

Choir: Wade in the water                                             arr. Rosie Salas

Wade in the water

Wade in the water children

Wade in the water

God’s gonna trouble the water.



See those people dressed in red?

Must be the people that Moses led.


See those people dressed in blue?

Looks like my people that’s coming through.






See those people dressed in white?

Must be the children of the Israelite.


See those people dressed in black?

They come a long way and they won’t turn back.







See those people dressed in pink?

Must be the prophets who




Reading: God’s spirit troubled the waters                                  Ron Johnson

The world was a glassy lake.

I stood upon the shore.

God’s spirit moved across the waters,

Troubling, troubling the waters.

The spirit swept me up into its train.

Troubling, troubling the waters.


There I saw the towers and turrets of our churches

Placid in the water.

I saw them made of good intentions, respectable,


I saw the pride that was their stone and mortar.

The pride that sustained them.

The pride it lived for, the pride it defended.

And God’s spirit troubled the waters.

The towers shook and shivered in the lake.

The image cracked.

Shame and outrage oozed from our churches.

A great scandal like a poison bled from the wounds.

Child abuse, sexual abuse, out came the stories.

A thousand fingers of accusation, pointing.

A thousand voices calling for justice.

And God’s spirit moved across the waters,

Troubling, troubling the waters.


And I saw our church leaders defending their hierarchies.

Deciding for themselves who would be the leaders,

Who would be the shepherds.

Their chosen, not God’s.

I saw them build their battlements,

To exclude not include.

And God’s spirit moved upon the waters.

I saw the battlements crack.

I saw the gaps in their arguments widen as new ideas poured in.

God’s spirit was a light dispelling,

Dispelling their single-mindedness.

Showing us a new choice.

And I saw others taking up the call, demanding

A new order, a new way.

God’s spirit moved upon the waters,

Troubling, troubling the waters.


And I saw my own life in the waters.

I saw my choices, my triumphs, my failings.

I saw the path my life had taken.

I saw how far I had strayed from God’s intention.

And God’s spirit troubled the waters.

New challenges appeared.

I saw a purpose in adversity,

Not to hinder, but to show.

To show that sometimes my own importance

blinds me from the truth.

Blinds me so I cannot see God’s spirit working in my life.

Deafens me so I cannot hear God’s voice.

Then I am standing on the shore again,

and I am comforted by what I have seen.

God’s spirit trouble the waters to remind

us we are not forgotten, not forsaken.

For it is love in God’s spirit,

Love that troubles the waters.

All: Out of such sun and air                                                 Colin Gibson


Out of such sun and air

what Christ may come,

shining with new and lovely light

on our dim and shrouded lives;

stirring our sleepiness with dreams,

visions of life beyond compare.

Out of such sun and air

come, Christ, however you will come.


Out of such cloud and mist

what Christ may come,

blurring the clear and simple lines

of our settled scheme of things;

calling on faith and hope and trust,

daring to danger, trial and risk.

Out of this cloud and mist

come, Christ, however you will come.






Out of such sudden storm

what Christ may come,

sweeping across the startled sky

of our calm and peaceful ways;

driving with tempest winds of change,

testing with tumult and reform.

Out of this sudden storm

come, Christ, however you will come.



The Bidding Prayer

Beloved friends, the song of angels is all about us as we look towards the coming of freedom and justice in the world. We look towards a time when all the broken hearts shall rejoice; all those who are heavy laden, whose eyes are tired and do not see, shall be lifted up to meet with the motherly healer. We look towards a time when battered souls and bodies shall be healed; the hungry shall be fed; the imprisoned set free and all God’s earthly children shall regain joy in the commonwealth of the just and loving one who is coming for us, in this time, in this world.

When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky has gone, when the kings have gone home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among the people, to make music in the heart. These are our responsibilities - Christmas comes truly when we choose to make it happen.  Beloved friends, let it be our care and delight to join again in the joyful walk towards freedom and liberation for all people. Let us follow the star as it leads us beyond the familiarity of our own lives and concerns.

Let us bring into our hearts those people of the world for whom peace, justice and liberation are but a dream. Let us also hold in our hearts those who have not recognised their own lack of freedom because they think they have power over others.  We are all related if we choose to be, sharing in the joys and sorrows of the world’s people, old, black, lesbian or gay, educated, famous, middle-aged, unknown, straight or bi, healthy or sick. We have the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed. Can we choose to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others?

Lastly let us remember before God all those who sing with us, but on another shore, and in a greater light, that multitude which we cannot number, whose hope was in the Song made flesh.  These prayers and praises let us humbly 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.


Carol: Ye nations, all on you I call                                      Southern Harmony


Ye nations all, on you I call

come hear this declaration,

and don’t refuse this glorious news

of Jesus and salvation.

To royal Jews came first the news

of Christ the great Messiah,

As was foretold by prophets old,

Isaiah, Jeremiah.


On that same night a glorious light

to shepherds there appeared.

Bright angels came in shining flame,

they saw and greatly feared.

The angels said, “Be not afraid,

although we much alarm you,

We do appear good news to bear,

as now we will inform you.”







His parents poor in earthly store,

to entertain the stranger,

They found no bed to lay his head

but in the ox’s manger.

No royal things, as used by kings,

were seen by those that found him;

but in the hay the stranger lay,

with swaddling bands around him.


When this was said, straightway was made

a glorious sound from heaven,

Each flaming tongue an anthem sung,

“To you a Saviour’s given.”

In Jesus’ name, the glorious theme,

we elevate our voices;

At Jesus’ birth be peace on earth,

meanwhile all heaven rejoices.

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.

Song: Purerehua                                                        Hirini Melbourne

Take flight purerehua

float on high

ride the four winds

spreading seeds of peace

spreading seeds of good.

Reading: Troubling the waters – there’s an idea                      Bronwyn White

Troubling the waters—there’s an idea. 


Things haven’t flowed too well lately.  The years speed past, but some of the weeks and the days have seemed very long.


This sluggish old creek’s been dawdling—not the snow-melting, rock-dodging, pool-deepening surge that used to hustle across hot grey river stones.  More dipping a toe in the test the temperature—warm bath water, tatty loofah and slimy soap—than throwing off the gaudy beach towel and rushing to battle the surf. 


It’s time to take the plunge.


How would it be, if we stirred things up a bit?  It might be like…


¾     A hot a summer’s day up at Paekakariki, and the first swim of the season. Striding into the waves, grinning, shivering, total immersion.  Salt water tingling—ankles, knees, belly, breast; sudden dip—shoulders, chin—and under! rolling about in the breakers, spluttering salt and shaking wet hair from our eyes.


¾     It could be snow from the Southern Alps, melting down gorges and surging through limestone caverns, disappearing underground for a while, surfacing, welling in deep green pools.  A chill mountain stream sluicing moss-clad rocks, dashing past ferns and golden broom, curling round corners, stony-banked tributaries splashing through Canterbury farmland.


¾     The gates opening at Oratiatia Dam (near Taupo), gushing, flooding rocks and fern-edged pools with a pent-up hydro energy-generating whoosh!




¾     A fat splodge of rain on a puddle or pond; splash and splatter stirring up the ducks in Botanical Gardens.


¾     A cloud burst, open-air endorsement, dove-wings skimming the river, whirling up a mystery, calling us Beloved.


It would be You—Me—God—Creative Spirit—Water of Life, springing up in the being of others: lovers, family, friends.  Stirring our lethargy, wading in boots and all, flooding us, overwhelming.


So this season of promise, this soon-to-be-new year, let the thirst-quenching spirit pour down these dried-out creek beds.  Drench us with love and compassion—filling the cracks, muddying things up a bit: fish leaping, joy-gurgling, taha wairua[1].


Rainbow-spanned, covenant waters, overflow our borders—spilling us generously into each others’ lives.

All: Let Justice roll down like a river                                       Colin Gibson

Let justice roll down like a river,

Let justice roll down like a sea,

Let justice roll down like a river,

Let justice begin through me.



Justice for all who go hungry,

crying to God to be fed,

left in a world of abundance

to beg for a morsel of bread.


Justice for those who are homeless,

victims of warfare or need,

trapped on the border of nowhere

lost in the canyons of greed.




Justice for all who are powerless,

yearning for freedom in vain,

plundered, and robbed of their birthright

silently bearing their pain.


Song: En natus est Emmanuel                                                 Praetorius

Christ is born as foretold by Gabriel

God is our Saviour.

Reading: God moves on troubled waters                                    Vicki Terrell

Stirring life deep within our souls

Souls dried and parched

From life’s blow torches


God moves on troubled water

Stirring life deep in the whirlwind

Souls caught up

In the midst of turmoil


God moves on troubled waters

Stirring life deep in crisis

Souls weeping and wailing

Yearning for peace


God moves on troubled waters

Stirring life deep within our being

Souls daring to dream

Creating new hope


God moves on troubled waters

Stirring life deep within structures

Souls that challenge

Working for justice


God moves on troubled waters

Stirring life deep in the rain

Drops of blessing

Travelling beyond the grave


God moves on troubled waters

Stirring life deep within you and me

Souls here and now

Preparing to celebrate Emmanuel

All: What wondrous love is this                                             Sacred Harp

First verse choir only


What wondrous love is this,

oh my soul, oh my soul?

What wondrous love is this,

oh my soul?

What wondrous love is this

that caused the Lord of bliss

to send this perfect peace

to my soul, to my soul,

to send this perfect peace to my soul.


Ye winged seraphs, fly,

bear the news, bear the news!

Ye winged seraphs, fly,

bear the news!

Ye winged seraphs, fly

like comets through the sky,

fill vast eternity

with the news, with the news,

fill vast eternity with the news!






To God and to the child

I will sing, I will sing!

To God and to the child

I will sing!

To God and to the child,

who is the great I AM

while millions join the theme,

I will sing, I will sing,

while millions join the theme I will sing.


Reading: Disturbing the waters/Troubling the waters         Keith Bittle           

God, why does the water need to be disturbed?

Can’t I once have a pool of water that is serene?

To look at, think, ponder, wonder.

But, oh no, that image is always taken from me.

Why God, why?


I have waited so long, God

at the pool – waiting for you to disturb it.

I get so – oh, I don’t know – exasperated!

25 years I have waited for a sign from you.

When will that happen, God.


I’ve seen so much of life as I have waited

some – just horrid

some – just lovely

But what am I waiting for?


I guess, in reality, the only thing that will trouble the water is me.

If I want action from you, God,

I guess I have to take the first step in faith

and disturb the water myself!  Get my feet wet,

get my hands wet.


Perhaps then, I will see you in the disturbance.

Choir: And so it goes                                                           Billy Joel

In every heart there is a room

a sanctuary safe and strong.

To heal the wounds from lovers past,

until a new one comes along.

I spoke to you in cautious tones;

you answered me with no pretence.

And still I feel I said too much.

My silence is my self-defence.


And every time I’ve held a rose

it seemed I only felt the thorns.

And so it goes, and so it goes,

and so will you soon, I suppose.

But if my silence made you leave,

then that would be my worst mistake.

so I will share this room with you.

And you can have this heart to break.


And this is why my eyes are closed,

it’s just as well for all I’ve seen.

And so it goes, and so it goes,

and you’re the only one who knows.

So I would choose to be with you.

That’s if the choice were mine to make.

But you can make decisions too.

And you can have this heart to break.


And so it goes, and so it goes,

and you’re the only one who knows.

Reading: In every heart                                               Deborah Gordon

We are standing where we have stood before.  You and I look at each other, God, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot to say.  We’ve yelled and shouted in the past, but those arguments seem a bit irrelevant today, this week.


I chose, and I choose you.  You chose, and you choose me.  And I think both of us have broken hearts.  Our relationship is one people don’t want to know about, particularly within our family.  Oh, we get plenty of support out in the world – people don’t necessarily understand, but they know we have a beautiful, challenging and generous thing going.  And they appreciate it for what it is.


But at home, only some of the family see it.  We’ve always been pretty open about it, which makes it that much more difficult that the family don’t welcome us.  They would prefer to talk to each other than to us.  Some of them have even had meetings to try and split us up.  What kind of family is that?


But I would choose to be with you.  And you can have this heart to break.

All: All poor folk and humble                                             Caradog Roberts

All poor folk and humble                                                Though wise men who found him

All poor folk who stumble,                                             Laid rich gifts around him,

Come haste ye, nor feel ye afraid;                                  Yet oxen they gave him their hay:

For Jesus our treasure, with love past all measure,          And Jesus in beauty accepted their duty;

In lowly poor manger was laid.                                       Contented in manger he lay.


Then haste we to show him

The praises we owe him;

Our service he ne’er can despise:

Whose love is still able to show us that stable

Where softly in manger he lies.

Reading: Thoughts on the birth of a great-nephew                          Val Craven

How could a young woman in Palestine look forward to the birth of her baby? She must have known That having a baby was the most dangerous thing she could do, That he might die of an untreatable Middle Eastern disease, That there might not be enough food to feed him, That he could fall on the fire or get run over by a cart. Thieves could take all they had, The terrorists could attack them. Any number of disasters could overtake them. She must have known. And yet she was joyful. She knew she had no experience with child raising Except wih her family and friends, And yet she was confident.


As he grew he would grin and bounce on her knee.

His father would toss him in the air.

He’ll laugh.

He’ll learn to kick a ball

He will be invincible.

Nothing will ever harm him.

She will never see him executed by crucifixion.


Why is it that no matter how bad things get

How many people suffer and die,

In spite of car bombs and atom bombs,

We still hope that things will get better?

One day.

Someone will think of a solution

One day.


Could it be that the Spirit that was in her

Is also in us?

Song: Let the rainbow shine                                                   Judy Small

Join in the chorus as the spirit moves you.

Let the rainbow shine, let the rainbow shine

at the end of the storm let it light up the sky,

No more hiding in fear, no more secrets and lies.

We open our hearts and the rainbow shines.

Reading: The Patriarch Dies!                                               Boyd Glassey

Every Christmas

the patriarch dies

in me.  The

Father God

who supplies

all the needs of his children

the archetype

deep in my head

a model I cannot

sustain nor shed.

It drives me

to a generosity

from which I can

barely refrain.

I say “hey look”

Jesus of Nazareth

I’m poor Irish

I’m no potentate

of the East

with camels, date palms,

wells and tents

Harem and slaves.

I’ve no gold, frankincense, myrrh

and definitely no guns

so why am I trying to be

the most generous Father

in all the world

supreme in largesse

like the one who supplies

the needs of all

his children

protecting their wayward feet

against stones

and so lavish

in his generosity

to all that revere Him.

Lights, lights, lights

and sweet songs

of a Commercial

Patriarch driving

Rein deers

in a large Chariot

popping parcels down

the chimneys

of his patronage

charging for every gift

we could give that a miss

to let simple goodwill

and love,

a card, a “hello”

a conversation

a meal,

become the

frankincense, myrrh and gold

of the poor wise

at Christmas.

Song: Tangaroa stirs                                                   Ann-Marie Stapp

Waves fly,

Gulls cry,

Tangaroa roars in the eye of the storm.



As we walk down the street

Listen to the beat of excited people

who come to see.

Bright sunny day, sit in a café

drinking latte and tea


and Tangaroa roars.


Round the corner we pause to stop

Rocks on our path

Pools like a bath

Spilling and filling over the top



and Tangaroa roars.






Surf catches us unaware

and recedes as we

pause to see

seaweed strewn lawns

Everything changed as we watch.



Reading: God’s going to trouble the waters                                 Anna Woods

The last time I was talking with God she said "I'm going to have to do something about you older women, especially single ones. There's no point thinking that the powers that be are going to change their ways.  It's not enough" she said, "that there's feminisation of poverty worldwide, including NZ, that here women have to start paying for mammograms just when you go on to National Super, you have to pay power bills going up and up, that older women are made just about invisible except for vicious mother-in-law ads on television, and all you are allowed to have that's positive is 'wisdom' -- which they all ignore".


"Wisdom schmisdom", she said, "What about a life?  What about actually using some of what you have to offer?  What about the women who are getting isolated -- frail as well as poor?  What about your relationships / sex lives -- lesbian or straight -- or lack of them, that no one wants to know about?  What about some kind of recognition of your real lives, in the culture you live in?


"Look", she said, "I've given the patriarchal mind over seven thousand years to get its act together and I'm not waiting any longer.  While some things are better in some ways it's getting worse in others because of those women who are selling out to patriarchy and scrambling for the top -- on the backs of you feminists who put yourselves on the line, over and over".


"Well I must go", she said, "keep up the good work.  I'll get something sorted."

Choir: You are the touch of the sea

Words: Janet Morley, Music: Deborah Gordon

You are the touch of the sea when it is like silk.

You are the boulders that embrace the bay.

You are the warm clouds holding the sun,

the light that spills over them like wine

and the smooth water’s sheen.

You are my body’s buoyancy

and the deep currents that bear me.

You are the silence at my centre

and the stillness of the attentive sky.

You are the arms that hold me

and in your body’s depths I am contained.

Reading: excerpt from sermon: Wade in the water                          Judith Dale

In our song, when God’s gonna trouble the water, it’s not all that comfortable. You’ll have to wade into the water; you’ll have to get wet. You have to wade right in by your own efforts, knowing that the times are hard because God is troubling the waters, and that the situation requires considerable faith, hope and courage on your part. It may be even scarier than crossing the Red Sea where the walls of water on either side at least kept your feet dry. In this case you have no way of telling how deep it is; you might very likely go under and drown. You must simply wade in to the water. Jesus told the sick man art the pool of Bethesda that he was not to wait for someone to help him. He had to do it all by himself: “Take up thy bed and walk.” He had to stand up and wade on ahead into life. God is troubling the water but we have to do the wading.

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                                     Anonymous GalaXies member

Warm clothes for a cold church

Love for a loveless world

Peace for a violent land

Cheer for a sad people

Hope to counter despair

For to the hungry

Justice for all.

Blessing (turn to each other and say together)                         Philip Andrews

Leader: There is dignity here

All:                   we will exalt it.

Leader: There is courage here

All:                   we will support it.

Leader: There is humanity here

All:                   we will enjoy it.

Leader: There is a universe in every child

All:                   we will share in it.

Leader: There is a voice calling through the chaos of our times;

                        there is a spirit moving across the waters of our world;

                        there is movement, a light, a promise of hope.

                        Let them that have eyes to see, see.

                        Let them that have ears to hear, hear.

                        But look not for Armageddon, nor listen for a trumpet.

                        Behold, we bring you good tidings of great joy:

                        the incarnation.

All:                   AMEN

Choir: MLK                                                                           U2


sleep tonight

and may your dreams be realised.

If the thundercloud

passes rain

so let it rain,

rain down on him.

So let it be.


Thanks to Rosie, Sue and Deb, for taking over the service when Deborah decided she couldn’t do it this year.


Thanks to the instrumentalists, Miranda, Mary Ellen and Deborah.