Song – Be Thou (IGB Band)
Question for Sharing (Rachel)
The Danish have a word, hygge, that refers to finding comfort, pleasure, and warmth in simple, soothing things such as a cosy atmosphere or the feeling of friendship. As winter is upon us, what are some of the simple things you gravitate toward to find ‘hygge’?
Out of the womb of darkness:
The Spirit hovered over creation as her waters broke,
And Earth and all that exists came into being.
Out of the womb of our world’s darkness:
We seek the Holy path that refuses
The exclusion of one group by another.
Out of the womb of this community’s darkness:
We dare to birth the light of creativity and welcome.
Out of the womb of the winter darkness:
We journey deep inside with sacred intention
As nights draw in towards the shortest day.
Out of the womb of our own darkness:
We reveal before the loving gaze of God
Our fears and brokenness, our hidden hopes and longings.
Out the womb of Advent darkness:
We wait in hope for a God who comes as kin,
Holding out a newborn’s tiny hand.
(Prayer written by Nicola Slee & Rosie Miles)
Reading – Matthew 22:1-14 (Jo)
Jesus also told them other parables. He said, 2 “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. 3 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come!
4 “So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’ 5 But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. 6 Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them.
7 “The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. 8 And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honour. 9 Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ 10 So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. 13 Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Reflection– The Wedding Banquet (Tash)
Song – Come to the Table (Common Hymnal)
Story – Waiting in Advent (Ruth)
Lighting the Hope Candle (Danielle & Joel)
[You can download, print and colour your own Simple Celtic Advent Wreath here, which you can use with tea lights. (If you need a copy posted to you, email email@example.com)]
Today we light the Hope candle
As winter days dim and bow to early darkness, you, God of light, set watch in the night sky and beckon the wise to follow.
When hope hangs low in the human heart, you, loving creator, kindle compassion, breathing life into the early embers of change and empathy. [Light the candle].
We light a candle for hope, sending prayers high into the inky heavens and dreams deep into the human soul. As Advent dawns, God of all hope, shine your light on the story of those who journeyed before us. May the seeds they planted in the world – peace, joy, love – take hold in our hearts and stretch towards the light.
We light a candle for hope. May it light the way.
Song – 10,000 Reasons (Ali & Lorraine)
What’s Coming up (Danielle) *
Blessing: “May we live fully, love wastefully and have the courage to be all that God has created us to be.”
*If you are part of our community and would like to make a gift toward Inclusive Gathering Birmingham, you can do that here. Anything you give helps to support the costs of making church happen and allows us to be generous as a community. There’s no pressure to give!
If you’ve got any questions about Inclusive Gathering Birmingham or would like to have a chat with someone from our community, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch.