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Exquisite Darkness: A Winter Solstice Liturgy

by Ashley Goff and Rob Passow

The Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the calendar year. This liturgy invites participants into a time of rest and reflection that counters the frenetic pace of the secular Christmas season.

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Worship Materials: An Inclusive Christmas Celebration

On the theme: The Tree, The Carol, the Child

Christmas is a time to move into the world of
images and dreams, a time to allow the ‘make
believe’ happen. Let us be still and reflective.

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What Child Is This? The Reason For The Season

What can we learn from the Christmas story? I believe that just as Jesus seemed to be aware of the Divine Spark (or Christ) presence within him, which allowed him to love almost unreservedly and break boundaries, so too we are invited to see this Divine Spark within ourselves. God is literally with us. And isn’t this what we need in today’s world, where we see atrocities and tragedies such as the ones I listed above? If each of us were to acknowledge our inner divinity, and then recognize our neighbour’s inner divinity – regardless of their religious beliefs or non-beliefs – would we then see larger stepping stones toward global peace?

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Worship Materials: Advent

From the Festive Worship Collection

Theme: Dreamtime Reality — Season of Hope
Thoughts for Reflection
To travel hopefully is the mark of a pilgrim. To believe one has arrived is the mark of the insecure.

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MARY’s STORY:  Let It Be 

The way you tell the Christmas story, it all sounds so simple. So simple. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I really like it. It’s just that for so long now people have been telling my story and the way they tell it, it all sounds so simple and easy, so neat and tidy, that I hardly recognize myself in the story. It’s not your fault.  It all started a long time ago. Luke and that other fellow Matthew, they started it all.  They wrote my story down and wouldn’t you know it they cleaned it all up. But who can blame them.  Nobody likes messy birth stories. And as birth stories go, my baby’s birth was a really messy one.

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The Real War on Christmas – Sermon Video

Matthew and Luke tell completely different (and contradictory) accounts of the birth of Jesus. Neither are meant to be taken literally. They were writing a theological message (sermon) to introduce their gospels. Where the two agree is that the Jesus they were going to describe was a messenger who would turn the world upside down, casting down the rich and powerful in favor of the weak and poor. There is our real Christmas story, a story of liberation and justice.

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I Will be With you Always – new lyrics for Away in the Manger

I support very much the call to ‘create new memories’ for Christmas and I believe the place to begin is with children. However, one of the best known children’s Christmas carols is ‘Away in the Manger’, and this much loved carol has many wrong messages imbedded in the words. The second verse of the traditional words speak of Jesus ‘looking down from the sky’ and the last verse has Jesus up in heaven and the singer requesting him to ‘fit us for heaven to live with you there’. I believe my third verse takes the dualism and the ‘away’ Jesus out and replaces it with the Biblical teaching of very last verse of Matthew – ‘And I will be with you always, to the end of the age’. This surely is the Gospel.

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If cobwebs fill the corners

From the Boundless Life collection

If cobwebs fill the corners
That lurk within our mind
Our faith can help us brush aside
Each clinging thought we find

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Topics: Arts and Music. 8 Points: Point 4: Act As We Believe and Point 8: Compassion and Selfless Love. Seasons & Special Events: Advent and Christmas. Texts: Matthew. Resource Types: Audio MP3, Hymns, and PDF Download.

Does the Bible teach “The Secret”?

A few years back a book called The Secret took the world by storm, and it is still prominently displayed on the shelves of most bookstores today. The message of the book was to invoke the laws of attraction and intention to attain the life and circumstances that we desired. And because of the books popularity I was compelled to grab a copy to see what all the hype was about. As I was reading it I wondered how a book could really promise those kinds of results, and why so many people were swearing by its results. And then it hit me that the best selling book in the history of the world really isn’t all that different. And this got me to wondering if Jesus and King David may have been teaching us this same “secret” thousands of years prior?

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Faith

The Greek word for “faith” in the New Testament is pistis, which occurs 243 times. As a noun, pistis is used as a technical term for “forensic evidence.” In other words, faith is not blind; we must investigate to establish the facts. I agree with retired Episcopal bishop, John Shelby Spong, who writes, “My problem has never been my faith. It has always been the literal way that human beings have chosen to articulate that faith.” To many Christians, faith means believing highly suspect claims, which is a problem for me. Thinking isn’t a sin. God created our minds and I’m certain that we were intended to use them.

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Mindful Christianity

Mindful Christianity is mysticism: the experience of a human being in spiritual union with the divine, seeing each other with the same eye. The observer within you, when you are deep in mindfulness meditation, is God. God is lovingly attentive toward your every experience, every feeling, urge, and thought. In mindfulness practice, God notices all of that is going on inside of you, with deep compassion and without judgment.

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