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Worship Materials: The Cycle of the Year

From the Seasoned Celebration collection

THEME          Change, decay and New Life

THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION

  1. The seasons of the human heart reflect the seasons of nature.
  2. For most things there is a right time but for some things such as manipulation, oppression and injustice there is never a right time.
  3. To be able to distinguish between what can be changed and what cannot be changed is wisdom, to act on that knowledge is to exhibit courage.
  4. The life that comes out of death very easily becomes the death that comes out of life, unless we are constantly mindful of our thoughts and actions.
  5. To assume that the fourfold cycle of nature is immutable is to disregard its dependency on the angle of rotation of the earth and also the twofold wet/dry season of the tropics.
  6. Within what appears as constant in nature there is always variation and with what appears variable there is always an element of constancy.
  7. The human propensity to over-simplify can have disastrous, ecological consequences.
  8. The cycle reverenced is the cycle that nurtures.
  9. To dance life’s circle is to dance nature’s cycle.
  10. The cycle of the year reflects nature’s wonderful blend of order and chaos, of simplicity and complexity, of the predictable and the unpredictable.
  11. The cycle is not the mystery itself but a means of access to it.

 

PRAYER

O God whose nature we perceive both in the regular rhythm of the seasons and also in that complex chaos that lies beyond our reason’s understanding, enable us to celebrate them both with reverence and with delight.

 

HYMNS

All life’s many cycles. (BL)

You are the process God. (BL)

In nature as in Jesus. (BL)

Look behind the festive scene.(BL)

The dough is rising. (BL)

 

Everything has its own season.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

God molds the shapes of life.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

The spring will come again.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

May we all live as grains of rice.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

Signs of hope.

www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/aotearoahymns

Sound a mystic bamboo song.
(“Global Praise 2” The General Board of Global Ministries)
See reference at the end of “Focus for action”.

 

SONG
Sing of a sacred circle.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

 

REFRAINS

Between the stillness of the rock.
http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

 

All things of earth are holy. (SE/MU)

 

POEMS / REFLECTIONS

THE CYCLES OF NATURE

Interwoven web of life

holding as one

stream and song,

sinew and silence.

How I delight in you

and you in me.

You are the universal face of God

the touch of true divinity,

the infusion and expansion,

the beyond and the within,

the growing and the dying,

the separation and the merging.

In you the threads are woven,

the sea surges,

the sun shines

and the earth nurtures.

alleluia! alleluia! alleluia!

 

REFLECTION

One of the temptations of Christ was to turn stones into bread. In other words to pretend that the processes of nature do not exist and that we are not part of them. How much more ‘seasoned’ our worship would be if we were equally as adept as Christ in resisting this temptation.

 

FOCUS FOR ACTION

  1. How can I relate the seasons of the year to my times of prayer and reflection and to our services of worship?
  2. If we questioned every action before it was performed, we would
    accomplish very little. However, some routine programs can eventually become quite inappropriate. How appropriate are our programs?
  3. Each season of the year requires different types and amounts of
    resources for our spiritual growth. It is often our body that can tell us the best equation for us. When did we last listen to what our body is saying to us in this regard?
  4. Would the sung mantra ‘Between the stillness of the rock and the flowing of the stream I am, I AM’ help us to remember that there are some things in life that are constantly changing and others that appear to be quite reluctant to do so.
  5. One of the great difficulties for Christians in the Southern Hemisphere and in the Tropics is that the cycle of the Christian Year is linked with the Northern Hemisphere seasons and as such is essentially Eurocentric rather than global. It could be a useful exercise for Northern Hemisphere congregations to examine what is involved in contextualizing worship in the Southern Hemisphere. In addition we, in Western Society, are so used to equating bread with life that we forget that in most of Asia rice rather than bread equates with life. All this raises the question of how we relate worship to our particular situation wherever that may be. In order to contextualize worship, it is usually more profitable to listen to our local poets than to theologians, for contextualized liturgy is born in the hearts of the artists rather than the minds of the academics. Listening to the poets can be the beginning of belonging. Three examples of contextualized hymns are “Signs of hope” (New  Zealand) www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/aotearoahymns
    “May we all live as grains of rice” (Asia)   http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling
    and “Sound a mystic bamboo song” (Asia)
    Global Praise 2 , The General Board of Global Ministries (the text can be downloaded from Woodlake Books and the sound from Global Praise).

Seasoned Celebration Logo

Text and image © William Livingstone Wallace but available for free use.

 

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