Ecumenical Advent Wreath Blessing Liturgy
From the website of the Anglican Roman Catholic Commission of Aotearoa New Zealand (ARCCANZ). (link off this site)
The Anglican Roman Catholic Commission in Aotearoa, New Zealand, recommends shared Advent Liturgies of the Word in the week preceding Advent Sunday. This is in the spirit of the Joint Declarations of His Holiness the Pope, and His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury and in the spirit of Jesus' own prayer "that they may all be one".
In praying for unity we recognise our need to prepare for the coming of the unity that Christ brings. Advent is a good time to pray in solidarity and hope for a new creation where Christ is all in all.
The ethos of this liturgy derives from the celebration of Solemn Vespers with the blessing of the respective Advent Wreaths taking place after the homily. This liturgy can be adapted to suit the musical resources of local communities.
Liturgy of Gathering:
Depending on local preference, a large terracotta bowl may be placed on the altar with incense burning. This would need to be lit in advance of the beginning of the ceremony so that, as people are gathering, the sight and the smell of the incense will set an atmosphere of reflective prayer and meditation.
Gregorian Chant or other suitable music could be playing quietly in the background.
If possible, the lights of the church could be dimmed or subdued throughout the whole of the service.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Those who are to preside process in silence to the sanctuary. The minister intones or says:
Minister: O God come to our aid.
All: O Lord, make haste to help us.
Minister: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
All: As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Appropriate psalms and a canticle may be chanted or recited in choir.
Suggested psalms: 50; 63; 75; 94; 96
THE WORD OF GOD
The Reader may move firstly to the altar and place some grains of incense into the burner. The reader then moves to the lectern.
Reader: Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the Prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah: Ch 2: 2-5 is proclaimed
BLESSING OF THE WREATHS
The Advent Wreaths are brought up in procession and placed on the altar.
The first clear references to the Season of Advent in the west come from the last half of the 6th Century. As early as the Middle Ages, Christians used this fire/light symbolism to represent Christ's coming into the world. Then it became the basis for the Advent wreath, a sign of the waiting and hopeful expectation of the return in glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. The wheel represented the eternal victory over death through Jesus Christ. The evergreens were a sign of the faithfulness of God to his people, even in death, and the lighted candles a reminder of the light of Christ brought into the world.
Minister: Lord our God, we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ. He is Emmanuel, the hope of all peoples; he is the wisdom that teaches and guides us; he is the Saviour of every nation.
O God, let your blessing come upon our two communities gathered here before you.
Bless us (+) and these our advents wreaths (+)
May the light that shines forth from them illumine our way as we journey towards Christmas; may the light that shines forth from them illumine our lives as we wait in hope for the birth of the Christ-child.
We ask this through Christ who is the Light of the World.
The wreaths are exchanged: Roman Catholic and Anglican representatives receive the blessed wreaths from each other.
[Outside of an ecumenical context, the above blessing can be adapted to this Advent Wreath Blessing - webmaster Bosco Peters]
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
For you alone, O God, our souls in silence wait, for truly our hope is found in you.
All: Lord, have mercy.
Awake, O God, and decree justice;
Let the peoples gather around you.
All: Christ, have mercy.
Send forth your strength, O Lord;
Establish, O God, what you have wrought in us.
All: Lord, have mercy.
Other prayers may follow.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
As our Lord has taught us, we pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and forever. Amen
Kua akona nei tatou e to tatou Ariki,
ka inoi tatou
E to matou Matua i te rangi
Kia tapu tou Ingoa.
Kia tae mai tou rangatiratanga.
Kia meatia tau e pai ai
ki runga ki te whenua,
kia rite ano ki to te rangi.
Homai ki a matou aianei
He taro ma matou mo tenei ra.
Murua o matou hara,
Me matou hoki e muru nei
i o te hunga e hara ana ki a matou.
Aua hoki matou e kawea kia whakawaia;
Engari whakaorangia matou i te kino:
Nou hoki te rangatiratanga, te kaha,
me te kororia,
Ake ake ake. Amine.
Minister: The peace of Christ be always with you.
All: And always with you.
The peace is shared among the people.
Ma te marie a te Atua e kore nei e taea te whakaaro e tiaki o koutou Ngakau o koutou hinengaro i roto i a Karaiti Ihu; a kia mau kia u Hoki ki a koutou te manaaki a te Atua Kaha Rawa, a te Matua, a te Tama, a te Wairua Tapu aianei a ake tonu atu.
You believe that the Son of God once came to us;
you look for him to come in glory.
May his coming bring you the light of his holiness
And his blessing bring you freedom.
May God make you steadfast in faith,
joyful in hope, and untiring in love
all the days of your life.
You rejoice that our Redeemer came to live with us
When he comes again in glory,
May he reward you with endless life.
May almighty God bless you,
The Father, and the Son, X and the Holy Spirit.
I Veni Emmanuel
1. O come, O come, Emmanuel
and ransome captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
2. O come, O come, thou Lord of might
who to they tribes on Sinai's height
in ancient times didst give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe.
3. O come, thou key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high
and close the path to misery
4. O come thou rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan's tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save
and give them victory o'er the grave.
5. O come thou dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death's dark shadows put to flight.
Anon., Latin c. 13th cent
tr John Mason Neale 1818-66 alt.
II Jordanis oris praevia
1. On Jordan's bank the Baptist's
Announces that the Lord is nigh;
Awake, and hearken, for he brings
Glad tidings of the King of Kings.
2. Than cleansed be every breast from sin;
Make straight the way for God within;
Prepare we in our hearts a home,
Where such a mighty guest may come.
3. For thou art our salvation, Lord,
Our refuge, and our great reward;
Without thy grace we waste away,
Like flowers that wither and decay.
4. To heal the sick stretch out thine hand,
And bid the fallen sinner stand;
Shine forth, and let thy light restore
Earth's own true loveliness once more.
5. All praise, eternal Son, to thee
Whose advent doth thy people free,
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost for evermore.
III God the Strengthener
Praise to you, our great Creator,
You rejoice when we are strong;
Fill our hearts with loving power;
Bring us Wisdom with your song.
It's to you that we belong.
Praise to you, the Christ, Transformer,
You have shared our wilderness;
Lead us to the streams of mercy,
Purify our bitterness
Human God of gentleness.
Praise to you, the Holy Spirit,
You can scorch us with your flame;
Forge our love within your furnace,
Burning guilt, destroying shame.
Dancing fire we cannot tame.
(Tune: Praise my soul the King of Heaven)
IV Tama Ngakau Marie
1. Tama ngakau marie,
Son of a peaceful heart
Tama a t'Atua,
Son of God,
Tenei tonu matou,
Here we are,
2. Murua ra nga hara:
Take away our sins,
Enei here kino
These evil ties
which bind us.
3. Takahia ki raro
Trample under foot
Tau e kino ai;
whatever is evil
Kei pa kaha tonu
lest the power remain
Ko nga mahi he.
of the evil deeds.
4. Homai he aroha
Give us love
Mou i mate nei.
for you who died.
Tenei ra, e Ihu,
This day, Jesus,
Takina e koe.
you lead us.
5. Tenei arahina
This is the pathway
A tutuki noa:
to the end
Puta i te pouri,
through the darkness
Whiwhi hari nui.
to receive great joy.
6. Tama ngakau marie,
Son of a peaceful heart,
Tama a t'Atua,
Son of God,
Tenei tonu matou,
here we are,
Traditional Maori hymn.