Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tidings of Comfort Bulletin (12/17/13)

Here is the bulletin for our Tidings of Comfort Service….

First Presbyterian Church
 Elizabethton, Tennessee
A Progressive Christian Community
Tidings of Comfort:
Acknowledging The Darkness
December 17th, 2013

PRELUDE                  “Hallelujah (Lifted)”   Sandra Garrett

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.
Upon those who lived in a land of deep shadow
a light has shone.
The yoke will be broken.
And the burden will be lifted.

We open our hearts and minds this Advent Season for ourselves and our families who live with the painful memories of loss.  We seek strength for today, courage for tomorrow and peace for the past.

*HYMN         When the Poor Ones                           #762       

SCRIPTURE    Don’t Tell Me                      Judi Walker

Please don’t tell me you know how I feel,

Unless you have lost your child too.
Please don’t tell me my broken heart will heal,

Because that is just not true.
Please don’t tell me my son is in a better place,
Though it is true, I want him here with me.
Don’t tell me someday I’ll hear his voice, see his face,
Beyond today I cannot see.

Don’t tell me it is time to move on,
Because I cannot.

Don’t tell me to face the fact he is gone,
Because denial is something I can’t stop.
Don’t tell me to be thankful for the time I had,

Because I wanted more.
Don’t tell me when I am my old self you will be glad,
I’ll never be as I was before.

What you can tell me is you will be here for me,
That you will listen when I talk of my child.
You can share with me my precious memories,
You can even cry with me for a while.

And please don’t hesitate to say his name,
Because it is something I long to hear everyday.
Friend please realize that I can never be the same,
But if you stand by me,

You may like the new person I become someday.


First Candle        

We light the first candle tonight to remember those whom we have loved and lost. We pause to remember their name, their face, their voice, and the memory that binds them to us this season.

Moment of Silence

Our memories are sacred.
Love surrounds us. 

Second Candle        

The second candle we light to redeem the pain of loss; the loss of relationships, the loss of jobs, the loss of health. We pause to gather up the pain of the past, to cradle it, hold it and when we are ready, to let it go.    

Moment of Silence

Our pain is sacred.
Trust and patience are possible.

Third Candle        

The third candle we light to remember ourselves this Christmas season. We pause and remember the months of this year: the disbelief, the anger, the tears, the down times, the reminiscing, the hugs and love from family and friends. We are grateful for the support of those who stand with us and love us.

Moment of Silence

Our friends are sacred.
The shared burden is lighter.

Fourth Candle       

We light the fourth candle to remember the gift of hope to which the Christmas story points.   The Sacred is born within and among us.   Our pain is shared and known.    We know both pain and love.

Moment of Silence

Love is sacred.
Love surrounds us.

SPECIAL MUSIC      “Hold On”      Sandra & Michael Garrett
SCRIPTURE               Horoscopes for the Dead       Billy Collins
Every morning since you disappeared for good,
I read about you in the daily paper
along with the box scores, the weather, and all the bad news.

Sometimes I am reminded that today
will not be a wildly romantic time for you,
nor will you be challenged by educational goals
nor will you need to be circumspect at the workplace.

Another day, I learn that you should not miss
an opportunity to travel and make new friends
though you never cared much about either.

I can’t imagine you ever facing a new problem
with a positive attitude, but you will definitely not
be doing that, or anything like that, on this weekday in March.
And the same goes for the fun
you might have gotten from group activities,
a likelihood attributed to everyone under your sign.

A dramatic rise in income may be a reason
to treat yourself, but that would apply
more to all the Pisces who are still alive,
still swimming up and down the stream of life
or suspended in a pool in the shade of an overhanging tree.

But you will be relieved to learn
that you don’t need to reflect carefully before acting
nor do you have to think more of others,
and never again will creative work take a back seat
to the business responsibilities that you never really had.

And don’t worry today or any day
about problems caused by your unwillingness
to interact rationally with your many associates.
No more goals for you, no more romance,
no more money or children, jobs or important tasks,
but then again, you were never thus encumbered.

So leave it up to me now
to plan carefully for success and the wealth it may bring,
to value the dear ones close to my heart
and to welcome any intellectual stimulation that comes my way
though that sounds like a lot to get done on a Tuesday.

I am better off closing the newspaper,
putting on the clothes I wore yesterday
(when I read that your financial prospects were looking up)
then pushing off on my copper-colored bicycle
and pedaling along the road by the shore of the bay.

And you stay just as you are,
lying there in your beautiful blue suit,
your hands crossed on your chest
like the wings of a bird who has flown
in its strange migration not north or south
but straight up from earth
and pierced the enormous circle of the zodiac.
MEDITATION                  Blue Christmas                Rev. John Shuck

RESPONSE    O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go    #833       
PRAYER Lines Written In the Days of Growing Darkness                                     MaryOliver

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends

into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married

to the vitality of what will be?
I don't say
it's easy, but
what else will do

if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?

So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.

*HYMN        Blue Boat Home                       (insert)

*BENEDICTION                   Litanyfor Winter Solstice

Response to each line:  The light is reborn

In the greatest darkness
Out of winter's cold
From our deepest fears
When we most despair
When all seems lost
When the earth lies waste
When animals hide
When the leaves are gone
When the river is frozen
When the ground is hard
Shadows are fleeing
Light is returning
Warmth will come again
Summer will be here once more
Plants will grow again
Animals will be seen once more
Green will come again
Life will continue


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