The Gift of Life

Ideas for using the Liturgy

A Liturgy celebrating the coming of the Light into the world lends itself to an evening service - possibly even a Christmas Eve/ Epiphany vigil.

Have just enough light for people to read by - perhaps have a few stronger lights for people who need extra light for reading. If you use the story and PowerPoint/ OHP illustrations, you can dim the lights completely at that point.

Powerpoint/ OHP presentation
The Starburst story has some illustrations - but more could be used. The public material on the NASA and Hubble Telescope sites might prove useful sources.

Here is the story with some ideas inserted to get you started:

Long, long ago and far, far away there lived a star. (picture of star!)
She had been a star for a very, very, very long time.

She had a solar system and longer, longer and longer ago, (alien solar system fades in and out)
she had thought that one of her planets might have had life on it.
But, she had never found out for sure.

Now, she was very old and very tired. Her energy was nearly spent. (fade - but don't extinguish)
As far as the Star knew, she was all alone in the universe.
No-one was going to notice when her energy was all gone
and she stopped shining.

Far, far, far away from the Star, was another star. (photo of sun)
This was a very ordinary star as far as stars go.
It had a solar system too. (solar system)

Nine planets and their moons and millions of asteroids all lived around this star, travelling round and round, year after year.
Comets visited from time to time. (comet)
But what made this star special was that her third planet did have life on it. (earth)

It had taken millions of years to grow and to change
but now, the third planet had creatures on it who could think and feel
and laugh and cry. (people)
These creatures had also learned to wonder.
They knew that their star was very special and called her the Sun.

They used the Sun and the Moon to help them tell the time and the season.
When the Sun rose in the east, (sunrise)
the creatures had morning and got up to begin their day.
When the Sun set in the west, (sunset)
the creatures had evening and night
and everything became still and quiet.
When the Sun was high and hot, they had summer. (summer)
When the Sun was low and weak, they had winter. (winter)

The creatures watched the Sun and their Moon travel in the sky.
They gazed at the stars at night and wondered what they were. (stars)
They hadn't learned that they were suns yet -
so they made up stories about them.
They told stories of great monsters and brave heroes who lived among the stars. (picture of constellations with, for example, outlines of Orion, Cassiopeia, the Plough)

They could barely see our Star -
for she was, as we know, very, very, very far away.

The creatures on the planet called themselves "human beings". (people/ earth)
Some of them were very good. And some of them were very bad.
Many of them had forgotten how special they and their planet were.
They didn't always treat their world very well.
They didn't always treat each other very well.

The Creator had tried all sorts of ways to get them to listen and to remember -
but they still kept forgetting.

So. the Creator had sent a messenger called Gabriel to see a young woman called Mary. Gabriel had told Mary about the Plan - and Mary had agreed to be part of it. (Annunciation)

Now, being so very, very, very far away, the Star could not tell what was going on -
but she knew that something was going on.

The whole Universe was humming with excitement at what the Creator was going to do. (universe)

Then, one night, everything became very, very still.
The whole Universe was hushed and expectant.
What great event had the Creator planned?

But the Creator was not looking at the Universe today.
The Creator was not looking at the galaxies or the stars. (galaxies appear and fade - as do stars)
The Creator was looking at the third planet orbiting the Sun. (earth fades in and out)
The Creator was looking at a small country in the middle of the earth. (map of Middle East fades in and out)
The Creator was looking at a small town in the middle of the small country. (and a town...)
The Creator was looking at a small inn in the middle of the small town. (image of Bethlehem...)
The Creator was looking at a small shed behind the small inn.
The Creator was looking and listening, watching and waiting. (darkness)

Then, a tiny, tiny sound that was nearly lost in the sounds of the town - the cry of a new baby, just born.

Most people did not hear it.
But the Creator heard it.
The waiting Universe heard it.
The spirit beings, the angels heard it - and burst into joyful song. (angels burst into appearance)
Most people did not hear that - but shepherds sitting out in the fields under the stars heard it. (add shepherds)

Far, far, far away, the Star heard the song of the spirit-beings, the angels. (back to the star)

She felt the joy and the love and the power of their song.
She felt the joy and the love and the power of the Creator.
And deep inside herself,
she found her own joy and her own love for what the Creator was doing.

Deeper, deeper inside, she found the last of her energies and gave it to the Creator.

Her love and the Creator's power joined forces
and the Star exploded into a glorious and radiant light. (flash of light - fades to picture of supernova)

People on the earth had waited for this great light (people gazing at bright star) and,
when they saw it,
they knew that the Creator was at work.
Some set out on long journeys to find out what had happened. (Magi - Wise Men)

Some saw the child called Jesus
and knew that this was God who had come to live among them.
Their lives were never the same again.

Far, far, far away in space, the Star's energies were nearly all gone. (supernova fades very slowly as the story draws to a close)

She knew that she had been radiant and beautiful.
She knew that she had been the great light that people had longed to see.
She knew that her light had shone on people who were in darkness -
and she had given them hope.

But her energy was nearly all gone.
As the last of her gases were used up,
her centre began to shrink and to fade and to cool.
Her long life was nearly over.

But, far, far, far away and long, long, long after she stopped shining,
people on the third planet around the faraway Sun would remember her - (earth superimposed on the fading star and fades)
and speak of her glory and her beauty.

Whenever they remembered the birth of the Christ-child, (picture of nativity - superimposed and fades)
they would remember those who announced His birth
and speak of the Star whose light lit up the world.

Far, far, far away, the Star cooled and rested content in the hand of the Creator. (small cinder in a hand)

Obviously, there would need to be rehearsal and accurate timing of the presentation and the narrator - but the tone should be reflective and, on the whole, measured and unhurried with, perhaps, increased energy around the birth of Christ.

A gentle chant - started by a solo singer would be a good way to draw people back into the liturgy. (e.g. The light of Christ has come into the world; O Christe, Domine Jesu; Adoramus te O Christe)

Prayers of intercession could be offered for people living in darkness

2005 Wellspring

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