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Advent meditations in Littlemore

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This is a text-only version of an article first published on Wednesday, 17 December 2014. Information shown on this page may no longer be current.

An image by Tom Bower in response to the hymn All are Welcome.

Jesus as a refugee baby, by Tom Bower

An image in response to the carol In the Bleak Midwinter

Tom''s image of Mary as a pregnant, unmarried mother who is brave because of people's Creactions to her.

;CONTEMPORARY images painted by Tom Bower are on display throughout Advent in St Mary and St Nicholas Church, Littlemore.

They were painted in response to four advent meditations, below, by church warden Wendy Blagden.

;OpennessPutting aside prejudice. Being prepared to be vulnerable. Stepping outside our comfort zone.

;As seen in:Mary being open to becoming the mother of Christ: her willingness to step outside her comfort zone in order to respond to God's call. Joseph willing to defy convention and stand by Mary, so risking ridicule and mis-understanding. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, coming as a helpless, vulnerable baby in order to communicate God's great love. Prayer:Loving God, thank you that Mary was willing to become the Mother of your Son.

Help us to follow her example and to respond with openness to you and to each other.

May we be willing to surrender control and to make ourselves vulnerable in order to follow your call.

Amen. Hymn:For Mary, mother of our Lord,God's holy name be praised,who first the Son of God adored,as on her child she gazed.

;The angel Gabriel brought the wordshe should Christ's mother be;Our Lady, handmaid of the Lord,made answer willingly.

;The heav'nly call she thus obeyed,and so God's will was done;the second Eve love's answer madewhich our redemption won.

;(182 Hymns Old & New)Creativity ;Imaginative expression. Having novel ideas and solutions. As seen in:God's creative solution to mending the broken relationship between God and humankind - becoming one of us, in order to show us the way back to God and to wholeness. Finding the divine in the unexpected: the Son of God in a humble stable.

;Prayer:Creator God, thank you for the many different places and people through whom we find you.

Open our eyes to find you in the unexpected.

AmenHymn:Bethlehem, humble townwhere the babe wears the crown,turns the world upside down:God so unexpected,homeless and rejected.

;Let the poor rejoice!Let the mute give voice!Love is shown,God is known,Christ is born of Mary ;(740 Hymns Old & New)AuthenticityBeing real. Lacking pretense. As seen in:The shepherds and wise men who came as they were, bringing what they had. Mary and Joseph trusting in the angels' message and being willing to stand out against the norm of society, where women who gave birth out of wedlock were spurned. Prayer:Gracious God, thank you that you know and love each of us exactly as we are.

Help us to love and accept others for who and what they are.


;Hymn:What can I give him,poor as I am?If I were a shepherdI would bring a lamb;If I were a wise manI would do my part,yet what I can I give him:give my heart ;(326 Hymns Old & New)VisionTo be an inclusive, seven-day church that embodies the love of God in the community. As seen in:A welcome for all: shepherds and kings, rich and poor, uneducated and academics. Prayer:Welcoming God, thank you that you opened wide your arms to embrace all humanity.

Thank you that you showed your love by coming amongst us.

May we extend that same welcome and love to all those who we encounter in our church and our community.


;Hymn:Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live,a place where saints and children tell how hearts learn to forgive. Built of hopes and dreams and visions, rock of faith and vault of grace;Here the love Christ shall end divisions;All our welcome, all our welcome. All are welcome in this place ;Let us build a house where prophets speak, and words are strong and true,where al God's children dare to seek to dream God's reign anewHere the cross shall stand as witness and a symbol of God's grace;here as one we claim the faith of Jesus:All are welcome, all our welcome. All are welcome in this place.

;Let us build a house where love is found in water, wine and wheat:a banquet hall on holy ground, where peace and justice meet. Here the love of God, through Jesus, is revealed in time and space;as we share in Christ the feast that frees us:All are welcome, all are welcome. All are welcome in this place.

;(Marty Haugen GIA Publications)

Page last updated: Wednesday 17th December 2014 12:00 AM
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