Halloween Choice Service October 31, 2007
This order of service is suggested for use on the eve of All Saints’ Day (October 31st) either, in a shortened form, as a way of concluding a Light Party (or other alternative Hallowee’n celebration for children) or in its own right. There are also other resources available elsewhere on www.halloweenchoice.org .
We Gather Together
Greeting God has made his light shine in our hearts, to show us God's glory shining in the face of Christ. The light and peace of Christ be with you. And also with you A candle (which may be the Easter / Paschal Candle) may be lit at this point or later in the service Jesus Christ is the light of the world: a light no darkness can quench. Stay with us, Lord, for it is evening: and the day is almost over. Even the darkness is not dark for you: and the night shines like the day. Let your light scatter the darkness: and fill your church with your glory. cf John 1.5; 8.12; Psalm 139.12; Luke 24.29 New Patterns for Worship A18
Gathering hymn/song Suggested hymn/song: Hail gladdening light or Light of the World, you stepped down into darkness Setting the scene If the service includes a significant number of children, it may be appropriate to divide the address or sermon into two or three smaller sections At this point, the leader may introduce the theme of light in darkness or the work of the Children’s Society Confession A confession may be used here or during the prayers of intercession, or may be omitted God is love and we are his children. There is no room for fear in love. Perfect love casts out all fear. Let us ask our Father’s forgiveness. Heavenly Father, you have created a universe of light: forgive us when we return to darkness. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord Jesus, you are the Light of the world: cleanse and heal our blinded sight. Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Holy Spirit, you give us light in our hearts: renew us in faith and love. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Common Worship May the Father of all mercies cleanse us from our sins, and restore us in his image to the praise and glory of his name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Collect The leader invites everyone to be still and remember God’s presence with them. After a short period of silence the following prayer is said God of holiness, your glory is proclaimed in every age: as we rejoice in the faith of your saints, inspire us to follow their example with boldness and joy; through Jesus Christ; the Light of the world. Amen. Additional Collect of All Saints
We hear God’s Word
Some suggested readings Psalm 27 A Prayer of Praise Psalm 56 Psalm 91
(selected verses - see Resources section) see Resources section)
When I am afraid, I will trust God. (selected verses The LORD Is My Fortress
(selected verses - see Resources section) 5
Psalm 46 Psalm 68 Psalm 118 Matthew 5.1-12 Matthew 5.13-14 Matthew 10.27-30 Luke 10.19 John 1.1-14 John 8.12 John 9.1-7 Romans 8.35,37-39 2 Corinthians 4.6-10 Ephesians 6.10-18 Philippians 2.5-11 1 John 1.5-7 I John 4.4
God Is Our Mighty Fortress
(selected verses - see Resources section)
God Will Win the Battle
(selected verses - see Resources section)
God’s love endures for ever
(selected verses - see Resources section)
The Beatitudes You are the light of the world You are precious to God Authority over the power of the enemy In the beginning was the Word I am the Light of the World As long as it is day, we must work Nothing shall separate us from God Treasure in jars of clay Be strong in the power God gives you Jesus as Lord Walking in the light God, in you, is greater than any enemy
Hymn/song Suggested hymn/song: The Spirit lives to set us free (Walk in the light) During /after which an apple is given to each person present. A collection is taken for the work of The Children’s Society. Talk If the service includes a significant number of children, it may be appropriate to divide the address or sermon into two or three smaller sections (See resource section for some suggestions for other talks)
Reflection: Apples, Pumpkins and Treasure Apples have all kinds of symbolic meaning for Christians: For some it is a reminder of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil from the story of Adam and Eve. Because of that story, the apple is also a reminder of our human disobedience towards God. Apple-bobbing is also a popular activity at this time of year. (You might even have a demonstration at this point.) The Romans saw apples as a symbol of love. They bobbed for apples during their autumn festival of Pomona. (for more about apple bobbing, see below) But it’s another fruit that often takes the spotlight at this time of year (the pumpkin). The best bits (flesh and seeds), which might become pumpkin soup / pumpkin pie, are scooped out (and, sadly, often thrown away – what a waste) in order to make a scary Jack ‘o’ lantern. Have you ever heard someone say: ‘he’s a bad apple’. Some people look at others and write them off – ‘give them up as a bad job’. Children and young people can be written off because they have got into trouble with the law, or they have been hurt or damaged in some way, or they have a disability. What a waste. Following Jesus’ example, The Children’s Society never gives up on children or writes them off as ‘bad apples’. Look at this apple. At the end of the summer it is ripe and ready for picking, but if no-one picks the fruit it falls to the ground and rots. What a waste Inside the apple (cut the apple cross ways to show the pips arranged in a star shape) are seeds. This means that inside every apple is potentially another apple tree, maybe four or five apple trees. It’ potential is literally infinite.
Jesus often told stories about treasure hidden away – and how important it was to search for and find that treasure. The Bible speaks about our lives as being like treasure hidden in ordinary clay pots. In Irish folklore the apple tree is seen as a gateway to the spirit world – Celtic Christians spoke of ‘thin places’ where heaven and earth almost seem to touch. This is a time of year when summer seems a long time gone and the nights are dark and cold. It’s a time of year when some people like to scare others and to be scared. For Christians it is a time to remember that God not only gives us fruit, but inside the fruit, he gives us the seeds to grow more fruit next year; he gives us infinite potential. The darkness and the cold of autumn remind us how much difference a light can make. There are dangers; there are things of which we might be afraid – but God gives us hope not to allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the darkness or by our fear. Inside the clay jars lies treasure. Inside the apples are lie seeds – hope for the future. In the darkness, God calls us to be lights – shining for him and for others – to be signs of his love and life, here and now. George Lane
We respond to God’s Word
Affirmation of Faith An Affirmation of Faith may be used here All Let us declare our faith in God. We believe in God the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. We believe in God the Son, who lives in our hearts through faith, and fills us with his love. We believe in God the Holy Spirit, who strengthens us with power from on high. We believe in one God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. E12 from Patterns for Worship cf Ephesians 3 Response In churches with a choir, the following traditional carol may be sung. A number of commercial recordings of Christmas Choral Music include this carol. The tree of life my soul hath seen, Laden with fruit and always green: The tree of nature fruitless be Compared with Christ the apple tree. His beauty doth all things excel: By faith I know, but ne’er can tell, The glory which I now can see In Jesus Christ the apple tree.
For happiness I long have sought, And pleasure dearly have I bought: I missed of all: but now I see ’Tis found in Christ the apple tree. I’m weary with my former toil. Here I will sit and rest awhile: Under the shadow I will be Of Jesus Christ the apple tree. This fruit doth make my soul to thrive, It keeps my dying faith alive; Which makes my soul in haste to be With Jesus Christ the apple tree. Jesus Christ the Apple Tree Music by Elizabeth Poston words from ‘Divine Hymns or Spiritual Songs’, compiled Joshua Smith (1784)
Intercession In preparation for the prayers of intercession, light sticks may be given out to and activated by those present. (visit www.glow-candles.com for supplier and ordering information) Actions may accompany the prayer responses. Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the World, shine into the darkness of lives without hope. We pray for children who see crime as a way of life. Help us to show them how to find another way. Shine your light in their darkness.
Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the World, shine into the darkness of lives lived in isolation. We pray for children who are excluded from our society through disability. Help us to make a world in which they may have a full part. Shine your light into their darkness. Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the World, shine into the darkness of lives lived in fear. We pray for children who have run away from home or are at risk. Help us to stand by them so that they may discover strength. Shine your light in their darkness. Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the World, shine into the darkness of lives lived in conflict. We pray for children who are refugees, torn by the tension of life in a new culture. Help us to understand their conflicts so that they may find acceptance. Shine your light into their darkness. Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the World, we thank you for the work of The Children’s Society. We pray that through their work, your light might shine into the lives of children lost in the darkness of fear, disregard and conflict. Help us, with them, to shine your light into the darkness. Amen. The Children’s Society
Lord’s Prayer As our Saviour taught us, so we pray All 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. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen. Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us All Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Lighten our darkness, Lord, we pray, and in your great mercy defend us from all the perils of dangers of this night. for the love of your only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen Evening Collect ASB/Common Worship
Going out into God’s World
The Caim prayer from the Celtic Tradition Those present may be invited to stand and to spread out so as to give one another space. The following prayer works best if there is space for those present to stretch their arm out and trace the shape of a circle around themselves (turning around slowly in their place, if desired). Let us pray for the protection of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: Circle us Lord, Those present turn slowly in their places, tracing a circular shape with their light sticks (circle this place, our homes and families, those who are alone/anxious*) *decide in advance as appropriate or omit Keep love within, keep hatred out. Keep joy within, keep fear out. Keep peace within, keep worry out. Keep light within, keep darkness out. May you stand in the circle with us,
today and always. Hymn/song Suggested hymn/song: Be bold, be strong or This little light of mine (let it shine) Dismissal Leader Voice 1 Everyone Voice 2 Everyone Voice 3 Everyone Voice 4 Everyone Voice 5 Everyone Voice 6 Everyone Voice 7 Everyone Leader Everyone What can separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble or suffering? No! Can hardship or hunger? No! Can nakedness, danger or death? No! Can life or death? No! Can spirits or angels? No! Can powers below or powers above? No! Can the past, the present, or the future? No! No, nothing in all creation can separate us from God's love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord! In everything we have the victory through Christ who loves us!
or God has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and has given us a place with the saints in light. You have received the light of Christ; walk in this light all the days of your life. May we shine as lights in the world to the glory of God the Father.
Blessing May God, who kindled the fire of his love in the hearts of the saints, give you joy in their fellowship, and strengthen you to follow them in the way of holiness; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen. May the light of Christ dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds, and lead us in the light and obedience of Christ, and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen. Go in the light and peace of Christ. Thanks be to God.
The people depart