Apples

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					                              Halloween Choice Service
Introduction                                                                 Lord Jesus,
This order of service is suggested for use on the eve of All                 you are the Light of the world:
Saints’ Day (October 31st) either, in a shortened form, as a                 cleanse and heal our blinded sight.
way of concluding a Light Party (or other alternative                        Christ, have mercy.
Hallowee’n celebration for children) or in its own right. There              Christ, have mercy.
are also other resources available elsewhere on
www.halloweenchoice.org .                                                    Holy Spirit,
                                                                             you give us light in our hearts:
We Gather Together                                                           renew us in faith and love.
Greeting                                                                     Lord, have mercy.
                                                                             Lord, have mercy.
          God has made his light shine in our hearts,                                                             Common Worship
          to show us God's glory shining in the face of
          Christ.                                                            May the Father of all mercies
          The light and peace of Christ be with you.                         cleanse us from our sins,
          And also with you                                                  and restore us in his image
                                                                             to the praise and glory of his name,
A candle (which may be the Easter / Paschal Candle) may be                   through Jesus Christ our Lord.
lit at this point or later in the service                                    Amen.

          Jesus Christ is the light of the world:
          a light no darkness can quench.                          Collect
          Stay with us, Lord, for it is evening:                   The leader invites everyone to be still and remember God’s
          and the day is almost over.                              presence with them. After a short period of silence the
          Even the darkness is not dark for you:                   following prayer is said
          and the night shines like the day.
          Let your light scatter the darkness:                               God of holiness, your glory is proclaimed in
          and fill your church with your glory.                              every age: as we rejoice in the faith of your
                                                                             saints, inspire us to follow their example with
                   cf John 1.5; 8.12; Psalm 139.12; Luke 24.29               boldness and joy; through Jesus Christ; the Light
                                  New Patterns for Worship A18               of the world.
                                                                             Amen.
Gathering hymn/song                                                                                Additional Collect of All Saints
Suggested hymns/songs are elsewhere

Setting the scene                                                  We hear God’s Word
If the service includes a significant number of children, it may   Suggested readings are elsewhere
be appropriate to divide the address or sermon into two or
three smaller sections                                             Hymn/song
                                                                   Suggested hymns/songsare elsewhere
At this point, the leader may introduce the theme of light in
darkness or the work of the Children’s Society                     During /after which an apple is given to each person present.
                                                                   A collection is taken for the work of The Children’s Society.
Confession
A confession may be used here or during the prayers of             Talk
intercession, or may be omitted                                    If the service includes a significant number of children, it may
                                                                   be appropriate to divide the address or sermon into two or
          God is love and we are his children.                     three smaller sections
          There is no room for fear in love.                        (See resource section for some suggestions for other talks)
          Perfect love casts out all fear.
          Let us ask our Father’s forgiveness.                     We respond to God’s Word
                                                                   Affirmation of Faith
          Heavenly Father,                                         An Affirmation of Faith may be used here
          you have created a universe of light:
          forgive us when we return to darkness.                             Let us declare our faith in God.
          Lord, have mercy.                                        All       We believe in God the Father,
          Lord, have mercy.                                                  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                                       Lord’s Prayer
          with power from on high.
          We believe in one God;                                             Lighten our darkness, Lord, we pray,
          Father, Son and Holy Spirit.                                       and in your great mercy defend us
          Amen.                                                              from all the perils of dangers of this night.
                           E12 from Patterns for Worship                     for the love of your only Son,
                                          cf Ephesians 3                     our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
                                                                                           Evening Collect ASB/Common Worship
Response
In churches with a choir, the traditional carol Jesus Christ the   Going out into God’s World
Apple Tree may be sung.
                                                                   The Caim prayer from the Celtic Tradition
Intercession                                                       Those present may be invited to stand and to spread out so as
In preparation for the prayers of intercession, light sticks may   to give one another space. The following prayer works best if
be given out to and activated by those present. (visit             there is space for those present to stretch their arm out and
www.glow-candles.com for supplier and ordering information)        trace the shape of a circle around themselves (turning around
                                                                   slowly in their place, if desired).
Actions may accompany the prayer responses.
                                                                             Let us pray for the protection of God,
          Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the World, shine into                  Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
          the darkness of lives without hope.                                Circle us Lord,
          We pray for children who see crime as a way of
          life.                                                    Those present turn slowly in their places,
          Help us to show them how to find another way.            tracing a circular shape with their light sticks
          Shine your light in their darkness.
                                                                             (circle this place, our homes and families,
          Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the World, shine into                  those who are alone/anxious*)
          the darkness of lives lived in isolation. We pray                              *decide in advance as appropriate or omit
          for children who are excluded from our society                     Keep love within,
          through disability.                                                keep hatred out.
          Help us to make a world in which they may have                     Keep joy within,
          a full part.                                                       keep fear out.
          Shine your light into their darkness.                              Keep peace within,
                                                                             keep worry out.
                                                                             Keep light within,
          Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the World, shine into                  keep darkness out.
          the darkness of lives lived in fear.                               May you stand in the circle with us,
          We pray for children who have run away from                        today and always.
          home or are at risk.
          Help us to stand by them so that they may                Hymn/song
          discover strength.                                       Suggested hymns/songs are elsewhere
          Shine your light in their darkness.
                                                                   Dismissal
                                                                          God has delivered us from the dominion of
          Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the World, shine into               darkness and has given us a place with the saints
          the darkness of lives lived in conflict. We pray                in light.
          for children who are refugees, torn by the
          tension of life in a new culture.                                  You have received the light of Christ;
          Help us to understand their conflicts so that they                 walk in this light all the days of your life.
          may find acceptance.                                     All       May we shine as lights in the world
          Shine your light into their darkness.                              to the glory of God the Father.

                                                                   Blessing
          Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the World, we thank                  May the light of Christ dispel the darkness of our
          you for the work of The Children’s Society. We                   hearts and minds, and lead us in the light and
          pray that through their work, your light might                   obedience of Christ, and the blessing of God
          shine into the lives of children lost in the                     almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
          darkness of fear, disregard and conflict. Help us,               be among you and remain with you always.
          with them, to shine your light into the darkness.        All     Amen.
          Amen.
                                          The Children’s Society                       Go in the light and peace of Christ.
                                                                   All                 Thanks be to God.

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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




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