‘Occupy Christmas’ Alternative Xmas Eve Carols Service

Heavenly host projected on army surplus parachute

We shared an amazing service on Christmas Eve with the ‘Occupy Xmas’ theme.

The set up included an army surplus parachute hanging from the roof with stars and angels projected and a nativity in an Advent Spiral surrounded by 3 life size cardboard cut out of special forces troopers.

The aim of the service was to consider and pray for ‘Peace of Earth’ amidst places of current conflict in our world.

photo by xop booth

photo by xop booth

The Order of Worship looked something like this:

  • Acknowledgement of Country and Traditional Owners
  • Lighting of Christ Candle in centre of Advent Spiral
  • Song: O Holy Night (Acoustic Guitar)
  • Reading of Mary’s Song Magnificat
  • Prayers for Bethlehem via a video produced by St. Paul’s Arts and Media, Auckland.

  • Reading: Matthew; Wise Men, Herod and The Slaughter of the Innocents

Prayers for Palestine using clips from the movie Little Town of Bethlehem:  Directors Commentary

  • Song:  O Little Town of Bethlehem
  • Prayers for Syria
  • Reading: Luke 2, Angels and Shepherds (projections on parachute unveiled)
  • Introduction of Advent Spiral, Placing of candles lit from Christ candle in centre.)
  • Response Time for Walking Advent Spiral
  • Closing Prayers:

by Vaux, London, in Alternative Worship, compiled by Jonny Baker and Doug Gay.

As Sarah waited . . .
40 years for a son to fulfill God’s promise
We wait in hope for what we thought had been promised to us

As Moses waited . . .
40 years in the desert being prepared by God to lead his people
We wait for emptiness and humility; for bravado to wither

As Israel waited . . .
40 years in the desert, hungry, depressed, thirsting, unsure
We wait for things to move on and generations to pass

As the prophets waited . . .
1000 years of promises that God would raise up a Savior
We wait for things to change

As Mary waited . . .
9 months of her 14 years for the child of God
We feel the birth pangs yet fear for the child

As John the Baptist waited . . .
Scanning the crowds for the one whose sandals he would not be worthy to untie
We long for an experience of the Divine

As Jesus waited . . .
30 years of creeping time
40 days in the desert of temptation
3 years in the midst of misunderstanding
3 days in the depths of hell
So we wait for God’s time
Preparing the way
Our turn to toil on leveling mountains and straightening paths
Our turn to watch the time horizon
Our turn to pass on the hope –
The one who promised is faithful
And will come back.

“come and be born in us”   Doug Gay (Late Late Service)

Jesus of Bethlehem and Nazareth and Calvary

We are expecting you tonight

Come and be born in us.

Jesus of the manger and inn
Workshop and temple
Lakeside and the city
Fireside and the roadside
We are expecting you tonight

Come and be born in us.

Jesus of Mary and Joseph

Shepherds and angels
Children and animals
Fishermen and priests
women and men disciples
Tax-collectors and prostitutes
Of all who will receive you
We are expecting you tonight

Come and be born in us.

Look and see
We have brought our bread and wine
to be your body for us.

Look and see
We have brought our flesh and blood
to be your body for you

Look and see
The same spirit which lived in your flesh
Is living in your people here

Look at us and let us look at you
And see you now
We are expecting you tonight

Come and be born in us

  • Song: Nunc Dimitis, ‘Canticle of Simeon’
  • Song: Silent Night to Acoustic Guitar

At one point the service was interrupted by a woman who’s cultural experience had been of having to flee her homeland due to violence and inter-religious/tribal conflict.  At one point in the prayers she yelled out “Enough of the politics”!!!  She got up and,  grabbing the special forces figures surrounding the nativity, proceeded to throw them in the baptistry.  It was like the Exodus all over with Pharoah’s army getting drown-ded!!!  It was an unplanned, confronting gut-response that for me, powerfully expressed  both the  dissonance of  praying “Peace on Earth” at Christmas time and the hope and reality of the old Christmas blessing I love… “May the Peace of Christ disturb you.”

–  Marcus

Advent Spiral and Nativity below Parachute post the liberation of the Nativity from the special forces via way of baptism!

Many thanks to Christop Booth for being VJ and set up and Nat Gilbert for music.  You can see a full gallery of pics at Christops blog.

O Little Town of Bethlehem Video Clip (English Version) from the movie littletownofbethlehem.org


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