Finding God in the Cosmos
Sun 27 Nov – Sat 3 Dec
Introduction to the Week
The first week of Advent is traditionally dedicated to the theme of hope. As Advent is a time of waiting and preparing, having hope as our first focus is important – it sets a tone for our waiting.
At Queanbeyan this year, we also will be using this week to think about God’s presence in the whole of the cosmos. This fits quite nicely with the theme of hope. When you look up at the stars at night, are you ever struck by that sense of awe and wonder? Do you ever feel a sense of presence and connection with everything? Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that our bodies are made up of the very same atoms that once came from stars in the sky?
“For just as the Milky Way is the universe in the form of a galaxy, and an orchid is the universe in the form of a flower, we are the universe in the form of a human. And every time we are drawn to look up in the night sky and reflect on the awesome beauty of the universe, we are actually the universe reflecting on itself. And this changes everything…” Bryan Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker, Journey of the Universe (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011).
The readings and practices for this week invite us to think about how God joins us with all things that exist, even the stars in the sky. It invites us to wonder at how amazing it is that we have a place, and are loved and valued, in a universe so vast. It invites us to think about a God that is the source of life in the whole Cosmos, but cares for people: What a source of Hope!
8:45am – Chapel
9:30am – Inter generational Gathering
Individuals and Small Groups
Text: Psalm 8
To the leader: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.
1 O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Going Deeper: Commentaries and Exegesis
Fred Gaiser, via WorkingPreacher: https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1171
Rolf Jacobson, via WorkingPreacher: https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1459
Prayer of Intercession
You are invited to pray for somewhere that needs hope during this Advent/Christmas period.
Read or watch the news, then light a candle for areas of the world that you’d like to pray for. Pray God will send light to the places that need it.
Question: How can you bring light to the dark?
Prayer for the Week
God, our Creator,
as we reflect on the mysteries of the cosmos,
we celebrate the wondrous design of the universe and the Wisdom that guides its course.
Help us to discern how we are connected with living members of the cosmic community.
Teach us to sense the presence of the cosmic Christ,
whose presence fills and reconciles all forces in creation.
Prayer from Seasons of Creation, Cosmos Sunday (Australian Version 1) Liturgy, http://seasonofcreation.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/liturgy-cosmos-sunday-1.pdf
Something to Ponder
Michael Leunig, Man Interviewing the Stars, http://www.leunig.com.au/works/cartoons
Questions for Reflection:
- When you look up at the sky, what questions cross your mind?
- What does the Cosmos say to you about God?
- People often wish upon a star: what are your hopes for this Christmas?
Podcast: Diana Butler Bass, “Sacred Web: Nature and Neighbour as the Stage of the Divine,” Common Dreams 2016, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3phQQrcRdQrY1ZLOXA2R0l3VHc/view
Article: Elizabeth Johnson, “For God so Loved the Cosmos,” U.S. Catholic, http://www.uscatholic.org/culture/environment/2010/07/god-so-loved-world-jesus-and-environment
Is there someone you know who needs to hear words of hope? Create a card for them today and send them a word of love and hope.
Hope for Ourselves
Christmas can be a hard time for many. Maybe this Christmas you will be a long way from loved ones? Maybe you will be forced to share Christmas with people you struggle to be around? Maybe you have lost a loved one this year, and this will be your first Christmas without them? Maybe you don’t have loved ones with whom to spend Christmas?
Find some time to bring hope to yourself this week. Depending on your situation, maybe you might like to:
- Journal about how you are feeling this Advent.
- Make arrangements to spend Christmas with someone else.
- Visit the resting place of a loved one who has died.
- Spend time researching some strategies for coping with the hard times: for example, visit BeyondBlue’s website. For urgent assistance call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline Australia on 1300 789 978 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
Households and Families
The 27th November is the first Sunday in Advent. You and your household are invited to light one purple candle this week. This is the candle of hope. Maybe you might like to light it as you sit down to dinner and think about what it means.
Advent is a time of waiting and of hoping. We wait for the day when we celebrate again the birth of Jesus. When we look at the first candle, we remember God’s promise. God promised to send a Savior to the people. We remember that God fulfills the promises made to care for people. God is loving and just. God brings peace. This gives us hope. We look forward to the time when everything is fair, when the world is at peace, and all people are treated justly.
As you light the candle of hope, you might like to use one of the following prayers:
We light the candle of hope. We come, we listen – listen for the voice of the one who gives us hope. Like the whisper of an angel’s wings, let us hear the whispered voice of hope.
Gentle God, fill us now with your whispered hope. Let us hear your voice reminding us gently of the hope you have given us. In the busyness of the next few weeks, help us to remember the one who came to give us hope. Help us to not have lives that reflect an unwelcoming inn that has no place for you, but to make room and welcome you each day into our lives. Let us know how to make room for others so that they can also know your voice of welcome and hope. Amen.
We are a people of hope, and the darkness will not overcome us. Darkness will become light, war will become peace, and death will give way to life. We light this candle today to provide a source of light and warmth that guides our paths and gives us confidence for the journey, reminding us of the Source of hope. Amen.
Links from the Calendar:
Tuesday 29 November: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHHLHGNpCSA
Thursday 1 December: http://www.givehope.org.au/