Avril at Romsey

… and Lancefield and Riddells Creek and Mount Macedon

The Sci Fi and Fantasy Service Liturgy

Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners

Welcome

Call to Worship

Creating God,
who made the wonders of the cosmos for us to explore:
Be with us now.

Redeeming God,
who took on flesh and walked among us:
Be with us now.

Enlivening God,
who enlightens and inspires us in all we do:
Be with us now.

Come let us worship God!

The Gloria

Prayer of Confession

Video Clip – Return of the Jedi

Luke’s conversation with Leia about his determination to save his father; Vader’s death in Luke’s arms; Luke burning his body; Vader appearing with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda at the celebration.

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Paul’s Letter to the Romans 8:38-39.

No one is beyond forgiveness; nothing we can do can cut us off from God’s love.

“God’s Mercy” © Sheree Anderson

Scripture Readings

Psalm 19: 1-6
John 15:12-17
1 John 4:7-21

Singing like Yoda

Very peculiar way of speaking, Master Yoda has.  Interestingly, one hymn in the hymnbook that uses Yoda-speak there is.  Going to sing it now, we are – my shepherd the lord is.

TIS 10 “The Lord’s my shepherd”

Sermon

This service is full of superheroes, and I want to talk about two of mine. The first is a man who died the year I was born, which I find a bit sad, because I would have loved to have had the chance to meet him. His name was John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, and he was the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He was also a very committed Catholic, and he occasionally had to defend his writing of fantasy.

His first defence was that the people who invent new worlds are fulfilling their calling as those made in the image of God, creating in imitation of God the Creator. The psalm that Susan read us is just one of the many, many parts of the Bible that celebrate God as creator, the one who made the heavens and the firmament and in them *set a tent for the sun. (That idea of the sun as a bridegroom emerging from his tent is a simile, by the way, the writer of the psalm didn’t believe it literally.)

In a poem, Tolkien wrote:

Though all the crannies of the world we filled
with elves and goblins, though we dared to build
gods and their houses out of dark and light,
and sowed the seed of dragons, ’twas our right
(used or misused). The right has not decayed.
We make still by the law in which we’re made.

The other accusation made particularly of this genre is that it’s escapist. We watch Star Wars and Doctor Who and read The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter – and ultimately at the end good wins. There may be sacrifices along the way, and good people may die, but evil is defeated. Tolkien said that one of the characteristics of fantasy is that it contains eucatastrophes (and I can’t believe I got to use that word in the Herald Sun), good catastrophes, the sudden joy that comes in the midst of despair. The reason, Tolkien argued, that fantasy authors like him are able to offer  their readers this Consolation of the Happy Ending is because the Creator has already given it to us. He wrote: “The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy” Every happy ending we enjoy comes with the backing of God.

The other superhero of mine I want to talk about is Archbishop Desmond Tutu from South Africa, who is definitely still alive and who demonstrates in his life what Christianity really means. The extracts Caro read us from John’s Gospel and John’s first letter are both about the love that’s at the heart of our faith. “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” Jesus came to share that message with us, to demonstrate God’s love, so that we could learn to love one another as God loves us. And I’d argue that at the centre of all the fantasy and sci fi we’re celebrating today is that same message of love.

Desmond Tutu has a very famous prayer, a series of affirmations, Tolkien-like eucatastrophes which, I think, describe the reasons that so many of us enjoy these books, films, comics and television shows. I’m going to show you. Some of these clips might be a bit scary, so you might want to find a hand to hold.

1. Goodness is stronger than evil

The Two Towers: Sam’s speech to Frodo about holding on to the knowledge that there is still some good in the world.

2. Love is stronger than hate

Buffy Season 6, Episode 22: Xander prevents Willow from destroying the world

3. Light is stronger than darkness

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Professor McGonagall and the other teachers and students of Hogwarts respond to Dumbledore’s death by using the light from their wands to destroy the image of the skull that hovers over his body.

4.     4. Life is stronger than death.

Doctor Who: End of Time Part 1: The Doctor refuses the offer of Wilf’s gun to kill the Master, preferring to face certain death rather than kill.

“Goodness is stronger than evil”

Words © Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Music © The Iona Community

Prayers of Intercession

We have gathered here today to celebrate the wonders of God’s creation and the delights of various sub-creations.

But whenever we gather together for worship, we take time to remember all who are in any sort of need.

This past summer has been a horrendous time for many people; the recent natural disasters have been almost unbelievable.

And we always hold the lonely, grieving, hungry, sick, and dying in our prayers.

So as the music plays, you are invited to come and light a taper and place it in the bowl, as a visible sign of your thoughts and prayers.

TIS 561 “Who would true valour see”

Blessing and Dismissal

Video Clips:

Angel, Season Four, Episode 1, ‘Deep Down’ Angel talks to Connor about what it means to be a champion;
Firefly, Episode 4, ‘Jaynestown’ Book talking to River about allowing faith to ‘fix’ you.

Go in peace.
Live as though the world were what it should be,
to show it what it can be,
and be open to the possibility of faith fixing you.

May God the source of all good gifts bless you,
and may you always know that you are inscribed on the palms of Her hands.
Amen.

 

 

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April 11, 2011 - Posted by | Ministry

10 Comments »

  1. Beautiful Avril! Again, I wish I could have come. Veryan xox

    Comment by Veryan | April 11, 2011 | Reply

    • Well, young missy, you’ll just have to come to next year’s service.

      Comment by avrilhj | April 27, 2011 | Reply

  2. Perfect – just as I assumed it would be. Love your work. 🙂
    sandy

    Comment by Sandy | April 11, 2011 | Reply

  3. Really enjoyed the Sci Fi and Fantasy service on Sunday – well worth the 3 hours’ drive to get there and back! Hope it does become an annual event – we’ll certainly be back next year!

    Comment by Liz Hudson | April 14, 2011 | Reply

    • I am stunned and amazed that you drove three hours for the service.

      About next year, given how far you’re travelling, would it be easier or harder for you to get to an inner city location. I’m wondering about moving the service to somewhere like Brunswick, although I do love my wee country church in Romsey.

      Comment by avrilhj | April 27, 2011 | Reply

      • We loved the drive to Romsey, great to get out of the city for a change, and happy to do it again next year. My son drove home to Torquay after the service, just a bit of a detour from Melbourne! However, a larger venue closer to Melbourne might suit the growing following – we know of a number of others (including another UCA Minister) who would have liked to attend but couldn’t (partly due to short notice – I didn’t tell them early enough!). We’re happy with whatever venue you choose.

        Comment by Liz Hudson | April 27, 2011

  4. Thanks for that Avril, I am loving the creativity, I have friends who are major sci-fi fans who I could see enjoying and particpating in a service like this. Grace and Peace.

    Comment by Paul Savage | April 26, 2011 | Reply

    • Thank you so much. Feel free to use any of the liturgy if it’s of any use to you.

      Comment by avrilhj | April 27, 2011 | Reply

  5. […] The Sci Fi and Fantasy Service Liturgy « Avril at Romsey. […]

    Pingback by The Sci Fi and Fantasy Service Liturgy | 4orty2wo | April 27, 2011 | Reply

  6. This video from my friend Jason would go well with your liturgy. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Rick Haverly | April 27, 2011 | Reply


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