Wassailing and suchlike

Jeremy and Sue led us this week combining thoughts on Wassail, Groundhoog day, Candlemas and St Brigid’sday.

We started with words of The Welcome
Be still
Be attentive to the divine presence
God of beginnings and endings
as the seasons turn towards Spring
We come to you
as new shoots of life emerge
We welcome your life-giving Spirit
as mortals made in your image
We welcome each other
Welcoming the God of the circle of the seasons
(face each direction)
God of the North and the cold winds
We call to you to be the fire in our hearts
God of the west and sun setting
We call to you as we greet the returning light
God of the South and the warm breeze
We call to you to be the embrace between us
God of the East and sun rising
We call to you to bring us life renewed
Christ Jesus Be the life within us
Be the love between us
Be the light that guides us
This day And for eternity

We listened to a rendering of the folksong ‘No whte green balde rises’ as wethought about the first signs of spring:

Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green

In the grave they laid him, love by people slain,
Thinking that he’d never wake to life again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three dark days in the grave had lain;
quick from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving or in pain,
By your touch you call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

 

We had historical background given on the tradition of the wassail and used some of the following:

Wassail

Old apple tree, we wassail thee,
And hoping thou wilt bear
For the Lord doth know where we shall be
Till apples come another year.
For to bear well, and to bear well
So merry let us be.
Let every man take off his hat,
And shout to the old apple tree!
Old apple tree, we wassail thee,
And hoping thou wilt bear
Hatfuls, capfuls, three bushel bagfuls
And a little heap under the stairs
Hip! Hip! Hooray!

Groundhog day

God of all creatures,

today we praise you for groundhogs,

unassuming rodents who carry

the tradition and responsibility 

of forecasting spring.

From their burrows they rise,

half dead: groggy from hibernation, 

hungry, alone, stressed;

awakened by an inner clock

synchronized with the 

rhythms of the seasons

telling them it is time

to explore and prepare

for the next generation.

We pray for all creatures who

count the days until the weather 

changes, until winter 

loosens its grip, until

they can reconnect with others.

We pray for all who are tired,

who are hungry or dissatisfied,

who are lonely or isolated.

In this time between solstice

and equinox reassure us that

sooner or later spring will come.

Grant us patience to see the gifts 

of this particular time, and to

savour the stillness.

In our exhaustion release us from stress

so that we might find rest. 

In moments of hunger or dissatisfaction

remind us that there is

enough.

In our isolation 

be our comforting presence.

We pray that whether the sun shines

or the sky is grey, we will count

each day as a gift with 

moments of wonder.

Let hope rise up in us, as we

align our bodies and spirits

to your greater purposes 

beyond what we see this day.

Amen.

 

Prayer of St Brigid

 I should like a great lake of ale for the King of Kings.

I should like a table of the choicest food for the family of heaven.

Let the ale be made from the fruits of faith, and the food be forgiving love

I should welcome the poor to my feast, for they are God’s children

I should welcome the sick to my feast, for they are God’s joy

Let the poor sit with Jesus at the highest place, and the sick dance with the angels

God bless the poor God bless the sick and bless our human race

 God bless our food God bless our drink all homes our God embrace

 

We’d all made some wassail – alcoholic or non-alcoholic cider / spiced apple juice and tipped some into our gardens where we might hope for produce after winte and remembering those who deeply rely on the harvest for survival. We used the words below:

God of the seasons, of seed sowing and harvest reaping
Of blossom and bud and fruit and leaf fall,
We thank for the gifts of creation and ask you to bless them this year.
We especially ask for you to bless the harvest for…

We shared bread and wine and finished witht this blessing:

Departing and travelling further
God of the South and the light of Summer
Bless us now with your warmth
God of the West as the sunsets upon us
Bless us now through the dark hours until the dawn breaks
God of the North and the season of passing winter
Bless us now with the presence of Christ with us
God of the East and the suns rising
Bless us now with the fruitfulness of spring-life

 

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