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| Liturgy of Awakening | Voices around the Cross Music |

Use the insights and ideas below to help you to create your own liturgy.
Please acknowledge your source - but feel free to adapt the materials to suit your own circumstances. If you try something that works, please let us know and, with your permission, we will include it here for others to share.

Liturgy of Awakening
This Liturgy was written as part of an Ash Wednesday Mass, but could also stand alone. It can be used on Ash Wednesday - but could also form the basis of a Penitential Liturgy - or a reflective prayer - during Lent or on the threshold of Holy Week

The atmosphere for this prayer is all-important. Ideally, it should be an evening liturgy and start in very subdued lighting – just enough to allow people to get to their places.
When the Liturgy begins, the lights could fade completely.

Begin with a period of Silence – just long enough to begin to feel uncomfortable.

After a time, allow the sounds of wind and water (from a sound-effects CD or cassette) to emerge into the silence and darkness... i.e. begin very quietly - barely perceptibly - and gradually increase the volume until people become aware of it. Fade the sounds in and out around the readings.

Readers must be sensitive to the mood – drawing people into the Story and into reflection…
Use contrasting voices - a man and a woman - an older and younger voice (if using this, the older voice = Reader 1, younger = Reader 2)

The readers should not be visible - the focus is on the sound seeping into people's souls.
They can have torches to read their scripts - very talented people may even learn the words off by heart.

However, having said that!
It might be possible to project images onto a screen. One correspondent, Gail Gill from Australia, used images from the Hubble telescope when she used one of our Jubilee liturgies: Passing on the Light. This would work equally well at the beginning of this Liturgy. (A link to the Hubble Telescope site is available from our main links page)

You could, perhaps, use mime or dance to accompany the words.

Allow pauses - where there is only the sound of wind and wave to allow people to absorb the meaning of the words/ images/ movement, etc.

A friend of ours, Martin Osbourne (Oz) wrote music for this liturgy which complements it perfectly. If you are interested in using the Liturgy and would like to use his music, get in touch with us at the address below.

The palm-burning needs to be done in a metal container (obviously!) Make sure they are very dry - possibly even helping with a bit of barbecue fluid so that they burn quickly. The fire should be the only source of light - if possible.

Note: if using the liturgy on Ash Wednesday - the ashes will be too hot to use for marking!
Prepare some in advance and use those. The ashes created in the Liturgy could form part of a setting - or display - throughout Lent.

Ideas from correspondents:

The liturgy worked wonderfully, even among a bunch of older, traditional Lutherans who are used to "the way we've always done things." (!)  I cast slides onto the sanctuary wall to match the words of the liturgy, and between my nature shots of the North Carolina mountains and closeups of wanting Zimbabweans (from our time there), it was very effective.

Pastor Michael Weaver
Lutheran Church of the Holy Family
Highlands, NC

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Voices around the Cross

This was written for our parish patronal feast "The Triumph of the Cross" in 1996, having begun life in the car park in Taizé where we were listening to a recording of "Jesus, remember me". Four months later, this was the result... it proved to be a powerful and moving Liturgy.

It can be used as a reflective prayer - or form part of a Penitential liturgy. It lends itself to an Evening Prayer for Palm Sunday or even Good Friday. Although it looks towards the Resurrection, the Liturgy does not pre-empt it.

It would also work as a more dramatic presentation. Position a large (2+ metres) cross at the front/ in the centre. The "actors" can stand next to it - focusing on the cross until it is time to speak - or stay at the side - only emerging to say their part before going back into the shadows.

As with many of our Liturgies, the "Readings" are not Readings - the Scripture is integrated into the sequence.
If you prefer to have a more formal Reading - "John" could read the words from his Prologue as if from a Bible - a scroll - Lectionary (this might be a good idea anyway - to link what he witnessed with the Gospel he was to write)
The Narrator's closing words could be more direct quotes from John's Gospel (God so loved the world, etc...), Isaiah's Suffering Servant and Philippians.

When we used this, it formed part of the Liturgy of the Word - the words from Revelation "Worthy is the Lamb" were taken up in music from "Messiah" and accompanied the Offertory Procession. The Sanctus, of course, continues the hymns of heaven.

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There is a very wide selection of music available for Lent and Holy Week.
Here are a few songs that we have used - but the list is by no means exclusive. As you look for some of these, you may find others that you would like to use.

The Iona Community's Wild Goose Resource Group have compiled a book devoted to Lent/ Holy Week/ Easter music: The Courage to Say No
They have 2 haunting settings of "Behold the Lamb of God", either of which would lend themselves for use in Voices around the Cross.
"Take, o take me as I am" would complement the Liturgy of Awakening.

The Taizé Community's chants are renowned for their capacity to create an atmosphere of prayerful stillness. They have several "Kyries" - some of which have a sustained note over which a cantor can sing - or a reader can read: this is very effective and worth cultivating! Another chant which uses the mix of shared chant - and sustained not + cantor is "God can only give faithful love" (translation of "Dieu ne peut que donner son amour)

Another useful source of ideas comes from songs which focus on the names of God "Domine Deus", "Oculi Nostri", "O Christe Domine Jesu" "Adoramus te..." Given the theme of focusing on the person of Jesus and the Covenant with God, these can help to deepen our reflections.

Other useful songs:
"Come back to me with all your heart" (Gregory Norbert)which picks up the theme of the Liturgy of Awakening and of our Covenant with a faithful God.
A song which explores the Kyrie is "Look around you..." (Jodi Page Clark) - looking at our failures to respond as Gospel people.
On a similar theme is "There is a longing in our hearts" (Anne Quigley). Lent is a time when we allow our spiritual hunger to surface - the song gives expression to that hunger.

Although we think of Lent as a penitential time, it is an experience we can only contemplate because we know that we are sustained by the love of God. Try "Out of Darkness" (Christopher Walker) and "I will sing forever of your love" (Paul Inwood) for songs which affirm our confidence in a God who leads us out into the desert - but only so that he can meet us there...

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Sources of information about the music:

Decani Music
Iona Community
Magnificat Music
Taizé Community

Contact us:

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