Christmas2A.8.1.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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Rex A E Hunt
 
When Progressives Gather Together:
Liturgy, Lectionary, Landscape… And Other Explorations.
Melbourne: Morning Star Publishing, 2016.

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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
8 January 2017. Christmas 2A. (White).
Celebrating Solidarity: The Jesus Meal Tradition


ChildFlower


Acknowledgement of Country/First Peoples
(An act towards reconciliation)

For thousands of years Indigenous people have walked
in this land, on their own country.
Their relationship with the land is at the centre of their lives.

We acknowledge the (NN) People and their stewardship
of this land throughout the ages.

(NN) is a safe place for all people to worship regardless of
race, creed, age, cultural background or sexual orientation


GATHERING

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

How beautiful is this day.
How warm and inviting the air. 
How clear the sky. 
How full of life the teeming earth. 
And we are alive! (Adapt/Sara Campbell)

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

The light waits – 
Who will keep the light burning in our day?
Who will take the light into the world?
Who will carry the light into a new year?
All  
Who will carry the light if we do not?

Note: (i) A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE
(ii) Additional Special Purpose Hymns that cover major international events or themes can be found HERE  They include the categories: 1. Bush (Brush) Fire, 2. Tsunami, Storms/Cyclones, 3. Earthquakes, 4. War/Remembrance, 5. Caregiving, 6. God as Mother, 7. Human Trafficking, 8. Disabled, 9. Migration/Refugees

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Colour and Fragrance(Tune: ‘O Barvy Vune’, 55, 55, 11, 11) 78 (v1-4) SLT
Colour and fragrance, magical rhythm,
sweet changing music will change us with them:
life within life, inner light gently glowing,
surely you seem to be God’ vision growing.

O starry heavens, worlds of all splendour,
suns without number, new life engender:
wheel in a wheel with the light brightly glowing,
moving in harmony, God’s vision growing.

Handful of pebbles, high mountain passes,
depths of the ocean, dew on the grasses:
great things and small, with the light gently glowing,
word of the wordless song, God’s vision growing.

Delicate beings, lace-wing and sparrow
in field and forest, clover and yarrow:
life greeting life with the light brightly glowing,
none are too small to be God’s vision growing.
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
A new year has dawned; the old is past and gone.
This is a time for beginnings,
a time to encounter Creativity God anew.
All  
You are the Alpha and the Omega,
the beginning and the end.

Look around you at the amazing variety of the universe.
All  
God has lured everything suitable for its time.
Consider again what Creativity God
has nudged us to do and to be…
All  
To show compassion to the least of God's children.

Act of Awareness
We gather grateful for the companionship
of hearts and minds
seeking to speak the truth in love.

We gather grateful for our heritage,
for the women and men before us
whose prophetic words and deeds
make possible our dreams and our insight.

And we gather grateful for the gift of life itself,
mindful that to respect life means both
to celebrate what life is
and to insist on what it can become
(Adapt.MSMilner)

OR

We pray:
O Hidden Mystery,
sun behind all suns,
soul behind all souls,
in everything we touch,
in everyone we meet,
your presence is around us, and we give thanks.
May it be so.

Hymn Colour and Fragrance(Tune: ‘O Barvy Vune’, 55, 55, 11, 11) 78 (v5-6) SLT
In human eyes burns the soul of living,
illumines altars of loving giving:
greeting, we meet, seeing light brightly glowing,
share in a greater life, God’s vision growing.

Shaper of all things, to us you’ve given
our chance to keep here on earth, a heaven.
Moving in harmony, light gently glowing,
may we be, gratefully, God’s vision growing. (Norman F Capek/GUlp)
The people sit after the hymn

Welcome
In your own words

A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are worshipping at (NN) for the first time
or who have returned after an absence.

Your presence both enriches us and this time of celebration together.
Refer to printed liturgy.
Fellowship hour following worship.
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.

Silence
Amid all the noise in our lives, we take this moment to sit in silence:
to give thanks for another day;
to give thanks for all those in our lives
who have brought us warmth and love;
to give thanks for the gift of life.
(Silence)

Let us open ourselves to the process of becoming more whole:
of living more fully;
of understanding more completely
the meaning of our lives here on this earth. (Adapt.Tom Haley)
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Two readings from our broad religious tradition shall be read by (NN).

From the World Around Us:
“Sun”
By Mary Oliver

Have you ever seen
anything
in your life
more wonderful

than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon

and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone –
and how it slides again

out of the blackness,
every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower

streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance –
and have you ever felt for anything

such wild love –
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a world billowing enough
for the pleasure

that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you

as you stand there,
empty-handed –
or have you too
turned from this world-

or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things?

Traditional Gospel:
John 1:10-14
(NRSV)

He came in the world, and the world came into being through him;
yet the world did not know him.

He came to what was his own, and his own people
did not accept him.  But to all who received him,
who believed in his name,
he gave power to become children of God,
who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh,
or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us,
and we have seen his glory,
full of grace and truth.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

Sharing 'The Peace
Let us take some time to celebrate each other.

May a heart of peace rest with you (David Galston/q).
All And also with you.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
“Spirit of Love” (Tune: ‘Weaver’)   125 AA
Spirit of love, you move within creation
drawing the threads to colour and design;
life into life, you knit our true salvation,
come, work with us 
and weave us into one.

Though we have frayed the fabric of your making,
tearing away from all that you intend,
yet, to be whole, humanity is aching,
come, work with us 
and weave us into one.

Great loom of God, where history is woven,
you are the frame that holds us to the truth,
Christ is the theme, the pattern you have given,
come, work with us 
and weave us into one.  (Shirley Erena Murray)

Reflections and Prayers
Care Candle:
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Concerns shared

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
In joy and in sorrow
All  We do not walk alone (Gretta Vosper/wwg)

And so we take a flame and light our special Care Candle…
The Care Candle is lit

For ourselves, for those named or remembered, and in solidarity with those
who have not the freedom to express their concern or celebration
for fear of discrimination or condemnation.

In all our joys and in all our concerns, may we be ever mindful
of the presentness of the sacred among us,
and to see the new possibilities of the now.

The Abba' Prayer: (Optional)
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as that is appropriate

All  O Birther!  Father-Mother of the Cosmos
you create all that moves in light.
Hear the one Sound that created all others,
in this way the Name is hallowed
in silence.

Your rule springs into existence
as our arms reach out to embrace all creation.
Let all wills move together
in your vortex, as stars and planets
swirl through the sky.

Grant what we need each day in bread and insight:
subsistence for the call of growing life.

Lighten our load of secret debts as
we relieve others of their
need to repay.

Keep us from hoarding false wealth,
and from the inner shame of
help not given in time. (Matthew Fox/ormw)

CELEBRATING

CELEBRATING SOLIDARITY: THE JESUS MEAL TRADITION
Offering
Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,
and our gifts of bread and wine, shall now be received.

Presentation
May our eyes, our ears, and our mouths be opened.
May we be doers of the word and not hearers only,
taking on those tasks set before us, with
uncommon vision and wholehearted expectation.

Invitation
In faith and love, gathered in this place,
we celebrate the brightness of community
and the summer season.

Thanksgiving
v3 In the early spring, pale green blades of wheat
broke through the earth's surface.
v4 This hand of mine began to take shape millions of years ago
as the first leaves stretched out for nourishment and light.
v5 Eons ago the earth itself was glowing with heat
as it separated itself from the sun.
All (singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.


v3 By mid-summer the wheat stems sway heavily
in the breeze for acres and acres
of green and golden earth.
v4 The early species of kangaroo,
able to move quickly and nimbly in a way
we can only imitate, learned which plants
were best for them to eat and sought them out.
v5 The ground we stand on carries in it
the remnants of volcanos and oceans
which once dominated the landscape.
All (singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.

v3 This morning we gather around the bread,
which comes from the wheat in the paddocks.
v4 This morning we celebrate our oneness
with the plants and the animals,
which precede and surround us.
v5 This morning we remember we are earth people,
united with each other and to all on this globe
by the ground under us.
3,4,5 One body, one history, one home for us all.
All (singing)You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.

3,4,5 One body, one history, one home for us all.
All
(singing)You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.

Silence

3,4,5 One body, one history, one home for us all.
All
(singing)You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.

The Tradition
On the night of his handing over, so the story is told,
Jesus shared again a meal with his friends.

He took the bread, offered thanks, broke it,
and gave it to them, inviting them to eat.

Afterwards, he poured a cup of wine,
offered thanks, and gave it to them,
inviting them to drink.
And we remember…

v3 Life grows from the earth.
The kernel of wheat lives in the soil before it breaks ground.
As it stretches itself skyward, it also reaches deeper into the earth.
v4 Water and nourishment blend with sunlight as the stalk
begins to produce kernels of its own.
v5 This bread holds those kernels, that sunshine, that soil and water.
As we take it into ourselves, we affirm our own roots in the earth.
This is the ground we stand upon,
the earth yearning to be inside us.
It is the life we have taken in order to live ourselves.

v3 Life flows toward us from the Source beyond us.
It is a stream that creates us anew each day.
v4 It is a stream that wants to make its way through us.
A stream that flows through the city and country.
v5 A stream that readies a harvest in every season.
This is the life we have received from the earth
and from our forbearers.

v1  This is the pulsing energy that has made a home in us
and that we give on
(Smith&Taussig/mt).

Communion
The bread and the wine will be served 'coming forward' around the Table

Bread, that was once scattered as grain in a paddock
and gathered together
and baked into a loaf.
Bread broken

Wine, that was once grapes grown on a hillside
and gathered together
and pressed into juice.
Wine poured out

Bread and wine…
Let us eat and drink.
Let no one be forgotten or denied.

After Communion
We have eaten broken bread and have tasted poured out wine.
Let us now commit ourselves to a life of justice and compassion.

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Love Now Ascending” 
(Holy, Holy, Holy) Tune: ‘Nicaea’, 1 12 12 10)
Holy, holy, holy, love now ascending
Early in the morning our song shall rise to you.
Holy, holy, holy, joy that has no ending
Giving, forgiving, breathing life anew.

Holy, holy, holy, love without a limit
Care that binds creation in sacred unity,
Holy, holy, holy, birthing every minute,
Christ, Love's revealer, sets our spirits free.
Remain standing

Parting Words
The presentness of God reaches beyond this 
The Community Candle is extinguished

After the words, a quiet.
After the songs, a silence.
After the crowd 
only the memory recalls the gathering. 
All  
Peace and justice have need of us 
after the words, the music, and the gathering.
 

God grant you the depth for dedication to justice. 
All  
God grant us the will 
to be apostles of peace. (Adapt.Max Coots) 

Words of Blessing
May you always stand tall as a tree.
Be as strong as the rock Uluru.
As gentle and still as the morning mist.

Hold the warmth of the campfire in your heart.

And may the Creator Spirit
always walk with you
(Elizabeth Pike/grpe)
All  Amen! May it be so!

Hymn (Cont)Love Now Ascending” (Holy, Holy, Holy) Tune: ‘Nicaea’, 1 12 12 10)
Holy, holy, holy, infinite compassion,
Makes a place for every soul in God's eternal reign,
Holy, holy, holy, truth beyond religion,
Love that endures should nothing else remain.

Holy, holy, holy, raise your voice in singing,
Join the cosmic chorus in praise of Love divine,
Holy, holy, holy, God beyond all naming,
Echoes our song in harmony sublime. Jim Burklo
The people sit after the hymn

'This Week' at (NN)
Notices
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Significant events
Journey candles

Music

Fellowship
Morning tea is now served.
You are invited to share in this time of fellowship.


You are invited to keep this copy of the liturgy and take it home with you
to share with another member of your family, or with a friend

I recommend the use of
LicenSing - Copyright cleared music for churches


Some of the Resources used in Shaping this Liturgy:
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa.  Hymns and Songs for all Churches. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 1993.
Duncan, G. (ed). Seeing Christ in Others. An Anthology for Worship, Mediation and Mission. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 1998.
Fox, M.
One River, Many Wells. Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths. New York. Tarcher/Penguin Publishing, 2000.
Holy Bible. NRSV. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
Hun
t, R. A. E. When Progressives Gather Together:Liturgy, Lectionary, Landscape… And Other Explorations. Melbourne: Morning Star Publishing, 2016.
Liebelt, P. & N. Nicholls. (ed).
Gentle Rain on Parched Earth. Worship Resources for Rural Situations. Melbourne. JBCE, 1996.
Seaburg, C. (ed).
The Communion Book. Boston. UUMA, 1993.
(SLT)
Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
Smith, D. E. & H. E. Taussig.
Many Tables. The Eucharist in the New Testament and Liturgy today. Eugene. Wipf & Stock, 1990.
Vosper, G.
With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.
Winter, Miriam T.
Women Prayer. Women Song. Resources for Ritual. Hartford. Meyer Stone Books, 1987.

Web sites/Other:
Milner, Campbell, Haley, Coots. UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Jim Burklo. USA. Musings. <www.jimburklo.com>
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. <http://www.questcentre.ca/
Mary Oliver. “Sun” From various sources...

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