Easter2A.23.4.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au
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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
23 April 2017. Easter 2A. (White).

Also, Liturgy for Easter2A Autumn HERE and Liturgy Resources for Easter2A Humour HERE


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

With fragments of hope and scraps of courage,
we gather together in this sacred and safe place.

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

For Easter which reminds us that love is our greatest challenge,
we light the flame.

For gathering today in this sacred space,
we light the flame.

For the opportunity to be together as a community,
to remember the past,
to plan for our future,
to be alive in our present…
we light the flame. (David B Sorrells/edited)

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
How Great Is Creation(Tune: ‘St. Denio’, 11 11 11 11)
How great is Creation. In Love it is made;
How glorious the Spirit of Goodness displayed.
The power of its beauty pervading my soul
Refreshes my spirit and I am made whole.

From depths of my being, Creator I praise
The beauty of morning, Your glorious days.
The promise of birth in the spring's gentle sun,
The seasons unfolding, and new life begun.

The Song of Creation is our gift to share,
Our living a tribute to God's loving care.
The Spirit is present in all that we do,
In work and in worship, in Love ever new.  (© GayleSimonson, 2000. All rights reserved)

OR

Imagining Stars(Tune: ‘Stuttgart’. 87 87)   21 SNS2
When, at night, the stars shine on us
Light years from our tiny earth,
Songs and psalms provoke the questions
Of our fragile human worth.

These gigantic specks are burning
Balls of fire, as at play;
Stars in billions share their light and
Thus create a Milky Way.

We still gaze in raw amazement,
Contemplating timeless space;
Numberless, the stars keep stories
Hidden from our human race.

Tiny holes in heaven’s flooring
Letting light beyond shine through;
Stars invite us to imagine
What it is we cannot view.

Myst’ry stride across the canvas
Of the picture we might paint;
Sacredness is grandly present;
Let us praise without restraint.  (George Stuart)
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
As we enter into this sacred place,
put away the pressures of the world that ask us
to perform,
to take up masks,
to put on brave fronts.

Silence the voices that ask you to be perfect.
This is a community of compassion and welcoming.
(EAHewitt/adapted)
All   We bring all that we are and all that we yet can be,
to this safe and holy place.

Act of Awareness
It is good to be alive!
To share life with each other
in this wonder-filled and evolving universe.

We are most grateful.
May wisdom dawn in us
so we may see all things in clarity.

OR

We pray:
Autumn Easter God, may we be empowered
to look to the future with hope:
unafraid of our dreams,
realistic about our limitations,
yet never losing hope in our potential
to live courageously in today and for tomorrow.
May it be so.

HymnFaith Writes the Hymn(Tune: ‘Woodlands’, 10 10 10 10)    10 TEL
Faith writes the hymn that celebrates the world,
tomorrow’s world, more hopeful than today’s;
God sets the key for faith to call the tune,
and make of us the instruments of praise.

Faith uses song to stir us and move one,
to rally and to raise our spirits high,
to whistle up the courage to be changed,
and lift our wings in learning how to fly.

Faith needs a song to heal our deepest pain:
lament and loss would silence us in tears.
God gives us music to anoint the soul,
and speak in ways that only sorrow ears.

Faith writes the hymn that keeps us singing hope,
although we cannot see the sun will shine;
faith sets a lively rhythm to our step,
and draws our hearts to beat with the divine.  (Shirley Erena Murray)

OR

Shake Up The Morning(Tune: ‘Shake Up’)    18 HSNW
Shake up the morning, let the dawn undress,
Let dew reglisten nature’s loveliness;
Waken the songbird and unseal the throat
That greets the daybreak with a crystal note.
Praise to the Lord, whose morning we inherit;
Praise creation’s fuse, the Holy Spirit;
Praise to the Son who rises with the dawn,
Leaving graveclothes scarcely three days worn.

Shake up the world and let the Kingdom come,
The dumb be listened to, the lost find home;
Make earthly politics the stuff of prayer
Till want and warring are dispelled by care.
Praise to the Lord, whose world we inherit;
Praise God’s catalyst, the Holy Spirit;
Praise to the Son whose choice it is to bless
Those who work for peace and live on less.

Shake up the Church and let all Christians show
That faith is real, that God is good to know;
Fashion new symbols of the coming age
When hope and love with take the centre stage.
Praise to the Lord, whose Gospel we inherit;
Praise God’s bird of love, the Holy Spirit;
Praise to the Son whose will and words decree
All are one in his community.

Shake up the evening, let the shadows range
As clouds to castles in the sunset change;
Kindle the moon and stars which through each night
Reflect the glory of tomorrow’s light.
Praise to the Lord, whose evening we inherit;
Praise creation’s presence in the Holy Spirit;
Praise to the Son whose brightness none can kill,
Lighting paths for those who seek his will.   © Iona Community
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.

CENTERING

Silence
We come now into the silence of this place
with gratitude for this day.
(Silence)

May our silence bring to us
a surprising wonder of faith in life,
all of life, howsoever it has come to us.  (Bob Holmes/wm).
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Reading from our Biblical Tradition
A familiar story from our late biblical tradition shall be read by (NN).

Traditional Gospel:
John 20:19-23, 30-31. (Inclusive Text)

In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week,
the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were,
for fear of the people.

Jesus came, stood among them and said to them,
'Peace be with you,’
and showed them his hands and his side.

The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Risen One
who said to them again,
'Peace be with you. As our God sent me, so I am sending you.'

After saying this, Jesus breathed on them and said,
'Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven;
For those whose sins you retain, they are retained...'

Now there are many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw,
but they are not recorded in this book.
These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ,
the one born of God, and that believing this
you may have life through Jesus' name.

Contemporary Exploration
• A Sermon suitable for this day can be found in my book, Against the Stream. Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew.

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany: ‘Thanksgiving’ (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

For the gift of the universe in all its vastness:
All  
For the enormous, for the tiny,
For refreshment, for a challenge,
For gentle beauty, for fierce beauty,
For all the variety of place and season… we give thanks.

For the inheritance in our world, from generations past:
All  
For landscape,
For craft and skill,
For breed and variety in livestock and crops,
For wildlife untamed,
For fertility maintained… we give thanks.

For our existence in this fragile, green planet:
All   For air,
For space,
For moisture,
For food… we give thanks.

For those who represent us all in caring for this planet:
All   For gardeners,
For foresters,
For scientists,
For farmers… we give thanks.

For the breaking of bread,
For the filling of the cup,
For the presence of the sacred in earthly things…
All   We give thanks and praise.  (The Arthur Rank Centre/adapted/hfw)

OR

If celebrating Earth Day:
v1 To bring new life to the land
To restore the waters
To refresh the air
All  
We join with the earth and with each other.

v2 To renew the forests
To care for the plants
To protect the creatures
All   We join with the earth and with each other.

v1 To celebrate the seas
To rejoice in the sunlight
To sing the song of the stars
All  We join with the earth and with each other.

v2 To recall our destiny
To renew our spirits
To reinvigorate our bodies
All  We join with the earth and with each other.

v1 To recreate the human community
To promote justice and peace
To remember our children
v3 We join with the earth and with each other.
All  We join together as many and diverse expressions 
of one loving mystery:
for the healing of the earth 
and the renewal of all life.
    (Adapted/Green Faith/1990. < http://www.greenfaith.org/>)
(Silence) 

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

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

CELEBRATING

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
Take Off Your Shoes”  (Tune: ’Take Off Your Shoes’, J. K. Manley)              651 TiS
Refrain:
Take, take off your shoes,
you're standing on holy ground;
take, take off your shoes,
you're standing on holy ground.
Well, the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof
from the waters beneath to the heav’ens above,
so take, take, take off your shoes,
you're standing on my holy ground,
you’re standing on my holy ground.

On the eighth day of creation, well, the Lord looked around
at the power stations, freeways and the junk on the ground,
the factories with their waste-dumps and their chimneys so high,
you couldn't see the sun for all the smog in the sky.
Well, kids, you really filled the earth and then you subdued it,
but there's nothing in my book that says you've got to pollute it.
So,
Take, take off your shoes...

You've heated up my rivers with industrial mills,
you're killing off my oceans with your wastes and your spills,
you're fishing like there'll always be an endless supply,
and fighting one another for what's left to divide.
You didn't want advice when I first gave you dominion,
but maybe now it's time to get a second opinion.
So,
Take, take off your shoes...

Your scientific minds - make sure you use them with care:
you're breaking down my ozone layer up in the air,
your fertilizer's turning mighty rivers bright green.
some folks are getting fatter while so many grow lean.
I told you to be fruitful and you sure multiplied,
but the rich took all the land and never learned to divide.
So,
Take, take off your shoes   (James K Manlev 1940). (A version for Australia)

Offerings
Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,
shall now be received.

Presentation
As the many threads are made one in the cloth,
as the many grains are made one in the bread,
as the many grapes are made one in the wine,
so we who are many are made one
when we gather at this table.  (Nicola Slee/bb)

AFFIRMING

With the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat

Conversation:

"Somewhere someone:”
The kingdom of love is coming because:
All   somewhere someone is kind when others are unkind,
somewhere someone shares with another in need,
somewhere someone refuses to hate, while others hate,
somewhere someone is patient - and waits in love,
somewhere someone returns good for evil,
somewhere someone serves another, in love,
somewhere someone is calm in a storm,
somewhere someone is loving everybody.
Is that someone you? (jke)

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

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
We turn to Life, to that vast creativity
All  
that empowers the universe
as the ocean animates the wave,
seeking to let go of that which blocks our healing.
All   May we open ourselves even now
to the wonder of Life.

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 Abba/Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as that is appropriate

All   Most compassionate Life-giver,
may we honour and praise you:
may we work with you to establish
your new order of
justice, peace and love.

Give us what we need for growth,
and help us, through forgiving others,
to accept forgiveness.

Strengthen us in the time of testing,
that we may resist all evil.
For all the tenderness,
strength and love are yours, now and forever.
Amen.  (William L. Wallace)

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
Wild Waves of Storm(Tune: ‘Wild Waves’, 4 10 10 10 4)   80 (v1-3) SLT
Wild waves of storm,
the wonder of the wind and crashing sea,
nature in power and might and majesty,
yet wonder more in deep tranquillity,
sea, calm and still.

Migrating birds,
in flocks intent upon far distant shore
great wonder hold; yet there is wonder more
when lonely eagle, watchful on a post,
sits, calm and still.

All people one
in urgent haste, on some great enterprise,
hearts beating fast, great dreams to realize,
yet in the soul a dream of richer prize,
serene and still.
Remain standing

OR

Thank God for Bursting Life!”                        37 (v1-2) PaT
(Tune: ‘Vruechten’, J. Oudaen’s David’s Psalmen, 1685)
Thank God for bursting life,
for greening leaf, for sign of Spring’s sowing!
The Easter sunrise brings
the light that can illumine all our knowing!
What crucifixion failed to kill, is well alive this Day:
a peace-determined Way,
God’s realm of hope and promise,
of peace lived in promise,
as Jesus lived this promise.

Thank God for courage raised
to roll away the stones of dead traditions,
to crack the codes of death,
to give the fearful powers no free permission!
What crucifixion failed to kill, is well alive this Day:
a fairer, kinder Way,
a signatory to justice,
commitment to justice,
as  Jesus lives this justice.
Remain standing

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

Now may our wisdom show itself
in deeds of compassion and in acts of understanding.
All  
May the fruits of the spirit
be apparent in our lives.  (Adapted/Philip R Giles)

Words of Blessing
May our lives be blest according to the depth of our love,
the persistence of our faith,
our willingness to forgive and be compassionate,
and in proportion to our yearning to be free.  (Paul H Beattie)
All   Amen! May it be so!

Hymn (Cont)Wild Waves of Storm(Tune: ‘Wild Waves’, 4 10 10 10 4)   80 (v4) SLT
Then striving cease:
from troubled turmoil seek an inward goal;
tranquillity shall make the spirit whole.
Be still, and know a Presence in the soul,
serene, alive.  (Sydney H Knight/adapt)

OR

Hymn (Cont).Thank God for Bursting Life!”                           37 (v3-4) PaT
(Tune: ‘Vruechten’, J. Oudaen’s David’s Psalmen, 1685)
Thank God for feisty souls
who let no weight of history deter them!
Who liberate the faith
who let the Easter air revive and stir them!
What crucifixion failed to kill, is well alive this Day:
non-violent, this Way,
a charter for compassion,
the power of compassion,
as Jesus lived compassion.

Thank God for fresh-baked bread,
the loaf we share, the yeasty fragrance rising,
the bubbling up of hope,
the wine outpoured in joy of God’s devising!
What crucifixion failed to kill, is well alive this Day:
the Gospel-driven Way;
the human spirit’s freedom,
the risen life’s freedom,
as Jesus lived this freedom.  (Shirley Erena Murray)
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:
Bell, J. & G. Maule. Heaven Shall Not Wait. Wild Goose Songs Vol. 1. Revised edition. Wild Goose Publications, 1989.
Binkley, C. G. & J. M. McKeel. Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An International Curriculum on the Life and Teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press, 2001.
Burgess, R. A. 
Book of Blessings. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Duncan, G. (ed).
Harvest for the World. A Worship Anthology on Sharing in the Work of Creation. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2003.
Holmes, R. H.
The Bob Holmes Worship Materials. Vol 1. Little Falls. Self published, 1972.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2004.
(PaT) Murray, S. E.
A Place at the Table. New Hymns written between 2009 and 2013. Carol Stream: Hope Publishing, 2013.
(TEL) Murray, S. E. 2008.
Touch the Earth Lightly. New Hymns written between 2003 & 2008. Carol Stream. Hope Publishing.
(SLT)
Singing The Living Tradition. Boston: UUA, 1993.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. 2009.
Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 2. NSW: Toronto. G Stuart.
(TiS) Together in Song. Australian Hymn Book 2. NSW: Sydney. HarperCollins Religious, 1999. Copyright enquiries: "http://www.togetherinsong.org/"http://www.togetherinsong.org/.

Web sites/Other:
Sorrells, Hewitt, Giles, Beattie. UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
“How Great is Creation”, Gayle Simonson. One of several non-theistic resources found at: "http://stephen.srv.ualberta.ca/publications/non-theistic-liturgy-resources/
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy.  http://www.questcentre.ca/

rexae74@gmail.com