Easter2A.Autumn.23.4.2017

Rev Rex A E Hunt

International eMail:  rexae74@gmail.com
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My books, supporting Progressive religious thought…
When Progressives Gather Together: Liturgy, Lectionary, Landscape… And Other Explorations.
Melbourne: Morning Star Publishing, 2016.
Against the Stream: Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew
Preston: Mosaic Press/Morning Star Publishing, 2012/2013.
Cards, Carols, and Claus. Christmas in Popular Culture and Progressive Christianity
Preston: Mosaic Press/Morning Star Publishing, 2013.
• (Edited with John W. H. Smith).
Why Weren’t We Told? A Handbook on ‘progressive’ Christianity.
Salem: Polebridge Press, 2012.
• (Edited with John W. H. Smith).
New Life: Rediscovering Faith. Stories from Progressive Christians.
Preston: Mosaic Press/Morning Star Publishing, 2013/2014.
• (Edited with Gregory C. Jenks).
Wisdom & Imagination: Religious Progressives and the Search for Meaning.
Melbourne: Morning Star Publishing, 2014.

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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
23 April 2017. Easter 2A.  (Multi-colours)
Service of the Leaves/Autumn

Also, Easter2A HERE and Liturgical 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) 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
As people enter they are given an autumn leaf

Entry into Celebration
The gong is struck three times

Life is a gift for which we are grateful.
We gather in community to celebrate
the glories
and mysteries
of this great gift.  (Marjorie Montgomery/slt)

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life .

Lighting of the Community candle
The Community Candle is lit

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
Great God of All Creation”  (Tune: ‘Aurelia’, 76 76D)
Great God of all creation,
bright as the morning sun,
our dawning praise is rising,
our daily work begun.
A quiet blade is growing,
up from the rich, dark earth,
the life that once was hidden
is springing into birth.

 The land is always changing,
it bears our human mark,
idyllic scenes are hiding
a life that's hard and stark.
A lack of understanding
of all we do and share,
obscures the deprivation
that's hardly hidden there.

 We work within the compass
that nature will allow,
we follow through the seasons,
we harrow, seed or plough.
O holy one of heaven,
as stewards, give us grace,
to care for your creation,
to value country space.  (© Andrew Pratt 2007 <andrewepratt@btinternet.com>)
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
In hope, in longing
All  We're glad to come together.
In trust, in community
All  We're glad to come together.
In many moods, in many shapes and sizes
All  We're glad to come together.
In peace, in joy
All  We're glad to come together.
In solidarity with those who struggle
All  We're glad to come together.
In resistance to those who dominate
All  We're glad to come together.
In memory of Jesus, who lived with compassion
All  We're glad to come together.
In assurance that we belong here
All  We're glad to come together 
this Easter/Autumn season
(Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

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:
Remind us, O Spirit, that life is worth living.
Remind us, O Creator, that the struggle for justice
is worth undertaking.
Remind us, O Mercy, that love and action are one.  (Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

Hymn (Cont) God Gives the Song”  (Tune: ‘Kingsfold’ , 86 86D)    20 TMT
God gives the song which we shall sing
Of peace for everyone
Of quietness amid the noise
And love in place of war
Refrain:
Come share your tears of joy with me.
Dance like the Autumn leaves;
Life is for loving, joy and fun,
God is the lively one.

God gives the song which we shall sing
Of loving for us all
Of fragile dreams and constant care,
Acceptance, warmth and hope.
Refrain:

God gives the song which we shall sing
Of oneness for us all
To bind together all that lives
So all shall know their worth.
Refrain:

OR

We Plough the Fields and Scatter  (Tune: ‘Wir Pflugen’, 76 76D & Refrain)
We plough the fields, and scatter
the good seed on the land,
but it is fed and watered
by nature’s mighty hand;
which sends the snow in winter,
the warmth to swell the grain,
the breezes and the sunshine
and soft refreshing rain.
Refrain:
All good gifts around us
are giv’n by nature’s hand;
then thank the Earth, O thank the Earth
for all its bounty grand.

In Earth we see the goodness
of all things near and far;
the colours of each flower,
the shine of evening star;
the winds and waves refresh us,
the birds are always fed;
and we, Earth’s human creatures,
shall make our daily bread.
Refrain:

We proffer thanks, great nature,
for all things bright and good,
the seed time and the harvest,
our life, our health, our food.
Accept the thanks we utter,
for all that Earth imparts,
and offer to the planet
the homage of our hearts.
Refrain:   (Original words: Matthias Claudius. Revised Jill Harris/el)
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

Meditation
As you entered this space you were handed an autumn leaf.
You are invited to take hold of it and look at it during the Meditation

“Autumn Leaf “

Look at this leaf.
A sign of wonder,
a symbol of creation:
changing shape and colour
with the seasons…

This autumn shall be for me 
the most glorious of them all
for I shall no longer 
struggle possessively to clutch life
but instead like a leaf 
let myself be blown by God’s spirit 
and whenever I touch the earth 
sing the song of the universe
dance in the power of God’s grace
and with tenderness offer myself to all
. (Original: Unknown. Additional: Rex A E Hunt) 

Centering Silence
Breathe deeply… unclench your hands
and let your shoulders and neck relax.

Allow your face muscles to relax and sit comfortable,
for side to side you are connected with those
who wish well for you.
(Silence)

Today is the beginning of the rest of our lives
and the world awaits the emerging wonders
we are and will yet be.
(Silence)

Deep peace to you all.   (Adapted. Rob Kleinheksel/C3Exchange, 2012)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our Religious Tradition
Some readings from our broad religious tradition
shall now be offered.  Our reader are (NN) and (NN).

The World Around us:
“Sacred Season of Autumn”
By Edward Hays. Earth Prayers/314-15

O sacred season of Autumn, be my teacher,
for l wish to learn the virtue of contentment.
As I gaze upon your full-co1oured beauty,
I sense all about you
an at-homeness with your amber riches.

You are the season of retirement,
of fufl barns and harvested fields.
The cycle of growth has ceased,
and the busy work of giving fife
is now completed.
I sense in you no regrets:
you’ve lived a full life.

I live in a society that is ever-restless,
always eager for mere mountains ta climb,
seeking happiness through more and more possessions.
As a child of my culture,
I am seldom truly at peace with what I have.
Teach me to take stock of what I have given and received,
may I know that it’s enough,
that my striving can cease
in the abundance of God’s grace.
May I know the contentment
that allows the totality of my energies
to come to full flower.
May I know that like you I am rich beyond measure.

As you, O Autumn, take pleasure in your great bounty,
let me also take delight
in the abundance of the simple things in life
which are the true source of joy.
With the golden glow of peaceful contentment
may I truly appreciate this autumn day.

Traditional Gospel:
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
A modern paraphrase by William Wallace/hw

There is a time for everything in creation:
a time for light and a time for darkness;
a time for sound and a time for silence;
a time for action and a time for reflection;
a time for work and a time for play;
a time for waking and a time for sleep;
a time for holding on and a time to let go;
a time for death and a time for new beginnings.

There is a time for negotiation
and a time for confrontation
a time for advance and a time for retreat;
a time for laughter and a time for tears;
a time for intimacy and a time for solitude;
a time for others and a time for oneself.

 But all these times are God's time
and now is the time to be aware.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

Autumn Litany   People stand as they are able
(Voice 2 could be a young person)

v1 For cool nights and sunny autumn days,
v2 
for crunchy leaves to walk through
Wn
and crisp red apples to bite into…
All We give thanks.

v1 For trees the colour of flame,
Mn For smoky fires of burning leaves,
v2 for netball practice and football games…
All We give thanks.

v1 For holidays, processions and decorated floats,
v2
for warbling magpies and gentle rain,
Wn
winter knitting, and after winter, spring again…
All We give thanks for all these glorious things.

Sharing ‘The Peace’
We enter as strangers. We leave as friends.

The peace of God is here... to stay.  (Iona)
All Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

CELEBRATING

Hymn   The people stand as they are able, to sing
Colour and Fragrance(Tune: ‘O Barvy Vune’, 55, 55, 11, 11)     78 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.

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.  (Norbert F Capek/Grace Ulp)The people sit

The Offering 
Let us bring our offerings, symbols of our ministry
in this place and beyond.

The Presentation
God of splendour, your goodness sustains us,
and your graciousness gives us hope.
Use us and these gifts to further your way
of love, hope, and justice.  (Francis Macnab/h)

With the Children
Children then gather on the conversation mat

Conversation

The following has been part of a liturgy in Canberra, Australia

Local Autumn Symbols
Two groups of children bring forward the symbols: (i) wool and grass, (ii) apples and soil… then

v1 Where once it was believed
that only certain grains and fruits grew in particular areas,
now we can obtain most grains and fruits and nuts
in all parts of the world.
And they are eaten by all peoples.

Such is the harvest reward of a present-day Autumn.
Over the decades this season has been universally celebrated.

v2 The area around present day Canberra,
especially when pioneers rode across the limestone plains
on horse back in search of grass and water,
became home to two different kinds of harvest.

v3 First was the sheep farm
and the annual harvest of wool and mutton.
Second, especially out Pialligo way and along the Molonglo River,
was the orchard and annual harvest of fruit,
especially the apple.

v1 Wool... reminds us of our past,
when the land was first opened up for cultivation
by country folk.

Apples... remind us of our present,
as city folk pick fruit, cut lawns, weed flower beds
and mulch the leaves - a gift to the earth to make sure of Spring.

v2 Let us then give thanks for the rewards of the season,
by honouring the fruits of the area -
• the Wool and the grasslands…
• the Apple and the richly cultivated soil.
Pieces of cut apple will be distributed throughout the congregation, and eaten at leisure

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:
Creation thrums with Being
and peals the Word - 'I am’.
All We sometimes remember
to whisper the antiphon, 'We are’.
  (VArnold/es)

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.

May all be blessed as the future is embraced.
Blessed as the past is laid down.
And blessed in the present moment
with lively hope and unexpected wonder.  (Adapted. Kate McIlhagga/bb)

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

All Life-Giver, Pain-Bearer, Love-Maker.
Source of all that is and that shall be.

Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echoes through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed
by all peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done
by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and forever. Amen.
  (UIW2)

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
For the Beauty of the Earth(Tune: ‘Dix’, 77 77 77)   21 (v1-2) SLT
For the beauty of the earth,
for the splendour of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies:
Refrain:
Source of all,
to thee we raise this
our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind’s delight,
for the mystic harmony
linking sense to sound and sight:
Refrain:

OR

Praise God for the Harvest”  (Tune: ‘St Denio’, 11 11 11 11)
Praise God for the harvest of orchard and field,
praise God for the people who gather their yield,
the long hours of labour, the skills of a team,
the patience of science, the power of machine.

Praise God for the harvest that comes from afar,
from market and harbour, the sea and the shore:
foods packed and transported, and gathered and grown
by God-given neighbours, unseen and unknown.

Praise God for the harvest that's quarried and mined,
then sifted, and smelted, or shaped and refined:
for oil and for iron, for copper and coal,
praise God, who in love has provided them all.

Parting Words
The God we worship is never confined to this holy place.

So go and travel with the God
who is found in ordinary and surprising places.
The Community Candle is extinguished

v1 If there is any sense to seasons it it this:
That time is timeless and time is life.

v2 Not Spring nor Summer, not even Autumn is gone.
Each will be what it becomes,
as Winter will be Spring.

v3 The seasons play their walk-on parts,
and we can hardly hear the lines,
much less know the plot,
except the final line: “Life abides”.

Words of Blessing
As a kookaburra gently settles on the tree, receive the gift of peace.
As a flame rises with light and warmth, receive the gift of life.
As the wind moves and dances round the earth,
receive the gracious gift of the Spirit.  (Adapted. Dorothy Stewart/wb)
All Amen! May it be so!

Hymn (Cont.)For the Beauty of the Earth(Tune: ‘Dix’, 77 77 77)     21 (v3-4) SLT
For the wonder of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale and tree and flower,
sun and moon and stars of light:
Refrain:
Source of all,
to thee we raise this
our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human care,
sister, brother, parent, child,
for the kinship we all share,
for all gentle thought and mild:
Refrain:  (F S Pierpoint/Adapted)

OR

Praise God for the Harvest”  (Tune: ‘St Denio’, 11 11 11 11)
Praise God for the harvest of science and skill,
the urge to discover, create and fulfil:
for dreams and inventions that promise to gain
a future more hopeful, a world more humane.

Praise God for the harvest of mercy and love
from leaders and peoples who struggle and serve
for patience and kindness, that all may be led
to freedom and justice, and all may be fed.  (Brian Wren)
The people sit after the hymn

'This Week' at (NN)
Notices
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Significant events
Journeys

Recessional 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:
Duncan, G. (ed). 2000. A World of Blessing. Benedictions from every continent and many cultures. Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Duncan, G. (ed). Harvest for the World. A Worship Anthology on Sharing in the Work of Creation. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2002.
Harris, J. (ed). The Ephesus Liturgies. Vol. 1. Eastbourne. Makaro Press, 2015.
Iona Community. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Macnab, F. 1996. Hope: The deeper longings of the mind and heart. Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
Mitchell, R. C. & G. A. Ricciuti. Birthings and Blessings. Liberating worship services for the inclusive church. New York. Crossroads, 1992.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, J. & B. Hesle. Worship in the Spirit of Jesus. Theology, liturgy, and songs without violence. Cleveland. The Pilgrim Press, 2005.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993
Uniting in Worship 2. Sydney. Uniting Church Press, 2005.
(TMT) Wallace, W. L. 2001. The Mystery Telling. Hymns and songs for the new millennium. Kingston. Selah Publishing.


Web sites/Other:
Brain Wren.  “Praise God for the Harvest”, Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site: hymns.uk.com
Some resources from Eileen Ray, Sandringham Uniting Church, 2006.
Andrew Pratt. “Great God…”. Direct from the author.
Rob Kleinheksel. C3Exchange, 2012. “Silence”.
V Arnold. Eureka Street eZine 20, 23. 23/11/10.

rexae74@gmail.com