Easter3A.30.4.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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GATHERING FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
30 April 2017   Easter 3A  (White)


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

What life have we, if we have not life together?
There is no life not lived in community,
and no community not lived
in celebration and praise!  (CAHowe)

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

We light this candle to celebrate
the inherent worth and dignity of every person
and to share that love which is ultimately
beyond even our cherished reason,
that love which unites us.  (Adapted/SStock)

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 People stand as they are able, to sing
In The Midst Of All Our Living”  (Tune: ‘Nettleton’, 87 87D)     2 SiF
In the midst of every blessing
may my heart be filled with grace.
Streams of goodness, ever flowing
call for songs of highest praise.
May my words be filled with gratitude;
may my glad heart humble be.
As a holder of a blessing
May I share it gratefully.

In the midst of every trial
may my heart be filled with grace.
Streams of comfort, ever flowing
call for songs of highest praise.
May I find the strength within me;
may I sense it everywhere.
As I face what must be handled
may I find truth I can share.

In the midst of all our living
may our hearts be filled with grace.
Streams of goodness ever flowing
call for songs of highest praise.
May we seek and find encouragement;
may our choices worthy be.
As we journey on together,
may we know integrity. 
(Words © Scott Kearns 2008, inspired by those of Robert Robinson, 1758)
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
Let us reverence Life with our eyes, ears and fingertips.
All  Let us love the world through heart and mind and body.

We feed our eyes upon the mystery in the faces
of our sisters and brothers and sisters,
of mothers and fathers, and children everywhere.
All  Let us be open to our full and emerging humanity. 

We gather, not in bowing down, not with closed eyes
and stopped ears, but with the opening
of all windows of our beings,
with the full outstretching of our spirits.
All  Let us gather in meditation and singing, as those
who have fallen in love with life.
  (Adapted.Kenneth L Patton/sscl)

Act of Awareness
We are born to make manifest
the glory of the Sacred that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.  (Adapt.Marianne Williamson/ep)

OR

Let us pray:
Calling God,
you have gathered us into this community.
A place has been made for each of us.

Let what we say and do here
be real for us and honest to your creativity,
and prepare us for the life of the world.
May it be so.

Hymn   Easter5 (Tune: ‘Dijon’, 87 87)
In our end is our beginning,
cosmic riddle of our birth,
why the Alpha and Omega
came in flesh and came to birth.

Death will no more signal ending,
love survives beyond this life,
not diminished or extinguished
by our common human strife.

When the tears of life have ended,
when the rivers all run dry,
love exists, will flow forever
on beyond each dying sigh.

Jesus, Alpha and Omega,
Word before all worlds began,
ground of confident existence,
infinite beyond life’s span.  (© Andrew Pratt 25/3/2013)

OR

Beautiful Presence(Tune: ‘Beautiful Presence’)   9 HoS
Beautiful presence, how can we name you?
Words are too small for the one who is all.
How can we speak of your gentleness in us,
the warmth of our hearts in response to your call?
Refrain:
Beautiful presence, ocean of love,
strong as forever, soft as a dove.
Words often fail us, but this we know true,
you live within us as we live in you.

There have been times of spiritual blindness,
when error and pain have distorted our sight.
Beautiful presence, you were there with us,
to show us how darkness can turn into light.
Refrain:

Nothing that happens to us will be wasted,
all of our living is grounded in grace.
Gently you take down the walls of division,
leading us on to a larger place.  (Joy Cowley)
Refrain:
People sit after the hymn/song

Welcome  In your own words
A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are here 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

Centering Silence
May we give thanks for all the silences in our lives…
(Silence)

Meditation
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.  (“Praying” by Mary Oliver)

Music of Reflection/Celebration

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Two readings from our broad religious tradition shall now be read.
Our readers are (NN) and (NN).

Reader:   May we open ourselves to the seeds of wisdom
that lies dormant in these readings.
All  And may our minds be fertile soil
in which it/they may grow strong and true.
  (Gretta Vosper/ab)

From the World Around us:
“Those Long Ago Winter Mornings on the Farm”
By Curtis Forsythe (2017)  www.poetrysoup.com

I cherish memories of those long ago mornings,
awakening in an unheated attic room to mingled aromas-
sweet hickory smoke escaping the old wood cook stove,
bacon frying, coffee perking, and biscuits baking.

Outside, a stark landscape in black and white,
whipped by howling wind, that seeking entry,
would expend itself against frosted windowpanes.
Delicate feathers of frost, created by my exhalations
that would spread like smoke throughout the room.

Inside, embraced by a feather mattress, oblivious
to the cold wind and impending morning chores,  
I would for a few nefariously delicious moments
again drift away in blissful warmth-
those long ago winter mornings on the farm.

Traditional Gospel:
Luke 24:13-24, 28-35.  (Inclusive Text, adapted)

Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way
to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem,
and they were talking together about all that had happened.

Now as they talked this over, Jesus came up and walked by their side,
but something prevented them from recognizing him.
Jesus said to them,
'What matters are you discussing as you walk along?'

They stoped short, their faces downcast.
Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered,
'You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem
who does not know the things that have been happening therethese last few days?'

'What things?' Jesus asked.
'All about Jesus of Nazareth', they answered,
'who proved to be a great prophet by the things he said and did
in the sight of God and of the whole people.

'And how our chief priests and our leaders
handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified.
Our own hope had been that this Jesus
would be the one to set Israel free.

'And this is not all; two whole days have gone by
since it all happened, and some women from our group have astounded us:
they went to the tomb in the early morning,
and when they did not find the body there,
they came to tell us they had seen a vision of angels
who declared Jesus was alive.

'Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported,
but of Jesus they saw nothing...'

When they drew near to the village to which they were going,
Jesus made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them.
'It is nearly evening,' they said, 'and the day is almost over.'

So Jesus went in to stay with them.

Now while Jesus was with them at the table,
he took the bread and said the blessing;
then broke it and handed it to them.

And their eyes were opened and they recognised Jesus;
but he had vanished from their sight.

They said to each other,
'Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road...

They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem…
'It is true. The Christ has risen and has appeared to Simon!'

Then they told their story of what had happened on the road
and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of the bread.

Doxology   The people remain seated to sing
Praise God the giver and the gift,  (Tune 100 TiS)
Hearts, minds and voices now uplift:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Breath of glad surprise,
freeing, uplifting, opening eyes,
Three in Oneness, Love communing,
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!  (Brian Wren)

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Celebration/Affirmation of Faith (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

We worship and adore God,
All  source, essence, and aim of all things,
spirit that enlivens all beings.

We follow the way of Jesus, who found God in himself
and shared a way for others to find God in themselves.
All  He was born through love,
He lived for love,
He suffered for love,
He died for love,
But love never dies.

We submit ourselves to the leadings of the love that is God,
All  that we may be compassionate to all beings,
that we may live and serve in community with others,
that we may ask for and offer forgiveness,
that we may praise and enjoy God forever.
  (Jim Burklo/b&b)

Sharing ‘The Peace’
Let us take a moment 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
Love is a Verb”  (Music: www.williamflandersmusic.com/)
Don’t count on love to come flying in your window.
Don’t count on love to mysteriously appear,
Born from above as an answer to your troubles,
Filling your heart with intentions most sincere.
Refrain:
Love isn’t there, some possession bought or found.
Love is no thing, nothing good to have around.
Yet people, at times, can be loving in their actions.
Love is a verb, not a noun.

Love as a noun may be kind and may be patient,
But love as a noun always tends to be unreal.
When love becomes loving, then real things start to happen,
And love is received as a fact, not an ideal.
Refrain:

Not boastful nor rude, never selfish, slow to anger,
Is love the abstraction, a virtue some would praise.
But living here and now calls for down to earth expression,
And love can’t expect to be approved in all its ways.  (William Flanders)
Refrain:
People sit

OR

If in Northern Hemisphere
Silent Spring Song(Tune: ‘Huia’)      36 TEL
Now is the time for a reckoning,
now all is flowering and flourishing,
God, help your children
mindfully listen:
soon there may just be a silent spring.

Silent the voices in bush and tree,
silent the creatures of air and sea,
God, help your children
mindfully listen:
ours are the hands that took earth for free.

We are the root of the earth’s unease,
we are the pirates who dredge the seas,
God, help your children
mindfully listen:
ours is the creed doing as we please.

We are bounty of all you give,
we are the sorrow that makes you grieve,
God, help your children
mindfully listen:
mindfully choose how the world will live!  (Shirley Erena Murray)
People sit

CELEBRATING

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

Presentation
By our smallest actions, we become part of a bigger world.
The smallest giving can be an expression
of the good spirit of generosity and caring.

May we carry through the doorway of each new day
this good spirit of generosity and caring. (Francis Macnab/h)

Conversation 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 Concerns shared.

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
Let each of us find a window
All  To see beyond our own enclosures.
Let each of us find a door
All  To open ourselves into new being.  (Adapted. Kenneth L Patton/sscl)

And so we take this 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 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 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
Come Let Us Think Like Mountain Rocks(Tune: ‘O Waly Waly’)
Come, let us think like mountain rocks,
Come breathe the song of scented breeze;
Come join the atoms’ quantum dance,
Come weep with all the fallen trees.

O let us pulse like surging waves,
Or flow as clear and running streams,
Explore the throbbing heart of Earth
And dream the plants’ and creatures’ dreams.

When liveliness evades our grasp,
When love grows weak and fears grow strong,
We still can feel the pulse of breath
And join once more in Nature’s song.
Remain standing

Parting Words
As we leave this place of gathering and celebration:
may we remember that each day
offers more things than we can do.
All  May we do what needs to be done, 
postpone what does not, 
and be at peace with what we can be and do.
 
The Community Candle is extinguished

Therefore, may we learn to separate
that which matters most
All  and that which matters least of all. 

Words of Blessing
Fall in love with living
Wrestling with the chaos and the pain
Within ourself and within the world.

Join the celebration of life,
Dancing with the angels and the clowns.

And may the God of peace and joy,
Who is continually making all things new,
Embrace you
As a partner
In the divine creating.  (Joyce Boyce-Tillman/wb)
All   Amen! May it be so!

Hymn (Cont).  “Come Let Us Think Like Mountain Rocks(Tune: ‘O Waly Waly’)
With joyful zest we raise God’s psalm,
The muse of past and present now,
The chant of fire that births new life,
The song of soil and root and bough.

Life’s many forms unite as one;
This earth is filled with sacredness,
All praise exalts the Cosmic God
Who dwells in mystic holiness.  (William L Wallace)
The people sit

'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:
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, 2002.
Burklo, J. Birdlike and Barnless: Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians. Saint Johann Press, 2008.
Duncan, G. (ed). A World of Blessing. Benedictions From Every Continent and Many Cultures. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2000.
(HoS) Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North: New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. 2004. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
(SiF) Kearns, S. (ed). Sing it Forward. Traditional Hymns Recast and Rewritten for Non-Exclusive Communities. In circulation from the author, 2009.
Macnab, F.  Hope: The Deeper Longings of the Mind and Heart. Richmond: Spectrum Publications, 1996.
(TEL) Murray, S. E. Touch the Earth Lightly. New Hymns written between 2003 & 2008. Carol Stream: Hope Publishing, 2008.
Patton, K. Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. Boston. Beacon Press, 1967.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon. Earth Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth. New York. HarperCollins, 1991.
Vosper, G. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.

Web sites/Other:
Howe, Stock, UUA Worship Web. Boston. UUA. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
William Flanders. “Love is a Verb” (www.williamflandersmusic.com/)
“Come Let us Think…” Wallace, W. L. One of several Worship Resources available from ProgressiveChristianity.Org  < https://progressivechristianity.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/0.-CELEBRATING-MYSTERY-Index-with-Links-New.pdf>
“Easter5”.  Andrew Pratt. Direct from the author.
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/
Brian Wren. “Doxology”. Stainer & Bell Ltd. hymns.uk.com

rexae74@gmail.com