Easter6A.21.5.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
21 May 2017. Easter 6A. (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

Discovered in daily life
divine background print
opening eyes
opening minds
opening hearts
inviting the journey deeper
into life...

Gentle still point
Silent place of knowing...
  (John Hebenton)

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

For every time we make a mistake
and we decide to start again: we light this flame.

For every time we are lonely
and we let someone be our friend: we light this flame.

For every time we are disappointed
and we choose to hope: we light this flame.
  M M Killoran

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
O God, Beyond our Knowledge(Tune: ‘Chilton Foliat’, 10 10 10 10)      71 HoS
O God, beyond our knowledge, time and space,
and yet within each person in this place;
we sing with grateful thanks and heartfelt praise
your love that warms and colours all our days.

Around us living things your wonder show;
the birds above, each tree and flower below
of ev’ry colour, fragrance, texture, size,
unveil your lavish love to marv’ling eyes.

You feel our deepest sorrow, fears and needs,
transform compassion to creative deeds;
you gently crumble long held rigid creeds;
replace with unimagined lively seeds.

You come in thunder, silence, ice and flame;
enrich the poor, make dancers of the lame;
in vain we try to keep you neatly filed;
ruler of realms, yet helpless human child.

We cannot comprehend what you have planned
but trust your wisdom and your gen’rous hand;
may we, with awe and joy, use what you give
that ev’rything is earth may truly live.  (Lois Henderson)

OR

Shine Through Us, Light of Love  (Tune: ‘Casswell’)       22C OHV
Shine through us, light of love, on all creation,
Warming hearts grown frozen and mending grieving souls.

Shine through us, light of grace, on those despairing,
Helping wounded spirits to walk the rev’rence way.

Shine through us, light of peace, on all hearts yearning,
Stirring songs forgotten in quest of truth, our goal.

Shine through us, light of hope, on shaded vision,
casting brightness forward revealing streams of sight.  (John Oldham and Christopher New)
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
Let us gather in celebration and prayer.
All It is good to be here.

Let us also pay deep attention to the world around us:
All we are present with our eyes,
…to hear the sounds of creation
All we are present with our ears,
…to feel the pain of our fellow people
All we are present with our hearts,
…to smell the banquet of abundant life
All we are present with our lives.  (Adapted/Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

OR

As we gather in this sacred place
let us open our minds to the challenge of reason,
our hearts open to the healing of love,
our lives open to the calling of conscience,
and our souls open to the comfort of joy.
All  
Astonished by the miracle of life,
grateful for the gift of fellowship,
and confident in the power of a living faith,
we celebrate this time together.
  LBates/adapted

Act of Awareness
We give thanks for the opportunity we have
to gather and celebrate this day.

May we be surrounded
with a very real sense of the presentness
of the Source and Sustainer of all that Exists
as we spend this time together.

May a spirit of wisdom inspire and challenge us.

OR

We pray:
As this season of Easter draws to a close
may we continue to be created, sustained and energised,
for the journey the future holds.
May it be so.

Hymn Of the Mulitude of Words”  (Tune:  ‘Vienna’, 77 77)    16 TMT
Of the multitude of words
held within the Bible's wall,
some bring life and some spread death,
some can liberate us all.

Should our use of sacred words
put all other views to flight?
Does our inner certainty
justify abuse of might?

Are our ways of using strength
open for the world to see?
Do they hide behind the texts
masking our transparency?

Loving God, the source of truth,
help us clearly to discern
what brings death and what brings life,
life for which our spirits yearn.

Then O God of spirit life,
we shall live with openness,
giving all the right to be
their true selves with graciousness.  (William L. Wallace)

OR

"Now Light Is Less (Tune: Sursum Corda, 10 10 10 10)    54 SLT
Now light is less; noon skies are wide and deep;
the ravages of wind and rain are healed.
The haze of harvest drifts along the field
until clear eyes put on the look of sleep.

The garden spider weaves a silken pear
to keep inclement weather from its young.
Straight from the oak, the gossamer is hung.
At dusk our slow breath thickens on the air.

Lost hues of birds the trees take as their own.
Long since, bronze wheat was gathered into sheaves.
The walker trudges ankle deep in leaves;
the feather of the milk-weed fluters down.

The shoots of spring have mellowed with the year.
Buds, long unsealed, obscure the narrow lane.
The blood slows trance-like in the altered vein;
our vernal wisdom moves through ripe to sere.  (Theodore Roethke)
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

Meditation
“Prayer as Invitation”
By Earl Holt

The moment of prayer is an invitation to be calm
in the midst of the tumult of the world and our over busy lives…

To bring together thought and feeling,
mind and spirit,
and to find some center, some still point,
of perspective and peace.

Here in this sacred place which has been home
for so many secret thoughts and hopes, fears and desires,
may we feel free to look at ourselves honestly.

May we be unafraid to face
the decisions we have been trying to avoid,
the doubts and questions it has been easy to ignore,
the things we have tried to keep hidden not only from others
but even from ourselves.

May we come to discover that there are resources
within ourselves and beyond us…
New dimensions of the spirit…

May we be emboldened by these discoveries
to reach out to others in their need
and so finally to discover that to give
is not only more blessed than to receive,
but that to give to others
is to receive what we most need for ourselves.

Silence
So come apart from the busyness of family and work,
and dwell in the presentness of God
who is our source of being.
(Silence)

May the silence which we now share
quieten us, touch our need,
refresh our courage,
enlarge our wonder.
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Some stories from our broad religious tradition shall now be read.
Our reader is (NN).

Extra/New Gospel:
Gospel of Philip 79 and 67.
(Selected verses)  (Scholars version)

God's farming... has four elements:
faith, hope, love and knowledge.

Faith is our earth, that in which we take root.
Hope is the water through which we are nourished.
Love is the wind through which we grow.
Knowledge is the light through which we ripen...

Truth did not come into the world naked,
but it came in types and images.

One will not receive truth in any other way.

Traditional Gospel:
John 14:15-21. 
(Inclusive Text)

Jesus said to the disciples:
'If you love me you will keep
my commandments.

'I shall ask the One who sent me, 
who will give you another Advocate
 to be with you for ever,
that Spirit of truth whom the world can never receive
since it neither sees nor knows this Spirit;
but you know the Spirit,
because the Spirit is with you and dwells within
you.

'I will not leave you orphans; I will come back to you.

'In a short while the world will no longer see me;
but you will see me, because I live and you will live.

'On that day you will understand that I am in God
and you in me and I in you.

'They who receive my commandments and keep them
are the ones who love me; and they who love me
will be loved by God who sent me,
and I shall love them and show myself to them.'

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

An Affirmation of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on let us stand
and share together an affirmation of faith.
The people stand as they are able

We believe that horizons of hope are never fixed.
All  They always move beyond, in the creativity of God.

We believe that powers of evil can not kill God.
All  God walks on free and leaps ahead of us in the risen Christ.

We believe that the Spirit can never be confined.
All  She dances forth in the world
and is found in surprising places,
leading us on until the end of time.
  (Adapted/ Dorothy McRae-McMahon/bst)

Sharing 'The Peace'
God makes peace within us.  Let us claim it.
God makes peace between us.  Let us share it
(nwi).

Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace.
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 People stand as they are able, to sing
As The Wind Song(Tune: ‘Wairua Tapu’ – Holy Spirit)     7 HoS
As the wind song through the trees,
as the stirring of the breeze,
so it is with the Spirit of God,
as the heart made strangely warm,
as the voice within the storm,
so it is with the Spirit of God.

Never seen, ever known
where this wind has blown
bringing life, bringing power to the world,
as the dancing tongues of fire,
as the soul’s most deep desire,
so it with the Spirit of God.

As the rainbow after rain,
as the hope that’s born again,
so it is with the Spirit of God,
as the green in the spring,
as a kite on a string,
so it it is with the Spirit of God,

making worlds that are new,
making peace come true,
bringing gifts, bringing love to the world,
as the rising of the yeast,
 as the wine at the feast,
 so it is with the Spirit of God.  
(Shirley Erena Murray)

OR

Paths to the Sacred – The Canberra Affirmation(Tune: ‘Ewing’, 76 76D)      30 SNS2
We recognize the' sacred' is sought in many ways,
With diff’rent paths to travel, with diff’rent passageways;
Midst serious disagreement we still respect, with grace,
Diversity of truth-claims; for each can have its place.

We honour diff’rent meanings and much integrity
Surrounding each tradition in this diversity;
We also honour people with righteous piety
Who practise their faith-teachings with poise and dignity.

Attempts to convert others to sets of fixed belief
Is not part of our program, sustained or even brief;
For we reject the process if it is not their choice
In open explorations through which they have their voice.  (George Stuart)

Offerings
Let us now gather our offerings that we and others
can be empowered for ministry in this place and beyond
.

Presentation
We are called to make real
the sharing of the gifts God has given to us.

We offer what we have for the good of all.

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:
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 God 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  Dear One,
closer to us than our own hearts,
farther from us than the most distant star,
you are beyond naming.

May your powerful presence become obvious
not only in the undeniable glory of the sky,
but also in the seemingly base
and common processes of the earth.

Give us what we need, day by day,
to keep body and soul together, because
clever as you have made us,
we still owe our existence to you.

We recognize that to be reconciled with you,
we must live peaceably and justly with other human beings,
putting hate and bitterness behind us.

We are torn between our faith in your goodness
and our awareness of the evil in your creation,
so deliver us from the temptation to despair.

Yours alone is the universe and all its majesty and beauty.
So it is.  Amen. 
(Jim Burklo, 2010)

SCATTERING

Hymn  The people stand, as they are able, to sing
Easter3”  (Tune: ‘Fulda’, 88,88 LM)
Was it the shaking ground that moved
the stone, that freed the resting Word,
that called the Christ to life again:
God's Spirit, breathing, moved and stirred?

Whatever cause, we may not know,
but Mary heard a calming voice,
that turned her life around again,
that gave her reason to rejoice.

OR

The Silent Stars…(Tune: ‘Surrey’, 88 88 88)   7(v1-2) RP
The silent stars, the turning globe,
the rivers rushing to the sea;
the certain rising of the sun,
all witness to God's sovereignty;
yet human values shift and drift.
God's wisdom is the greater gift.

Our human toil is wearisome,
while those who die are lost to mind.
Our great endeavours turn to dust,
there's nothing new for us to find.
We chase for rainbows through the rain
and own a deeper loss than gain.
Remain standing

Parting Words
Let us embrace the wonder of this week
with expectation and imagination...
The Community Candle is extinguished

There is hope!
Our God is a God of life,
and the power of the God’s Spirit permeates all creation.
All  To live according to the Spirit
is to acknowledge its presentness in all creation.

Words of Blessing
May the blessings of the Holy One be upon us and upon this congregation.
May the memories we gathered here give us hope for the future.
May the love we have shared bring strength and joy to our hearts,
and the peace of this community be with us
until we meet again. 
Gary Kowalski/adapted
All
Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont) Easter 3”  (Tune: ‘Fulda’, 88,88 LM)
The world still spinning, recollects
that God survived all human scorn;
that lives were changed for ever more
in meeting love alive, re-born.

This is the Voice that turns us round,
that calmly offers grace to cope;
that gives us strength to live again,
that gives us cause to sing our hope.  © Andrew Pratt 1/4/2011

OR

The Silent Stars…(Tune: ‘Surrey’, 88 88 88)   7(v3) RP
Then what remains for us to do,
what satisfying task or scheme
will fill this endless stream of days,
will help us sound a greater theme?
God give us wisdom, knowledge, joy.
Plant hope that nothing can destroy.  Andrew Pratt
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 the moment 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. 2001.  Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An international curriculum on the life and teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press.
Butcher, J. B. (2002). 
An Uncommon Lectionary. A companion to common lectionaries. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press.
(HoS) Hope is our Song. New hymns and songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. 2009. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Inclusive Readings. Year A.
2004
.Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. 2001. 
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
McRae-McMahon, D. 1996. 
The Glory of Blood, Sweat and Tears. Liturgies for living and dying. Melbourne. JBCE.
New, C. Our Highest Values: A Collection of Songs for an Expansive Spirituality. Edmonton. Southminster-Steinhauer United Church, 2015.  (chris@smsuc.com)
(RP) Pratt, A. Reclaiming Praise. Hymns from a Spiritual Journey. London: Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2006. 
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. 1993. Boston. UUA.
The St Hilda Community. 1996. The New Women Included. A book of services and prayers. London.  SPCK.
Vosper, G. 2008. With or Without God. Why the way we live is more important that what we believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
(TMT) Wallace, W. L. The Mystery Telling. Hymns and Songs for the New Millennium. Kingston. Selah Publishing, 2001.

Web sites/Other:
Hebenton, Killoran, Bates, Holt, Kowalski. UUA Worship Web. Boston. < http://www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Andrew Pratt. "Easter 3". Hymnsandwords blog site.
Jim Burklo. <http://www.jimburklo.com/>

rexae74@gmail.com