Creation2A.Pent14A.10.9.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
10 September 2017. Pentecost 14A. Creation 2A. (Green).
Land Sunday

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  (Sung, Solo Voice)
Be Still… (Tune: ‘Be Still and Know That I Am God’)
Be still and feel the presence of God,
the presence pulsing, pulsing through Earth, 
be still and feel the pulse of God.
(Silence)

Be still and hear the Spirit of God,
the Spirit breathing, breathing through Earth,
be still and hear the breath of God.
(Silence)

Be still, behold the glory of God,
the glory filling, filling this Earth,
be still, behold the face of God.  (Norman C Habel)
(The gong is sounded three times)

The God of the land be with.
All   And also with you.

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit in silence

v2 Fountain of life...
Pulse of life...
Breath of life...
All Earth is filled with the presentness of God.

v1 A planet filled with the presentness of God
All quivering in the forests,
vibrating in the land,
pulsating in the wilderness,
shimmering in the rivers.

v2 Together this day, let us sense
the face of God in all creation. (Adapted. Norman Habel/soc)

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"O Brother Sun" (Tune: Ye banks & braes, 88 88D)    1066 STJ
O Brother Sun, you bring us light,
all shining 'round in fiery might.
O Sister Moon, you heal and bless,
your beauty shines in tenderness.

O Brother Wind, you sweep the hills,
your mighty breath both freshens and fills.
O Sister Water, you cleanse and flow
through rivers and streams, in ice and snow.

O Brother Fire, you warm our night,
with all your dancing coloured light.
O Sister Earth, you feed all things,
all birds, all creatures, all scales and wings.

O Sister Death, you meet us here
and take us to our God so near.
O God of Life, we give you praise
for all your creatures, for all your ways.
Remain standing after the hymn                      (Adpat.St Francis of Assisi by Sharon Anway)

Opening Sentences
We invite the country to worship with us:
All
wild flowers and mysterious mushrooms,
swirling grasses and golden wattle.

We invite the farmlands to sing with us:
All
wheat fields, orchards and vineyards,
red gums, gardens and wetlands.

We join with all the fauna in praising God:
All kangaroos, emus and bandicoots,
echidnas, eagles and magpies
.
We invite the ground to stir deep below:
All
life-giving microbes restoring the soil,
beetles and worms preparing our food.

We celebrate the song of the soil!
All Sing, soil, sing! 
(Adapted. Norman Habel/soc)

Act of Awareness
It's time for us.
This time is for us.
We step inside the sacred circle.

Here, with courage, we see our lives as part of
the continually astonishing mystery of life.

Here, with reflection, we know our lives
are always lived connected with other people,
wider communities, the eternal humanity.

Here, with faith, we reach beyond ourselves,
to find that good spirit that strengthens our spirit;
to hear that word that changes us;
and to come closer to the sacred...

This time is for us. (Adapted. Francis Macnab.h)

OR

We pray:
Creating God, we celebrate your vibrant presence
among us and our kin in creation,
especially in the soil,
the paddocks and the land.

May our spirits be lifted to rejoice with the land,
the wild flowers, and
all the creatures of the countryside.
May it be so.

Hymn  “Dancing with God” (Tune: ‘To God be the Glory’) 23 SNS2
Our energy level is high when we start;
We quickly discover the dance in our heart;
For God is within and between and beyond;
With movement and rhythm we love to respond.
Come and try; don’t be shy;
We are given the chance
To be free; and with glee
To be part of the dance;
The rhythm of life has a wonderful beat;
God’s life is indwelling and deems all complete.

Some steps are familiar but some are quite new;
Some easy to learn and some harder to do;
Life’s beat is amazing; we truly are blest;
With God as our partner we dance at our best.
Come and try; don’t be shy;
We are given the chance
To be free; Come! Agree
To be part of the dance;
The rhythm of life is a rhythm so strong;
In God we keep dancing; in God we belong.

Sometime we’re exhausted, our eagerness gone;
We wish to slow down but the dance hastens on;
With God dwelling in us we dance the last mile;
In God we can finish and do it in style.
Come and try; don’t be shy;
We are given the chance
To be free; constantly
To be part of the dance;
This rhythm of life in the depths of our soul
Is God’s gracious gift; it declares we are whole. (George Stuart)

OR

God Who Carved... Landscape”  (Tune: ‘Dansey’).     31 FFS
God who carved this timeless landscape,
snow-clad ridge to valley plain,
power of surging race and river,
limestone crag and scarred terrain;
maker still of earth, fire, water,
artistry of sight and sound,
Southern lights and sunset splendour,
raise our eyes and you are found.

Calendar of nature's balance,
rhythms of the farming year,
shearing, milking, ploughing, pruning,
manger setting ever near!
lonely struggle in the byways,
nor'west dust or snow and flood,
fellowship of tears and laughter:
Lord, with you, we're understood.

Giving thanks for those before us,
village life and tussock track,
as we turn to face the future,
history's wind upon our back;
scattered are our congregations,
each now shares in ministry,
bonding strength of work together:
spirit of community.  (Doug Grierson)

The people sit

OR

"Great God..." (Tune: 'Jerusalem")
Great God your love has held our lives
across the years down to this day.
Your constant presence held us fast:
remain with us we plead and pray.
We watched the towers, we saw the flame,
the clouds of dust swept down the street;
we heard the voices that we loved
and cried for those we’d no more meet.

As time moves on some memories fade,
the grief we shared lies in the past,
for others pain is just as sharp,
this present hurt will always last.
A human act has swept away
our partners, parents, children, friends,
some people we had never known,
the memory lives and never ends.

Beyond this day we try to live:
a sinew of each life survives,
but where is God in hurt and hate?
The questions stay to haunt our lives.
Help us to build a better world
not fuelled by vengeance, fed by greed;
a world in which we all can live,
what ever colour, race or creed.  (© Andrew Pratt 18/8/2011)
Commissioned by Dean McIntyre (United Methodist Church (USA)
for the 10th Anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Centre

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

Remembering
Take the eucalyptus leaf you received at the door,
rub it between your fingers, break it, smell it,
and share with the person next to you
a special memory of the soil,
the paddocks or wild creatures in the country.
Conversation

Silence:
We remember with delight the gardens
and paddocks of our childhood.

The places where we played in the sand, when we felt close
to the ground
to bright flowers and baby animals.
All We remember and rejoice.

Away from the busyness of our day-to-day living
and in the silence of this place,
let us now give thanks
for the land, for soils that sustain our life!
(Silence)

Sung reflection:


All  As this day dawns in beauty,
we pledge ourselves
to repair the web. 
(Carol P Christ/swc)
(Silence)

Earth is a sanctuary, a sacred planet
filled with the presentness of God.
All A home for us to share with our kin.
(Norman Habel/soc)

EXPLORING

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

From the World around us:
"The Small Plot of Ground..."
By Alla Renee Bozarth. Earth Prayers/132

The small plot of ground
on which you were born
cannot be expected
to stay forever
the same.

Earth changes,
and home becomes different
places.

You took flesh
from clay
but the clay
did not come
from just one
place.

To feel alive,
important, and safe,
know your own waters
and hills, but know
more.

You have stars in your bones
and oceans
in blood.
You have opposing
terrain in each eye.

You belong to the land
and sky of your first cry,
you belong to infinity.

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 18:23b-34 
(Inclusive Text)

The reign of God may be compared to a ruler
who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.

When he began the reckoning,
one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him;
and, as he could not pay,
the master ordered him to be sold,
together with his wife and children and all his possessions,
and payment to be made.

So the slave fell on his knees before the master, saying,
‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’

And out of compassion for him,
the master of that slave released him and forgave him the debt.

But that same slave, as he went out,
came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii;
and seizing him by the throat, he said,
‘Pay what you owe.’

Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him,
‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’

But he refused.

Then he went and threw him into prison
until he would pay the debt.

When his fellow slaves saw what had happened,
they were greatly distressed,
and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place.

Then his master summoned him and said to him,
‘You wicked slave!
I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.
Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave,
as I had mercy on you?’

And in anger his master handed him over to be tortured
until he would pay his entire debt.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Celebration of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share a celebration of faith.
The people stand as they are able

Our land is alive with the glory of God:
All  desert sands hum and gum trees dance,
brown grasses sing
All  
and mountains breathe their stillness.

All created things add their rhythm of delight
All  and even the stones rap out their praise.
Let our voices mingle with the song of the earth.
All  
May our hearts join the beat of her joy.

For our triune God is with us:
All  our creator surrounds and upholds us.
Christ Jesus walks beside and before us.
The Spirit moves within and between us.
Blessed be God,
our wonder and our delight.  (
Jenni Tymms/mgs)

OR

Ashes, Stones, and Flowers: A Litany for 9/11 Rembrance
In memory of all Victims of War and Terrorism


The litany requires either actually standing at a running river or a lake, or if that is not feasible bringing a large basin of water into the center of a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other space.  It also requires having a list of names of people of various countries who have died and are dying as victims of war and terrorism.

For vibrant lives suddenly and shamelessly sacrificed,
We lift up the ashes of our loss, 
O Source of Life.



For the lives that continue, haunted forever by the pain of absence,
We lift up the ashes of our remorse, 
O Wellspring of Compassion.



For the conflagration of flames and nightmare images
forever seared into our memories,
We lift up the ashes of our pain, 
O Breathing Spirit of the World.

For the charred visions of peace and the dry taste of fear,
We lift up the ashes of our grief, 
O Infinite.



For all the deaths that have been justified by turning the love of God
or country into fanatical arrogance,
We lift up the ashes of our shame, 
O God.


All As we cast these ashes into the troubled water of our times,
Transforming One, hear our plea:

Mn that by your power they will make fertile the soil of our future
Wn and by your mercy nourish the seeds of peace.


The people recite the names of the dead.


The people cast the ashes in silence into the river or a bowl of water.

For the ways humanity pursues violence rather than understanding
We lift up the stones of our anger, 
O Breathing Spirit of the World.

For the ways we allow national, religious and ethnic boundaries
to circumscribe our compassion,
We lift up the stones of our hardness, 
O Wellspring of Compassion.



For our addiction to weapons and the ways of militarism
We lift up the stones of our fear, 
O Source of Life.



For the ways we cast blame and create enemies
We lift up the stones of our self-righteousness, 
O God


All As we cast these stones into this troubled water,
Transforming One, hear our plea:



Mn Just as water wears away the hardest of stones,
Wn so too may the power of your compassion soften the hardness of our hearts
and draw us into a future of justice and peace.



The people recite the names of the dead.


The people cast the stones in silence into the river or a bowl of water.

For sowing seeds of justice to blossom into harmony,
We cast these flowers into the water, 
O Source of Peace.

For seeing clearly the many rainbow colors of humanity and earth,
We cast these flowers into water, 
O Infinite.



For calling us to life beyond our grieving,
We cast these flowers into water, 
O Breathing Spirit of the World.


All As we cast these flowers into this living water,
Transforming One, hear our plea:



Mn Just as water births life in a desert and gives hope to the wounded,
Wn so too may the power of your nurturing renew our commitment to peace.


The people recite the names of the dead.


The people cast the flowers in silence into the river or a bowl of water.




• Litany by Rev Patricia Pearce, former pastor of Tabernacle United Church, Philadelphia, and Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of The Shalom Center.


Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.
The peace of God is here… to stay. (Iona)
All Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
God Of Endless Life Unfolding(Tune: “Gaelic Air”. 87 87D. Three verses)
God of endless life unfolding,
How amazing are your ways!
What can any breathing being
do, but sing you thanks and praise?
Greater than our minds imagine
are your thoughts! How vast their sum!
Yet you care about us deeply:
What we do, what we become!

Well you knew our secret being
in the darkness of the womb.
You have formed our mortal fabric
like a weaver at the loom.
Should we rise on wings of morning,
fly to galaxies unknown,
Even there you would receive us,
love us, claim us, as your own.

God, whose care the world embraces,
God in whom we live and move,
Whom all ages, tongues and races,
know as vast creative love:
You have come to us in Jesus,
sharing in the life of earth,
Calling us to be your partners
bringing life and love to birth.

Light of Light, within life's darkness,
Hope of Hope within life's pain,
Flow through us, creative Spirit,
Work through us; reveal your reign!
Search our hearts, our thoughts and actions;
Show us what our lives can be;
Hold us in your heart forever,
Nerve us with your energy. (Ruth Duck)

CELEBRATING

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)

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

Presentation
Among the streets of business
and in places of healing and learning:
All May we work to renew the face of the earth.

Among the budding orchards 
and in the grassless paddocks:
All May we celebrate the renewing face of the earth.

Among the tired and broken families:
All May we compassionately renew the face of the earth.

Among these people and with these gifts:
All May the face of the earth be renewed.  (Adapted Margie 
Abbot/sc)

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 the light and beauty of day
All We give thanks in awe and wonder.
In the dark and stillness of night
All
We dream of healing and hope.  (Gretta Vosper/wwg)

And so we take this flame and light our special care candle.
The Care Candle is lit

v2   When we are grieving or sad,
When we are challenged,
When we need help,
The flame of this candle guides us out of the darkness.

v3   When we are cheerful,
When we celebrate,
When we accomplish a great task,
When we return to a place that makes us happy,

The flame of this candle reminds us to share our happiness with others. (Adapted. A Palmer)

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   God - heart of the world:
revealed through every aspect of creation:
understood through our awareness.

May we honour the holiness of creation and act accordingly
so that your love is reflected in the way we live.
May we always be thankful for the food we eat
and the friends we have.
May we forgive those who transgress against us
and be forgiven for our own.

In the freedom of love may we live as your heartbeat
and not be compromised by hesitation.
Through our freedom, may your justice
be seen and heard and experienced
forever and ever.  Amen.
  (Sherri J Weinberg)

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
"The Majesty Of Mountains"     139 (v1-2) AA
The majesty of mountains,
the sovereignty of skies,
the regal rock that arch above
where veils of vapour rise,
are gifts of God, the Lord of love,
the worshipful, the wise.

The running of the river,
the surging of the sea,
the grass that grows high on the hill,
the flower and fruiting tree,
our Saviour sends us, by whose will
all creatures came to be.
Remain standing

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

Hold again the eucalyptus leaf in your hands
as you go forth into this week.

v2 Will you care for creation?
All We will care for creation!
We will nurture the land!
We will celebrate life!

v2 This we know, the earth does not belong to us,
All We belong to the earth.

Words of Blessing
Go in peace to claim the life of Christ within your midst:
and may the earth be warm under your feet,
the rain bring the gentle flowers
of the bush bright around you,
and the wind blows as the breath of the Spirit before you.
All
Amen. May it be so.

OR

Rainbow Blessing
v3  May you celebrate
when you experience the mystery of Wonder
overwhelming you with wonder.
A gold coloured cloth - The Wonder of the Wild) - is put in place beside the cloths from last week.

v2  May your spirit sing
when you feel the mystery of Life
pulsing throughout our planet.
A green coloured cloth - The Pulse of Life - is put in place beside the gold cloth.

v1   May the compassion of the cosmos,
and the empathy of Earth,
stir within you a consciousness
of a spiritual force in nature
that shares pain,
heals hearts,
and nurtures hope. (Norman Habel/rm)

Hymn (Cont) "The Majesty Of Mountains"    139 (v3) AA
The Glory of the Godhead,
the Spirit and the Son,
the Father, faithful down the days:
to them, the Three-in-One,
while life shall last, be perfect praise
and highest honour done!  (
MPerry)
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:
Abbott, M. Sparks of the Cosmos. Rituals for seasonal use. Unley. MediaCom Education, 2001.
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and songs for all churches. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 1993.
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.
Christ, C. P.
She Who Changes. Re-imagining the divine in the world. New York. Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a new day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
Habel, N. Rainbow of Mysteries. Meeting the Sacred in Nature. Kelowna: Copper House/Wood Lake Publishing, 2012.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2004.
Iona Community. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Macnab, F. Hope: The Deeper Longings of the Mind and Heart. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 1996.
Moving with God's Spirit. A Collection of Prayers, Hymns, Affirmations and Reflections. Perth. Uniting Church in Australia, National Assembly, 1997.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon. Earth Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth. New York. HarperCollins, 1991.
(STJ) Singing the Journey. Boston. UUA, 2005.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional hymn tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto. George Stuart, 2009.
Vosper, G. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.

Web sites/Other:
Palmer. UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Sherri Weinberg. St Paul's Presbyterian Church. NZ: Devonport.
Norman Habel Creation Liturgies
. <www.seasonofcreation.com>
Andrew Pratt. "Great God...". Contact author direct for permission: andrewpratt@btconnect.com
"God of Endless Life Unfolding". Ruth Duck. Source unknown. Contact author direct.

rexae74@gmail.com