Pentecost11A.20.8.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
20 August 2017. Pentecost 11A. (Green).
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion


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

Refreshment Station/Water Basins
Pottery basins are set on stands near the entrance to the sanctuary. 
Attendees are invited to dip their hands in the cool water in the basins as they arrive. 
Or to rinse each other’s hands. 
That we may relax, be refreshed, and prepare for this time together.

(Note: A small sign is placed above the basin explaining that as they dip their hands in the water, they are invited to relax and try to mindfully set aside or release for a time anything that might be preventing them from being fully present—each traveller rinsing the “dust from the road”).

OR

(A suggestion of other words)
We come together from our separate lives,
each of us bringing our concerns, our preoccupations,
our hopes, and our dreams.

We are not yet fully present.
The traffic, the last-minute cooking, the final details still cling to us.
Our bodies hold the rush of the past few hours.

It is now time to let go of these pressures
and really arrive…   

When you are ready, repeat silently to yourself: ‘Hineini’ or ‘Here I am’.
Hineini is used in the Torah to signify being present
in body, mind, and spirit.
It means settling into where we are and simply being “here”. (Adapted/Nan Fink Gene)

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

We enter this sacred space, conscious that we are
called to both celebrate and protect, our connectedness
to the source and web of life,
and to each other.

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of this life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

We light this flame to affirm that new light
is ever waiting to break through to enlighten our ways
bringing rich possibilities in the now.

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 these 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, 10. Terrorist Attacks
(iii) PLUS some specific resources on Terrorism 
HERE

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
We Gaze in Wonder…(Tune: ‘Gaze in Wonder’, 11 10 11 9)    30 WNC
We gaze in wonder at the morning’s dawning,
positive witness to God’s faithful grace;
we turn our backs, and in the shadow standing,
shield the light we need to find our place.

In arrogance, in darkness we will stumble,
screening our eyes, we turn away from light.
We venerate our skill, the rocket’s rumble,
deadens sense, distorting wrong and right.

As stewards of love, let’s contemplate creation,
filigree frosting of a winter’s pain;
God hold in hand elation, desperation,
born in death that we might live again.  (Andrew Pratt)

OR

Come Celebrate…(Tune: ‘Gift of Life’, Colin Gibson)     17 HoS
Come celebrate the gift of life:
creation’s journey from the star
whose first great flaring forth of light
responded to God’s word of power.
Enable us, O God, to see
your living word is in us still;
this vibrant possibility
within our human lives fulfil.

Come celebrate the gift of love,
potential in each human soul,
revealed by Jesus as he strove
to heal our world and make us whole.
Enable us, O God, to choose
beyond the inborn needs of self;
in loving, be prepared to lose
our boundaries, and find new life.

Come celebrate the gift of power:
the flow of God within each soul,
which calls us in this present hour
to see creation as a whole.
Enable us, O God, to know
your life is present in all things;
and may our lives, within that flow,
reflect the joy creation sings.  (Margaret Bond)
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
I saw that God was everything that
is good and encouraging…
All
Everything has being because of God’s love(Julian of Norwich)

Act of Awareness
The earth turning…

Exploding orb of helium and hydrogen,
firing our lives into existence.
We are here.
We mindfully take our places in life again.

Imagine… we are one, connected, human family.
Be and know that you are the ones the world awaits.
Each of you here and now:
a difference,
a beautiful presence.

Each… of you.  (Adapt.B Kleinheksel/C3Exch)

OR

We pray:
May we sense the presentness of God among us,
that we may recognise God in each other,
and together know God’s healing and hope.
May it be so.

HymnWe Are Many (Tune: ‘Hamilton’)       67 FFS
We are many, we are one,
and the work of Christ is done
when we learn to live in true community,
as the stars that fill the night,
as a flock of birds in flight,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the vine;
as the branches of a tree,
as the waves upon the sea,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the vine.

All division is made whole
when we honour every soul,
find the life of God in every you and me,
as the fingers of a hand,
as the grains that form the sand,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the vine;
as the threads upon a loom,
as a field of flowers in bloom,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the vine.

We will join creation's song,
make a world where all belong,
build as one in peace and loving harmony,
as the voices of a choir,
as the flames within a fire,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the 
as the snowflakes in the snow,
as the colours of a bow,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the vine.  (Colin Gibson)

OR

If in America, a solar eclipse is expected tomorrow, 21 August 2017
"As The Sun Beats Down" (Tune: 10 7 10 7)           2 FFS
As the sun beats down and the heat invades,
and creation burns and dries;
let us sing to God of a promised hope
in the midst of anxious cries.

As the parching winds relentless blow,
and creation browns away;
let us sing to God, who restores and calms
all foreboding and dismay.

As the feed dies back and the stock decline,
and creation's bones show through;
let us sing to God of the bread of life,
to refresh, restore, renew.

As the silent birds sing a silent song
in creation's still blue sky;
let us sing to God of the songs of hope,
through a gentle rain's reply.

As the season comes and the season goes,
and we search the skies each day;
let us sing to God of a rainbow faith,
and a pro
mised green display.  (Bill Bennett)

OR

The Cosmos is Revolving”  (Tune: 13 13 13 13, ‘Sprowston’)         147 RP
The cosmos is revolving with endless rhythmic rhyme,
the circle keeps on turning to mark off chance and time;
and through the life we're living and images we see
we plot the hopeful story of God's eternity.

The summer sheds its harvest as autumn turns to gold,
the springtime and its newness are lost in time, grown old;
the cold of winter beckons, the trees are crippled, bare,
but seeds of hope are hidden, await the spring's repair.

This broadens expectation, the life for which we hope,
the gift of resurrection, the faith for which we grope,
are found within our compass and not beyond our grasp,
these gifts of grace and loving are sown in us to last.  
 (Andrew Pratt)
The people sit

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

Presentation of Water Basins
Words which acknowledge that the dust of many roads and many life experiences has been rinsed into the basins, and calls for the contents of the basins and the gathering to be transformed, renewed, and more fully alive

The dust of many roads and may life experiences
has been washed in this refreshing water.
For this place is a sacred place.

May we
greet one another with open hearts and minds;
inspire each other to consider new questions
and seek deeper meaning;
and cultivate both wisdom and compassion.

And may this time together empower us to take some new steps
so all our living is transforming and the
yearning of our hearts become reality.
The bowls of water are removed from the worship space

Silence
Now, in the silence of this moment may we give thanks for another day…
Indeed may we give thanks for the gift of life itself.
(Silence)

To see the differences is to view the surface
To see he similarities is to encounter the depth…
To hold both together is to find healing and life.

Do not search for the gate of knowledge;
only stop believing in walls and their security.   (William L Wallace/cl)

Music of Reflection

Silence
Let us open ourselves to the process of becoming more whole:
of living more fully;
of giving and forgiving more freely;
of understanding more completely
the meaning of our lives here on this earth.
  (Adapt. THaley)
(Silence)

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:
“Revelation”
By Ann Lewin. Celebrating Women/126.

God's work of art.
That's me?
Then beauty must lie
In the eye of the
Beholder.

I feel more like
One of those statues
Michelangelo left
Half emerging
From the marble block;
Full of potential,
On the verge of life,
But prisoned still
By circumstance and
Fear.

Yet part of me is free -
And you are still creating,
Bringing to life
The promise that is there.

Sometimes by
Hammer blows
Which jar my being,

Sometimes by
Tender strokes half felt
Which waken me to
Life.

Go on,
Lord.
Love me into wholeness.
Set me free
To share with you
In your creative joy;
To laugh with you
At your delight
In me,

Your work of art.

OR

"Edge of Time…”
By Karl Peters. Spiritual Transformations 2/3.

Several years ago, I was driving down a street in Winter Park, Florida, on my way to a class…
Winter Park has these lovely southern oak trees that
create canopies over the streets.

The sun was behind me, streaming down through the trees and giving everything a warm, early morning glow.
As I drove, I was reflecting on a course I was teaching,
a science and religion course on evolution and creation. 
I was thinking about the fourteen-billion-year history of the universe.

Suddenly I realized that I was on the edge, the edge of the universe.
This was not the edge of space but the edge of time.

I realized that the whole universe had taken fourteen billion years
to bring me, and everything else, to the moment I was in.
All that time, all that creative activity
bringing into being galaxies, stars, our planet Earth, life, and me.

Wow! I was awestruck. I still am.

We all are on the edge of time – right now, in every
Each of us is a special form of energy-matter
that has been created through a series of transformations
over fourteen billion years.

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 15:21-28 
(Inclusive text)

Jesus left and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon.
Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting,
‘Have mercy on me, Son of David;
my daughter is tormented by a demon.’

But Jesus did not answer her at all.
And the disciples came and urged Jesus, saying,
‘Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.’

Jesus answered,
‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’

But the woman came and knelt before Jesus, saying,
‘Rabbi, help me.’

Jesus answered,
‘It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs.’

She said,
‘Yes, Rabbi, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs
that fall from their masters' table.’

Then Jesus answered her,
‘Woman, great is your faith!  Let it be done for you as you wish.’
And her daughter was healed instantly.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

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

v1  Look up and see the patch of sky
insisting on its place among the towers.
v2  Look down and find the fragile grass
refusing to be contained beneath the barriers.
All  And we walk in community, free in the wonder of different faces,
studying the life wrinkles, waiting for a stranger’s smile
and the laugh of the child.

v2  You love us here,
O God of the sinners and publicans,
pausing to visit the one for whom nobody stops,
moving among crowds undaunted by their power,
seeing the bleeding woman in the midst,
and holding out your hand to be touched.
All  And we walk safely here, 
secure among the sounds of humming life,
spacious in the small gaps which give us rest,
finding the patterns of your holy feet on the hard asphalt.
 (Adapt. Dorothy McRae-McMahon/uiw2)

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
For the Beauty of the Earth(Tune: ‘Dix’, 77 77 77)      21 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:

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:

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/adapt)

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)

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

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 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  O God, you love us like a good parent, 
and are present in every aspect of our existence

May your nature become known and respected by all
May your joy, peace, wholeness and justice
be the reality for everyone
as we live by the Jesus Way

Give us all that we really need to live every day for you
And forgive us our failures as we forgive others for their failures 
Keep us from doing those things which are not of you,
and cause us always to be centred on your love

For you are the true reality in this our now,
and in all our future.

In the Jesus Way we pray.  Amen.  David Sorrill

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
Offerings

Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
and our gifts of bread and wine, shall now be received.

The Invitation
Jesus invited all to the feast of peace and new life.
Jesus risked everything in compassion.
Jesus was known in the breaking of the bread.

The Celebration
When Jesus gathered with his friends
to tell them of a re-imagined way of living and being,
the conversations often went on into the time for a meal.

Jesus ate and conversed
with the high and mighty,
with the pious and self-righteous, and
with those considered outcasts and sinners.

His table fellowship included everyone.

He often told them stories that caused them
to wonder and ask questions.
He also welcomed these opportunities
to eat with those who disagreed with him
and engaged them in open discussion.

In this way, the issues of life and death,
justice and injustice,
conflict and peace,
goodness and evil
were talked through and made real to ordinary people.

Jesus at a meal is a demonstration of his teaching.
He urged his followers to include a wide variety of people
in what he called the realm of God.

And he encouraged them to be open
to the insights and understandings that come
from honest and respectful dialogue
among those who seek a worthy way of life.

We are here to carry on this tradition
of seeking for truth and recognising goodness
wherever they may be found.

To this end, everyone is invited and encouraged
to share in this symbolic meal.
All  This being so, we who are followers of Jesus in these times
gather around this table to pledge ourselves anew
to his words and ways.

The Bread and Wine
Now, in the way humans have made certain things
and certain actions holy throughout the ages,
we offer this bread
and this wine to one another...
All  This offering represents our lives and our desire 
for a world that increasingly conforms
to the words and ways of Jesus.

Let us be grateful for the words and ways of Jesus
as they have been handed down to us
from generation to generation
by faithful followers and conscientious scholars.
All  We are grateful for the many records
of Jesus’ words and ways and for those who
cared for them,
copied them,
studied them,
interpreted them, and
preserved them for study and interpretation in our time.

Let us, in the spirit of Jesus, welcome this knowledge
and determine to use it as he would use it
in the service of justice and well being
for all persons, creatures, and things.
All  We welcome the new ways of truth
and seek a deeper wisdom about all that is known.

Communion
And we remember...
Jesus took bread and blessed it,
acknowledging with gratitude the hands that produced it
and the earthly goodness that made it possible.

Our tradition says he broke the bread and gave it to his followers
in a spirit of devotion to the new community he wished to form.

In the same way, we break this bread
and share it with one another.
All  We give thanks for this bread.
The Bread is broken and distributed.

Our tradition also says Jesus took a cup of wine and blessed it
for the sense of joy and celebration wine can bring.

Thus do we lift this cup and drink this wine,
celebrating the blessedness of our fellowship
and this time together.
All  We celebrate together.
The Wine is poured out and served.  
(Adapted/Robert Jones)

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
She Comes With Mother's Kindnesses”  (Tune: ‘Martyrdom’, 86 86)
She comes with mother's kindnesses
And bends to touch and heal.
She gives her heart away in love
For those who cannot feel.

She comes with lover's tenderness
To answer love's appeal,
She gives her body with her heart
To make her passion real.

She comes with worker's faithfulness
To sow and reap and spin.
She bends her back in common task
To gather harvest in.

She comes with artist's joyfulness
To make and shape and sing,
She gives her hands and from them grow
A free and lovely thing.
Remain standing

Parting Words
Let us go in faith to ponder in our hearts
the mystery and the wonder of this season...
The Community Candle is extinguished

We are called to join the adventure of living a passionate life.
All  So may we be carried past the boundaries
and near horizons of our life’s small dreams.

Words of Blessing
Creativity God be with you on the smooth paths;
Companion Jesus be with you in the storms;
Awakening Spirit be with you at all times.
All  
Amen. May it be so!

Hymn (Cont) She Comes With Mother's Kindnesses”  (Tune: ‘Martyrdom’, 86 86)
She comes, a child in humbleness
And trust is in her eyes,
And through them all of life appears
In wondering surprise.

She comes with sister's carefulness,
Strong to support and bind,
Her voice will speak for justice' sake,
And peace is in her mind.

She comes with power like the night
And glory like the day,
Her reign is in the heart of things,
Oh come to us and stay. 
(Kate Galloway/cw)
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:
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.
(FFS)  
Faith Forever Singing. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 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. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2004.
Iona Community.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Jones, Robert V. “Liturgy: The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper”. In private circulation from the author. L & L Seminar, 2005.
(WNC) Pratt, A.
Whatever Name or Creed. Hymns and Songs. London: Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2002.
(RP) Pratt, A. Reclaiming Praise. Hymns from a Spiritual Journey. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2006.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1996.
Uniting in Worship 2. Sydney. Uniting Church Press, 2005.
Vosper, G.
With or Without God. Why the Way we Live is more Important that What we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.
Ward, H.; J. Wild & J Morley. (ed).
Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK, 1995.

Web sites/Other:
Haley, Sorrill. UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
B. Kleinheksel. C3 Exchange. Spring Lake. MI. <http://www.c3exchange.org/
Words by Nan Fink Gefen, taken from an Evolutionary Passover Haggadah by Tree Bressen.

rexae74@gmail.com