Revd Rex A E Hunt
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• Rex A E Hunt & Gregory C Jenks. (ed)
Wisdom & Imagination: Religious Progressives and the Search for Meaning.
Melbourne: Morning Star Publishing, 2014.
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GATHERING FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
19 October 2014. Pentecost 19A. (Green).
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion
Acknowledgement of Country
(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
Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times
It is a sacred time, this.
And a sacred place, this:
- a place for questions more profound than answers;
- vulnerability more powerful than strength;
- and a peace that can pass all understanding.
It is a sacred time, this. (UU Church of Austin)
Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.
Lighting of the Community Candle
The community candle is lit in silence
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. (Adapd/SStock)
Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
“Eternal Love” (Tune: ‘Manna’, 886 886)
Eternal Love, your grace we praise
which shapes and comforts all our days,
evolves the world we know.
Let worship, symbols come of age
to help us read beneath the page
and test the status quo!
Renewing Love, in Jesus met
defying limitation yet
particular in all;
confronting still the edifice
of ignorance and prejudice,
responding to our call.
But still your truth we faintly see
though church and scripture guarantee
to point us on our way.
A darkened mirror blurs our sight
while false ideas obscure the light
and spurn the shining ray.
Thanks be for scholars, prophets too
who lead the quest for insights new
as old convictions fade.
May we in faith by Spirit led
in Jesus’ footsteps bravely tread
and never be afraid! (© David Stevenson 2010)
Remain standing after the hymn
As surely as we belong to the universe ,
we belong together.
All We gather here to transcend the isolated self.
To know ourselves to be at home,
Here on earth, under the stars,
Linked with each other (MAKeip).
Act of Awareness
Wonder and wisdom,
the fullness of beauty,
hope explored, revealed, delivered...
Who are we that such gifts are ours,
to uplift, astound, make whole?
In awe, we gather. (Adapt/GVosper/ab)
God of all life we give thanks for the signs of love and creativity
that surround us and bless us,
past, present and future.
May it be so.
Hymn “Celebrate Each Difference” (Tune: ‘Intercessor’, 11 10 11 10. 587 TiS)
We cannot make an easy, safe distinction,
all people are our neighbours, none denied.
The voices of all nations heard beside us:
all sisters, brothers, none we should deride.
The wall between the peoples has been broken.
In love of God divisions disappear.
As seen in Christ, we recognise our neighbours.
We greet unusual faces without fear.
We celebrate each difference God has given.
Each nation, black and white, both straight and gay,
the able and the challenged, God has offered,
that we might share together, learn and pray
We meet with those who paint a different picture,
who value God in words not yet our own.
In dialogue we offer one another
a vision we could never find alone.
This God we seek is greater than each difference;
the source and ground of all variety,
the centre and the soul of all creation,
erasing hate with love, to set us free. APratt/ea
The people sit
“Climate Change” (Tune: ‘St Bernard’, 86 86) 42 SNS2
God’s presence sings a joyous song
When life’s in harmony;
But climate change – it is so wrong;
It can cause tragedy.
If green-house gases fill outdoors
They poison nature’s womb;
And global warming which they cause
Can bring about our doom.
The carbon foot-print that we leave
Will alter future days;
It can increase or can retrieve
The follies of past ways.
Our children surely have the right
To futures still unseen;
To see the stars and moon at night;
To oceans pure and clean.
We cannot ask a god above
To rectify our woes;
But when we treat the earth with love
God’s caring overflows. (GStuart)
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.
Let there now be a silence between us for a time.
May the silence which we now share quieten us,
touch our need,
refresh our courage,
enlarge our wonder.
as a mineral. We emerged into plant life
and into the animal state, and then into being human,
and always we have forgotten our former states,
except in early spring when we slightly recall
being green again... (Rumi)
Music of Reflection
Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Two readings from our broad religious tradition
shall now be read by (NN).
From the world around us:
“I am not afraid of death”
I am no longer afraid of death,
I know well its dark and cold corridors
leading to life.
I am afraid rather of that life
which does not come out of death,
which cramps our hands
and slows our march.
I am afraid of my fear
And even more of the fear of others,
who do not know where they are going,
Who continue clinging to what they think is life
Which we know to be death!
I live each day to kill death;
I die each day to give birth to life,
and in this death of death, I die a thousand times
and am reborn another thousand
through that love
from my People,
which nourished hope!
Matthew 22:15-22 (Inclusive Text)
When the chief priests and Pharisees had heard the parables,
they realised that Jesus was speaking about them.
Then they went and plotted to entrap Jesus in what he said.
So they sent their disciples to Jesus, along with the Herodians, saying:
‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth,
and show deference to no one, for a person’s rank means nothing to you.
‘Tell us, then, what you think.
Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’
But Jesus, aware of their malice, said:
‘Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites?
Show me a coin used for the tax.’
And they brought him a denarius.
Then Jesus said to them:
‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’
They answered: ‘The emperor’s.’
Then Jesus said to them:
‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s
and to God the things that are God’s.’
• A Sermon suitable for this day can be found in my book, Against the Stream. Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew.
Silence for Personal Reflection
A Litany: ‘Commitment to Life’ (Optional)
The people stand as they are able
In the midst of hunger and war
All We celebrate the promise of plenty and peace
In the midst of oppression and tyranny
All We celebrate the promise of service and freedom
In the midst of racism and despair
All We celebrate the promise of faith and hope
In the midst of fear and betrayal
All We celebrate the promise of joy and loyalty
In the midst of hatred and death
All We celebrate the promise of love and life
In the midst of sorrow and decay
All We celebrate the promise of creativity and renewal
In the midst of death on every side
All We celebrate the promise of the Living Christ. (Adapt.JAnderson/pod)
Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.
May a heart of peace rest with you. (DGalston/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
“Celebrate the Cosmic Birthing” (Tune: ‘Hymn to Joy’)
Celebrate the cosmic birthing,
Flash of primal energy:
Swirling gases, densing matter
Stuff of galaxies to be.
Celebrate the life-force pulsing
through these 15 billion years,
Trillion, trillion stars emerging
From the cradle of the spheres.
Celebrate the white-heat furnace-
life evoking mother sun;
Celebrate her planet-offspring
Nine, in cosmic dance as one.
Celebrate her favoured daughter,
Earth, in cloak of fragile green;
Cragging rocks, and sounding ocean-
Surface-lashed, beneath serene.
Join the mystic dance of species,
Chaining, weaving, circling, one
Strong-competing, close depending,
Life swift ending, new begun.
Sing our senseful keen awareness-
Form and sound, scent, taste and hue.
High achieving, passing, transient-
Living, dying born anew. (Ian Cairns)
“Where are the Voices” (Tune: ‘Portent’) 75 FFS
Where are the voices for the earth?
Where are the eyes to see her pain,
wasted by our consuming path,
weeping the tears of poisoned rain?
Sacred the soil that hugs the seed,
sacred the silent fall of snow,
sacred the world that God decreed,
water and sun and river flow.
Where shall we run who break this code,
where shall tomorrow's children be,
left with the ruined gifts of God,
death for the creatures, land and sea?
We are the voices for the earth,
we who will care enough to cry,
cherish her beauty, clear her breath,
live that our planet may not die. (SEMurray)
With the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat
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
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and concerns shared.
We turn to Life, to that vast creativity
All that empowers the universe
as the ocean animates the wave,
seeking to let go of that which blocks our healing.
All May we open ourselves even now
to the wonder of Life.
The Care candle is lit
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:
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as that is appropriate
All Gracious Spirit,
Who loves us like a mother,
Whose realm is blooming among us now.
We pray that your compassion guide us in every action.
Give us what we need for each day,
and help us to be satisfied with the miracle of that alone.
Forgiver, whose embrace brings us to wholeness without our asking,
May we reconcile ourselves to one another in humility.
And may we cancel the crushing debts that imprison our neighbours
So that communities of joy and health may flourish.
May we neither profit from nor ignore evil.
But ever work to thwart it with non-violence
As we co-create the realm of peace in this world.
Now and each day.
CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
and our gifts of bread and wine, shall now be received.
Inspired by stories of a Sacred compassion,
may we find a good feeling in our hearts,
so through these gifts we can
help free some people from hunger,
lift some people from their distress, and
encourage some people to be part of a better world.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 and distributed
(While the Bread and the Wine are being received, this Hymn shall be sun solo)
“Jesus Comes To Me…” (Tune: ‘Joy”). 77 AA
Jesus comes to me as a springtime tree
and I receive him as a springtime tree.
Fragrant the blossoming of the child,
fresh with laughter, free and wild,
and carrying the green of summer.
Jesus comes to me as a summer tree
and I receive him as a summer tree.
Warm in the sun and richly laid
with patterns of growth through light and shade,
and carrying the fire of autumn.
Jesus comes to me as an autumn tree
and I receive him as an autumn tree.
Season of ripeness, brightly ablaze
like a torch in the quietness of closing days
and carrying the wood of winter.
Jesus comes to me as a winter tree
and I receive him as a winter tree.
Gentle the cross and gentle the snow,
gentle the path where he and I go,
carrying the buds of spring. (JCowley)
v1 Let us give thanks for this communion
as it sustains us in our desire to be followers of Jesus
in our time and place.
v2 Let us acknowledge that sharing this bread and this wine
ties us to a great company of people throughout history
and around the present world. (HC liturgy adapted/RJones)
Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
“Let My Spirit Always Sing” (Tune: 'Rebekah') 41 (v1-2) FFS
Let my spirit always sing,
though my heart be wintering,
though the season of despair
give no sign that you are there,
God to whom my days belong,
let there always be a song.
Though my body be confined,
let your word engage my mind,
let the inner eye discern
how much more there is to learn,
see a world becoming whole
through the window of the soul.
Time has now come for us to leave this sacred place.
As we do, may we embrace the challenges of our lives and our world...
The candle is extinguished
Go in peace.
Hold in your heart the certainty
that the spirit of life is with you always.
All When our hearts are torn asunder
or when we soar with sweet joy,
we are never alone, never apart,
from the spirit that resides within us,
that guides our lives and cherishes us always. Adapt.EA.Virago
She who has called you will not leave you without encouragement.
Let the great God be between your shoulders,
to look after you at your coming and going.
Let the Son of Mary be very close to your heart.
And the lovely Spirit be poured upon you...
Yes, the lovely Spirit be poured all over you!
All Amen. May it be so. (From Celtic Blessing)
Hymn (Cont) “Let My Spirit Always Sing” (Tune: 'Rebekah') 41 (v3-4) FFS
Let your wisdom grace my years,
choose my words and chase my fears,
give me wit to welcome change,
to accept, and not estrange,
let my joy be full and deep
in the knowledge that I keep.
Let my spirit always sing,
to your Spirit answering,
through the silence, through the pain
know my hope is not in vain,
like a feather on your breath
trust your love, through life and death. (SEMurray)
The people sit after the hymn
'This Week' at (NN)
Birthdays and anniversaries
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:
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and songs for all churches. 1993. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
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.
Duncan, G. (ed). Entertaining Angels. A Worship Anthology on Sharing Christ’s Hospitality. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2005.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a new day. 2000. NZ: Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Galloway, K. (ed). 1996. The Pattern of Our Days. Liturgies and resources for worship. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
(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.
Jones, Robert V. 2005. “Liturgy: The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper”. In private circulation from the author. L & L Seminar.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, J. & B. Hesle. 2005. Worship in the Spirit of Jesus. Theology, liturgy, and songs without violence. Cleveland. The Pilgrim Press.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. 2009. Singing a New Song. Traditional hymn tunes with new century lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto. G Stuart.
Vosper, G. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane: The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.
Stock, Keip, Schaffran, Virago. UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Julia Esquivel. "I am not afraid of death". Threatened with Resurrection. <www.mccchurch.org/Resources/Worship>
David Stephenson. "Eternal Love". Progressive Christianity Network Britain.
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/
Ian Cairns. "Celebrate the Cosmic Birthing". Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site: hymns.uk.com