Revd Rex A E Hunt
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GATHERING FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
26 October 2014. Pentecost 20A. (Green).
• 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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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
In sacred times of word, wonder, and awe.
In ordinary days of work and play.
In every moment, the sacred is with us. (Adapt.TShuman/worship-rcl)
So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.
Lighting of the Community Candle
The community candle is lit in silence
We are safe.
We are together.
We are loved.
And so it will be. (BGriffin/icuu-cl)
Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
“Welcome" (Tune: 'Regent Square', 87 87 47 extended) 1 SNS3
We are thankful for a greeting
And a welcome we all prize;
We are here for celebration,
Searching for what satisfies;
With a welcome as we gather
We can feel our spirits rise.
'Welcome' i the way of Jesus;
'Welcome' is his promised word;
Welcome is for saints and sinner;
All are welcome; all have erred;
Jesus speaks his word of welcome -
We respond for we have heard.
We all join in affirmation
Of the love of God we know;
Like the vastness of an ocean
Love is here in constant flow;
I am welcome; you are welcome;
Jesus says, "Let it be so." (Adapt.GStuart)
"Sing for God’s Glory” (Tune: ‘Lobe den Herren’, 14 14 4 7 8. 111 TiS)
Sing for God’s glory that colors the dawn of creation,
racing across the sky, trailing bright clouds of elation;
sun of delight
succeeds the velvet of night,
warming the earth’s exultation.
Sing for God’s power that shatters the chains that would hold us,
searing the bleakness of fear and despair that would mold us,
touching our shame
with love that will not lay blame,
reaching out gently to find us.
Sing for God’s justice disturbing each easy illusion,
tearing down tyrants and putting our pride to confusion;
lifeblood of right,
resisting evil and slight,
offering freedom’s transfusion.
Sing for God’s saints who have travelled faith’s journey before us,
who in our weariness give us their hope to restore us;
in them we see
the new creation to be,
spirit of love made flesh for us. (KGalloway.Adapt.)
Remain standing after the hymn
v1 Children of the earth and sky,
we are nurtured, sustained,
given warmth and light
from above and below.
All Supported by earth's strong, firm crust,
we build our homes,
plough the paddocks,
plant our gardens and orchards.
v2 When we turn from self and seek to be aware,
we will find holy light
in human faces,
in blossom, birdsong, and sky.
All Then earth is truly our home,
and we are one with all earth's creatures,
Parents of earth's children yet to be (Adapt.Alice Berry).
Act of Awareness
In all our living, may we be freed
to see things afresh,
to be more fully alive,
and have the courage to keep faith in
the future of humanity.
Abiding God, grant us the joy of feeling ourselves
a part of your vast magnificence,
your all-encompassing love.
May it be so.
Hymn "Everything That Has Voice" (Tune: 'Sing for Peace', Marty Haugen) 9 TEL
Everything that has voice,
sing for peace,
speak for peace,
given chance, given choice,
work for peace,
write for peace,
echoing our common care:
everything that has voice,
sing for peace!
All the world longs for peace
cries for peace,
dies for peace,
let the children, every place
sleep in peace,
grow in peace,
home and country safe to be
where the spirit rises free,
all the world longs for peace,
cries for peace.
Everyone who has breath,
you and I,
every tenant of the earth
plant for peace,
gather for peace,
cultivate a neighbourhood
cherishing our neighbours' good:
everyone who has breath,
live for peace! (SEMurray)
“Amazing Love” (Tune: 'Amazing Grace', 86 86. 129 TiS)
Amazing Love that Jesus told,
Two thousand years ago,
A story new, a story old,
A love we all can know.
He spoke to crowds in Palestine,
He speaks to us today,
He tells us all of love divine,
To us he shows the way.
The realm of God is one of love,
Of justice and of peace.
It’s not about a realm above -
Through love this world release.
What we want done to us, can be
The rule by which we live;
To follow it will make us free
To share, to love, to give.
The story comes to challenge us,
It’s not the easy road,
For us to love, as Jesus loved,
To bear another’s load.
The realm of God is here with us
When love and peace we share,
Although we fail, we know God’s grace,
It’s love that helps us there.
Amazing love that Jesus told,
Two thousand years ago,
A story new, a story old,
A love for all to know. MRolfe
The people sit
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.
In the safety of this sacred place I invite you now into a time of
gratitude, reflection, renewal and hope.
Great possibilities do await us.
The grandeur of life, of which we are a part,
fill us with hope… if we seek to choose it.
Fifteen billion years ago, in a great flash
the universe flared forth into being.
In each drop of existence
a primordial energy blazed with an intensity
never to be equaled again... (Berry & Swimme)
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:
By Jeanette Stokes. Birthings and Blessings/84.
As I walked through the bush one morning during autumn,
I came across a perfectly formed spider’s web bright with dew.
The delicately woven strands reminded me that
as we live and work… we spin out the thread of life
that connects and supports us all.
The web of support that joins me to my friends is like a lifeline.
Sometimes I can almost feel it – tiny golden threads
tying my heart to the hearts of others.
My passion for life… fueled by theirs.
And my life is never the same.
I am a porous being.
There are spaces in my soul like the open places in a web.
Other people pass through me.
I am changed and sometimes I am born again
to a whole new way of being, of understanding myself
my work, and the world.
The dreams we spin need to be tied to something.
The spider’s web I saw was attached
to the graceful curve at the end of
a wild blackberry cane.
As we live and work together we can create and maintain
a web of connection that will support us all.
Matthew 22:34-40 (Inclusive Text)
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus has silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together,
and one of them, a lawyer, asked Jesus a question to test him:
‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’
‘You shall love your God with all our heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your mind’.
This is the greatest and first commandment.
‘And a second is like it:
‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets’.
Silence for Personal Reflection
A Litany: Order and Change (Optional)
The people stand
v1 At this time and in this place we give thanks
for all that is familiar and ordered in our lives:
v2 The regular beating of our heart
and the pattern of our breathing
v3 The dusk of evening and the dawn of morning,
the ebb and flow of tides
and the lapping of waves on the shore.
v2 For newly-learned hymns and much-loved stories
v3 For your constant love,
and the love and care of our family and friends.
v1 We give thanks for everything that changes and challenges us:
v2 For surprises and holidays,
the unexpected meeting with a friend,
the chance to do something different.
v3 For new people and new ideas in our life.
v1 For children growing up, teenagers becoming adults,
and for every decade of life with its special privileges and challenges.
v2 For good news and bad,
for problems and difficulties that make us think again.
v1 For grief over things we have lost,
and people we are separated from
v3 For the pain and joy of life that makes every day new.
v1 May we treasure our past and our traditions without becoming rigid.
All To rejoice in long-established and comfortable relationships
without excluding new possibilities;
to value our routines and order
without losing our spontaneity
and avoiding new challenges.
v1 And may the Spirit of Life
All enliven us in our apathy,
encourage us in our creativity,
reassure us in our uncertainty and fear. (Adapt.WWilkie/cnc)
(If in the Southern Hemisphere)
A Spring Litany
v1 Spring is the celebration of the return
of vibrant colour to our world.
v2 With each budding leaf and every blade of grass
the earth is enlivened again.
All The rhythm of the change of seasons
beats with the hope of new beginnings.
v1 The world is awash in hues of green,
the colour of expectancy.
v2 With water and sunshine it will soon host
rainbows and wildflowers.
All The rhythm of the changing heart
beats hope at the break of a new day.
v1 The prism of creation casts its light on humanity.
v2 Like all living things, we are varied shades
of a diverse and wonderful spectrum.
All The rhythm of the changing mind
beats love at the sight of difference.
v1 May the hands I hold today,
emblems of the infinite palate, be warmed
by the common blood that courses through eternal veins.
All The rhythm of the changing life
beats praise for our common embrace. (GLStewart/adapt/www.uusf.org)
(If in the Northern Hemisphere)
For cool nights and sunny autumn days,
Ch for crunchy leaves to walk through
Wn and crisp red apples to bite into...
All We offer grateful thanks.
For trees the colour of flame,
Mn For smoky fires of burning leaves,
Ch for netball practice and football games...
All We give a heartfelt thanks.
For holidays, processions and decorated floats,
Ch for warbling magpies (your bird?) and gentle rain,
Wn winter knitting, and after winter, spring again...
All We give thanks for all these glorious things.
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
“To God the Process” (Tune: ‘Edith’) 140 HoS
To God the process, God the life,
to God compassion’s spring,
to God the boundless way of love,
to God in everything,
to God the inner Christ of faith,
to God the wine and bread,
to God the sacred energy,
the fabric and the thread.
To you, O God, we sing our praise,
we join the cosmic song,
we walk the path that Jesus walked,
we turn our thoughts from wrong.
For you delight in each of us
and we delight in you.
With hearts on fire we live your praise
in all we think and do.
Amen, Amen, Amen, O God,
to you be endless praise.
Shalom, Shalom, Shalom, O God,
our hearts to you we raise.
For you empower and you fulfil
our latent energy,
the universe within our lives
shall dance your liturgy.
“The Silent Stars…” (Tune: ‘Surrey’, 88 88 88, 426 TiS) 7 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.
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
Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
shall now be received.
May we look for a gentler humanity, a kinder world:
with our money and with our hearts,
with our minds and with every good intention...
Let this be our earnest desire. Adapt.FMacnab/fwb
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.
As one heart is lifted
All May we share its celebration
As one heart is burdened
All May we share the pain it knows (GVosper/wwg)
And so we take this flame and light our special care candle.
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.
Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
“God Present To All” (Tune: ‘Ombersley’, 88 88. 567 TiS) 25 (v1-3) SNS2
Creation sings amazing songs;
This is a place where God belongs
In movement, colour to behold
In past and future yet untold.
Source of all life’s vitality
Enlivens love consistently;
We see God’s presence in each face,
In kindly deeds and acts of grace.
Deep in our soul with vision clear
We see God’s presence re-appear
Each time a human babe is born,
Each time we rise to greet the dawn.
Let us go in faith to ponder in our hearts
the mystery and the wonder of this season...
The candle is extinguished
Glorifying the past can never be
the key to our future.
All We need to get a new perspective on today
by getting a new vision of tomorrow. KARussell
Words of Blessing
The light of God to lead us.
The power of god to hold us.
The joy of God to heal us.
The grace of God to bless us.
The love of God to caress us.
All Amen. May it be so.
Hymn (Cont) “God Present To All” (Tune: ‘Ombersley’, 88 88. 567 TiS) 25 (v4) SNS2
Wonderful visions constantly
Express great beauty as we see
God’s presence in humanity,
So vivid once in Galilee. (GStuart)
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.
Dobson, M. 2004. Multi-coloured Maze. Drama, Hymns, Prayers and Poems for Worship and Everyday Living. London. Stainer & Bell.
(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.
Macnab, F. 2006. A Fine Wind is Blowing: Psalms of the Bible in words that blow you away. Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
Mitchell, R. C. & G. A. Ricciuti. 1992. Birthings and Blessings. Liberating worship services for the inclusive church. New York. Crossroads.
(TEL) Murray, S. E. Touch the Earth Lightly. New Hymns written between 2003 & 2008. Carol Stream. Hope Publishing, 2008.
McCracken, J. (ed). 1998. Celebrating the New Church. Liturgical Resources for Today. Blackburn. HarperCollins.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, J. & B. Hesle. 2005. Worship in the Spirit of Jesus. Theology, Liturgy, and Songs Without Violence. Cleveland. The Pilgrim Press.
Pratt, A. Reclaiming Praise. Hymns from a Spiritual Journey. London: Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2006.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto. G Stuart, 2009.
Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 3. Toronto: G Stuart, 2011.
Vosper, G. 2008. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more Important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
Berry, Russell, UUA Worship Web. Boston. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Thom M Shuman. [w-rcl] Liturgy web site.
Margaret Rolfe. "Amazing Love" The Church of St James, Curtin, ACT. Australia.
“Sing for God’s glory”. Kathy Galloway. From <http://www.marciamcfee.com/>
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/
Brian Griffin. International Council of Unitarians and Universalists Chalice lighting. http://www.icuu.net/resources/chalicelightings.html