Pentecost21A.29.10.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
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A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
29 October 2017. Pentecost 21A. (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

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

God's presence fills this place of gathering.
The whole earth is full of God's glory.

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

For gathering today in this sacred space,
we light the flame.

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, 11. Science/Cosmology
(iii) PLUS some specific resources on Terrorism 
HERE

Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
The Summons
(Tune: ‘Kelvingrove’)     116 (v1,2,4) HSNW
Will you come and follow me
If I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know
And never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown,
Will you let my name be known,
Will you let my life be grown
In you and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind
If I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind
And never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare,
Should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer
In you and you in me?

Will you love the ‘you’ you hide
If I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside
And never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found
To reshape the world around,
Through my sight and touch and sound
In you and you in me?  
© Iona Community
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
Time runs in circles and cycles.
All  
Day follows night.
Weeks turn into months.
Months into years.
One generation follows another.
All  
Our lives are locked and linked by time.  (Marjorie Dobson/mm)

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.

OR

We pray:
We are grateful for the generations that have gone before us,
especially people of vision, imagination and creativity.
We know there are still discoveries to be made
and problems to be solved.

May we not betray the trust given to us,
but be prepared to take our place
in the circle of time.
May it be so with us.

Hymn  "Wonder and Radiance”  (Tune: ‘Faithfulness', 11 10 11 10 and refrain)    7 SNS3
Movement and colour are graces so pleasing;
Sounds and sweet perfumes are here to delight;
Oceans and mountains and flora and fauna -
Too many marvels for us to recite.
Refrain:
Wonder and radiance,
Beauty, extravagance,
All come together in what we can see;
Nature’s abundance can fill all our senses;
We are in awe of these gifts that are free.

Given for everyone, now and the future ;
Given for sharing, not profit nor greed;
Food for the hungry and drink for the thirsty;
There is sufficient for meeting each need.
Refrain:
Wonder and radiance,
Beauty, extravagance,
All come together in what we can see;
Nature’s abundance can fill all our senses;
We stand in awe of these gifts that are free.

Love and respect for the world all around us
Can make a difference; can halt future doom;
Can bring some healing; prevent grim destruction;
Show our thanksgiving and help nature bloom.
Refrain:
Wonder and radiance,
Beauty, extravagance -
These priceless gifts are for you and for me;
Nature’s abundance can thrill all our senses;
We must protect and preserve all we see.  (© George Stuart 2008)
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

Centering Silence
Let us listen to the silence of this sacred space…
(Silence)

We live at mystery's edge,
Watching for a startling luminescence
Or a word to guide us.

Daily, there are glimmers,
Reflections of a seamless mercy
Revealed in common intricacies.

These circles of grace
Spill out around us
And announce that we are a part of that mystery.
(Kerri Wehlander/ssb)
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

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:
“We Gather Here”
By Barbara Hamilton-Holway (Edited)

We gather here as individual people:
young and old,
male and female,
gay, lesbian and straight,
abled and differently abled…

We gather here as a community of people who are more than categories.
We gather here, each ministering to the other,
meeting one another’s strength,
encouraging wholeness.

We give thanks for this extraordinary blessing.

Here may our minds stretch, our hearts open, our spirits deepen.
Here may we acknowledge our brokenness
and be ever stirred by love’s infinite possibilities.

Traditional Gospel:
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?’

Jesus said:
‘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’.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany: It Matters What We Believe  (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

v1  Some beliefs are like walled gardens.
They encourage exclusiveness,
and the feeling of being especially privileged.
Wm Other beliefs are expansive and lead the way
into wider and deeper sympathies.

v2  Some beliefs are like shadows,
clouding children's days and fears of unknown calamities.
Mn Other beliefs are like sunshine,
blessing children with the warmth of happiness.

v1  Some beliefs are divisive, separating
saved from unsaved, friends from enemies.
All  Other beliefs are bonds in a world community,
where sincere differences beautify the pattern.

v2  Some beliefs are like blinders, shutting off the power
to choose one's own direction.
Mn Other beliefs are like gateways
opening wide vistas for exploration.

v1  Some beliefs weaken a person's selfhood.
They blight the growth of resourcefulness.
Wn Other beliefs nurture self-confidence 
and enrich the feeling of personal worth.

v2  Some beliefs are rigid, like the body of death,
impotent in a changing world.
All  Other beliefs are pliable, like the young sapling,
ever growing with the upward thrust of life. 
(Sophia L Fahs/slt)

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
"The Pen is Greater" (Tune: 'Gragareth', 8 8 8)    320 SLT
The pen is greater than the sword.
To wield a blade or write a word
we need the skill which hands accord.

A surgeon takes a knife to heal;
assassins do the same to kill.
Each acts according to their will.

I pick the cherries from a tree,
or break the branch and let it die.
For good or ill, my hands are free.

With fingers I can soothe a brow,
or make a fist and strike a blow,
kindness or cruelty bestow.

Then let us now this lesson see:
like life itself our hands can be
for evil used, or charity.  
(John A Storey)

OR

Beautiful Presence(Tune: ‘Beautiful Presence’)      9 HoS
Beautiful presence, how can we name you?
Words are too small for the one who is all.
How can we speak of your gentleness in us,
the warmth of our hearts in response to your call?
Refrain:
Beautiful presence, ocean of love,
strong as forever, soft as a dove.
Words often fail us, but this we know true,
you live within us as we live in you.

There have been times of spiritual blindness,
when error and pain have distorted our sight.
Beautiful presence, you were there with us,
to show us how darkness can turn into light.
Refrain:

Nothing that happens to us will be wasted,
all of our living is grounded in grace.
Gently you take down the walls of division,
leading us on to a larger place. (Joy Cowley)
Refrain:
People sit

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:
Creation thrums with Being

and peals the Word - 'I am'.
All We sometimes remember
to whisper the antiphon, 'We are'
.  (VArnold/es)

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

May we be blessed as we embrace the future.
Blessed as we lay down the past.
And blessed in the present moment
with lively hope and unexpected wonder. 
(Adapted. Kate McIlhagga/bb)

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.

Presentation
As we bring our offerings forward,
may our whole life move forward,
in good faith,
with good feelings,
and with a good belief about the future. (Francis Macnab/h)

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

Thanksgiving
We give thanks for the wonderful gift of reflective awareness
that allows us to recognise and name 
the presence of a Creative Spirit 
beyond all imagining, in our universe.
All  We give thanks. We pause in wonder.

Everything we have
Everything we see
Everything we do
Everyone we love and everyone who loves us
reveals this sustaining Presence
and our total dependence on it.

We marvel and wonder at the size and complexity of our universe.
We marvel and wonder at the development of life on this planet.
We give thanks for the creative Presence 
that 'energises' this life and all that exists.

We recognise that human life gives this Presence 
a particular way of coming to expression,
and that in us the Presence can sing and dance,
speak and write,
love and create.

Conscious that we live, move, and have our being in this Presence,
we give thanks for people throughout history
who have affirmed this loving presence in all people.

Especially we give thanks for Jesus of Nazareth.
He loved so greatly and taught so clearly and courageously,
he was able to set people free 
from images and ideas and religious practices
that bound them into fear
and a false sense of separation from the Spirit of all Life.

Through him we have learned
how our loving is a sharing in the life of this Spirit.
All In him we see this Presence urging all of us 
to make its creativity on earth more visible.  (Adapt.Michael Morwood/pns)

We also remember the tradition around this meal...
How, on the night before he died
Jesus again shared a meal with his friends.

Through grain and grape, bread and wine,
and in fellowship together,
Jesus spoke of his enduring love for each of them.

So we take this bread and this wine 
mindful of the Presence at work in our lives,
All  in the ordinary, in the everyday,
and in our desire to love as generously as Jesus loved.

Bread and Wine
Bread broken.  Wine poured out.

Bread... the very stuff of life.  Broken.
Wine... fruit of the vine.  Cup full.

Communion
The Bread and the Wine served.

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
“The Suck of Surf through Shingle”  (Tune: ‘Aurelia’, 76 76D)   29 (v1-2) RP
The suck of surf through Shingle,
the hush of turning tide,
the rolling, rhythmic thunder:
that chaos God would ride.
Across the foaming waters
a spirit soared and spilled
until the coarse confusion
was challenged, held and stilled.

Leviathan would play there,
an ark was tossed and turned,
disciples lost their sea-legs
as Galilee was churned.
The water mirrored evil,
a symbol of the hell
that drowned the hopes and wishes
of those caught in its swell.

OR

God – The Dance”  (Tune: ‘Camberwell’, 65 65D)
Do we have a picture of what God may be?
Is it one of power and authority?
Does it help inspire more discovery?
Can we think of dancing metaphorically?

God is Love – can help us into Jesus’ mind;
For this Jewish rabbi is a dance, we find
All his life reminds us what love’s all about;
Dancing in the gospels, he would sing and shout.

Jesus shows us dancing in a loving way;
Costly yet fulfilling; never just display;
Sometimes it’s not easy; we may need a prod;
For to dance with Jesus is to dance with God.
Remain standing

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

After the words, a quiet.
After the songs, a silence.
After the crowd only the memory recalls the gathering.
All  Peace and justice have need of us
after the words, the music,
and the gathering.

God grant us the depth
for dedication to justice with compassion. 
All  God grant us the will
to be apostles of peace.
  (Adapt. Max Coots)

Blessing Words
God bless to us each sign of spring,
each new green shoot,
each lighter day,
each warmer wind.

God bless to us rebirth.  (Kate McIlhagga/bob)
All  Amen. May it be so.

OR

v1  Let us join with the Earth and with each other
   To bring new life to the land
   To restore the waters
   To refresh the air

v2  To protect the animals
   To treasure the trees
   To gaze at the stars

 v3  To cherish the human community
   To heal the Earth
   To remember the children
All   Let us go forth to put our words into action.  (Diana Neu/rb)

Hymn (Cont) “The Suck of Surf through Shingle”  (Tune: ‘Aurelia’, 76 76D)    29 (v3) RP
A metaphor for anguish
commotion without God,
a place where love seemed vanquished,
where hatred's footsteps trod.
But walking on that water
and stilling waves of rage,
where maddened swine had floundered
God's love had come of age.  
© Andrew Pratt
The people sit after the hymn

OR

God – The Dance”  (Cont)  (Tune: ‘Camberwell’, 65 65D)
Love is never static, always finds a way
To be kind and gentle; to be warm each day;
Like a dance with rhythm, love is never still;
Lightens every burden and prolongs each thrill.

God, the Love Dance, call us – use your energy
To live every moment in a dance with Me.
Dancing solo can be quite a misery.
Dancing with Me helps you find your destiny.  (George Stuart 2008)
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:
(HSNW) Bell, J. L Heaven Shall Not Wait. Wild Goose Songs Vol. 1. Revised edition. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 1989.
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.
Burgess, R.
A Book of Blessings. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Dobson, M.
Multi-coloured Maze. Drama, Hymns, Prayers and Poems for Worship and Everyday Living. London. Stainer & Bell, 2004.
Duncan, G. (ed).
Shine On, Star of Bethlehem. A worship resource for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2001.
(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.
Macnab, F. Hope: The Deeper Longings of the Mind and Heart. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 1996.
Mitchell, R. C. & G. A. Ricciuti. Birthings and Blessings. Liberating Worship Services for the Inclusive Church. New York: Crossroads, 1992.
Morwood, M. Praying a New Story. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2003.
Neu, D. L. Return Blessings: 
Ecofeminist Liturgies Renewing the Earth. Cleveland. Pilgrim Press, 2002.
(RP) Pratt, A. Reclaiming Praise. Hymns from a Spiritual Journey. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2006
(SLT)
Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
(SNS3) 
Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 3. Toronto. George Stuart, 2011.

Web sites/Other:
Hamilton-Holway, Sorrill, Coots. UUA Worship Web. Boston.  <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
God – The Dance”. George Stuart. Direct from the author.
V Arnold. Eureka Street eZine 20, 23. 23/11/10.

rexae74@gmail.com