Pentecost22A.5.11.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au

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A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
5 November 2017  Pentecost 22A (Green)


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

Look to the salutation to the dawn,
Look to this day for it is life,
the very life of life.  (Adapt.Sanskrit/ep)

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

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

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  People stand as they are able, to sing
Life into Life, the Threads are Woven(Tune: Stanley Street’)      28 TEL
Life into life, the threads are woven,
parent and child,
partner and friend;
tokens of love received and given:
joy at each birth,
grief at each end.
God of all time, all loves, all living,
hear as we bring our hearts' thanksgiving.

Life into life, our ways cross over,
culture and place,
neighbour and race;
in your good world help us discover
imprint of grace
in every face.
God of all time, all loves, all living,
hear as we bring our hearts' thanksgiving.

Life into life, when love is spoken,
everyday things
give our heart wings,
life-changing ills when things are broken,
turn us to you,
seeing what's true,
God of all time, all loves, all living,
hear as we bring our hearts' thanksgiving.

Life into life, your Holy Spirit
quickens the mind,
lifts humankind,
gives to our stream of days its current,
livens the slow,
charges the flow,
God of all time, all loves, all living,
hear as we bring our hearts' thanksgiving.

Life into life, the world goes spinning,
catching your light,
gaining new sight;
you give us hope, a fresh beginning,
life's very breath,
life out of death.
God of all time, all loves, all living,
hear as we bring our hearts' thanksgiving.  (Shirley Erena Murray)

OR

Where Wide Sky Rolls Down(Tune: ‘Hanover’, 55 55 65 65)   188 TiS
Where wide sky rolls down and touches red sand,
where sun turns to gold the grass of the land,
let spinifex, mulga and waterhole tell
their joy in the One who made everything well.

Where rain-forest calm meets reef, tide and storm,
where green things grow lush and oceans are warm,
let every sea-creature and tropical bird
exult in the light of the life-giving Word.

Where red gum and creek cross hillside and plain,
where cool tree-ferns rise to welcome the rain,
let bushland, farm, mountain-top, all of their days
delight in the Spirit who formed them for praise.

Now, people of faith, come gather around
with songs to be shared, for blessings abound!
Australians, whatever your culture or race,
come, lift up your hearts to the Giver of grace.  (Elizabeth J Smith)

OR

"Spirit of God, Creation's Force”  (Tune: ‘Fulda’, 88 88)
Spirit of God, creation's force,
and power of evolution's course,
gave breath of life to humankind
and then inspired inventive mind.

Spirit of history's linked events
has shown repeated evidence
of hidden influence, working through
all our world leaders try to do.

Spirit of prophet's utterance
proclaimed in needy circumstance
a word of God, through human voice
with challenge to courageous choice.

Spirit of power and truth and grace,
renews today the human race,
bestowing gifts, producing fruits,
promoting godly attributes.

Spirit, possess and fill us whole,
fill every heart and mind and soul,
infuse our being with your power
that we may serve this present hour.  (Richard Firth.Adapt. (c) 1997 Stainer & Bell Ltd)
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
v1 A morning mist,
the gleam of a new day,
faintly we discern the possibilities
that are before us.
All  Energy rising, plans turning to action,
we build our every yesterday
from the living of our days.

v2  May we live our hope into tomorrow.
All  May we wrap our lives around
the challenges of today.

v1 And in the quiet of the sacred space,
may we listen at the centre of our being
for the truth of our inner voice
v2  that sets before us the purpose of this day. (Adapt.Gretta Vosper/ab)

Act of Awareness
You are in the story of the world.
You are the world coming to know itself.
May you trust that all you will ever say or do
Belongs in the story of the world.  (Ean Huntington Behr)

OR

Creating God, extend our vision to perceive
that this is your world.
You are in it.
You pervade it.
You enfold it.
It is immersed in you.

Open our eyes to see in the depth of reality
To see that we dwell in you.
May it be so.

Hymn
Earth Is Enough”  (Tune: ‘Fillmore’, 88 88 88)    180 HCL
Here on the paths of every day
Here on the common human way
Is all the stuff the gods would take
To build a heaven, to mould and make
New Edens. Ours the task sublime
To build eternity in time.

We need no other stones to build
The temple of the unfulfilled
No other ivory for the doors
No other marble for the floors
No other cedar for the beam
And dome of man’s immortal dream.  (Edwin Markham, 1913)

OR

When Earth Wakes from Out of Sleep(Tune: ‘Lucerna Laudoniae’, 88 88 88)
When Earth wakes from out of sleep
With a terrifying shake,
Does our faith lie torn apart
Like the dwellings we forsake?
Cosmic God, each process shows
Parts of wisdom Earth well knows.

Once we thought that earthquakes came
From a god to punish wrong;
Now we know they place Earth’s plates
Where for now they should belong.
Cosmic God, each process shows
Parts of wisdom Earth well knows.

If we think that all that comes
Is made solely for our good,
We have placed ourselves above
Cosmic ways and livelihood.
Cosmic God, each process shows
Parts of wisdom Earth well knows. 

If Earth’s plates now need to move,
Its great need exceeds our own,
And it does not take account
Where we choose to make our home.
Cosmic God, each process shows
Parts of wisdom Earth well knows.

For the answers we return
To the Cosmos and its ways,
Ways that humble all our pride,
Ways that fill our hearts with praise.
Cosmic God of everything,
Your great mystery now we sing.  (William L Wallace)
People sit after the song

Welcome  In your own words
A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are here 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 be still for a few moments and co-create a space for
more gratitude,
greater compassion,
sensitive understanding,
soft human emotions,
and honesty.

Gratitude to be alive and to have choices…
With compassion to give and receive…
Understanding as to build bridges and seek creative solutions…
Emotions as to be approachable and real…
Honesty and integrity to thoroughly take into account all perspectives…
(Silence)

We gather… all people, unique yet connected;
all people varied yet one.

Together we seek a balance between individual needs
and communal possibilities,
now in these moments and beyond.  (Rob Kleinheksel/C3Exchange, 2010)
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
From the World Around us:
“A Wise Old Woman”
(Author Unknown)

Once there was a wise old woman who lived in a small village.
The children of the village were puzzled by her:
her wisdom, her gentleness, her strength. 

One day several children decided to test the old woman.
They believed that no one could be as wise as everyone said she was,
and were determined to prove it.

So the children found a baby bird
and one of the boys cupped it in his hands and said to his playmates:
”We'll ask her whether the bird I have in my hand is dead or alive.
If she says it is dead, I will open hands and let it fly away.
If she says it's alive, I'll crush it in my hands and she'll see that it is dead.”

So the children went to the old woman and presented her with this puzzle.
"Old woman," the boy said, "this bird in my hands -- is it dead or alive?" 

The woman became very still, studied the boy's hands,
then looked carefully into his eyes.
"It's in your hands whether the bird will stay alive or will die,” she said. 

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 23:1-12 (Inclusive Text)

Jesus said to the crowds and to the disciples:
‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses chair;
therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it;
but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach.

‘They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear,
and lay them on the shoulders of others;
but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.

‘They do all their deeds to be seen by others,
for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long.

‘They love to have the place of honour at banquets
and the best seats in the synagogues,
and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces,
and to have people call them rabbi.

‘But you are not to be called rabbi,
for you have one teacher, and you are all students.
And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father – the one in heaven.
Nor are you to be called teacher, for you have one teacher, the Messiah.

‘The greatest among you will be your servant.
All who exalt themselves will be humbled,
and all who humble themselves will be exalted’.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

An Affirmation of Faith  (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

v1  We worship and adore God,
All  source, essence, and aim of all things,
spirit that enlivens all beings.

v2  We follow the way of Jesus, who found God in himself
and shared a way for others to find God in themselves.
All  He was born through love,
He lived for love,
He suffered for love,
He died for love,
But love never dies.

v1 We submit ourselves to the leadings of the love that is God,
All  that we may be compassionate to all beings,
that we may live and serve in community with others,
that we may ask for and offer forgiveness,
that we may praise and enjoy God forever. 
(Jim Burklo/b&b)

Sharing ‘The Peace’
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.

May a heart of peace rest with you.  (David Galston/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
Cavalcade of Cultures”  (Tune: ‘Abbotsleigh’, 87 87D)
In this cavalcade of cultures
drawn from all around the earth
we have found both home and friendship,
recognised each other’s worth.
Gathered with our friends and neighbours,
with the ones we’ve yet to know,
we will celebrate our vision:
here God’s love can thrive and grow.

Here where dreams are framed then fashioned
for a future out of time;
let us pledge to work together
bringing harmony and rhyme;
let us dance with one another,
treading gently, leaping high,
as we nurture understanding,
share in laughter, feel each sigh.

Now we stand as one together,
celebrate all we have found,
all God given faith and courage
mixed in colour, light and sound.
Sing the praise of God who found us,
brought us safely to this place,
God whose love is all around us,
seen in every neighbour’s face.  (©Andrew Pratt 30/9/2008)

OR

Faith is an Energy”  (Tune: ‘Forest Green’)    22 SNS4
A faith renewed is on the move;
This faith cannot stand still;
It brings to life an energy;
Enhances life’s good-will;
It is not built on certainty;
It craves no rigid creed;
Yet stirring deep within this faith
Is blossom from its seed. 

A faith renewed is future bound;
Not stagnant in the past;
It looks for new, exciting paths
In which life can be cast;
We honour and respect the word
Which in our past was taught,
But venture forth to new frontiers -
The promptings of new thought. 

A faith renewed is our response
To issues of our day;
With energy we face our time;
We do not turn away;
This energy is such a gift
To each and everyone;
This faith enlightens every day
As wondrous as the sun.   (George Stuart)
People sit

CELEBRATING

Offerings
We are surrounded by the beauty of the Earth.
We are supported by the abundance of the Earth.
In thankful response let us share our offerings
as part of our celebration of life in this place.

Presentation
The landscape of life is wide and near:
a daffodil in bloom,
a single green leaf,
the red and green flash of a parrot in flight.

May we be people of adventure and life,
grace-filled companions, offering
courage and hope in unexpected places.

Conversation 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 safe space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Celebrations; Griefs and Concerns shared

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
Let each of us find a window
All  To see beyond our own enclosures.
Let each of us find a door
All  To open ourselves into new being.  (Adapt.Kenneth Patton/sscl)

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 appropriate

All  Indwelling God, 
infused throughout all existence, 
we honour you with many names. 

Your realm is within the human heart. 
We accept life for all that it can be, 
on earth as throughout all creation. 

May we continue to draw sustenance from this earth, 
and may we receive forgiveness equal to our own. 

May we ever move from separation toward union, 
to live in grace, 
with love in our hearts, 
forever and ever. 
Amen.
(Fred F. Keip) 

SCATTERING

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
The Celebration of Life”  (Tune: ‘Von Himmel Hoch’, LM)    55 (v1-3) SSCL
Life is our reverence and good;
Our dances voice the body’s praise;
Our temples house life’s theme and mood;
Our songs and poems tell its ways.

Now welcome every living hour;
Delight in every‘ newborn day.
Life is our fame; death has no power
Unless our fear gives death its way.

The pliant muscle fills and bends;
The flesh is soft and will not break,
And healing patiently amends
Endurance for the future’s sake.
Remain standing

Parting Words
As we depart one from another,
let our hearts be secure
through every human season.
All  Let our hearts be secure 
in seasons of anguish as in seasons of joy, 
in seasons of failure as in seasons of success, 
in seasons of uncertainty as in seasons of security. 

Let our hearts be secure in this dual reality:
we are worthy recipients of love and support
we can never earn,
All  and we are worthy providers of love and support 
others cannot earn. 

Let our hearts be secure,
All  for hearts know and understand 
and will respond if invited in. 
(James A. Hobart)

Words of Blessing
Continue to fall in love with living
Wrestling with the chaos and the pain
Within ourself and within the world.

Join the celebration of life,
Dancing with the angels and the clowns.

And may the God of peace and joy,
Who is continually making all things new,
Embrace you
As a partner
In the divine creating.  (Adapt.Joyce Boyce-Tillman/wb).

Hymn (Cont).  “The Celebration of Life”  (Tune: ‘Von Himmel Hoch’, LM)    55 (v4-5) SSCL
The seed will fill the emptied spire,
And ebbing clear the sweep to thrive;
The ashes grow the woods to fire,
And death is food to all that live,

We have eternity in full
In this quick sample of our days;
No terror, then, can render null
The joy of all our life and praise.  (Kenneth L Patton, 1967)
The people sit

'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, 2002.
Burgess, R. A Book of Blessings. Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Burklo, J. Birdlike and Barnless: Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians. Saint Johann Press, 2008.
Duncan, G. (ed). A World of Blessing. Benedictions From Every Continent and Many Cultures. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2000.
(HCL) Hymns for the Celebration of Life. Boston: Beacon Press, 1964.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. 2004. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
(TEL) Murray, S. E. Touch the Earth Lightly. New Hymns written between 2003 & 2008. Carol Stream: Hope Publishing, 2008.
(SSCL) Patton, K. Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. Boston. Beacon Press, 1967.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon. Earth Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth. New York. HarperCollins, 1991.
(SNS4) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 4. Toronto. G Stuart, 2013.
(TiS) Together in Song. Australian Hymn Book 2. Sydney. HarperCollins Religious, 1999.
Vosper, G. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.

Web sites/Other:
Behr, Keip, Hobart, UUA Worship Web. Boston. UUA. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Wallace, William. L. One of several Worship Resources available from ProgressiveChristianity.Org  < https://progressivechristianity.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/0.-CELEBRATING-MYSTERY-Index-with-Links-New.pdf>
Richard Firth. Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site: hymns.uk.com
C3Exchange
, Spring Lake. MI. <http://www.c3exchange.org/
Andrew Pratt. “Cavalcade of Cultures” eMail distribution, direct from the author
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/
St Stephen’s Non-Theistic Project. http://stephen.srv.ualberta.ca/publications/non-theistic-liturgy-resources/#sthash.0Sd5KwzN.wLO2Tlw4.dpbs

rexae74@gmail.com