Pentecost23A.12.11.2017

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
12 November 2017. Pentecost 23A. (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

As we gather in all our diversity…
Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

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

In the mystery of life about us there is light.
Let the light we kindle go before us,
strong in hope,
wide in good will,
inviting the new day to come.
  (Adapt.GKBeach)

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
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, new 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 deem;
Can bring some healing; prevent 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)

OR

For the Music of Creation”     41 AA
For the music of creation,
for the song your Spirit sings,
for your sound's divine expression,
burst of joy in living things:
God, our God, the worlds composer,
hear us, echoes of your voice:
music is your art, your glory,
let the human heart rejoice!

Psalms and symphonies exalt you,
drum and trumpet, string and reed,
simple melodies acclaim you,
tunes that rise from deepest need,
hymns of longing and belonging,
carols from a cheerful throat,
lilt of lullaby and lovesong
catching heaven in a note.

All the voices of the ages
in transcendent chorus meet,
worship lifting up the senses,
hands that praise and dancing feet;
over discord and division
music speaks your joy and peace,
harmony of earth and heaven,
song of God that cannot cease! 
Shirley Erena Murray
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
As the sea gathers its waters
for the next waves on the shore:
All  
So God’s people gather for loving.

As the notes of harmony congregate
for the sound of music:
All  So God’s people cluster in community.

As the wind sweeps the air
into great clouds of beauty:
All  So God’s people wonder at creation.
(Adapt.Dorothy McRae-McMahon/plpm)

Act of Awareness
Within us is the courage of creators,
to make bold plans,
to make wise use of materials and powers.

Progress is not inevitable,
except when we take that which is merely possible,
and by our determination
make it inevitable. (Kenneth L Patton/sscl)

OR

We pray:
Steadfast God, you visit us in our aloneness
but we express you best in our togetherness.

May our time together express
that quality of fellowship, which is a
true expression of your presentness. 
(Adapt. Donald S Harrington/owos)
May it be so.

Hymn  “Keep Wide Your Heart”  (Tune: ‘Trentham’, Breathe on Me, Breath of God)
Keep wide your heart to love,
all it might ever be.
Count not the cost love may impose;
to pay it, our deepest need.

Keep wide your mind to truth,
all it might ever mean.
All self-delusions, let them go
and truth, it will set you free.

Keep wide your life to dreams
easing the fear-filled night,
until each possibility
glows with a persistent light.

Keep wide the road to hope.
Clear off its weed-fill’d way,
that all might walk it, side by side,
toward a more perfect day.  (© 2016 Gretta Vosper)

OR

"Where the Road Runs Out"     156 AA
Where the road runs out and the signposts end,
where we come to the edge of today,
be the God of Abraham for us,
send us out upon our way.
Refrain:
Lord, you were our beginning,
the faith that gave us birth.
We look to you, our ending,
our hope for heaven and earth.

When the coast is left and we journey on
to the rim of the sky and the sea,
be the sailor's friend, be the dolphin Christ,
lead us in to eternity.
Refrain:

When the clouds are low and the wind is strong,
when tomorrow's storm draws near,
be the spirit bird hovering overhead
who will take away our fear. 
Colin Gibson
Refrain:
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
We are gathered together in this sacred place
to seek strength and courage for this, and the coming days.
So let this time of silence gently enfold us.
(Silence)

Here may the world's tumultuous demands fall away.
Here may troubled heart finds rest.
(Silence)

And here once more, may we commit ourselves
to the building of a nobler life, for all humankind.
(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:
“The Life of All”
By Miriam Therese Winter. Bread of Tomorrow/137.  (Based on Psalm 104)

God of power,
God of people,
You are the life of all
that lives,
energy
that fills the earth,
vitality
that brings to birth,
the impetus
toward making whole
whatever is bruised
or broken.

In you we grow
to know the truth
that sets all creation free.

You are the song
the whole earth sings,
the promise
liberation brings,
now and forever.

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 25:1-13 (Inclusive Text/Adapt)

When talking about the final coming in glory,’
Jesus spoke this parable to the disciples:

The kingdom of heaven will be like this…
Ten young women took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.

When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them;
but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them
became drowsy and slept.

But at midnight there was a shout:
‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to met him.’

Then all those young women got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish said to the wise:
‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’

But the wise replied:
'No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers
and buy some for yourselves.’

And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came,
and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet;
and the door was shut.

Later the other young women came also, saying,
‘Master, master, open to us.’
But he replied: ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’

Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Rainbow Creed (Optional)
The people stand

Brothers and sister in creation, we covenant this day
with you and with all creation yet to be:
Wm With every living creature and all that
contains and sustains you,
Mn With all that is on earth and with the earth itself,
Wm
With all that lives in the waters and with the waters themselves,
Mn With all that flies in the skies and with the sky itself.

We establish this covenant that all our powers
will be used to prevent your destruction.
Wm We lament that it is our own kind
who threatens your and our survival.

We ask for your trust and as a symbol of our intention
we mark our covenant with you by the rainbow.
Mn
This is a sign of the covenant between ourselves
and every living thing that is found on the earth.  (wwf/lol)

OR

A Remembrance Day Litany: Ashes, Stones, and Flowers (Optional)
In memory of all Victims of War and Terrorism


The litany requires either actually standing at a running river or a lake, or if that is not feasible bringing a large basin of water into the center of a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other space.  It also requires having a list of names of people of various countries who have died and are dying as victims of war and terrorism.

For vibrant lives suddenly and shamelessly sacrificed,
We lift up the ashes of our loss, 
O Source of Life.



For the lives that continue, haunted forever by the pain of absence,
We lift up the ashes of our remorse, 
O Wellspring of Compassion.



For the conflagration of flames and nightmare images
forever seared into our memories,
We lift up the ashes of our pain, 
O Breathing Spirit of the World.

For the charred visions of peace and the dry taste of fear,
We lift up the ashes of our grief, 
O Infinite.



For all the deaths that have been justified by turning the love of God
or country into fanatical arrogance,
We lift up the ashes of our shame, 
O God.



All  As we cast/place these ashes into the troubled water of our times,
Transforming One, hear our plea:

Mn that by your power they will make fertile the soil of our future
Wn and by your mercy nourish the seeds of peace.



The people recite the names of the dead.


The people cast the ashes in silence into the river or a bowl of water.

For the ways humanity pursues violence rather than understanding
We lift up the stones of our anger, 
O Breathing Spirit of the World.

For the ways we allow national, religious and ethnic boundaries
to circumscribe our compassion,
We lift up the stones of our hardness, 
O Wellspring of Compassion.



For our addiction to weapons and the ways of militarism
We lift up the stones of our fear, 
O Source of Life.



For the ways we cast blame and create enemies
We lift up the stones of our self-righteousness, 
O God

.

All  As we cast/place these stones into this troubled water,
Transforming One, hear our plea:



Mn Just as water wears away the hardest of stones,
Wn so too may the power of your compassion soften the hardness of our hearts
and draw us into a future of justice and peace.



The people recite the names of the dead.


The people cast the stones in silence into the river or a second bowl of water.

For sowing seeds of justice to blossom into harmony,
We cast/place these flowers into the water, 
O Source of Peace.

For seeing clearly the many rainbow colours of humanity and earth,
We cast these flowers into water, 
O Infinite.



For calling us to life beyond our grieving,
We cast these flowers into water, 
O Breathing Spirit of the World.



All As we cast these flowers into this living water,
Transforming One, hear our plea:



Mn Just as water births life in a desert and gives hope to the wounded,
Wn so too may the power of your nurturing renew our commitment to peace.



The people recite the names of the dead.


The people cast/place the flowers in silence into the river or a bowl of water.




• The above Litany by Rev Patricia Pearce, former pastor of Tabernacle United Church, Philadelphia, and Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of The Shalom Center.


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
Honour the Dead. Hymn for Anzac Day/Remembrance Day(Tune: ‘Anzac’, 10 10 10 10)    61 HoS
Honour the dead, our country's fighting brave,
honour our children left in foreign grave,
where poppies blow and sorrow seeds her flowers,
honour the crosses marked forever ours.

Weep for the places ravaged by our blood,
weep for the young bones buried in the mud,
weep for the powers of violence and greed,
weep for the deals done in the name of need.

Honour the brave whose conscience was their call,
answered no bugle, went against the wall,
suffered in prisons of contempt and shame,
branded as cowards, in our country's name.

Weep for the waste of all that might have been,
weep for the cost that war has made obscene,
weep for the homes that ache with human pain,
weep that we ever sanction war again.

Honour the dream for which our nation bled,
held now in trust to justify the dead,
honour their vision on this solemn day:
peace known in freedom, peace the only way.  Shirley Erena Murray

OR

"From The Depths Of All Our Yearning" (Tune: ‘Ode to Joy’)
From the depths of all our yearning,
From the heights of all our joy,
From the breadth of all our sorrow,
God as wellspring Love outpours;
Guiding, teaching, filling, meeting,
Reaching us with hope and peace.
Greatest mystery, ground of being,
May your presence never cease.

As we walk this life-long journey,
Be the one close by our side.
May we hear the Spirit’s Wisdom
In our hearts as faithful guide.
When religion all around us
Preaches sin, corruption, shame,
Whisper still to us the beauty
Of the One whose name we claim.

Draw our focus to this moment
So we live abundantly,
Not in future halls of glory
But in ways that keep us free.
Free to live your love in action,
Free to answer when you call,
Free to change the world a fraction
From the horrors that appall.

Give us eyes to see the other,
Give us ears to hear their pain.
Give us hands to reach beyond
The things which merely bring us gain.
May we feel the whole Creation
Groaning, struggling to survive.
Show us how we help or hinder
In its fight to stay alive.

So in conflict, laughter, suffering,
Terror, sorrow, joy and gain,
May we know the God who struggles
With and for us in our pain.
May we feel that Life beside us,
Strength within, and Ground beneath,
Knowing that, through all life’s journey
This great love will never cease.  © Val Webb

OR

May We Cast the Vision (Tune: ‘King’s Weston’)

Are we not still dreaming

of a world of peace,

where all live in freedom

and all hatred’s ceased?

Are we not still hoping

for a fair new day,

one for which all suffering

long before did fade?

Have we not the knowledge

that can feed each child,

shelter ev’ry family,

nations reconcile?

Have we not the wisdom

to look back and see

all that’s come between us

throughout history?

Can we not be faithful

to the call of love;

all it builds between us,

is that not enough?

Can we not find reasons

to reach out and share –

all we own, together –

all because we care?

On this day, we’re dreaming

of a world made bright,

freed from all its sorrows,

living into light.

May we feel the courage

stirring deep within.

May we cast the vision

and this work begin.  (2017 gretta vosper)
People sit

Offerings
Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
shall now be received.

Presentation
For all the saints who went before us
who have spoken to our hearts
All We express our thanks.

For all the saints who live beside us
All We offer our gratitude.

For all the saints who live beyond us,
who challenge us to change the world with them
All We pledge our courage.  (Adapt.Janet Morley/bot)

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 caring for one another
All  May we be untiring.

In sheltering one another

All  May we be strong.

In holding one another

All  May we be tender.  (Gretta Vosper/ab).

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 the sacred 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

SCATTERING

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
Get On With It”  (Tune: “Irish”, 86 86)
Get on with it and go to those,
to those who need you most,
and bigger questions, they will wait,
you're needed at your post.

Get on with it, for death will wait,
you have a life to live.
Look all around to those in need,
you have so much to give.
Remain standing

Parting Words
The God we worship is never confined to this sacred place.
So go and travel with the God who is found
in ordinary and surprising places.
The Community Candle is extinguished

You are wayfarers, following roads to the end of the earth,