Revd Rex A E Hunt
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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
18 June 2017. Pentecost 5A. (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
Refreshment Station/Water Basins
Pottery basins are set on stands near the entrance to the sanctuary.
Attendees are invited to dip their hands in the cool water in the basins as they arrive.
Or to rinse each other’s hands.
That we may relax, be refreshed, and prepare for this time together.
(Note: A small sign is placed above the basin explaining that as they dip their hands in the water, they are invited to relax and try to mindfully set aside or release for a time anything that might be preventing them from being fully present—each traveler rinsing the “dust from the road”).
Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times
God is in this place.
God has brought us here.
God has made our church a multicultural church!
Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of this life.
Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit
The light waits –
Who will keep the light burning in our day?
Who will take the light into the world?
Who will carry the light into another year?
All Who will carry the light if we do not?
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 the 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
Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
“O Source of Many Cultures” (Tune: ‘King’s Lynn’, 76 76D) 62 WNC
O Source of many cultures,
of lives, beliefs and faith;
you brought us all together
to share one world in space;
Now show us how to honour
each vision of your way,
to live within the tension
of difference you display.
The colour and the culture,
that kept us both apart,
are gifts that we can offer,
a means for us to start
a journey with each other,
till hand in hand we show,
through mutual understanding,
respect and love can grow. Andrew Pratt
“A Firemist and a Planet” (Tune: ‘Thornbury’, 76 76D) 343 SLT
A firmest and a planet
a crystal and a cell,
a starfish and a saurian,
and caves where ancients dwelt;
the sense of law and beauty,
a face turned from the sod
- some call it evolution,
and others call it God.
Haze on the far horizon,
the infinite tender sky,
the ripe, rich tints of [wheat]fields,
and wild geese sailing high;
and over high and low-land,
the charm of golden rod
- some people call it autumn,
and others call it God.
Like tides on crescent sea-beach,
when moon's so new and thin,
into our hearts high yearnings
come welling, surging in,
come from the mystic ocean
whose rim not foot has trod
- some people call it longing,
and others call it God.
A sentry lone and frozen,
a mother starved for her brood,
and Socrates' dread hemlock,
and Jesus on the rood;
and millions, who, though nameless,
the straight, hard pathway trod,
- some call it consecration,
and others call it God. (William H Carruth)
Remain standing after the hymn
We come together today as a fellowship of people
called (NN) to celebrate our unity and diversity.
All We affirm that it is good to belong to a
multicultural church in a multicultural land.
Life is more interesting with our differences -
in colour, language, customs,
and the ways we think, pray and celebrate.
Our pioneers came from lots of different places around the world.
We are different, yet because of the Holy One, we are one.
All Let us worship this One who journeys with us in every way.
Act of Awareness
Marvel at life!
Strive to know its ways!
Seek wisdom and truth,
to life’s mysteries!
Wondrous indeed is life! (Adapt. Rabbi Rami M Shapiro/ep)
God of dreams and visions, renew our vision.
Put a spring in our feet as we set our face
towards the new challenges in store for us.
May it be so.
Hymn "Pilgrims Together" (Tune: ‘Monk's Gate’. 65 65 666.5)
From our different paths and pasts,
Come we together.
Here to sing, to weep, to laugh,
Although the path is long,
One Spirit guides us on.
It is a joy to become,
Feel the fire's warmth and light,
Shine through the darkness.
Come together, share a meal,
Eat, drink together.
Sisters and brothers are we,
Remembering Christ's journey.
His life we celebrate and share,
Once we've rested, strength renewed.
On, on we travel.
Christ our Lord has gone before,
Fear not nor tremble.
For one thing sure are we,
God's children called to be,
Forgiven and set free,
Pilgrims together. (Helen Richmond)
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.
Presentation of Water Basins
Words which acknowledge that the dust of many roads and many life experiences has been rinsed into the basins, and calls for the contents of the basins and the gathering to be transformed, renewed, and more fully alive
The dust of many roads and may life experiences
has been washed in this refreshing water.
For this place is a sacred place.
greet one another with open hearts and minds;
inspire each other to consider new questions
and seek deeper meaning;
and cultivate both wisdom and compassion.
And may this time together empower us to take some new steps
so all our living is transforming and the
yearning of our hearts become reality.
The bowls of water are removed from the worship space
Let there now be silence among us…
Look, listen, in the silences of your own hearts.
Hear the gentle sound of the rising
of the Sacred within you.
Look, listen, in the silences of your common humanness. (MPH2006)
Music of Reflection
Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Some readings from our broad religious tradition shall now be read.
The reader is (NN).
From the World of Theology:
“Christ and the Body of Christ”
By John S Spong. From The Once and Future Jesus/73.
God is real for me, a mystical, undefinable presence that I can experience but never explain.
I experience God as the source of life in the act of living fully.
I experience God as the source of love in the act of loving wastefully.
I experience God as the Ground of Being in the act of having the courage to be.
Jesus is the revelation of this God for me,
not because of miracle stories or excessive pre-modern claims,
but because he is portrayed as one who is fully alive with the life of God,
totally loving with the love of God, and
as one who possesses the capacity to be all that he could be
revealing the very Ground of Being that I call God.
I serve the God that I meet in Jesus,
not by trying to convert others to my way of believing,
but by seeking to transform the world
so that every person might have that God-like capacity
to live fully, to love wastefully and to be all that each person can be.
Matthew 9:35-10:1. (Inclusive Text)
Jesus went about all the cities and villages
teaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and every sickness.
At the sight of the crowds Jesus' heart
was moved with pity for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd.
Then Jesus said to the disciples,
'The harvest is rich but the labourers are few,
so ask the One who oversees the harvest to send labourers to the harvest.'
Jesus summoned the twelve disciples,
and gave them authority over unclean spirits
with power to cast them out
and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness.
Silence for Personal Reflection
A Celebration of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on
let us stand and share together a celebration of our faith.
The people stand as they are able
We are a cloth of diverse colours
made from many gifts and graces.
All We are the people flowing forth from Creativity God,
surprising ourselves with the things which can be done.
We are raw material for rewarding relationships
as our lives interweave,
All contributing one to the other,
holding each other firm when one is weak or breaking.
We are each worthy of being respected and cared for
All essential to the pattern, skilled in our appointed tasks,
sources of laughter and sharers of tears.
We commit ourselves to work together,
All that one day, this world may be a place
where all people live in justice, freedom and peace. (Adapted/Dorothy McRae-McMahon/bst)
Sharing 'The Peace'
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
“Playful God” (Tune: ‘Joyful God’. 77 87) 75 RP
Playful God, you laugh and dance
at every indication
that we have caught a glimpse, a glance
of magic in creation.
Tearful God, you weep and mourn,
you share our desolation;
in every doubt, in pain and grief,
we need your consolation.
Joyful God, we praise your name
in every situation.
Your love will even live through death,
you promise resurrection.
Mighty God, creative heart
and source of our elation,
accept our praise, our lives, our all,
our ceaseless adoration. Andrew Pratt
Reflections and Prayers
We are people of all ages who enter this safe space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Celebrations; Griefs and Concerns shared
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 a 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 the 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 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
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)
Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,
shall now be received.
We give thanks, generous God,
because we owe you more than we can ever repay.
Bless all givers because we need to be generous
in order to be whole.
CELEBRATING (MULTICULTURAL) COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION (Optional)
We who have gathered in this safe and sacred place,
from houses and apartments,
from suburbs east and west, and
from suburbs north and south…
give thanks and praise for all that is good in the world.
For the love we name God,
source of life in heaven and earth and all that is.
For the person we name Jesus,
and his message of peace, justice and inclusiveness that is the realm of God.
For the strength and freedom of the Spirit
always present on the breath of life
All We give thanks for the love, peace,
justice, inclusiveness and freedom,
and for the presentness of God in the midst of life.
God of yesterday, today and tomorrow,
God of our parents and children,
pioneers and original inhabitants, blessed be you.
You are the dwelling place of every generation.
So we join our celebration to all people, saying:
All Holy, holy, holy, re-creating God,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
All Hosanna in the highest.
Bread and Wine
We remember the time when Jesus faced difficult decisions and destructive forces:
- in the days and nights of his searching,
- in finding ways to free others from images and ideas
that kept them captive and dependent and fearful of God,
- in breaking down social and religious barriers,
- in facing failure,
- in facing death.
When we too experience the winter of our lives
may we find the courage to let go
and trust in your guiding, warming light.
And we remember
Jesus has shown us that life is stronger than death.
And as we eat together at this table
we remember the importance and the words and the actions of all meals
in the tradition of Jesus…
Jesus, human like us,
All reveals to us our true identity, temples of God's spirit.
Jesus, human like us,
All reveals God present and active throughout human history.
Jesus, human like us,
All reveals God-always-with-us in our everyday loving.
Jesus, human like us,
All challenges us to let his story be our story also (Michael Morwood 2003).
So we bless and break and share, remembering the Jesus tradition…
bread and juice,
rice cracker and jasmine tea,
coconut 'meat' and milk,
pledging ourselves to allow the spirit that moved in Jesus
to move freely in our lives.
The elements to be served at three points
Bread/grape juice: recalling our historic connections with the ancient Middle Eastern church and the reformation in Europe.
Rice cracker/Jasmine tea: remembering our proximity to Asia and the huge growth of the church there.
Coconut ‘meat’/milk: remembering Australian partnerships and the development of the church in the Pacific islands.
Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
“For the Music of Creation” (Tune: ‘Russington’, 87 87D) 41 (v1-2) 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 love song
catching heaven in a note.
The presentness of God reaches beyond this place...
The Community Candle is extinguished
May we go forth in the certainty of faith,
in the knowledge of love, and in the vision of hope.
All And in our going, may we be blessed
with all good things on this day and forever more. Harold Babcock
Words of Blessing
May the God who dances in creation,
who embraces us with human love,
who shakes our lives like thunder,
bless us and drive us out with power
to fill the world with her justice.
All Amen. May it be so.
Hymn (Cont) “For the Music of Creation” (Tune: ‘Russington’, 87 87D) 41 (v3) AA
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
The people sit after the hymn
'This Week' at (NN)
Birthdays and anniversaries
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:
Abbott, M. Sparks of the Cosmos. Rituals for Seasonal Use. Unley. MediaCom Education, 2001.
Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and Songs for all Churches. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 1993.
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.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2004.
Iona Community. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
McRae-McMahon, D. The Glory of Blood, Sweat and Tears. Liturgies for Living and Dying. Melbourne. JBCE, 1996.
Mission Prayer Handbook: God’s Word. God’s World. Sydney. National Assembly, Uniting Church in Australia, 2006.
Morwood, M. Praying a New Story. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2003.
Patton, K. Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. Boston. Beacon Press, 1967.
Pratt, A. Reclaiming praise. Hymns from a Spiritual Journey. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2006.
Pratt, A. Whatever Name or Creed. Hymns and Songs. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2002.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon. Earth Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth. New York. HarperCollins, 1991.
Helen Richmond. Special Resources. UCA National Assembly. (Issued from time to time).
(SLT) Singing The Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
Spong, J. S. “Christ and the Body of Christ” in R. W. Funk (ed). The Once and Future Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press, 2000.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed). Celebrating Women. New Edition. London. SPCK, 1995.
Withrow, L. Seasons of Prayer. Resources for Worship. London. SPCK, 1995.
Babcock, Keip. UUA Worship Web. Boston. UUA. www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/
Sherri Weinberg. St Paul's Presbyterian Church. NZ: Devonport, 2004.