Revd Rex A E Hunt
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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
2 July 2017. Pentecost 4A. (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
From the wintry white wastes of the Antartic,
to the burning summer heat of the Equator,
the seasons of the year
spice and flavour our universe. (SHardwick/hfw)
Let us then celebrate the richness and diversity of life.
Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit
This flame is warm as the companionship of friends is warm.
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 Beauty Ever Ancient" (Tune: 'Manor Place', Colin Gibson) 107 HoS
O beauty ever ancient,
O beauty ever new,
divine and Holy Presence
my being sings to you.
my being sings to you!
O beauty in creation,
in world of sound and sight,
O Beauty in the silence,
in darkness as in light,
O beauty that is movement
in liquid line of grace,
O beauty that is stillness
in lovely form or face,
O beauty of the Spirit
where love is shining through,
O beauty ever ancient,
O beauty ever new,
Refrain: (Shirley Erina Murray)
"For This Great Sunburnt Land" (Tune: ‘Nun Danket’. 106(i) TiS)
For this great sunburnt land
We join in celebration,
With all its native life,
The joy of God's creation:
Fresh lakes and tall blue gums
Who raise their voice on high,
Black swans that sweep with grace
Across the morning sky.
Now thank we, God, this day
For pioneers with vision,
Who found this heritage
A gift from God's deep passion.
O God of this wide land,
Grant us the faith to see,
You filled its soul with song,
A sacred mystery.
With this great sunburnt land
We join in celebration,
With roos and cockatoos
And mobs from ev'ry nation;
Custodians God chose
For bush and billabong,
We join with grateful voice
To sing this country strong. © Norman Habel/hh
Remain standing after the hymn
Empowering God, when the road ahead looms endless,
All empower us to be companions
for one another along the road.
Inspiring God, when the road forward is blocked,
All inspire in us creative responses
that move us beyond the barriers.
Enabling God, when the road before us divides,
All enable us to feel your presence luring us on.
Act of Awareness
How did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
all its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light
Against its Being.
Otherwise, we all remain
too frightened. (Hafiz)
As we listen to the life of our city, may we sense
a Sacred Presence in its murmuring rhythms,
its working and walking and talking,
its colours and faces and longings.
May it be so.
Hymn “God Beyond, Within, Between” (Tune: ‘St Magnus’, 86 86) 20 SNS
God is beyond, within, between;
The now and what has been;
God in the future and before;
The ever wondrous 'More'.
God is beyond gods we create
Ev'n those we venerate.
God is beyond what is beyond,
But still our hearts respond.
God is within, the force we know
In all life's ebb and flow,
In God we live and move and be,
And touch and taste and see.
And God we know is in between,
Involved but still unseen,
When fostering in you and me
A rich community.
God is within to sanctify;
Beyond to glorify;
God is between to beautify;
Of this we testify. (George Stuart)
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 a silence among us…
May God’s stillness and peace rest upon us.
May God’s presence permeate all our living.
May God’s blessing bloom around us.
Music of Reflection
Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Some readings from our broad religious tradition shall now be read.
The reader is (NN).
Genesis 22:1-2, 9-14 (NRSV)
God tested Abraham. God said to Abraham,
“Take you son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah,
and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains…
When they came to the place that God had shown him,
Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order.
He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.
Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to, kill his son.
But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said,
And he said, "Here I am."
The angel of the Lord said,
"Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him;
for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son,
your only son, from me."
And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns.
Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up
as a burnt offering instead of his son.
Abraham called that place "The-Lord-will-provide";
as it is said to this day,
"On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided”.
From the World of Theology:
“Jesus as Rebel”
By B Brandon Scott, in Re-imagine the World/138.
Jesus' revolt takes a very special form.
He revolts in parable.
I see no evidence that Jesus was leading a political revolution
or that he had a social program in mind.
He clearly affected the lives of people, but he was not a social organizer or activist.
Although the idea is now out of fashion,
Jesus the oral storyteller seems to me closer to a poet.
The activist will always be dissatisfied with the poetic vision,
but change comes about because a creative individual has that vision.
Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
“God of Diversity” (Tune: ‘Margaret’, Colin Gibson) 40 HoS
God of diversity, vibrant creation
is bursting with signs of extravagant joy.
In riot of blossom, in species unnumbered
we see that all difference is ours to enjoy.
God of diversity, nations and cultures
tell of the richness life offers to all.
In language and symbol, in story and doctrine
we clothe our experience, respond to your call.
God of diversity, humans embody
the interdependence of ear, eye and hand;
we struggle to learn, in this globe-become-village,
our need of each other in every land.
God of diversity, help us to honour
our different perspectives on things that are true,
as, knowing more deeply the God in Christ Jesus,
we learn how to worship with all who love you. (Margaret Bond)
Matthew 10: 40-42 (Inclusive Text)
Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows:
'Those who welcome you welcome me;
and those who welcome me welcome the One who sent me.
'Those who welcome a prophet because that person is a prophet
will have a prophet's reward; and those
who welcome the righteous because they are righteous
will have the reward of the righteous.
'Those who give so much as a cup of cold water to one
of these little ones because they are my disciples,
then I tell you solemnly, they will most certainly not lose their reward.'
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 give thanks for the shared life we experience in each other
and that the way we live and celebrate together
will encourage that life.
All We affirm that we see and experience this life in our midst.
It invites other life in us.
It gives life to people beyond us.
We affirm that in each of our sacred places life can be sustained,
All that in us new life can emerge and grow,
and that hope for life is to be cherished every day.
And as we gather in this our sacred place
during this season of winter, we hold ourselves open
to all the new possibilities before us.
All We commit ourselves to go on trying to care for each other,
giving and receiving in a sharing of gifts and graces,
that we may continue to be part
of the transforming life of God. (Adapt. Dorothy McRae-McMahon/plpm)
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
“Let My Spirit Always Sing” (Tune: 'Rebekah') 41 FFS
Let my spirit always sing,
though my heart be wintering,
though the season of despair
give no sign that you are there,
God to whom my days belong,
let there always be a song.
Though my body be confined,
let your word engage my mind,
let the inner eye discern
how much more there is to learn,
see a world becoming whole
through the window of the soul.
Let your wisdom grace my years,
choose my words and chase my fears,
give me wit to welcome change,
to accept, and not estrange,
let my joy be full and deep
in the knowledge that I keep.
Let my spirit always sing,
to your Spirit answering,
through the silence, through the pain
know my hope is not in vain,
like a feather on your breath
trust your love, through life and death. Shirley Erena Murray
“’Til All, In Truth, Are Free” (Tune: ’Aurelia’ 76 76D)
If truth still guides our journey,
where does it lead from here?
Our world lies there before us
but nothing seems that clear.
We used to think we knew things,
that all had been revealed,
but now all truths we question,
and much is yet concealed.
Our faith in higher powers,
our confidence in love,
our hope for bright tomorrows
our trust in things above –
each must be proved and tested:
what’s fantasy, what’s truth?
It’s while we’re on this journey,
we one another soothe.
If we would share with others
the way we choose to live;
if justice and compassion
inspired us all to give,
we would not need to worry
that truths do not agree
for all could live together
in love and harmony.
So walk with me in courage
across truth’s great divides.
We’ll listen to each other
until the hate subsides.
Together we’ll speak boldly
of what the world still needs
and speak a truth to power
‘til all, in truth, are free. (Gretta Vosper/2015)
Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,
shall now be received.
We give thanks for our life and the courage we are given to live it.
Let our gratitude for life be expressed in our generosity.
Let our faith be expressed in good causes.
Let our belief in the future find full expression
in our daily attitude of mind. (Adapt.Francis
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 safe space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Celebrations; Griefs and Concerns shared
In the light and beauty of day
All We give thanks in awe and wonder.
In the dark and stillness of night
All We dream of healing and hope. (Gretta Vosper/wwg)
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
Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
“When Life Juggles” (Tune: ‘Normandy’, 87 87D) 5 (v1) MH
When life juggles with our learning,
with the things we thought secure,
then it seems the artist’s palette
spins and faith becomes obscure.
In the wash of different colours,
as we seek for shape and form,
others paint their faith by numbers
forcing God to fit some norm
Time has now come for us to leave this sacred place.
As we do, may we embrace the challenges
of our lives and our world...
The Community Candle is extinguished
We have come together
to share our concerns,
to speak words of inspiration and
to sing words of hope.
All May we now commit ourselves to do what we can
to ease the burdens of others who suffer, and
to work for a more wholesome environment for us,
and for all the generations that will follow. (Bob Kaufmann/adapted)
Words of Blessing
The peace of this ancient earth to you...
of the high blue heavens which embrace it,
and the winds which blow freely over it.
The peace of splintered light sparkling on gum leaves,
and gentle rain falling on parched earth.
The peace of star-jewelled skies and full-orbed moons,
of breathless dawns and splendid dying suns.
And the peace of the God of Peace to you (Eliz. Howie/grpe).
All Amen. May it be so.
Hymn (Cont) "When Life Juggles” (Tune: ‘Normandy’, 87 87D) 5 (v2) MH
But when life has torn the canvas,
when the numbers twist and slip;
then we need to find an image
that will help our hope to grip:
holding us, when we're past holding,
grounding when we're insecure,
till we find a faith, not drifting,
still dynamic, free, yet sure. © Andrew Pratt 28/5/2010
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:
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.
Duncan, G. (ed). Harvest for the World. A Worship Anthology on Sharing in the Work of Creation. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2003.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
(HH) Habel, Norman. Habel Hymns 1. Songs to Celebrate with Creation. Adelaide. Flinders Press, 2004.
(HoS) Hope is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.
Holy Bible. NRSV. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2004.
Iona Community. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Liebelt, P. & N. Nicholls. (ed). Gentle Rain on Parched Earth. Worship Resources for Rural Situations. Melbourne. JBCE, 1996.
McRae-McMahon, D. Prayers for Life's Particular Moments. Thornbury. DesBooks, 2001.
Macnab, F. A Fine Wind is Blowing: Psalms of the Bible in Words that Blow you away. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2006.
(MH) Pratt, A. More Than Hymns. Words for a Lyrical Faith. London. Stainer & Bell, 2015.
Scott, B. B. Re-imagine the World. An introduction to the Parables of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press, 2001.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
(SNS) Stuart, G. 2006. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with new Century Lyrics. Sydney. CPRT Sydney.
Vosper, G. 2008. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
Keip, Kaufmann, UUA Worship Web. Boston. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Gretta Vosper. “’Til All, In Truth, Are Free” Direct from the author