Pentecost6A16.7.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
16 July 2017. Pentecost 6A. (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

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”).

OR

(A suggestion of other words)
We come together from our separate lives,
each of us bringing our concerns, our preoccupations,
our hopes, and our dreams.

We are not yet fully present.
The traffic, the last-minute cooking, the final details still cling to us.
        Our bodies hold the rush of the past few hours.

It is now time to let go of these pressures
and really arrive…   

When you are ready, repeat silently to yourself: ‘Hineini’ or ‘Here I am’.
Hineini is used in the Torah to signify being present
in body, mind, and spirit.
        It means settling into where we are and simply being “here”. (Adapted/Nan Fink Gene)

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

'Today is a day the Lord has made',
says an old religious writer,
'let us therefore rejoice and be glad in it'.

It is indeed!
For it is a sacred time, this.
And a sacred place, this.

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

OR

We gather here
to celebrate,
to seek the truth,
to grow in love,
to join in service.

We gather here inspired by life's beauty
yet seeking to find healing for its pain,
to honour our kinship with each other and with the earth;
and to create a more compassionate world,
beginning with ourselves.

We gather here
to wonder at the mystery that gave us birth;
to find courage for the journey's end;
and to listen for the wisdom that guides us
in the quietness of this moment.  (Gary Kowalski)

As we gather, let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

We light this flame to affirm that new truth is ever waiting 
to break through to illumine our minds,
May we be always open to the rich possibilities
such an experience brings us.

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, 10. Terrorist Attacks
(iii) PLUS some specific resources on Terrorism HERE

Hymn  The people stand as they are able, to sing
A Man of Ancient Time and Place  (Tune ‘Tallis’ Canon’, 88 88)
A man of ancient time and place
with foreign speech and foreign face,
reveals the glory, power and grace
of costly, unexpected love.

A rabbi, schooled in Moses’ Law,
a male, amending Herod’s flaw,
arouses wonder, rage and awe
with costly, unexpected love.

By teasing word and healing deed,
a leper touched, an outcast freed,
he bears the fruit and plants the seed
of costly, unexpected love.

The cost we barely can surmise
when, lifted up before our eyes,
the face of God we recognize
in crucified, unfathomed love.

May faith and hope within us grow,
the way of Christ to tell and show,
and may the Spirit breathe and blow
in costly, unexpected love. 
Brian Wren

OR

Down The Ages(Tune: ‘Woodland’, 77 77)          2 SLT
Down the ages we have trod
many paths in search of God,
seeking ever to define
the Eternal and Divine.

Some have seen eternal good
pictured best in parenthood,
and a Being throned above
ruling over us in love.

There are others who proclaim
God and Nature are the same,
and the present God-head own
where creation’s laws are known.

There are eyes which best can see
God within humanity,
and God's countenance there trace
written in the human face.

Where compassion is most found
is for some the hallowed ground,
and these paths they upward plod
teaching us that love is God.

Though the truth we can't perceive
this at least we must believe,
what we take most earnestly
is our living Deity.

Our true God we there shall find
in what claims our heart and mind,
and our hidden thoughts enshrine
that which for us is Divine.  (John A Storey)
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
v1 Sisters and brothers, open your hearts,
for faith has come,
and in faith you are set free.
Wm Free, not to mind your words, but to speak the truth in love
.
Mn Free, not to look up to some, and down to others,
but to look kindly eye-to-eye.

v2 So clothe yourself in Christ.
And praise God.  (D L Tuck.adapt/ctl)

Act of Awareness
May your spirit sing
when you feel the mystery of life
pulsing throughout our planet.  (Norman Habel/rm)

OR

We pray:
Spirit of life, present in this hour...
may we sense your presentness as we gather in this sacred place.

Let all who enter here find comfort
and wisdom in this community.
May it be so.

Hymn  To God the Process(Tune: ‘Edith’)    140 HoS
Gloria! Gloria!

To God the process, God the life,
to God compassion’s spring,
to God the boundless way of love,
to God in everything,
to God the inner Christ of faith,
to God the wine and bread,
to God the sacred energy,
the fabric and the thread.

To you, O God, we sing our praise,
we join the cosmic song,
we walk the path that Jesus walked,
we turn our thoughts from wrong.
For you delight in each of us
and we delight in you.
With hearts on fire we live your praise
in all we think and do.

Amen, Amen, Amen, O God,
to you be endless praise.
Shalom, Shalom, Shalom, O God,
our hearts to you we raise.
For you empower and you fulfil
our latent energy,
the universe within our lives
shall dance your liturgy.

Gloria!  (William L Wallace)

OR

Mother Earth, our Mother Birthing(Tune: ‘Praise My Soul…’)     6 HH3
Mother Earth, our mother birthing
Ev’ry creature from the ground.
Jesus too was flesh and breathing,
Kin to all that’s green and brown.
Celebrate with all creation:
God has joined the web of life.

Sister Air, our sister lifting
Ev’ry creature born with wing;
Jesus shared the breath of forests,
Breath that makes our spirits sing.
Celebrate with all creation:
God has joined the web of life.

Brother Water, brother pulsing
Deep through ev’ry vein and sea,
Jesus drank the very raindrops
For our wine and in our tea.
Celebrate with all creation:
God has joined the web of life.

Father Fire, our father burning
With the sacred urge to live.
Jesus’ death completes the cycle,
Bringing life beyond the grave.
Celebrate with all creation:
God has joined the web of life.   (© Norman Habel, 1999)
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

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.

May we
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

Centering Silence
Let silence be placed around us now, like a mantle.
Let us enter into it,
as through a small secret door;
to emerge into an acre of peace,
where stillness reigns and God is present.
(Silence)

May this mantle of silence become
a cloak of understanding
to warm our hearts this day.
  (Adapt.Kate McIlhagga/ghs)
(Silence)

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Some readings from our broad religious tradition shall now be read.
The reader is (NN).

Hebrew Scriptures:
Isaiah 55:10-11 
(Inclusive Text)

Thus says our God:
'As the rain and the snow come down from heavens and do not return without watering the earth,
making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread to the eating,
so the word that goes forth from my mouth
does not return to me empty,
without carrying out my will
and succeeding in what it was sent to do.'

From the World Around us:
"Spirit of Life"
By Pam Wyley. Gentle Rain on Parched Earth/89.

Out of the ordinariness of the bare earth,
you brought the extra ordinariness of human life
All  Your spirit lives within us, O God.

In the ordinariness of the bare earth
we plant grain from last year's harvest
All  Your spirit lives within us, O God.

Out of the ordinariness of water
comes the life of the seed
All  Your spirit lives within the water, O God.

In human life and in the life of the seed
lies the life of this community
All  Your spirit lives within this community, O God.

From the life of God
comes creation and recreation
All  Your spirit lives within creation, O God.

Out of the heart of God comes peace and hope
All  Your spirit lives within us, O God.

OR

If in the Northern Hemisphere
"Humming to Snails”
Marjorie Skwire.
For All That Is Your Life/31.

What did you do on summer vacation?
Our children have been answering this question all week in class-rooms all over the city,
but I'm afraid no one will ask me.
So I've decided to tell you anyway.
I learned to hum to snails.

On a lazy Sunday afternoon in July,
I sat with my ten-year-old cousin on the rocky shore of the Damariscotta River in Maine.
I watched as he patiently held a snail that he had plucked from the rocks - and hummed to it!
I didn't know whom to watch, the boy or the snail,
but soon I saw two antennae appear from the shell
and the snail began to dance!

Of course, I had to try it.

It wasn't long before all the other adults had moved from the porch
down to the rocks, each one holding a snail
and humming to it.
A dance troupe of snails!

Two things stuck me about the experience.
One was the quiet power of that youngster in teaching us something about our world.
He didn't tell us anything but allowed us to discover it for ourselves.
We forgot our adult anxieties about looking silly
and abandoned ourselves to humming.

The other was in the form of a theological question.
Is there something out there in the universe humming for us to come out of our shell,
urging us to dance?

Trying to understand what moves us is
one of the reasons we come together in a religious community.

Hymn  The people stand as they are able, to sing
The Gospel's Story Brings Us Here”  (Tune: 76 86, adapted)
The Gospel's story brings us here
to share our love of God;
the whirl of all that life has brought
each scar, each laugh, each thought.

Each one's story, culture's stamp:
we bring each gift to God
we'll work together, share our part,
we'll learn God's gracious art.

The love of Jesus sets our goal:
to give without reserve,
to offer all, not count the cost,
to work for Pentecost.  © Andrew Pratt, 2003, Adapted
The people sit

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 13:1-9 
(Inclusive Text)

Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such crowds gathered round 
that Jesus got into a boat and sat there.

The people all stood on the beach,
and Jesus told them many things in parables.

He said:
'Imagine a sower going out to sow.
As the seeds were sown, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up.

'Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil
and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth;
but as soon as the sun came up
they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away.

'Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.

'Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop,
some a hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty.

'Listen anyone who has ears!'

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

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

Our land is alive with the glory of God:
All  desert sands hum and gum trees dance,
brown grasses sing
All  
and mountains breathe their stillness.

All created things add their rhythm of delight
All  and even the stones rap out their praise.

Let our voices mingle with the song of the earth.
All  May our hearts join the beat of her joy.

For our triune God is with us:
All  our creator surrounds and upholds us.
Christ Jesus walks beside and before us.
The Spirit moves within and between us.

Blessed be God, our wonder and our delight.   (Jenny Tymms/mgs)

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
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:

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)

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

Presentation
May we serve the deeds which honour a companionate God
night and day, wherever we are, in all we do.

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:
As one heart is lifted
All
May we share its celebration
As one heart is burdened
All
May we share the pain it knows.  (Gretta Vosper/wwg)

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 Birther!  Father-Mother of the Cosmos,
you create all that moves in light.
Hear the one Sound that created all others,
in this way the Name is hallowed in silence.

Your rule springs into existence
as our arms reach out to embrace all creation.
Let all wills move together
in your vortex, as stars and planets
swirl through the sky.

Grant what we need each day in bread and insight:
subsistence for the call of growing life.

Lighten our load of secret debts as
we relieve others of their
need to repay.

Keep us from hoarding false wealth,
and from the inner shame of
help not given in time.  
(Matthew Fox/ormw)

SCATTERING

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
Love is a Verb”  Music: www.williamflandersmusic.com/
Don’t count on love to come flying in your window.
Don’t count on love to mysteriously appear,
Born from above as an answer to your troubles,
Filling your heart with intentions most sincere.
Refrain:
Love isn’t there, some possession bought or found.
Love is no thing, nothing good to have around.
Yet people, at times, can be loving in their actions.
Love is a verb, not a noun.

Love as a noun may be kind and may be patient,
But love as a noun always tends to be unreal.
When love becomes loving, then real things start to happen,
And love is received as a fact, not an ideal.
Refrain:

Not boastful nor rude, never selfish, slow to anger,
Is love the abstraction, a virtue some would praise.
But living here and now calls for down to earth expression,
And love can’t expect to be approved in all its ways.  
(William Flanders).
Refrain:
Remain standing

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

Our celebration need not cease.
It can echo in our lives,
in our words,
in our deeds,
in our moods,
in our dreams.

Carry the spirit of celebration with you wherever you may go.
Be a blessing in your going out and your coming in.
  (Adapt.Gordon B. McKeeman)

Words of Blessing
Go in peace and faith.
If you are tired, may you find rest.
If you are anxious, may you find peace.
If you are lonely, may you find friends.

Go in peace and faith,
for nothing can separte you
from the sacred in our lives.
All Amen.  May it be so.

Hymn  “Spirit of Peace”       58 FFS
Spirit of peace,
Spirit of truth,
Spirit of life,
Spirit of earth,
Spirit of Jesus,
Spirit of love,
only one Spirit,
Spirit of God.  (John Murray)

OR

Spirit of Life(Tune: ‘Spirit of Life’ 8 12 8 12 8 10)    123 SLT
Spirit of Life, come unto me.
Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion.
Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;
Move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.
Roots hold me close; wings set me free;
Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me.  (Carolyn McDade)
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:
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).
Courage to Love. An Anthology of Inclusive Worship Material. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2002.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
Fox, M. One River, Many Wells. Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths. New York. Tarcher/Penguin Publishing, 2000.
Habel, N.
Habel Hymns 3. Songs to Explore ‘The Mysteries’ of Evolution and Ecology. Adelaide: Habel, 2012.
Habel, N. Rainbow of Mysteries. Meeting the Sacred in Nature. Kelowna: Copper House/Wood Lake Publishing, 2012.
(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 Abbey Worship Book. Iona Community.  Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Liebelt, P. & N. Nicholls. (ed).
Gentle Rain on Parched Earth. Worship Resources for Rural Situations. Melbourne. JBCE, 1996.
McIlhagga, K. The Green Heart of the Snowdrop. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2004
Moving with God's Spirit. A Collection of Prayers, Hymns, Affirmations and Reflections. Perth. Uniting Church in Australia, National Assembly, 1997.
Pickett, H & E. (ed). For All That is Our Life. A Meditation Anthology. Boston: Skinner House Books, 2005.
(SLT) Singing The Living Tradition. Boston: UUA, 1993.
Vosper, G. With or Without God. Why the way we live is more important that what we believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.

Web sites/Other:
Kowalski, 
McKeeman. UUA Worship Web. Boston. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Andrew Pratt "The Gospel's Story Brings us Here". Hymns and words blog site. UK. <http://hymnsandbooks.blogspot.com/>
William Flanders. "Love is a Verb" . www.williamflandersmusic.com/
Brian Wren. "A Man of Ancient Times". Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site: hymns.uk.com
Words by 
Nan Fink Gefen, taken from an Evolutionary Passover Haggadah by Tree Bressen.

rexae74@gmail.com