Pentecost9A.6.8.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com 
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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
6 August 2017. Pentecost 9A. (Green).
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion

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

Life is meant to be an adventure;
change is a gift that we have to learn to use aright.
        Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

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

OR

As we light our flame this morning:
we celebrate by its warmth the depth and breadth of our congregation;
we celebrate by its light the faith we share.

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
In The Midst Of All Our Living(Tune: ‘Nettleton’, 87 87D)     2 SiF
In the midst of every blessing
may my heart be filled with grace.
Streams of goodness, ever flowing
call for songs of highest praise.
     May my words be filled with gratitude;
     may my glad heart humble be.
As a holder of a blessing
May I share it gratefully.

In the midst of every trial
may my heart be filled with grace.
Streams of comfort, ever flowing
call for songs of highest praise.
     May I find the strength within me;
     may I sense it everywhere.
As I face what must be handled
may I find truth I can share.

In the midst of all our living
may our hearts be filled with grace.
Streams of goodness ever flowing
call for songs of highest praise.
     May we seek and find encouragement;
     may our choices worthy be.
As we journey on together,
may we know integrity. Words © Scott Kearns 2008, inspired by those of Robert Robinson, 1758

OR

Creative Love(Tune: 'Truth from Above’ LM)      289 SLT

Creative love, our thanks we give

that this our world, is incomplete,
that struggle greets our will to live,

that work awaits our hands and feet.

That we are not yet fully wise,

that we are in the making still -

as friends who share one enterprise
and strive to blend with nature's will.

What though the future long delay,
and still with faults we daily cope?
It gives us that for which we pray,
a field for toil and faith and hope.

Since what we choose is what we are,

and what we love we yet shall be,

the goal may ever shine afar -

the will to reach it makes us free.  (William deW Hyde)
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
In the beginning, God made the world:
Wn  Made it and mothered it,
Mn  Shaped it and fathered it,
Wn  
Filled it with seed and signs of fertility,
Mn  
Filled it with love and its folk with ability.

All that is tender, firm, fragrant and curious,
All  God's is the hand that created you.
All that speaks, sings, cries, laughs or keeps silent,
All  
God's is the hand that created you.

The world belongs to Creativity God
All  The earth and all its people.  (Iona/St Hilda Communities/adapt)

Act of Awareness
Silently a flower blooms.
In silence it falls away.

Yet here now, in this moment, at this place,
the world of the flower,
the whole of the world is blooming.

This is the talk of the flower,
the truth of the blossom:
the glory of eternal life is fully shining here.  (Adapted. Zenkei Shinayama/lp)

OR

We pray:
Spirit of life and love, we have gathered in this sacred place, again.
May we create here a circle of love,
ever expanding,
ever growing.

A place of wisdom.
A place of connection.
A place of hope.
May it be so.

Hymn  “Climate is Warming(Tune: ‘The Ash Grove’, 12 11 12 11D)    44 SNS2
As climate is warming
Will bees keep on swarming
If we just continue to damage the earth?
Will birds and sea-creatures
With beautiful features
Forever be lost by denying their worth?
Will trees and each flower
Succumb to the power
Of poisons and toxins we put in the air?
As ice-caps diminish,
A sign of the finish,
We must meet this crisis and show that we care.

If we start to measure
Some things that we treasure
It may cause us anguish to let these things go;
For comfort and leisure,
Our life-style and pleasure,
We claim we have earned and don't wish to forgo;
But we can all ponder
And face what we squander,
Then start to make change in the way that we live;
We can curb excesses;
Each harms and oppresses
The poor and the weak; we take what they don't give.

To greenhouse emissions
We make our additions
And by them we foster some possible gloom,
But with perseverance
We can make a diff’rence;
We can work to limit the fuel we consume,
We'll tell each law-maker
That every green acre
Is ours to look after and not to destroy,
God's bounty possessing;
We're stewards of blessing;
We meet our commitment with challenging joy.

With nature so fragile,
Yet dazzling and fertile,
We ponder its beauty, its charm and its grace;
Evolving triumphant
With life so abundant,
Confounded we are with so much to embrace.
Yet these green-house gases
Pollute in their masses;
We need to decrease them; we know that we should!
When nature is bleeding
We hear urgent pleading
To change our behaviour; we know how we could!

If we stop this warming
Then bees will keep swarming
And sweetness of honey remains for our taste.
Then birds and sea creatures
And hills and sea beaches
Will stay in their magic, unharmed by our waste.
The charm every hour
Of trees and each flower
Will bring us to silence in wonder and awe.
With God so surrounding
In beauty astounding
We kneel in God's presence to praise and adore.  (George Stuart)

OR

"Faith Has Set Us On A Journey(Tune: ‘Venture')       14 FFS
Faith has set us on a journey
past the landmarks that we know,
taking risks with no insurance
but the Word that tells us "Go!"
Friend or job or home or lover
we may need to leave behind,
outworn truths and ways of thinking,
baggage to the past consigned.

Some are swags of easy conscience
who with others hitch a ride,
some are tourist-package Christians,
dollar-safe, with Book and guide.
There are others on this journey -
those who long and pray and search,
heave the stones to free the structures,
love the Christ and leave the Church.

We are this unlikely people
in the Body knit as one,
company of clowns and cripples -
some are wise and some can run.
Prophets are our travel agents,
gospel-makers lay this road:
to the place of peace and promise
faith will take us into God.
   Shirley Erena Murray
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

Silence 1
May the silence of this place which now engulfs us,
be for us a time of reflection, prayer and meditation…
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

Silence 2
Great possibilities do await us.
The grandeur of life, of which we are a part,
fills us with hope… if we seek to choose it.
(Bob Holmes)
(Silence)

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Some readings from our broad religious tradition
shall now be read by (NN) and (NN).

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 14:13-21 
(Inclusive Text)

When Jesus received the news of John the Baptist's death
he withdrew by boat to a lonely place
where they could be by themselves.

But the people heard of this and, leaving the towns, went after Jesus on foot.

So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd;
and he took pity on them and healed their sick.

When evening came, the disciples went to Jesus and said,
'This is a lonely place, and the time has slipped by;
so send the people away and they can go to the village
to buy themselves some food.'

Jesus replied,
'There is no need for them to go:
give them something to eat yourselves.'

But they answered,
'All we have with us is five loaves and two fish...'

Our World Around us:
"Just a Housewife"
By Cordelia Baker-Pearce. Celebrating Women/44.)

I packed five cakes of bread and two small fishes,
Sent him off, my youngest lad,
To take his father's dinner to the field.

Came back alone he did, all goggle-eyed.

My fresh-baked bread that varmint gave away
To some young travelling preacher out of Galilee.
It fed five thousand people.
What a tale!

It can't be true... but if it is.
What kind of dough did these hands knead
This morning?

Traditional Gospel:  (Cont)
'Bring them here to me,' Jesus said.

Giving orders that the people were to sit down on the grass,
Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish,
raised his eyes to the heaven and said a blessing.

And breaking the loaves he handed them to the disciples
who  gave them to the crowds.

They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected
the scraps remaining, 12 baskets full.
The number who ate were many more than five thousand.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany: Word Made Flesh  (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

God speaks!
with excitement!
with enthusiasm!
with new life!

All  God is present!
God is with us!
nothing can separate us!

Even when we feel unsure,
unclear,
confused,
even when we feel broken to the core of our being -

All  We hold fast to God's love,
God's acceptance,
we are always welcome in God's household.

We will each, once again,
feel like a well-watered garden.
Full of life!
Radiant in the sun!
All It will be good.
It is good(RMitchell/bb)

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 neighbour

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
Name Unnamed(Tune: ‘Samuel’, Irreg.)                    31 SLT
Refrain:
Name unnamed,
hidden and shown,
knowing and known,
Gloria!

Beautifully moving, ceaselessly forming,
growing, emerging with awesome delight,
Maker of Rainbows, growing with colour,
arching in wonder,
energy flowing in darkness an light:
Refrain:

Spinner of Chaos, pulling and twisting,
freeing the fibers of pattern and form,
Weaver of Stories, famed or unspoken,
tangled or broken,
shaping a tapestry vivid and warm:
Refrain:

Nudging Discomfort, prodding and shaking,
waking our lives to creative unease,
Straight-talking Lover, checking and humbling
jargon and grumbling,
speaking the truth that refreshes and frees:
Refrain:

Midwife of Changes, skilfully guiding,
drawing us out through the shock of the new,
Woman of Wisdom, deeply perceiving,
never deceiving,
freeing and leading in all that we do:
Refrain:

Daredevil Gambler, risking and loving,
giving us freedom to shatter your drams,
Lifegiving Loser, wounded and weeping,
dancing and leaping,
sharing the caring that heals and redeems.  (Brian Wren)

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 other 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:
May our thoughts be filled with transformation,
All  May our words reflect the yearnings of our hearts.
And may the spirit that binds within us as we gather

All  Hallow each and every passing moment
we know here together.   (Adapt.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

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
Offerings
Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
and our gifts of brad and wine, shall now be received
.

Presentation
The stories of God's gracious love have been entrusted to us.
May we share the beauty of Creativity God
with all who walk with us, in caring service.

Thanksgiving
May it be well with you.
All  And also with you.
Life is a gift and we its celebration.
All  May we rejoice in the beauty that we are.  Gretta Vosper/wwg

v1   In faith and love, gathered in this place,

we celebrate the brightness of community

and the season of late Winter/early Spring called 'Larneuk'
 (Season of Nesting Birds)
by the Djab Wurrung and Jardwidjarli People.

v2   We give thanks and praise for all that is good in the world.
For that mystery we name Creativity God…
For the sage we name Jesus…
For the renewing strength and freedom of the Spirit…
(Silence)

v1   God of winter, the unpopular, slandered season;
God of lightning, wind and storm;
God of brisk winter mornings, frosted back lawns
and stark hillsides; of warm socks, coats and gloves,
raincoats, umbrellas and warm fires,
we open ourselves to all the possibilities life offers us.

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 times 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.  (Michael Morwood/pns)

When we too experience the winter of our lives
may we find the courage to let go
and trust in your guiding, warming light.
(Silence)

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…

When he took and blessed bread, he used his traditional Jewish prayers, saying:
All  Blessed is the Holy One of Israel,
sovereign of all that is who brings forth

the bread from the ground.

And when he took and blessed wine, he said:
All  Blessed is the Holy One of Israel,
sovereign of all that is who brings forth

grape from the vine.

Response
Everyone is welcome to be here.
All  In this way, we lift up a world of inclusion,
where all people live with respect and dignity.

Everyone present will receive a share.
All  In this way, we lift up a world of generosity,
where, as in the examples of Jesus,
abundance overcomes scarcity so all are fed.

Everyone is invited now to take a portion,
and to see others also receive.
All  In this way, we lift up a world of sufficiency,
where entrenched systems of privilege are challenged,
wealth is shared equally, and all are satisfied with enough. 
(Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

Communion
So in the meal tradition of Jesus
we break and share bread and drink wine,
pledging ourselves to allow the spirit that moved in Jesus
to move freely in our lives.
The Bread and Wine is served

SCATTERING

Hymn "This Love, This Life, This Enterprise(Tune: 'O Waly, Waly’, 88 88)    72(v1-2) WNC
This love, this life, this enterprise
is that by which we will arise
affirmed, up-raised, to live again
when we have suffered death or pain.

Our practical adventure here
involves both urgency and care;
compelled by shared humanity
to offer love, set people free.
Remain standing

Parting Words
As we prepare to leave this sacred space where we have celebrated together,
let us return to our work
enlivened and renewed...
The Community Candle is extinguished

Gathered in this sacred place, we have
lifted our voices in song and thanksgiving.
All  May we now show forth our thanks
in simple acts of kindness and concern,
so the essential nature of our faith
many be evident in our daily lives.

Words of Blessing
May the blessing in the strength of the Brindabellas,
the calm of Lake Burley Griffin,
the freshness of gum tree and wild flower…
remain with you...

And may the sacred strength of peace and creativity
go with you always.
All  Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont)  "This Love, This Life, This Enterprise(Tune: 'O Waly, Waly’, 88 88)   72 (v3) WNC
And if the task enlarges sight
to wider visions, greater height
than those which we can reach on earth,
then know that God has come to birth.  Andrew Pratt
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.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000. 
Holmes, R. H.
The Bob Holmes Worship Materials. Vol 1.  Little Falls. Self published, 1972.
(SiF) Kearns, S. (ed). Sing it Forward. Traditional Hymns Recast and Rewritten for Non-Exclusive Communities. In circulation from the author, 2009.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2004.
Iona Community. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Mitchell, R. C. & G. A. Ricciuti. 
Birthings and Blessings. Liberating Worship Services for the Inclusive Church. New York. Crossroads, 1992.
Morwood, M. Praying a New Story. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2003.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, J. & B. Hesle. Worship in the Spirit of Jesus. Theology, Liturgy, and Songs without Violence. Cleveland. The Pilgrim Press, 2005.
(WNC) Pratt, A. Whatever Name or Creed. Hymns and Songs. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2002.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon. Life Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Blessings, and Affirmations to Celebrate the Human Journey. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto: G Stuart, 2009.
The St Hilda Community. The New Women Included. A Book of Services and Prayers. London.  SPCK, 1996.
Vosper, G. 
With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.
Vosper, G.
Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.
Ward, H. & J. Wild, J Morley. (ed).
Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK, 1995.

Web sites/Other:
Sorrill, UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Words by Nan Fink Gefen, taken from an Evolutionary Passover Haggadah by Tree Bressen.

rexae74@gmail.com