ReignofChristA.26.11.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au
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GATHERING FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
26 November 2017. Reign of Christ A. (White).
OR

Jesus and his Kingdom of Nobodies Sunday (John Shuck)

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

Come in bringing all of who you are.
Calm your hurried pace.
For this hour let the cares, the fretfulness and worry, be set aside.

Know that you are not alone. 
There is strength and caring support for you here.
(Adapt. CSOwen-Towle)

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

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

"We call upon the power which sustains the planets in their orbits,
that wheels our Milky Way in its 200 million year spiral,
to imbue our personalities and our relationships
with harmony, endurance, and joy.

"Fill us with a sense of immense time so our brief, flickering lives
may truly reflect the work of vast ages past
and also the millions of years of evolution whose potential
lies in our trembling hands." (Australian deep ecologist) John Seed,Thinking Like a Mountain, 1988)

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 Terrorism
(iii) PLUS some specific resources on Terrorism HERE

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"You Are Born In Us Again”  (Tune: ‘Dunstan’)    52 COC
You are born in us again
Like the warmth of the summer wind you come,
to melt away the icicles of vanity and pride;
you come to blow the very doors of loving open wide.
Like the warmth of the summer wind you come,
like the warmth of the summer wind you come.

You are born in us again
Like the scent of the summer rain you come,
You come to quench the thirsty and to freshen up the land;
you come to clean away the dust that settled in our hand.
Like the scent of the summer rain you come,
like the scent of the summer rain you come.

You are born in us again
Like the light of the summer sun you come,
to give light to the places that have never seen the Son;
you come now to embrace us, you’re the holy, holy one.
Like the light of the summer sun you come,
like the light of the summer sun you come.  MWilson
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
v1 A morning mist,
the gleam of a new day,
faintly we discern the possibilities that are before us.
All  Energy rising, plans turning to action,
we build our every yesterday
from the living of our days.

v2  May we live our hope into tomorrow.
All  May we wrap our lives around
the challenges of today.

v1 And in the quiet of the sacred space,
may we listen at the centre of our being
for the truth of our inner voice
v2  that sets before us the purpose of this day.  (Adapt.Gretta Vosper/ab)

Act of Awareness
The world is always radiant.
Whether at night under the dimmest starlight,
or at noon under the brightest sun,
the world is giving forth a vast legend.

It only awaits the involvement of the eye,
the engagement of the ear.

So let us live this moment in all its fullness,
for in it is all realization, all time.  (Adapt.Kenneth Patton/sscl)

OR

We pray:
Christ be with me, Christ before me,
Christ be after me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left. 
(Adapt. St Patrick)
May it be so.

Hymn "Life Awakes(Tune: ‘Easter Hymn’, 77 77)
Life awakes upon the earth, Alleluia
Bursting forth in joyous birth, Alleluia
Come we now to celebrate, Alleluia
Part of earth, to earth relate, Alleluia

From the powers of our mind, Alleluia
From the talents of our hands, Alleluia
From the joy that fills the heart, Alleluia
Gladsome praise in every art, Alleluia

Let the spirit of this day, Alleluia
Shine its light with deeper ray, Alleluia
Adding to our common hours, Alleluia
With its life uplifting powers, Alleluia.  
(Author unknown)

OR

E=mc2: Einstein/Science/Religion (Tune: ‘Stewardship’ 11 10 11 10)
God is less tangible than a neutrino
(taking a short-cut? Or faster than light?
Challenging theories, sustained suppositions).
Can we be certain that we are so right?

All our theology, all speculation
must be provisional, never a creed.
Is the best test of 'divine' revelation
how it is mending those broken, in need;

Open to challenge, to intellect, reason;
forging new concepts in culture and place;
yet in humility focusing loving,
open, accepting and channelling grace?  © Andrew Pratt 26/9/2011
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
In the safety of this sacred place
I invite you now into a time of silence.
(Silence)

May our ears be attuned to hear
the great symphony of the universe, and
in the solo of another’s face...
(Silence)

Spoken Reflection
"Imagine Integrity"
By Bruce Sanguin. If Darwin Prayed/162.

Mighty and tender God,
you, the deep within all,
you, the encompassing heart of all,
we enter now into your kin-dom,
your community of wholeness,
a realm of peace.

We bring our hunger,
and the hunger of the world.
We bring our inner stranger,
and the exiled of the world.
We bring our hurting selves,
and the hurting of the world.
We open to healing.

Inspired,
we dare to imagine integrity
in our inner life, our relationships,
our planet, and our political systems.

We dare to imagine the reign of Christ.
Love's Servant,
your heart
for an unfolding cosmos.
(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:
"When My Mind is Still and Alone..."
Adapted from Paul H Beattie.

When my mind is still and alone with the beating of my heart,
I remember many things too easily forgotten:
the purity of early love;
the maturity of unselfish love that seeks nothing but another's good;
the idealism that has persisted through all the tempest of life.

When my mind is still and alone with the beating of my heart,
I can sense my basic humanity,
and then I know all men and women
are my brothers and sisters.
Nothing but my own fear and distrust can separate me
from the love of friends.

When my mind is still and alone with the beating of my heart,
I know how much life has given me:
the history of the race,
friends and family,
the opportunity to work, 
the chance to build myself.

Then wells within me the urge to live more abundantly,
with greater trust and joy,
with more profound seriousness and earnest striving,
and yet more calmly at the heart of life.

OR

“Christ on the Margins”
By Marlene Marburg.

He upturns the table

They upturn the soapbox

He reads the raw underside

They read the soapie side

He speaks of love and vulnerability

They speak of law and certainty
He is crucified
…
They are crassified.

OR

"Distinguishing History from Confession"
David Galston. Embracing the Human Jesus/17.

Taking the historical Jesus seriously mans saving Jesus from the imperial church
and the memory of the Christian Empire - the days
when everyone was Christian whether they wanted to be or not.

This is no easy task
Despite the apparent waning of Christianity in Western experience,
the desire to preserve it for nostalgic reasons remains in place.
Even among 'progressives', the point often is
to explain Christianity correctly and to modernize its language
but not genuinely to alter its foundational beliefs.

The historical Jesus, though, is all about the challenge of alteration.

Recovering the human Jesus means recovering someone who is not the Christian savior
or anybody else's for that matter.

A positive future for religion rests on a basic turn to honest human existence.
No one really comes from heaven, and no king or emperor
or great mind is ever anything but human like everyone else.

The imperial language used to name Jesus, even when the satire is noticed,
still delivers Jesus to a lofty place beyond his humanity and,
accordingly, beyond honest hope that might be associated with him.

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 25:31-46 
(Inclusive Text)

Jesus said to the disciples:
When the Promised One comes in glory, with all the angels,
then he will sit on the throne of his glory.
All the nations will be gathered before him,
and he will separate people one from another
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
and he will put the sheep at his right hand
and the goats at the left.

Then the king will say to those at his right hand,
Come, you that are blessed of God,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
for I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you gave me clothing,
I was sick and you took care of me,
I was in prison and you visited me.

Then the righteous will answer him,
When was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food,
or thirsty and gave you something to drink?

And when was it that we saw you a stranger
and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?

And when was it that we saw you sick
or in prison and visited you?’

And the king will answer them,
Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these
who are members of my family, you did it to me.

OR

“Sand and Foam”
Kahlil Gibran

Once every hundred years, Jesus of Nazareth meets Jesus of the Christians
in a
garden among the hills of Lebanon.
And they talk long;
And each time Jesus of
Nazareth goes away saying to Jesus of the Christians,
‘My friend, I fear we shall
never, never agree’.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany: ‘Call to be Church’ (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share together the litany, ‘Call to be church’.
The people stand as they are able

Our God, you call us to be Church:
Le  enable us to create - across
cultural, age and class boundaries –
a laboratory of peace,
testing out your vision
of community and love as we struggle
live with our differences.

Our God, you call us to be Church:
Ri  enable us to be a parable of the Kingdom,
allowing the upside-down values of your commonwealth
to nudge us away from the acquisitive
and self-regarding attitudes of our day.

Our God, you call us to be Church:
Le  enable us to be a sign of contradiction among the nations,
pointing to hope in the midst of disillusion,
offering non-violent resistance when evil threatens,
accepting loss of prestige or wealth in the cause of justice.

Our God, you call us to be Church:
Ri  enable us to be a place of welcome and warmth,
where what is ignored elsewhere may be heard and honoured,
where sorrows may be shared and stories told,
where hard questions may be asked and new ideas greeted with joy.

Our God, you call us to be Church:
All  enable us to be a community of praise,
cracking open the dry husks of cynicism and despair,
being clowns and jesters for Christ,
celebrating the mystery of faith in stillness and song.
   (
Kate Compston/sco)

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.

May a heart of peace rest with you. (David Galston/q)
All  And also with you.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
Here Stands a Stranger, Who is She?(Tune: ‘Saffron Walden’, 88 86)
Here stands a stranger, who is she?
We do not know.  What do we see,
someone who threatens you and me?
Is she a foe, or friend?

Here stands a person, young or old,
seeking asylum, so we're told.
How does he fit your frame or mould?
Is he your foe or friend?

Here stands a child: assess her need.
What should we offer so we heed
her cry of hunger, so we feed
this child?  This foe?  This friend?

Here stands a person, this time, you.
The choice is yours.  What will you do
to ask this stranger in, or sue
this foe, who could be friend?

Here is a mirror, see your face.
What do you offer; hatred, grace,
now in this very time and place,
to Christ you call your friend.  (Andrew Pratt/ssb)

OR

Nature’s Beauty(Tune: ‘Regent Square’, 87 87 47 Extend)        4 SNS3
Nature knows her sounds and movements
Heard and seen each day and night;
All her life in rich abundance
Fills my heart with great delight;
Celebrate with adoration;
Thankful for the world so bright.

Fearsome winds cause trees to whimper;
Storms can force the clouds to cry;
Raindrops, snowflakes dance together;
Sun and moon wink in reply;
Celebrate with adoration
All the wonders of the sky.

Celebrate all hidden textures;
Value all the roots below;
Celebrate all covered spendour;
Value beauty not on show;
Celebrate with adoration;
Thankful for the world we know.

Creatures bold and creatures timid
Offer beauty, each unique;
Trees and flowers paint a picture
On the plain and mountain peak;
Celebrate with adoration;
All revealed for those who seek.

We are blest with such profusion;
Beauty bursts out everywhere;
If we take the time to ponder
We may find a thankful prayer;
Celebrate with adoration
Thankful for the world we share.  (George Stuart)
People sit

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

Presentation
As we bring our offerings forward,
may our whole life move forward,
in good faith,
with good feelings,
and with a good belief about the future.  (Adapt.Francis Macnab/h)

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 joy and in sorrow
All We do not walk alone.  (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 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
"Christ, the Tent God Pitched(Tune: ‘Picardy’. 87 87 87)   1 (v1-3) TMT
Christ, the tent God pitched among us
tabernacled on this earth,
as the sacred mystic presence
which sustains our spirits' growth,
for in Christ the Word incarnate
God's new world is brought to birth.

We are called to live as pilgrims,
from our birth until that day,
when our bodies have their ending
in their earthly home of clay,
but not all who walk that journey
find the true, the living way.

We can trap ourselves in systems,
and destroy life's primal stream,
or can dance in life's adventure
to the edges of our dream,
binding beauty, love, and justice
into one great holy theme.
Remain standing

Parting Words
The presentness of God reaches beyond this place...
The Community Candle is extinguished

May we open ourselves ever more fully to that Eternal Mystery
which lures us onward toward life and creativity.
All  May we find the courage to live our faith,
to speak our truth, and to strive together for a world
where freedom abounds
and justice truly does roll down like water.

May we know the fullness of love without fear,
and the serenity of peace without turmoil.
All  May we hold one another
in the deep and tender places with compassion,

and may we grace one another
by sharing our own vulnerabilities,
All  being ever mindful of the divinity within
that makes soulmates of us all.
  (CMeyer)

Words of Blessing
As the kookaburra gently settles on the tree, receive the gift of peace.
As the flame rises with light and warmth, receive the gift of life.
As the wind moves and dances round the earth,
receive the gracious gift of the Spirit. 
(Adapt.David Stewart/wb)
All  Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont) "Christ, the Tent God Pitched(Tune: ‘Picardy’. 87 87 87)   1 (v4-5) TMT
Leaving all that breeds oppression
let us learn to travel light,
with no temple but our body,
and as shelter for the night,
pitch a pilgrim tent for dwelling
in the place of sheer delight.

Christ is found within each canvas
painted with the earth and sky,
in the singing and the dancing
and within the people's cry,
for the world is space for singing
God's great song that never dies.  (
William L Wallace)
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:
Abbott, M.
Sparks of the Cosmos. Rituals for Seasonal Use. Unley. MediaCom Education, 2001.
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.
(COC) Carol our Christmas. A Book of New Zealand Carols. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 1996. 
Duncan, G. (ed). A World of Blessing. Benedictions from Every Continent and Many Cultures. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2000.
Duncan, G. (ed). Seeing Christ in Others. An Anthology for Worship, Mediation and Mission. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 1998.
Duncan, G. (ed). Shine On, Star of Bethlehem. A Worship Resource for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2001.
 Galston, D. Embracing the Human Jesus. A Wisdom Path for Contemporary Christianity. Oregon: Polebridge Press, 2012.
Gibran, K. Sand and Foam. A Book of Aphorisms. NY. Alfred A. Knopf, 1970.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2004.
Macnab, F. Hope:The Deeper Longings of the Mind and Heart . Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 1996.
Patton, K. Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. Boston: Beacon Press, 1967.
Sanguin, B. If Darwin Prayed. Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics. Canada: Vancouver. ESC Publishers, 2010.
(SNS3) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 3. Toronto: G Stuart, 2011.
Vosper, G. 2008. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
Vosper, G. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane: The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.
Wallace, W. L. The Mystery Telling. Hymns and Songs for the New Millennium. Kingston. Selah Publishing, 2001.

Web sites/Other:
Meyer, Owen-Towle, Beattie, Sorrill. UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Andrew Pratt. "E=mc2". Direct from the author.
“Christ on the Margins” Marlene Marburg. Eureka Street eZine, 31 October 2011
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/

rexae74@gmail.com