BapJesusB11.1.2015

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au

Web site:  www.rexaehuntprogressive.com


GATHERING FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
11 January 2015. Baptism of Jesus B. (White).


Acknowledgement of Country
(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

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The community candle is lit

May the light of this candle remind us
of the possibility for everyone to achieve
truth and goodness in our lives,
if we only seek it  (BBullmer/icuu)

OR

In faith, together, we light this small scrap of light,
Symbol of the Sun's enormous power,
Whose energy burns so brightly.

In these days of deep Summer,
Catapulting the leaves and vines,
vegetables, flowers and fruits,
to astonishing size, lengths and heights…

Spilling over the tops of cages, walls and trellises…

Delighting and nourishing all beings…

We bask in the warmth and the heat of these days,
With lightened hearts and quickened senses,
In gratitude and in faith (EHamilton).

(Note: A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE)

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
We Laugh, We Cry(Tune: ‘Credo’, Irreg.))     354 SLT
We laugh, we cry, we live, we die;
we dance, we sing our song.
We need to feel there’s something here
to which we can belong.
We need to feel the freedom
just to have some time alone.
But most of all we need close friends
we can call our very own.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a need to be together.
We have our hearts to give,
we have our thoughts to receive;
and we believe that sharing is an answer.

A child is born among us and
we feel a special glow.
We see time’s endless journey
as we watch the baby grow.
We thrill to hear imagination
freely running wild.
We dedicate our minds and hearts
To the spirit of this child.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a time to be together.
And with the grace of age,
we share the wonder of youth;
and we believe that growing is an answer.

Our lives are full of wonder and
our time is very brief.
The death of one among us
fills us all with pain and grief.
But as we live, so shall we die
and when our lives are done
the memories we shared with friends,
they will linger on and on.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a place to be together.
We have the right to grow,
we have the gift to believe;
that peace within our living is an answer.

We seek elusive answers to
the questions of this life.
We seek to put an end to all
the waste of human strife.
We search for truth, equality,
and blessed peace of mind.
And then, we come together here,
to make sense of what we find.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a joy being together.
And in our search for peace,
maybe we’ll finally see;
even to question, truly, is an answer.  (SJDenham)
People remain standing

Opening Sentences
We gather to celebrate, not just by words spoken,
but also by miracles recalled:
All  a baby's first cry,
the petals of a rose,
mist-covered hills,
the restless tides of the seas,
human love, human hope.

We respond:
All  with gratitude and with joy
at life's boundless possibilities.  (Adapt. GBMcKeeman)

Act of Awareness
The eastern sky announces to creation, the new day dawned;
Magpie warbling, young lambs bleating,
Awakening hunter instincts in crow and hawk.
All All the earth invites wonder and awe.

OR

We pray:
As we gather in this place of reflection and celebration,
challenge us, O God, with your truth and inspire us with your love.

Then as we return to our worlds of work and learning and living,
enlighten us with your wisdom,
and empower us with your strength.
May it be so.

Hymn "We Dream our Dreams" (Tune: 11 11 11 11)
We dream our dreams and nurture aspirations,
illusions grasp attention, hopes unfold.
We drown in visions of a holy city 
where tears are dried and streets are paved with gold. 

We scheme our schemes, manipulate our futures. 
While imitating faith and losing sight 
of those who need our primary attention
we wander, letting go of what is right.

We need the vision of a holy heaven, 
where love can overcome what would resist.
We need to find the song that carries living 
begun within our time, where we exist.

We need to grapple with each situation 
that contradicts the rule of Godly care; 
to offer justice tempered with God’s mercy;
to find new ways to liberate and share.

Then moving onward, we will move together.
We’ll build God’s holy city here below;
not paved with gold, nor with our good intentions, 
but where the grace and love of God can grow. © Andrew Pratt 9/1/2008

OR

In Non-bushfire areas... The images may be a bit raw even though this is not what the author has in mind
"Human Touch Can Light the Flame" (Tune: 387 TiS, Dunedin. 88 88)        307 SLT
The human touch can light the flame
which gives a brightness to the day,
the spirit uses mortal flame,
life's vehicle for work and play.

The lover's kiss, the friends embrace,
the clasp of hands to show we care,
the light of welcome on the face
are treasured moments all can share.

May all who come within our reach
be kindled by our inner glow,
not just in spirit's words we preach,
in human touch love's faith we show.  JStorey
People sit

Welcome
In your own words

A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are here 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.
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.

CENTERING

With an Australian Accent
"Awareness"
By Cynthia Brown. Space for God's Glory. Mission Prayer Handbook 2004/33.

Small feet taste the wave-washed sand.
Black and white, white and black –
What matter?
It's another friend.

The sea, deep turquoise, meets
azure sky arching high above.
The sun is warm, it sparkles on the ocean.
Space.  Peace.  Timelessness.

Two children meeting.

I watch and am touched by
the Glory of God.

Centering Silence
Let us gather together in the silence of this place,
which now we make holy
by our every act of worship.
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Reading from our Biblical Tradition
Traditional Gospel:
Mark 1:4-11  (Scholars Version)

So, John the Baptiser appeared in the wilderness calling for baptism
and a change of heart that lead to forgiveness of sins.

And everyone from the Judean countryside
and all the residents of Jerusalem, streamed out to him
and were baptised by him in the Jordan river, admitting their sins.

And John was dressed in camel hair
and wore a leather belt around his waist
and lived on locusts and raw honey.

And he began his proclamation by saying:
‘Someone more powerful than I will succeed me,
whose sandal straps I am not fit to bend down and untie.

‘I have been baptising you with water,
but he will baptise you with holy spirit.’

During that same period Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee
and was baptised in the Jordan by John.

And just as he got up out of the water,
he saw the skies torn open and the spirit coming down
toward him like a dove.

There was also a voice from the skies:
‘You are my favoured son.  I fully approve of you.’

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

CELEBRATING

Litany: ‘Travelling On…” (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share together a special litany.
The people stand as they are able

When hope invites us to journey
elusive, beckoning onward
but never in our grasp:
All God of wisdom and promise
give us courage to travel on.

Wn When dreams glimmer in the distance,
fading, clouded and hidden
or shining with new brightness:
All God of wisdom and promise
give us courage to travel on.

Mn When established patterns collapse
into the uncertainty of the unknown
and security dissolves into a memory:
All God of wisdom and promise
give us courage to travel on.

Wn When the illusion of success
threatens to divert us
and silence our souls' yearning:

All God of wisdom and promise
give us courage to travel on.

Mn When we think our journey has ended
in the star-lit glow only to find
the end is a new beginning:
All God of wisdom and promise
give us courage to travel on.  JBerry/ssb

Sharing '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 neighbours

Hymn  "O River Mother, Spirit of Creation"  (Tune: ‘Highwood’, 11.10.11.10, 617 TiS)
O river mother, spirit of creation,
flowing so freely since the dawn of time,
source of all life and onward propagation,
summer's bright warmth and winter's frozen rime.

Once from a riven altar, out through history,
your source of life flowed on to all the earth;
then cosmic letters formed the timeless story,
charged with your passion, grace and love and worth.

Now at the point in time of our existence,
through faith and science we discern our place.
We understand your gentle, calm persistence
folding around us with your love and grace.

O river mother, flowing to the future,
on past the present that we see and feel,
take us, flow with us, kindly love and  nurture
virtues that make your presence strong and real.  © Andrew Pratt 25/1/2004

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

Presentation
As we have received, so we give:
freely, cheerfully and liberally.

AFFIRMING

Reflections and Prayers
Care Candle:
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and concerns shared.

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
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  (GVosper/wwg)

And so we take this flame and light our special care candle.
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…

The Care candle is lit

v2  May we find in this day
an awareness of the freedom we are given
to know life unshackled from fear,
v3  and embrace the possibilities of the present,
with every breath we take. (GVosper/ab)

The 'Abba'  Prayer:
You are invited to pray in your original language, as appropriate

All  Father, may your name be holy.
May your rule take place.
Give us each day our daily bread.

Pardon our debts, for we ourselves pardon
everyone in debt to us.

And do not bring us to trial
into a trying situation.  (BMack/Q) 

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
Peace From Justice”  (Tune: “St Gertrude”, 65 65D, 535 CH) 50 (v1-2) SNS2
Peace from Justice” is our cry for every faith and race;
We can be inclusive; each can have their place;
We can call for justice: we can all unite;
We can strive for freedom; struggle for the right;
‘Peace from justice - now and forever’; this is where we stand;
‘Equity with honour’. This is our demand

Clashing with authorities, Jesus broke their law;
Yet he preached the message – ‘Practise Love, not War’;
If we follow Jesus, if we call him Lord,
We should not use weapons; never wield the sword;
‘Peace from justice - now and forever’ was his strong drum beat;
He was for God’s Kingdom; there was no retreat!
Remain standing

Parting Words
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 candle is extinguished

As we prepare to leave this sacred place of celebration,
may we live lives of hope,
be nurturers of a vision of wholeness,
and serve as healers in a wounded world.
All Grant us wisdom.
Grant us courage.
Grant us peace.  (Adapt.PLeland-Mayer

Words of Blessing
May God’s wisdom guide you wherever you walk in this world.
May God’s wisdom encourage you in your daily work.
May God’s wisdom work in you like yeast, and rise in you like hope!

May you taste and se God’s goodness
and may God’s wisdom be your delight
now, this day, and for evermore.  (JSPickard/bb)
All Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont) "“Peace From Justice”  (Tune: “St Gertrude”, 65 65D, 535 CH) 50 (v3) SNS2
We can work for justice; cultivate more peace;
We can call to leaders, “Make the conflicts cease.”
Gandhi and Mandela, Martin Luther King
Show us how to protest while we march and sing!
‘Peace from justice - now and forever’; this can be our creed;
Striving with compassion, lovingly proceed. George Stuart
The people sit

Music


You are invited to keep this copy of the liturgy and take it home with 
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:
Burgess, R. 2001. A Book of Blessings. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2001. Shine On, Star of Bethlehem. A worship resource for advent, christmas and epiphany. Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Funk, R. W. & R. W. Hoover. 1993. The Five Gospels. The search for the authentic words of Jesus. New York. MacMillan Press.
Iona Community. 2001. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Mack, B. L. 1993. The Lost Gospel. The Book of Q and christian origins. New York. HarperSanFrancisco.
Mission Prayer Handbook: Space for God’s glory. 2004. Sydney. National Assembly, Uniting Church in Australia.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. 2009.  Singing a New Song. Traditional hymn tunes with new century lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto. G Stuart.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. 1993.  Boston. UUA.
Vosper, G. 2009/2010. Another Breath. Prayers for celebration and reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane.
Vosper, G. 2008. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.

Web sites/Other:
Hamilton, McKeeman, Leyland-Mayer. UUA Worship Web. Boston. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Bullmar. International Council of Unitarian Universalism. Web site. Chalice lighting.
Andrew Pratt. UK. "O River Mother...". Direct from the author.
Andrew Pratt. UK. "We Dream our Dreams". Direct from the author. 
Written for Magnet (a then, Methodist magazine)

rexae74@gmail.com