Revd Rex A E Hunt
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GATHERING FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
4 January 2015. Christmas 2B. (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
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
"Let there be light!"
Let it shine in dark places, in moments of pain,
in times of grief,
in the darkness of hatred, violence, oppression,
where there is discouragement and despair.
Wherever darkness is to be put to flight,
"Let there be light!" G McKeeman
(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
"God Given Energy, Flaring and Fiery" (Tune: ‘Spean’, 11 10 11 10, 310(ii) TiS)
God given energy, flaring and fiery,
stella collisions of fury and pace;
shafts of the light from the cosmic conception
searing to earth from infinity's space.
Stars from eternity, driven by forces
formed at the birthing of matter and time;
mystical sinews restraining the planets,
elegant science and God's hidden rhyme;
These are the visions of wonder and rapture,
signs of significance, pointers to place,
drawing us out from our narrow discernment,
windows to love and God's infinite grace. © APratt
“This Land of Bursting Sunrise” (Tune: ‘Andujar’, 76 86D) 82 SLT
This land of bursting sunrise,
all lavender and blue,
its cloud-strewn, light-swept day skies flow,
and every day renew.
To east the glow of dawning,
to west the blaze of night,
‘round all the long horizon’s rim,
the everlasting light!
This land of open vistas,
life rooted deep and free,
the canyoned plains, the mountains vast,
plumb earth’s immensity.
Here in life’s fragile balance,
the sun and stars above,
find hand in hand, and heart to heart,
the everlasting love. (JHHolmes)
Remain standing after the hymn
Take from life its coals, not its ashes.
Fan the flames of love and justice.
All Join hands and hearts in common endeavour.
And there will be no limit
All to what we can achieve together. LSSheridan
Come, let us gather in this sacred yet ordinary place
Knowing every place is sacred
Where we find peace or energy
Where beauty flourishes
Where we share body, mind and heart…
All Come, let us gather in this sacred place (Adapt.Bronwyn Angela White, 2001).
Act of Awareness
We come together in this hour...
in a wider search for truth and purpose.
In this quest, 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.
Let all who enter this sacred place
find comfort in this community.
Creative Spirit of life and love, we have gathered in this sacred place,
at the start of a new year.
May we continue to create here a circle of love,
A place of wisdom.
A place of connection.
A place of hope.
May it be so.
The people sit
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.
Let silence be placed around us now, like a beach towel.
May this towel of silence become a cloak of understanding
to warm our hearts and cool our body,
this day, this week, this new year.
Music of Reflection
Reading from our broad Religious Tradition
From the world around us:
“Hearts to Understanding”
Gretta Vosper. We All Breathe/46. (*Additional words: RAEHunt)
How complex the world has become
and how brittle the language with which we describe it.
Each snowflake, each hibernating animal, *each laughing kookaburra,
each step, each brain, each planet,
can be measured, weighed, examined.
So it is that we place them, carefully,
within our realm of knowledge.
Beyond the tools we would use for examination,
may we seek out ways to contemplate,
to consider, to appreciate
each person, each thing, each moment
into which we come in contact.
And may the movement of our thoughts
from matter to meaning,
move not only our minds,
but our hearts to understanding.
As those who would celebrate beauty,
we seek its hidden sources.
John 1:1-5, 9-10 (Scholars Version)
In the beginning there was the divine word and wisdom.
The divine word and wisdom was there with God, and it was what God was.
It was there with God from the beginning.
Everything came to be by means of it;
nothing that exists came to be without its agency.
In it was life, and this life was the light of humanity.
Light was shining in darkness, and darkness did not overpower it…
Genuine light - the kind that provides light for everyone
- was coming into the world.
Although it was in the world, and the world came about
through its agency, the world did not recognize it.
Silence for Personal Reflection
Litany: ‘Spirit of Life’ (Optional)
At the beginning of a new year, and in response to the word reflected on,
let us stand and share a special litany.
The people stand as they are able
Out of the ordinariness of the bare earth,
has been brought the extraordinariness of human life.
All The spirit of Creativity God lives within us.
In the ordinariness of the bare earth
we plant seed from last year's flower gardens.
All The spirit of Creativity God lives within the gardens.
Out of the ordinariness of water
comes the life of the seed.
All The spirit of Creativity God lives within the water.
In human life and in the life of the ‘bush capital’
lies the life of this community.
All The spirit of Creativity God lives within this community.
From the life of Creativity God
comes life and community and recreation.
All In the beginning was Creativity God... (Inspired by PWyley/grpe, adapted RHunt)
Sharing 'The peace'
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.
May a heart of peace rest with you. (DGalston/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
“Spirit Who Broods” (Tune: ‘Song to the spirit’) 126 AA
Spirit who broods,
Spirit who sings,
peace in your wings,
Come from within,
come make us one,
come and renew
the face of the earth.
Spirit of truth,
laser and light
searching the path,
seeking the right,
Spirit of love
larger than law,
quick to forgive,
keeping no score,
Spirit of hope
Spirit of God,
Spirit of Good, (SEMurray)
Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
shall now be received.
The riches of the divine word and wisdom have been entrusted to us.
May we share these symbols of creativity
with all who walk with us, in caring service.
Reflections and Prayers
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and concerns shared.
We turn to Life, to that vast creativity
All that empowers the universe
as the ocean animates the wave,
seeking to let go of that which blocks our healing.
All May we open ourselves even now
to the wonder of Life.
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…
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
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as 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. DSorrill
Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
“God of Dawn” (Tune: ‘Abbot’s Leigh, 87 87D, 153 TiS)
God of dawn, each day’s renewal
brings the world into your light.
As your sun defeats the shadows,
drives away the darkest night:
we would greet this new beginning
as your call to start again,
lead us on with hope and courage,
make your will and purpose plain.
Christ, you walked the world as we do,
knew its human pain and loss.
As your love broke through the barriers
by your death upon the cross;
we still speak your gospel message,
though two thousand years have gone.
Help us now translate its meaning
in this present world of wrong.
Holy Spirit, inspiration,
light and truth and root of prayer,
as your challenge moves us forward
taking us we know not where:
we will follow your direction,
though the way may not be clear.
Shape us, change, recreate us,
so the future holds no fear.
As we prepare to leave this sacred space where we have been together,
let us return to our homes and our work,
enlivened and renewed...
The candle is extinguished
v2 There is a season for everything in creation
Le A time for dying and a time for rebirth.
Ri A time for laughter and a time for tears.
Le A time for courage and a time for fear.
Ri A time to talk and a time to be still.
Le A time alone. A time for romance.
Ri A time to welcome and to send away.
Le A time to break rules. A time to behave.
Ri A time to search and a time to find.
Le A time to begin…
Ri and a time to end. (MTWinter-adapt/wpws)
v2 There is a season for everything in creation.
Words of Blessing
The blessing of God:
make and remake you in the image of God (Ruth Burgess/bb).
All Amen. May it be so.
Hymn (Cont) “God of Dawn” (Tune: ‘Abbot’s Leigh, 87 87D, 153 TiS))
Praise to God, who spoke creation,
giving life to time and space.
Praise to Christ, whose living presence
showed the world your human face.
Praise the Spirit, daily witness
to you ever-loving way.
Take us now and reawake us,
challenge us to use this day. MDobson/mcm
The people sit after the hymn
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:
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and Songs for all churches. 1993. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Burgess, R. 2001. A Book of Blessings. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Dobson, M. 2004. Multi-coloured Maze. Drama, Hymns, Prayers and Poems for Worship and Everyday Living. London. Stainer & Bell.
Funk, R. W; R. W. Hoover. 1993. The Five Gospels. The Search for the Authentic words of Jesus. New York. MacMillan Press.
Liebelt, P. & N. Nicholls. (ed). 1996. Gentle Rain on Parched Earth. Worship Resources for Rural Situations. Melbourne. JBCE.
(SLT) Singing The Living Tradition. Boston: UUA, 1993.
Vosper, G. We All Breathe. Poems and Prayers. Toronto: PostPurgical Resources, 2012.
White, B. A. You Who Delight Me. Words of Spirit and Faith. Wellington: Steele Roberts Publishers, 2012.
Winter, Miriam T. 1987. Women Prayer. Women Song. Resources for Ritual. Hartford. Meyer Stone Books.
McKeeman, Sorrill, Sheridan. UUA Worship Web. Boston. UUA. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
"God Given Energy". Andrew Pratt eMail distribution direct from the author. UK.
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/