Epiphany3B.25.1.2015

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au
Web site:  www.rexaehuntprogressive.com


GATHERING FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

25 January 2015. Epiphany 3B. (Green).


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

This day we shall let the hills embrace us,
the trees comfort us,
and the sun enlighten our minds.

This day we shall let the sap rise within us
and dance the music of the Cosmos.  (Adpat.WWallace/wb)

Lighting of the Community Candle
The community candle is lit

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

(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
"When the Summer Sun is Shining(Tune: 'Nettleton', 87 87D.  392 TiS)     66 SLT
When the summer sun is shining
over golden land and sea,
and the flowers in the hedge-row
welcome butterfly and bee,
then my open heart is glowing,
full of warmth for every one,
and I feel an inner beauty
which reflects the summer sun.

When the summer clouds of thunder
bring the long awaited rain,
and the thirsty soil is moistened
and the grass is green again;
then I long for summer sunshine,
but I know that clouds and tears
are a part of life's refreshment,
like the rainbow's hopes and fears.

In the cool of summer evening,
when the dancing insects play,
and in garden, street, and meadow
linger echoes of the day;
then my heart is full of yearning;
hopes and mem'ries flood the whole
of my being, reaching inwards
to the corners of my soul.  SHKnight
Remain standing after hymn

Opening Sentences
Among us the spirit of Creativity God
conceives new life
All And we feel the life within us.

In our history Jesus the Sage
makes gentle entry
All And we see the light before us.

Within our dreams the truth of our God is revealed
All We await the hope of the world.

Act of Awareness
Sing out happiness upon the morning.
Celebrate the famous sun and the comely earth.
Think upon love, that it may grow within us,
and compassion, that it may call us to its service (KPatton/sscl)

OR

We pray:
As we gather, let us affirm the connection we have:
with each other, and
with that creative mystery we call God.

May we remain open to the unfolding of
all that can be celebrated,
all that can be learned,
all that can be done,
all that can be,
without diminishing the life of others.
May it be so.

Hymn Here We Gather(Tune: ‘Holy Manna’) 4 SiF
Here we gather, here we come together
Seeking wisdom, seeking truth.
Minds are ready, hearts are open
To receive what each can give,
   Drawing deep from wells of knowledge
   Sharing insights old and new,
As we gather, as we come together
Finding wisdom, finding truth.

As we gather, as we come together
Seeking comfort, seeking strength,
Minds are ready, hearts are open
To receive what each can give,
   Needs and fears expressed and honoured
   Care extended warm and free,
As we gather, as we come together
Finding comfort, finding strength.

Wide world over, we will come together
Seeking justice, seeking peace.
Minds are ready, hearts are open
To receive what each can give,
   Deep respect and deep compassion
   Lives committed to the cause,
Wide world over, we will come together
Bringing justice, bringing peace. © Scott Kearns 2008

OR

"For This Great Sunburnt Land"  (Tune: Nun Danket’, 106(i) TiS.).    18 HH
For this great sunburnt land
We join in celebration,
With all its native life,
The joy of God's creation:
Fresh lakes and tall blue gums
Who raise their voice on high,
Black swans that sweep with grace
Across the morning sky.

Now thank we, God, this day
For pioneers with vision,
Who found this heritage
A gift from God's deep passion.
O God of this wide land,
Grant us the faith to see,
You filled its soul with song,
A sacred mystery.

With this great sunburnt land
We join in celebration,
With roos and cockatoos
And mobs from ev'ry nation;
Custodians God chose
For bush and billabong,
We join with grateful voice
To sing this country strong.  (NHabel)
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.
Fellowship hour following worship.

CENTERING

Meditation
"Summer Meditation"
Inspired by Burton Carley's 'September Meditation'. Adapted by Rex A E Hunt

I do not know if the seasons remember their history
or if the days and nights by which we count time
remember their own passing.

I do not know if the oak tree remembers its planting
or if the eucalypt remembers its slow climb toward sun and stars.

I do not know if the cockatoo remembers
yesterday's mob gathering on 'the block',
or if the robin remembers the meaning of winter.

I do not know if the air remembers summer heat
or if the night remembers the moon.

I do not know if the earth remembers the flowers from last spring,
or if the water remembers a swimmer's splashing delight.

Perhaps that is the reason for our births: to be the memory for creation.
Perhaps this will be the only question we will have to answer:
'What can you tell me about summer?'

Centering Silence
In this time of silence may we move
from concerns and busy-ness, to quietness...
(Silence)

God of life
God of seasons
God of wonders that will not cease...

Present with us now.
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Reading from our Biblical Tradition
Traditional Gospel:
Mark 1:14-20  (Inclusive Text)

After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee.

There Jesus proclaimed the good news from God, saying,
'The time has come and the reign of God is close at hand.
Repent, and believe the good news.'

Walking along by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw Simon and Simon's brother Andrew
casting a net into the sea - for they were fishermen.

And Jesus said to them,
'Follow me and I will make you into fishers of men and women.'
And at once they left their nets and followed.

Going a little further, Jesus saw James son of Zebedee and Jame's brother John;
they too were in their boat, mending their nets.

Jesus called them at once, and,
leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the workers,
they went after Jesus.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

CELEBRATING

Litany for Australia (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, and on this Australia Day weekend,
let us stand and share together a special litany.
The people stand as they are able

Come to us, Creating God,
as the One who walks the way of ordinary people.
All  Come to us,
as the One who weeps over the city.

Come to us,
as the One who deeply understands
the paradox of life which rises from death.
All  Come to us, in a language of grace
that we may approach you in vulnerable hope.

Give us new life
if the old has been destroyed in us.
All  Give us openness
if we have closed our hearts to your future.

Give us courage, if we tread this land
in fear of bringing our gifts.
All  Give us wisdom, when we forget to listen
to the learnings of our history.

Give us joy
when we see the breadth of your imagination
expressed in the differences between us.
All  Differences of race and culture,
differences of history and journey,
differences in our experience of you.

Bind us together as those
who feel your love under our feet
in the warmth of this, our holy ground.
All  Dance within our life, O Spirit of God,
that we may be transformed by your eternal passion
for making all things new DMcRae-McMahon/bst

OR

A Celebration of Connectedness (Optional)
The chorus of suns and planets announce
the beginning of a new day.
All Each morning births new possibilities
and beckons fresh challenges.

The cycle of morning music and starry silence
promise second chances.
All Each day provides new vistas
and promotes further exploration.

The laughter of oceans and the wailing of winds
reflect the human condition.
All Each week declares we are in the world
and determines we are of the world.

The praises and prayers of all living things
affirm our connectedness.
All Each month begs for our nurture
and betrays our own nature.

What can ever separate us?
Only the self-imposed isolation
of arrogance or ignorance.
All What can draw us homeward?
Only the self-possessed compassion
of radical hospitality.
It begins with us.
It begins right now.
All It embraces morning.
It bursts forth in music
. (GStewart/www.uusf.org)

Sharing 'The Peace'
v1   Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
and let the winds of the heavens dance between you…  Kahlil Gibran.

v2  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
French Killings(Tune: ‘Stewardship’)
Hopeless to help in this violence, this crisis,
here in the focus of bloodshed and fear,
common humanity binds us together,
love at the centre, not hatred's veneer.

Jewish and Christian and Muslim together,
all the world’s people, we each have a place.
Love is our purpose when those filled with hatred
break down relationships, nullify grace.

Give me your hand, then let peace grow between us,
let us rebuild what distrust might destroy.
Now in this moment we'll make a commitment,
love is the weapon we'll use and deploy. © Andrew Pratt 20/1/2015 & 18/1/2015

OR

We Gaze in Wonder…(Tune: ‘Gaze in wonder’, 11 10 11 9) 30 WNC
We gaze in wonder at the morning’s dawning,
positive witness to God’s faithful grace;
we turn our backs, and in the shadow standing,
shield the light we need to find our place.

In arrogance, in darkness we will stumble,
screening our eyes, we turn away from light.
We venerate our skill, the rocket’s rumble,
deadens sense, distorting wrong and right.

As stewards of love, let’s contemplate creation,
filigree frosting of a winter’s pain;
God hold in hand elation, desperation,
born in death that we might live again. (Andrew Pratt)
People sit

AFFIRMING

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

Presentation  People stand as gifts are presented
We are grateful that these gifts enable us
to share in the lives of others.

May we be empowered by the Spirit of Life,
to share more deeply in both
the sorrows and joys of others.
People sit

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.
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,
v1  and embrace the possibilities of the present,
with every breath we take. (GVosper/ab)

The 'Abba' Prayer:
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Lord's Prayer, and 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 The people stand as they are able, to sing
Climate is Warming(Tune: ‘The Ash Grove’, 12 11 12 11D, 531 TiS) 44 (v1-3) 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.
Remain standing

Parting Words
Let us embrace the wonder of this week
with expectation and imagination...
The candle is extinguished

By learning to trust nature, including our human nature
- our dreams and imaginations –
we can unleash the creativity that lies within
each human being  MFox.

Words of Blessing
Take time to listen to the birds, the waves, the wind.
Take time to breathe in the air, the earth, the ocean.
Take time to be still, to be silent,
to allow God to fill you up
with deep peace and love.  (ILawton)
All Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont)  Climate is Warming(Tune: ‘The Ash Grove’, 12 11 12 11D, 531 TiS) 44 (v4-5) SNS2
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. (GStuart)
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 the moment 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:
Duncan, G. (ed). 2000. A World of Blessing. Benedictions from every continent and many cultures. Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Gibran, K. 1926/1969. The Prophet. London. Heinemann.
(HH) Habel, Norman. 2004. Habel Hymns 1. Songs to celebrate with creation. Adelaide. Flinders Press.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. 2005. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
(SiF) Kearns, S. (ed). 2009. Sing it Forward. Traditional Hymns Recast and Rewritten for Non-Exclusive Communities. In circulation from the author.
Mack, B. L. 1993.  The Lost Gospel. The Book of Q and christian origins. New York. HarperSanFrancisco.
McRae-McMahon, D. 1996. The Glory of Blood, Sweat and Tears. Liturgies for living and dying. Melbourne. JBCE.
Patton, K. 1967. Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. Boston: Beacon Press.
(WNC) Pratt, A. 2002.  Whatever Name or Creed. Hymns and songs. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. 1993.  Boston. UUA.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. 2009.  Singing a New Song. Traditional hymn tunes with new century lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto. G Stuart.
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:
Carley. UUA Worship Web. Boston. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Ian Lawton.
C3 Exchange, Spring Lake. MI. <www.c3exchange.net/> 2012.
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/
"A Celebration of Connectedness".
George L Stewart. 2011. UUChurch of San Francisco. www.uusf.org
Andrew Pratt. 'French Killings'. 2015. Direct from the author. Used with permission.

rexae74@gmail.com