Epiphany5B.8.2.2015

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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


GATHERING FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

8 February 2015. Epiphany 5B. (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

There is, under the mystery that is ‘us’,
a deep, abiding sense of oneness.

As we gather and celebrate today,
may we be filled with an awareness of that oneness,
and may it soak into and through
the whole of our living (Adapt.GVosper/hb).

OR

The presence of Creativity God fills this place of gathering.
The whole earth is full of God's glory.

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The community candle is lit

With heat and light, the Great Radiance blazed forth
With heat and light, ancestral stars fused atoms, exploding in awesome power
With heat and light, the fire on our Ancestors’ hearth cooked their food
With heat and light, modern scientists harnessed new energy sources

With heat and light, we light our flame today,
looking toward a sustainable future (Adapt.JCH. Public domain)

(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
Santo, Santo”  (Tune: ‘Santo santo’)     723 TiS
Santo, santo, santo.
Mi co razon te a do ra!
Mi co ra zon te sabe de cir:
Santo eres Senor.

Holy, holy, holy,
My heart, my heart adores you!
My heart knows how to say to you:
Holy are you, Lord.

OR

"Pulsing Spirit" (Tune: ‘Beach Spring’, 87 87D,  493 TiS)
Pulsing Spirit, rippling river,
Source of mercy’s tender might,
gentle power, humble glory,
subtle, ever dancing light:
healing Wisdom in us flowing,
now reveal our human worth.
Play beneath the muddied waters:
Come renew the face of earth!

Spirit, free, unbounded motion,
beauty’s mirror, heart’s delight,
gift abundant all around us,
flood the world with life and light.
Fountain ancient, ever springing,
play in new creative ways.
Lift us, stream of lavish loving,
high on waves of joyful praise! © Delores Dufner
Remain standing after hymn

Opening Sentences
To worship is to stand in awe under a heaven of stars,
before a flower, a leaf in sunlight, or a grain of sand.
All To worship is to sing with the singing beauty of the earth.
To pause, to be silent... and receptive  (JTrapp/adapt)

Act of Awareness
Light and colour… We are surround by beauty.
May we express our gratitude
for all the glories of sun, sand, sea, and surf:
all the wonder of this summer season.

May our lives be lived in appreciation
of all that life offers us.

OR

We pray:
Spinner, weaver of our lives, your loom is love.

May we who are gathered here be empowered by that love
to weave new patterns of truth and justice
into a web of life
that is strong, beautiful, and everlasting.
May it be so.  (Adapt.BWells/slt)

Hymn "Human Touch Can Light the Flame" (Tune: ‘Dunedin’, 88 88. 387 TiS)    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.
Fellowship hour following worship.

CENTERING

Centering Silence
Now, in shared quietness, we shall listen to the wisdom
of our inner hearts and minds as we join in this time
of silence and meditation.

Let us give thanks for our personal journeys…
sometimes long and hard journey...

Let us seek forgiveness for times when our fears
have outweighed our love...

Let us be mindful of the greed which so often rules us...

Let us remember, in silence... and wonder.
Silence

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Two readings from our biblical tradition shall now be read.

The first is from one of the authentic letters of Paul.
The second is from one of the early Jesus Movement communities
Our reader is (NN).

A letter to an Early Church community:
i Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23 (Inclusive Text)

I do not boast of preaching the gospel, since it is a duty which has been laid on me;
I should be punished if I did not preach it!  

If I had chosen this work myself, I might have been paid for it,
but as I have not, it is a responsibility which has been put into my hands.

Do you know what my reward is?
It is this: in my preaching, to be able to offer the good news free,
and not insist on the rights which the gospel gives me.

So though I am not a slave to anyone 
I have made myself the slave of everyone so as to win as many as I could...
For the weak I made myself weak.
I made myself all things to all people in order to save some at any cost;
for the sake of the gospel, to have a share in its blessing.

OR

i Corinthians 9:16-19, 22 - 23 (Scholars Version)

If I proclaim the news about God's Anointed,
that's not something for me to be proud of.
I was compelled to do it.
I would be in terrible trouble if I refused to proclaim that news.

But if I do this involuntarily,
it is because I have been entrusted with a responsibility.

So what is my reward for this?
That when I preach I get to offer the news that I proclaim free of charge,
and make no use of the legitimate claims to which
proclaiming this news entitles me.

Although I am free from servitude to anyone,
I have made myself the servant of everyone
in order to win over as many as I can...

To the weak I behaved as if I were weak,
so that I could win over the weak.
I have accommodated myself in all sorts of ways to all sots of people
so that by all these means I might save some.

I do all of this for the sake of God's world-transforming news,
so that I might have a share in its benefits.

Traditional Gospel:
Mark 1:29-39  (Inclusive Text)

On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John
straight to the house of Simon and Andrew.

Now Simon’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever,
and they told Jesus about her straightaway.

Jesus went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up.
And the fever left and she began to minister to them.

That evening, at sunset, they brought to Jesus all who were sick and those
who were possessed with devils.
The whole town came crowding round the door,
and Jesus cured many who were suffering
from diseases of one kind or another.

Jesus also cast out many devils, but would not allow them to speak,
because they knew who Jesus was. 

In the morning, long before dawn, Jesus got up and left the house,
and went out to a lonely place and prayed there.

Simon and the others set out in search of Jesus,
and when they found him, they said, 'Everybody is looking for you.'

Jesus answered,
'Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring towns, so that I can preach there too,
because that is why I came.'

And Jesus went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out devils.

Contemporary Exploration
• A Sermon suitable for this day can be found in my book, Against the Stream. Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew.

Silence for Personal Reflection

CELEBRATING

A "Families" Litany (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, and as the children join us again this year,
let us stand and share together a 'Families' litany.
The people stand as they are able

v1  We form families out of our need for intimacy and security.
All  We are foreigners in our own land
and often estranged from our own neighbours.

v1  A family is a safe haven, but not
a fortress, sanctuary or prison.
All  Some must be liberated from their families of origin
to find a place to be free.

v2  Some walk nameless streets in search of a family that never was.
All  Others remember their home street with
fond memories of family gatherings.

v1  We can be ‘family’ for one another;
this is not easy but it may be necessary.
All  No one should be homeless.
It shouldn’t hurt to be a child.

v2  It is never too late to find a family.
It is always timely to forgive.
All  May we find here a family that
dismisses the boundaries of blood
and speaks the language of love.
(GLStewart)

OR

Creation Litany (Optional)
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 proclaims God's wonder.

Mountains outlined against the morning sky
proclaims your steadfastness and majesty;
pink heath, flannel flower, wet with dew;
Deer and kangaroo quietly grazing.
All All the earth proclaims God's wonder.

The western plains stretch far,
the western plains stretch wide,
Proclaiming the wideness of God's mercy;
Freshwater dam, salt lake and swampland,
Home of the pelican, swan and crane,
The fox in his lair, enemy of stock and farmer.
All All the earth proclaims God's wonder.

When day is done the sky proclaims God's timeless beauty;
In fiery sunset's glorious hue;
Amid this mix of beauty and destruction,
Creating, re-creating, 
Dusk comes quietly, 
Broken only by corellas 
Their calls filling the faded light. 
All All the earth proclaims God's wonder. Pam Wyley/grpe

Sharing 'The Peace'
v1 When imagination is allowed to move to deep places,
the sacred is revealed. Thomas Moore
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
We Celebrate the Web of Life" (Tune: CM) 175 SLT
We celebrate the web of life
its magnitude we sing;
for we can see divinity
in every living thing.

A fragment of the perfect whole
in cactus and in quail,
as much in tiny barnacle
as in the great blue whale.

Of ancient dreams we are the sum;
our bones link stone to star,
and bind our future worlds to come
with worlds that were and are.

Respect the water, land, and air
which gave all creatures birth;
protect the lives of all that share
the glory of the earth. (ASCarpenter)
People sit

CELEBRATING

Conversation with the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat

Conversation:

Meditation:
As we welcome the children back to the Sunday Club,
let us recommit ourselves to their nurture…

Let us also remember the children we once were
and who still live within us.
    Let us love them now, in this quiet moment.

Let us remember the children of our own families
and the children of our friends.
    Let us love them now, in this quiet moment.

Let us remember the children who are homeless
children who are separated from their families
children who are hungry or in pain
children whose lives are threatened by
drugs, crime, lack of health care.
    Let us love them now, in this quiet moment.

Let us remember all children and commit ourselves
to their growth and safety,
their health and education,
their uniqueness and their unfolding beauty.
    Let us love them now, in this quiet moment.
    And forever more. (CSternberg)

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

Presentation
We are here that we might have life and have it more abundantly,
so that we might share it with others  (JCMorgan)

These gifts and our lives enable us
to be a generous people.

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:
Let each of us find a window
All To see beyond our own enclosures.
Let each of us find a door
All To open ourselves into new being (Adapt.KPatton/sscl)

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  God, lover of us all, most holy one.
Help us to respond to you.
To create what you want for us here on earth.

Give us today enough for our needs.
Forgive our weak and deliberate offences,
just as we must forgive others when they hurt us.

Help us to resist evil and to do what is good.
For we are yours, endowed with your power
to make our world whole.
Amen.  (LWinkley/cw)

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
"God's Love Gives Freedom"  (Tune: ‘Hymn of Joy’ 87 87D, 158 TiS)   15 (v1-2) SNS
God is love. Our gospel story.
Told so we might comprehend;
Through Christ's life we see God's glory.
Not as despot, but as friend.
Seen as humble, seen as serving.
Not omnipotent, severe;
But as love to undeserving.
Not as distant, but so near.

God is love, we need not tremble.
God forgives and does not blame.
We, confessing, don't resemble
Those weighed down by guilt and shame.
Punishment for past wrong-doing,
In God's dealings, has no place.
Love in constant, keeps pursuing
Humankind of every race.
Remain standing

Parting Words
Let us take on this week’s life with renewed hope and imagination...
The candle is extinguished

As we leave this place of worship and celebration:
may we remember that each day
offers more things than we can do.
All  May we do what needs to be done,
postpone what does not,
and be at peace with what we can be and do.

Therefore, may we learn to separate that which matters most
All  and that which matters least of all.

Words of Blessing
The peace of this ancient earth to you...
of the high blue heavens which embrace it,
and the winds which blow freely over it.

The peace of splintered light sparkling on gum leaves,
and gentle rain falling on parched earth.

The peace of star-jewelled skies and full-orbed moons,
of breathless dawns and splendid dying suns.

And the peace of the God of Peace to you.  (EHowie/grpe)
All Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont) "God's Love Gives Freedom"  (Tune: ‘Hymn of Joy’ 87 87D, 158 TiS)   15 (v3) SNS
God is love and love gives freedom;
Freedom from all fear and guilt.
God is love and love gives welcome;
Broken lives can be rebuilt.
And this love grows even stronger
As disciples live this way.
For to love and serve one's neighbour
Is to do God's will each day.  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:
Dewey, A. et al. The Authentic Letters of Paul. A New Reading of Paul’s Rhetoric and Meaning. Scholars Version. Salem. Polebridge Press, 2010.
Inclusive Readings. Year B
. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2005.
Liebelt, P. & N. Nicholls. (ed). 1996. Gentle Rain on Parched Earth. Worship resources for rural situations. Melbourne. JBCE.
Patton, K. Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. Boston: Beacon Press, 1967.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
(SNS) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional hymn tunes with new century lyrics. Second edition. Sydney. CPRT Sydney, 2006.
(TiS) Together in Song. Australian hymn book 2. Sydney. HarperCollins Religious, 1999.
Vosper, G. Another Breath. Prayers for celebration and reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.
Vosper, G. Holy Breath. Prayers for Worship and Reflection. New & Revised Edition. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2004/2010.
Ward, H. & J. Wild, J Morley. (ed). Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK, 1995.

Web sites/Other:
Trapp, Morgan, Sternberg. UUA Worship Web. Boston. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
'Families' Litany. 
G L Stewart.  www.uusf.org
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/
"Pulsing Spirit". Delores Dufner. Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site: hymns.uk.com

rexae74@gmail.com