TransfigurationB.11.2.2018

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail:  rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
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A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
11 February 2018. Transfiguration B. (White).


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

Rich and Striking Visuals
        “The function of beauty… is to make us aware of a reality which is richer
        and deeper and more marvellous than anything we can dream or conceive.” (Henry N. Wieman)
        Artwork OR Floral/Symbols display (cloths, candles, stones, wood, leaves, flowers, earth, water) OR projection of Film/Slides 

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

v1  We have come into this place of hope
where our hearts and minds are opened to the future.

We have come into this place of justice
where we set aside our fear
to name freely every oppression.

We have come into this place of song
where we unite our voices in the somber 
and the beautiful melodies of life.  (LDStoddard/adapt)

v2  So let us celebrate this richness and diversity of life.

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 these 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. Terrorist Attacks, 11. Science/Cosmology
(iii) PLUS some specific resources on Terrorism 
HERE

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

In the mystery of life about us there is light.
It gives us a place to be,
to grow,
to rejoice together.
It opens the pathways to love.

Let the light we kindle go before us,
Strong in hope,
wide in good will,
Inviting the day to come.  (Adapt.GKBeach)

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"God Of All Time
(Tune: Infinite)    49 (v1-3) AA
God of all time,
all seasons of our living,
source of our spark,
protector of our flame,
blazing before our birth,
beyond our dying,
God of all time,
we come to sing your name.

Here in this place
where others have been building,
we come to claim
the legacy of faith,
take, in our turn
the telling of your story,
and though we tremble,
speak your hope, your truth.

Spirit who draws
our fragile selves together,
Spirit who turns
a stranger to a friend,
be at this table
where we greet each other,
be in the peace
we pass from hand to hand.  Shirley Erena Murray

Remain standing

Opening Sentences
Let us acknowledge the awesome mystery embodied in every person.
All  
Through us God comes to unique and personal expression. 

Let us give thanks for the abundance of life on this earth.
All  Through it we and all people may be nourished.

Act of Awareness
Silently a flower blooms.
In silence it falls away.

Yet here now, in this moment, at this place,
the world of the flower,
the whole of the world is blooming.

This is the talk of the flower,
the truth of the blossom:
the glory of eternal life is fully shining here.  (Adapt.ZShinayama/lp)

OR

We pray:
Abiding God, grant us the joy of feeling ourselves
a part of your vast magnificence,
your all-encompassing love.
May it be so.

HymnMaker Of Mystery”   47 FFS
Maker of mystery,
dreamer of what will be,
well-spring and fertile ground of all our growing:
tending the buried seed,
foreseeing every need,
you draw us into life beyond our knowing.

Christ, strong and living vine,
spreading through space and time,
deep rooted in the love of God our mother:
dying, you live and share
your strength with us, to bear
ripe fruit in season for the life of others.

Wild Spirit, springing green,
coiled in the depths unseen,
promise of fruit within the seed maturing:
new life, you grow and swell,
burst from the outgrown shell,
hundredfold yield in every age ensuring.

Living and loving God,
sing in the pulse of our blood,
help us to know you in your own creation,
love you, the life of all,
serve you and hear your call
from our first forming to our full salvation. 
MBarrell
The 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.
Fellowship hour following worship.
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.

CENTERING

Reflection
“Inner Presence, Outer Purpose”
By Eckhart Tolle.
A New Earth.

Being at one with what is doesn’t mean you no longer initiate change or become incapable of taking action.
But the motivation to take action comes from
a deeper level, not from egoic wanting or fearing.

Inner alignment with the present moment opens your consciousness
and brings it into alignment with the whole,
of which the present moment is an integral part.

The whole, the totality of life, then acts through you.

OR

“Expect Life!”
Elizabeth Tarbox

Do not live too far in the past or the future. Live now.
In each moment expect a miracle: ten kinds of birds at the feeder,
and the tracks of a fox in the snow.

Pick up a magnifying glass and scrutinize that crocus.
See the pollen at the center of the daffodil, life's dust, death-defying life.
Be astonished at the flower, arrested by its beauty.

Run naked through the garden early in the morning
and hope the wild geese fly by.

Get silly and laugh loudly with your grandchildren or your grandparents.
Refuse to leave the dead behind, but bring their memory
to all your chores and games and corners of quiet, warm tears.

Know always that joy and sorrow are woven together;
one cannot be without the other.
If you love, know that sometimes your love will bring you tears;
if you grieve, know it is because at some time you were willing to love.

Do not be afraid to die today. But expect life!  (uua/worshipweb)

Silence
Let there now be a quiet time among us.
(Silence)

May we find within ourselves the courage to be who we are.
May we trust one another and know there are many ways to go through life.
May we know that though we cannot change some of what life gives to us,
we can choose how we deal with what we are given.  BHamilton-Holway
(Silence)

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:
“Tell them they are loved”
By Colleen McCullough, from A Creed for the Third Millenium/lol

…what else would you tell them?'

His voice dropped to rumbling, purring warmth.
'I would tell them they are loved.
No one seems to tell them they are loved any more.
That's a large part of the trouble.

‘Modem administrations are efficient, caring, dedicated.
But they dismiss love the way an insecure and weak man will neglect to tell his wife or his mistress
that he loves her because, he will say defensively,
surely she ought to know that without being told.

‘But oh… we all need to be told we are loved!
To be told you are loved lights up the day!

‘So, I would tell them they are loved.
I would tell them they are not evil,
they are not festering with sin,
they are not beneath contempt,
they are not simple nuisance value.

‘I would tell them that they already have every resource they need
in order to save themselves and make a better world…

‘I would try to make them see that God put them here for a purpose,
and that purpose is to make something of the world He put them in,
not channel their thoughts into an existence
they can only enter by leaving this world, by dying.

‘Too many people are so busy earning salvation in the next life
that they only end by screwing this one up.’

OR

"Boroka Lookout - The Grampians"
By Richard Treloar. Searching & Finding/57

We arrived at the hilltop;
the sun shone despite the cloud,
invigorated,
delighted,
we paused, drew breath, drinking in
the beauty,
the wonder,
the vision splendid.

Briefly our hands touched,
grasped lightly
yet firmly.

There was beauty,
the beauty of life,
of birdsong,
of wildflower,
of panorama,
of togetherness.

We turned from the hilltop;
the cloud shadowed the sun,
the panorama disappeared,
the hilltop was but a brief glimpse of joyous beauty.

We could not stay,
but the memory remains.

Traditional Gospel:
Mark 9:2-9  (Inclusive Text)

Jesus took Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain
where they could be alone by themselves.
There in their presence Jesus was transfigured;
Jesus' clothes became dazzling white, whiter than any bleacher could make them.

Elijah appeared with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus.

Then Peter spoke to Jesus,
“Rabbi, it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tent dwellings,
one for you,
one for Moses,
and one for Elijah.”

Peter did not know what to say, they were so frightened.

And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud,
“This is my Beloved, my Own.  Listen to this One!”

Then suddenly, when they looked around,
they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

As they came down the mountain,
Jesus warned them to tell no one what they had seen,
until after the Promised One had risen from the dead.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany: 'Commitment to Life' (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share a special litany for today.
The people stand as they are able

In the midst of hunger and war
All  We celebrate the promise of plenty and peace.
In the midst of oppression and tyranny
All  
We celebrate the promise of service and freedom.
In the midst of doubt and despair
All  
We celebrate the promise of faith and hope.
In the midst of fear and betrayal
All  
We celebrate the promise of joy and loyalty.
In the midst of hatred and death
All  
We celebrate the promise of love and life.
In the midst of sin and decay
All  
We celebrate the promise of salvation and renewal.
In the midst of death on every side
All  
We celebrate the promise of the Living Christ.  (pod)

OR

Unpredictable, irrepressible, 
dancing, laughing Spirit,
when we're tempted to be cautious and hesitate,
All  Draw us forward 
into the surprising and joyful future 
you have waiting for us.

Unpredictable, elusive Spirit,
when we're tempted to opt for certainty,
All  Free our spirits to adventure and risk, 
as your people have always done.

Unpredictable, people-loving, 
freedom-loving Spirit,
when we're tempted to be shackled to comfort and conformity,
All  Enable us to leave such things behind,
call us through your people 
into the surprise of each new day.

Clear our vision,
so we may see things, 
to which we've paid no attention in the past.
All Sharpen our listening,
so we may hear pleadings and cries 
we've never heard before.

Strengthen our hands,
so we may do things we've previously not dared try.
All  Put a new spring into our step,
so we may follow your leading into new situations.
Draw us dancing and laughing into tomorrow.
 (John Connan)

Sharing 'The Peace'
“Life should be a pattern of experiences to savour, not endure” PD’Arcy
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  People stand as they are able, to sing
I Will Talk To My Heart(Tune: ‘Stillness’)        69 HoS
I will talk to my heart in the stillness,
I will talk to my heart when I pray,
I will let go of all my resentment
till compassion is my inner Way.
Refrain:
Trust the stillness,
trust the oneness,
trust the Way on inner prayer;
trust the stillness
trust the oneness,
trust the life of God we share.

I will watch all my thoughts in the stillness
I will watch all my thoughts when I pray,
I will watch all the stream of my thinking
till compassion is my inner Way.
Refrain:

I will dwell in the space of my oneness,
I will dwell in that space when I pray,
I will let go of all my divisions
till compassion is my inner Way.
Refrain:  (William L Wallace)

OR

Brighter Than a Thousand Suns  (Tune: Abingdon’, 88 88 88)    30 MTH
Much brighter than a thousand suns,
the source of life, eternal grace;
light of the cosmos and this world
now shining from a saviour’s face.
Upon the mountain’s towering height
they saw transfiguration’s light.

This man, this Jesus, they had known,
who called them once by Galilee,
now stood upon the mountaintop,
he seemed exalted, shining, free.
Disciples caught in stark surprise
had shielded dazzled, blinded eyes.

Free of the bonds of human life
and distanced by some greater power,
a strange yet mystic harmony
joined earth and heaven in this hour.
It seemed that God was very near,
inspiring awe, dispelling fear.

The height of love, the depth of grace,
the dazzling birth of something new,
a supernova magnified,
a stunning, startling, shining view,
for God affirmed Christ’s human worth
illuminating all the earth. 
(Andrew Pratt. © Copyright 2012 Stainer 8: Bell Ltd)
People sit

Conversation 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:
As one heart is lifted
All  May we share its celebration
As one heart is burdened
All  
May we share the pain it knows  (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.

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.  (Gretta Vosper/ab)

The 'Abba' Prayer:  (Optional)
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Abba/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
"Warm is the Word
(Tune: 11.10.11.10. Dactylic)
Warm is the word we shall speak to our neighbour,
offering the love that has come from the heart.
Bridges we're building to span gulfs of hatred;
now is the time we must make a new start.

Follies have threatened our task from the outset,
words have been shallow and actions misplaced.
Help us to listen with care to our neighbour,
then may our answers disarm by their grace.

Parting Words
As we prepare to leave this sacred space where we have met together,
let us return to our work and schooling, enlivened and renewed...
The Community Candle is extinguished

May God's breath stream within us.
May God's breath renew us.
May God's breath invigorate us.
All  We walk with confidence into this week.
  (Adapt/Sinfonia Oecumenica/lol)

Words of Blessing
May we be wholly present in our own lives,
ready to be surprised by the wonder of each ordinary moment.

May the light around us guide our footsteps.

May the darkness around us nurture our dreams and give us rest.
Blessed be.
(Unknown)
All  Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont). "Warm is the Word(Tune: 11.10.11.10. Dactylic)
Let us avow by our words and intentions
never to stultify love at its source,
but by our dialogue, here and hereafter,
always to value and never to force.

Then as we utter each fond acclamation,
joined as if sisters and brothers from birth,
let us continue to break down dissension,
working for peace and renewal on earth.  Andrew Pratt © 2000 Stainer & Bell Ltd
The people sit 

'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.
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa.
  Hymns and Songs for all Churches. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 1993.
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.
Burgess, R. & K. Galloway. (ed).
Praying For The Dawn. A Resource Book for the Ministry of Healing. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2000.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000. 
Hilton, D. (ed). 1991. 
Liturgy of Life. An Anthology. Birmingham. National Christian Education Council.
(HoS) Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.

Inclusive Readings. Year B
. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2005.
Iona Community.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Mitchell, R. C. & G. A. Ricciuti. Birthings and Blessings. Liberating Worship Services for the Inclusive Church
. New York. Crossroads, 1992.
(MTH) Pratt, A. More Than Hymns. Words for a Lyrical Faith. London. Stainer & Bell, 2015.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon. Life Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Blessings, and Affirmations to Celebrate the Human Journey. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.
Treloar, R. Searching & Finding. Prayers and Meditations. Toowoomba. Darling Downs Institute Press, 1984.
Tolle, E. A New Earth: Awakening to your Life's Purpose. New York. Dutton Adult, 2005.
Vosper, G. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.
Vosper, G. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed).
Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK, 1995.

Web sites/Other:
Beach, Stoddard, Hamilton-Holway, Tarbox, Connan, UUA Worship Web. Boston. www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Andew Pratt. "Warm is the Word". Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site: hymns.uk.com
C3Exchange/Community Church, Spring Lake. MI. <www.c3exchange.org/>

rexae74@gmail.com