Easter2B.8.4.2018

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
8 April 2018.  Easter 2B. (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

Refreshment Station/Water Basins
Pottery basins are set on stands near the entrance to the Gathering space. 
Attendees are invited to dip their hands in the cool water in the basins as they arrive. 
Or to rinse each other’s hands. 
That we may relax, be refreshed, and prepare for this time together.

(Note: A small sign is placed above the basin explaining that as they dip their hands in the water, they are invited to relax and try to mindfully set aside or release for a time anything that might be preventing them from being fully present—each traveller rinsing the “dust from the road”).

OR

(A suggestion of other words)
We come together from our separate lives,
each of us bringing our concerns, our preoccupations,
our hopes, and our dreams.

We are not yet fully present.
The traffic, the last-minute cooking, the final details still cling to us.
Our bodies hold the rush of the past few hours.

It is now time to let go of these pressures and really arrive…   

When you are ready, repeat silently to yourself: ‘Hineini’ or ‘Here I am’.
Hineini is used in the Torah to signify being present
in body, mind, and spirit.

It means settling into where we are and simply being “here”. (Adapted/Nan Fink Gene)

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

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.
(Silence)

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
God – The Dance” 
(Tune: ‘Camberwell’, 65 65D)
Do we have a picture of what God may be?
Is it one of power and authority?
Does it help inspire more discovery?
Can we think of dancing metaphorically?

God is Love – can help us into Jesus’ mind;
For this Jewish rabbi is a dance, we find
All his life reminds us what love’s all about;
Dancing in the gospels, he would sing and shout.

Jesus shows us dancing in a loving way;
Costly yet fulfilling; never just display;
Sometimes it’s not easy; we may need a prod;
For to dance with Jesus is to dance with God.

Love is never static, always finds a way
To be kind and gentle; to be warm each day;
Like a dance with rhythm, love is never still;
Lightens every burden and prolongs each thrill.

God, the Love Dance, call us – use your energy
To live every moment in a dance with Me.
Dancing solo can be quite a misery.
Dancing with Me helps you find your destiny.  
(© George Stuart 2008)

Opening Sentences
v1  We live at mystery's edge
watching for a startling luminescence or a word to guide us.
All  
In fragile occurrence the Holy One  presents oneself and we must pause...

v2  Daily, there are glimmers,
reflections of a seamless mercy
revealed in common intricacies.
All  These circles of grace spill out around us
and announce that we are part of this mystery. 
KWehlander/sosob.

v1  We see the presentness of God's beauty
reflected in our communities and in our world.
All  We feel the warmth of God's love
in the autumn sun, the smiles of strangers,
and the hugs of friends.
We sense the fragrance of God's creativity
in the flowers of the garden,
and in the leaves of ash and oak and gum.
All  
May we overcome our mono blandness
and enjoy God's presentness forever.

Act of Awareness
May our time together renew our hope.
May the stories we share refresh our courage.
May the songs we sing lift our spirits.
May the words we speak invigorate us.
May the touch of hands, the sound of laughter,
the sight of faces new and familiar,
restore us in faith.  (CODame).

OR

We pray:
We give thanks for the opportunity we have to worship and celebrate this day.
May we be surrounded with a very real sense
of the presentness of the Source and Sustainer of all that exists
as we spend this time together.

May the Spirit of Wisdom inspire and challenge us.
May it be so.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

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

The following hymn/reflection brings together as a unit, the spoken and sung word...
Hymn  “Easter People, See The Light!(Tune: ‘Ave Virgo Virginum’)
v1  Easter people, see the light,
new light of this morning!
Myths and mysteries are gone,
brighter suns are dawning!
Empty Cross, display your arms,
all the world embracing,
shed Good Friday shadows now,
dark despair displacing!
(Silence)

Reflection
"Easter Week"
By Gretta Vosper. We All Breathe

This light which bathes the world,
pours from a source so close, so near
and yet we cannot touch it
or fence it in that it not be lost.

This light which shatters darkness
is pieced together, flame by flame,
shining from a thousand sources
but is diminished by the loss of one.
(Silence)

SongEaster People, See The Light!(Tune: ‘Ave Virgo Virginum’)
v2  For the Jesus whom we know
lives in different guises,
and the Spirit is unleashed,
mighty as it rises
through our chaos and our pain,
through all cultures winging
on a flight of health and peace
fresh momentum bringing!
(Silence)

"Easter Week"
By Gretta Vosper. 

This light which fills the furthest corner
brings with it warmth
to fill billions of hearts
and bind them with its common truth.

This light which pulls us toward tomorrow
is carried deep within each of our hearts
and lit by you and me and him and her
and all who live upon this earth.
(Silence)

SongEaster People, See The Light!(Tune: ‘Ave Virgo Virginum’)
v3  Not the sacrificial Lamb,
blood for sins atoning,
nor the gold of chalice cup,
nor a king's enthroning -
God's desire can never be
pictured in this fashion,
but the working out of love,
justice with compassion.
(Silence)

"Easter Week"
By Gretta Vosper. 

This light which is yours and mine to carry
burns only in the hope-filled heart,
the source of all our inspiration
and all the beauty that will ever come to be.
Let it shine
(Silence)

SongEaster People, See The Light!(Tune: ‘Ave Virgo Virginum’)
v4  Leave the loaves that fed the past
now is fresh bread baking,
risen with the Gospel yeast
free and for the taking!
Pour away the wine that sours,
new wine is for tasting,
Easter people, bring the world
to this new world's feasting!  (© Shirley Erena Murray 2010)
People sit

OR

Hymn  Big Bang(Tune: ‘Amazing Grace’ or other suitable CM tune)
We seek the source of all that was
of all that is to be;
the ground of being, source of life
that set creation free 


The cataclysmic cosmic force,
God's rollercoaster ride,
may give a glimpse back into time
as particles collide.

For here we watch, observe, compute
and try to understand
the time before we even thought
what physics might demand.

But even if we comprehend
or wonder at these things,
Higgs boson, quasars, pulsars, quarks,
we need the faith God brings.

The test of all we ought to be
is in the common place,
our depth of kindness, strength of love,
that demonstrate God's grace.  © Andrew Pratt 10/9/2008

OR

You Do Not Need To Come…(Tune: ‘Ominpresence’, 86 86 10 10)   4 TMT
You do not need to come, O God,
you are already here.
You do not need to go, O God,
you are already there.
It is our minds that need to be aware;
it is our hearts, O God, that need to care.

We are your hands and feet, O God,
the presence all can see.
We are the body and the blood,
the Christ in you and me.
It is our minds that need to be aware;
it is our hearts, O God, that need to care.

You do not need to go, O God,
you are already there.
You do not need to come, O God,
you are already here.
It is our minds that need to be aware;
it is our hearts, O God, that need to care.  (William L Wallace)
The people sit

Welcome  In your own words
A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are worshipping 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

Meditation (Optional)
Commencing a series of ‘After Easter’ meditations
by Michael Benedikt… Jewish by birth.

“Whether or Not God Exists”
Michael Benedikt. God is the Good We Do. Theology of Theopraxy/3.

Whether or not God exists
is entirely up to us.

For God comes into being by what we do
and do not do.

Neither you nor I are God
but what we’re doing may be.

This God, who lives as deeds not creeds,
is the God we know firsthand.
This God, whose shape is action not image,
is the God we witness every day.
This God’s presence is not guaranteed.

“God is good and God does good” the Talmud says,
and Augustine said too,
“God is what God does” we might add – or
God does what God is,
which is good.

Goodness-of-deed is less God manifest
than God instanced.

God is in our hands,
and we in “his” as we choose the good
and do it.

Do good again and again,
and you “do God’s will.”
“Do God’s will,”
and you bring God into being.

Presentation of Water Basins
Words which acknowledge that the dust of many roads and many life experiences has been rinsed into the basins,
and calls for the contents of the basins and the gathering to be transformed, renewed, and more fully alive

The dust of many roads and may life experiences
has been washed in this refreshing water.
For this place is a sacred place.

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.

And may this time together empower us to take some new steps
so all our living is transforming and the
yearning of our hearts become reality.
The bowls of water are removed from the Gathering space

Centering Silence
Let us now listen to the silence of this sacred space…
A space made ready for us by willing hands.
(A period of silence is kept)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Two readings from our broad religious/biblical tradition
shall now be read by (NN).

Reader: May we be struck by the wisdom of these words
and marked by hearing them.
All  For within story lies meaning, and
within meaning, the wisdom for which we seek. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

Early Church:
Acts of the Apostles 4: 32-35  (Inclusive Text)

The whole group of believers were united, heart and soul;
none claimed for their own use anything that they had,
as everything they owned was held in common.

The apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of Jesus Christ with great power,
and they were given great respect.

None of their members was ever in want,
as all those who owned land or houses would sell them,
and brought the money from them,
to present it to the apostles;
it was then distributed to any member who might be in need.

OR

If in Southern Hemisphere
“Sacred Season of Autumn”
By Edward Hays.
Earth Prayers/314-15

O sacred season of Autumn, be my teacher,
for l wish to learn the virtue of contentment.
As I gaze upon your full-co1oured beauty,
I sense all about you
an at-homeness with your amber riches.

You are the season of retirement,
of fufl barns and harvested fields.
The cycle of growth has ceased,
and the busy work of giving fife
is now completed.
I sense in you no regrets:
you’ve lived a full life.

I live in a society that is ever-restless,
always eager for mere mountains ta climb,
seeking happiness through more and more possessions.
As a child of my culture,
I am seldom truly at peace with what I have.
Teach me to take stock of what I have given and received,
may I know that it’s enough,
that my striving can cease
in the abundance of God’s grace.

May I know the contentment
that allows the totality of my energies
to come to full flower.
May I know that like you I am rich beyond measure.

As you, O Autumn, take pleasure in your great bounty,
let me also take delight
in the abundance of the simple things in life
which are the true source of joy.
With the golden glow of peaceful contentment
may I truly appreciate this autumn day.

OR

If in the Northern Hemisphere
"Eros Awakens the Spring"
By John O'Donohue. Divine Beauty/151-52

Creation is imbued with Eros.
Each landscape, each season has its own quiet Eros.

In contrast to the glory of autumnal colour
which is like the flaming of a final twilight,
winter is a chaste season.
Nothing flourishes.
Every field and tree is cleaned back to its bare form.
The night of winter comes in clear and sure.
Against the bleak grey whatever muted colour endures seems ghost-like.

But as ever, the circle travels on to its own beginning.
And just when the amnesia seems absolute,
the first tones of spring commence their infant flaming.

Within a short while the exiled Eros of nature stages a magnificent return.

From the dark under-life of cold fields,
infinite tribes of grass ascend.
Skeleton trees allow themselves a shimmering of leaves.
Flowers arrive as if this were the place they had always dreamed.
Having travelled thousands of miles of sky and ocean,
swallows return to their favourite holiday nests in outdoor sheds.
Local birds become passionate architects high up in the network of trees.

The terse silence of winter has given way to the symphony of spring.
Eros has awakened.
The shadow-dream of winter is coming to life
in every corner.

Birth is the inner and outer song of spring.
If winter is the oldest season,
then spring is the youngest season.
The Eros of the earth calls forth the beauty of spring.

Traditional Gospel:
John 20:19-23  (Inclusive Text)

In the evening on that same day, the first day of the week,
the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the people.

Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,
'Peace be with you,'
and showed them his hands and his side.

The disciples were filled with joy when they saw The Risen One, who said to them again,
'Peace be with you.
As God sent me, so I am sending you.'

After saying this Jesus breathed on them and said:
'Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven.
For those whose sins you retain, they are retained.'

Contemporary Exploration HERE and HERE

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Celebration of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share a celebration of faith.
The people stand as they are able

God is hearing what we hear
God is seeing what we see
All  urging us, with others,
to make fresh that which is in decay.

God is crying when we cry
God is laughing when we laugh
All  We are known
in community with believers
in ministry with the marginalised.

Encouragement and support
are the gifts we exchange
All  in our places of rest, work and play,
in our speaking of dreams and visions.

In our physical, emotional and spiritual relating -
All  being loved, empowers all women and men,
to, in turn, minister in love.  (Adapt. KDeLisle/ctl)

Sharing 'The Peace'
No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey,
you are welcome here in this safe and sacred place.
So let us greet another as a sign of God's peace.

The peace and presence of God is here... to stay. (Iona)
All Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours

If in Southern Hemisphere... Can be adapted  (Optional)
A Celebration of Autumn and Harvest
Where once it was believed
that only certain grains and fruits grew in particular areas,
now we can obtain most grains and fruits and nuts
in all parts of the world.
And they are eaten by all peoples.

Such is the harvest reward of a present-day Autumn.
Over the decades this season has been universally celebrated.

The area around present day Canberra,
especially when pioneers rode across the limestone plains
on horse back in search of grass and water,
became home to two different kinds of harvest.

First was the sheep farm
and the annual harvest of wool and mutton.

Second, especially out Pialligo way and along the Molonglo River,
was the orchard and annual harvest of fruit,
especially the apple.

Wool... reminds us of our past,
when the land was first opened up for cultivation
by country folk.

Apples... remind us of our present,
as city folk pick fruit, cut lawns, wed flower beds 
and mulch the leaves - a gift to the earth
to make sure of Spring.

Let us then give thanks for the rewards of the season,
by honouring the fruits of the area - 
• the Wool and the grasslands...
Bring forward wool and grass

• the Apple and the richly cultivated soil.
Bring forward apples and soil

Near the end of the following hymn, pieces of apple will be distributed
throughout the congregation, and eaten at leisure

Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
Quiet Descending(Music: David A Barker)     11 TEN
Quiet descending like mist over water,
surrender the care of your heart to its calm.
Holy the places where footfalls sound softly,
for truth speaks its clearest where silence abides.

And awaken all the senses to the longing of the spirit.
Enliven your hearts yearning for truth.
Quiet descending like mist over water,
surrender the care of your heart to its calm.  (David Barker)

OR

Take a Grape…(Tune: ‘Yamsong’, Colin Gibson)    127 HoS
Take a grape and an apple, take a pomegranate too,
take a fig, and a melon, take an apricot or two,
take a date and an olive, throw some nuts into a bowl,
and you’ll have a fruit salad that is good for the soul.
It’s the bounty of nature and lovely to see:
they are food for the body, the fruits of the tree.
Refrain:
By planting and growing and tending with care,
we may harvest the crop and enjoy it here.

Take some barley and wheat, take a cucumber too,
take an onion, some beans and a lentil or two,
take some millet and leeks, add some salt (not a lot),
pour in water, make soup in a pot.
It’s the bounty of earth and the sun and the rain,
and there’s food for the soul in the growth of the grain.
Refrain:

Take some love and some patience, some faithfulness too,
take some joy and some kindness, take a good deed or two,
take some gentle behaviour, add some peace and self-control,
and you’ll have a fruit salad that is good for the soul.
They’re the fruits of the Spirit and lovely to see,
all the fruits of the life of the Spirit in me.  
(Colin Gibson).

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

Presentation
May our eyes, our ears, and our mouths be opened.
Let us be doers of the word and not hearers only,
taking on those tasks set before us
with uncommon vision and wholehearted expectation.

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:
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.  
(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…

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:  (Optional)
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Abba/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. (Burton Mack/Q)

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
Easter 2 (Tune: ‘Omni Die’,  87 87)
Stripped of leaves trees tell the story:
naked possibility.
Colours, rampant, rage before me
reaching for eternity.

Now the cross is grazed and gory,
petals fall around its head.
Christ has suffered death, not glory,
buried in that stone cold bed.

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

Our true home is in the present moment.
All  To live in the present moment is a miracle.
The miracle is not to walk on water.
All  The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment,
To appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.
All  Peace is all around us - in the world and in nature
And within us - in our bodies and our spirits.
All  
Once we learn to touch this peace,
we will be healed and transformed.
It is not a matter of faith;
It is a matter of practice.
  (Thich Nhat Hanh/lp)

Words of Blessing
Bless us God
with saints to tell us stories
with angels to surprise us
with friends along the way.

Bless us God
with strength and joy and courage
all the length and breadth
of our nights and days.  
(Ruth Burgess/bb)
All Amen.  May it be so..

Hymn (Cont). Easter 2(Tune: ‘Omni Die’,  87 87)
No more cross, the tomb is empty,
leaves and petals mark the place;
place of hope and new creation,
barren earth, the ground of grace.  © Andrew Pratt  9/11/2005
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:
(TEN) Barker, David A.
Ten! New Songs for a New World. Canada. Direct from the author, 2008.
Benedikt, M.
God is the Good We Do. Theology of Theopraxy. New York. Bottino Books, 2007.
Burgess, R. A Book of Blessings. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Duncan, G. (ed). Courage to Love. An Anthology of Inclusive Worship Material. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2002.
Duncan, G. (ed). Shine On, Star of Bethlehem. A Worship Resource for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2001.
(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.
Mack, B. L. The Lost Gospel. The Book of Q and Christian Origins. New York. HarperSanFrancisco, 1993
O'Donohue, J. Divine Beauty: The Invisible Embrace. London. Bantam Press, 2003.
(RP) Pratt, A. Reclaiming Praise. Hymns from a Spiritual Journey. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2006.
Vosper, G. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.
Vosper, G. 
We All Breathe. Poems and Prayers. Toronto. PostPurgical Resources, 2012.
Vosper, G. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.
(TMT) Wallace, W. L. The Mystery Telling. Hymns and Songs for the New Millennium. Kingston. Selah Publishing, 2001.

Web Sites/Other:
Dame, UUA Worship Web. Boston. UUA. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Andrew Pratt "Easter 2" and "Big Bang" eMail distribution direct from the author. <andrewpratt@btconnect.com> 
George Stuart. “God – the Dance”. Direct from the author. <george.stuart@exemail.com.au>
Shirley E Murray "Easter People..." Direct from the author. <serenam@paradise.net.nz>
Refreshment Station. Words by Nan Fink Gefen, taken from an Evolutionary Passover Haggadah by Tree Bressen.

rexae74@gmail.com