Easter5B.3.5.2015 (Pluralism)

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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


I will be undertaking an overseas speaking tour in September 2015, speaking in Phoenix AZ. USA - at The Fountains United Methodist Church (6 Sept and 8 Sept); in Nova Scotia (Canada) over a whole weekend (11-13 Sept) at the Tatamagouche Centre; and in Britain
in Manchester (23 Sept) and Newcastle-on-Tyne (26 Sept). If you are nearby it would be great if we could catch up.

GATHERING FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

3 May 2015.  Easter 5B. (White).
Pluralism Sunday

Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion


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

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life
in the presentness of God.

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
"O God of Stars and Sunlight" (Tune: 'Munich', 76 76D)        11 SLT
O God of stars and sunlight,
whose wind lifts up a bird,
in marching wave and leaf-fall
we hear your patient word.
The colour of your seasons
goes gold across the land:
by green upon the tree-tops
we know your moving hand.

O God of cloud and mountain,
whose rain on rock is art,
your plan and care and meaning
renew the head and heart.
Your word and colour spoken,
your summer noons and showers
by these and by your day-shine,
we know your world is ours.

O God of root and shading,
of boughs above our head,
we breathe in your breathing,
our spirit spirited.
We walk beneath your blessing,
your seasons and our way,
O God of stars and sunlight,
O God of night and day (John Holmes/Adapted).
Remain standing

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
We stand before our sisters and brothers,
the named and the unnamed,
the known and the unknown,
with thanksgiving for all the bounties of the human world:
for the arts,
for the sciences,
for mercies shown and given (Adapt.KPatton/sscol).

OR

We pray:
Be with us, O God, in 
our thinking,
our feeling, and
our being.

Touch us where we need to feel your presence
and encourage us where we need your inspiration.
May it be so.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

At times our own light goes out
and is rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude
of those who have lighted the flame within us (Albert Schweitzer)

(Note: A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE)

Hymn Progressive Hymn(Tune: 87 87)
When life juggles with our learning,
with the things we thought secure,
then it seems the artist’s palette
spins and faith becomes obscure.

In the wash of different colours,
as we seek for shape and form,
others paint their faith by numbers
forcing God to fit some norm.

But when life has torn the canvas,
when the numbers twist and slip;
then we need to find an image
that will help our hope to grip:

holding us, when we're past holding,
grounding when we're insecure,
till we find a faith, not drifting,
still dynamic, free, yet sure. © Andrew Pratt 28/5/2010

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

Reflection
“Fire of the Spirit”
By Hildegard of Bingen

v1   Fire of the Spirit,
life of the lives of creatures,
spiral of sanctity,
bond of all natures,
glow of charity,
lights of clarity,
tastes of sweetness to the fallen,
be with us and hear us.

v2 Composer of all things,
joy in the glory,
strong honour,
be with us and hear us.

Silence
Let us again listen to the silence of this sacred space.
A space made ready for us by willing hands.
(Silence)

Amid all the noise in our lives,
we take this moment to sit in silence:
to give thanks for another day;
to give thanks for all those in our lives who have brought us warmth and love;
to give thanks for the gift of life.
(Silence)

Let us open ourselves to the process of becoming more whole:
of living more fully;
of giving and forgiving more freely;
of understanding more completely
the meaning of our lives here on this earth. (Adapt.Tim Haley)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from  our broad Religious Tradition
We explore some of the writings of various religious traditions
as we join with others in celebrating Pluralism Sunday.
Our readers are (NN) and (NN).

Hebrew Scriptures:
Psalm 98

O sing a new song to the Eternal.
Shout praise, all earth, break into music and song!
Praise the Eternal with the lyre,
with lyre and song.

Let the sea and all within it thunder praise,
the world and its inhabitants,
let rivers clap their hands,
let mountains sing in chorus.

O sing a new song to the Eternal.

Hindu Scriptures:
"The Stream of Life"
Rabindranath Tagore

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world
and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy
through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass
and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked
in the ocean-cradle of birth and death,
in ebb and in flow.

I feel  my limbs are made glorious
by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages
dancing in my blood this moment.

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
Children of the Human Race(Tune:  ‘Aberystwyth’ 77 77D)   302 SLT
Children of the human race,
off-spring of our Mother Earth,
not alone in endless space
has our planet given birth.
Far across the cosmic skies
countless suns in glory blaze,
and from untold planets rise
endless canticles of praise.

Should some sign of others reach
this, our lonely planet Earth,
differences of form and speech
must not hide our common worth.
When at length our minds are free,
and the clouds of fear disperse,
then at last we’ll learn to be
Children of the Universe. (JAStorey)
People sit

Gospel of Jesus:
Selected from the writings of Luke

The Reign of God is not coming as you hope to catch sight of it.
No one will say "Here it is" or "There it is"
for the Reign of God is now in your midst...

Look how the lilies neither spin nor weave,
and yet I tell you Solomon in all his grandeur
was never robed like one of them...

Where your treasure lies, your heart will lie there too...

No one lights a lamp to put it under a bowl, but on a stand,
so that those who come in can see the light...

Wisdom is vindicated by all her children...

Figs are not gathered from thorns,
and grapes are not picked from a bramble bush...

Do unto others as you would have them do to you...

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

An Affirmation for Pluralism Sunday
The people stand as they are able

We affirm the unfailing renewal of life.
All  Rising from the earth, and reaching for the sun,
all living creatures shall fulfill themselves.

We affirm the steady growth of human companionship.
All   Rising from ancient cradles and reaching for the stars,
people the world over shall seek the ways of understanding.

We affirm a continuing hope.
All  That out of every tragedy
the spirits of individuals shall rise
to build a better world.
(Leonard Mason/slt)

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 universal 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.

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
Sing with Me, Friends!(Tune: ‘Faithnotes’) 40 TEL
Sing with me, friends, for God invites us,
find a new song to resonate!
Savor the signs of God around us,
beauty that minds and hands create-
celebrate joy,
celebrate hope,
celebrate this good world!

Sing with me, friends, through calm and crisis,
sing when the roads we take are rough,
stay with our dream of common purpose,
God will provide us strength enough-
stay through the loss,
stay through the pain,
suffering shapes our world.

Sing with me, friends: we need each other,
widening circles on the way,
tending the earth with care together,
taking small measures every day,
singing for life,
singing for peace,
nurturing this good world! (SEMurray)
People sit

Conversation with the Children
Children gather on 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 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 a 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…
The Care candle is lit

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  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)

OR

(In Aramaic)

Abba                                                      Householder
Yit-kaddas semak                                Hallowed your name
Taytay mal-kutak                                Come your reign
Lachman de-limchar                           Our bread for tomorrow
Hab lan yoma den                              Give us today
Usa-bok lan cho-benan                      Forgive our debts
Kadisa-baknan la-chaya-benan        As we forgive our debtors
Wa-lata ay-leenan lanis-yon             And keep us from falling at the test

CELEBRATING

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
Offerings
Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
and our gifts of bread and wine, shall now be received
.

Presentation
Spirit of God, among the streets of business
and in places of healing and learning:
All
May t
he face of the earth be renewed.

Among the budding orchards
and in the grassless paddocks:
All May the face of the earth be renewed.

Among the tired and broken families:
All May the face of the earth be renewed.

Among these people and with these gifts:
All May the face of the earth be renewed.

Welcome to the Table
At this table we give thanks for justice, love, peace and freedom.
Mn   At this table we give thanks for friends and strangers
together in community in this safe place.
Wm  At this table we welcome old and young.

v2  A place at the table.  And all are invited.

Thanksgiving
We celebrate our common origin with everything that exists.
We give thanks for the unfolding of matter,
mind,
intelligence, and life
that has brought us to this moment in time.
All  

v1  We celebrate the mystery we experience and address as ‘God’,
ground and sustainer of everything that exists,
in whom we live and move and have our being.
v2  And we acknowledge this mystery embodied in every human person,
aware that each one of us gives God
unique and personal expression.
All  God is everywhere present.
In grace-filled moments of sharing.
In carefully created communities of loving solidarity.

We are one with everything, living and nonliving, on this planet.
Connected.
Interrelated.
Interdependent.

The Story
We remember the stories from our tradition...

How on many occasions Jesus would share a meal with friends.
Bread and wine shared in community.
v2  For everyone born, a place at the table...

How the bread would be taken,
a blessing offered, and then shared between them.
And all of them ate.

How some wine would be poured out,
a blessing offered, and then passed between them.
And all of them drank.

v2  The bread and the wine symbolised human lives
interconnected with other human lives,
and the power of giving and receiving.

v1  May the passion for life as seen in Jesus,
and in the lives and struggles of many other
committed and faithful people then and now,
enable us to dare and to dream and to risk...
All  Together may we re-imagine the world.
Together may we work to make all things new.
All  Together may we celebrate the possibilities and hope
we each have and are called to share.

v2  For everyone born, a place at the table...

Bread and Wine
Bread is broken several times

We break the bread for the broken earth,
ravaged and plundered for greed.
All  May there be healing of our beautiful blue and green planet.

We break this bread for our broken humanity,
for the powerful and the powerless
trapped by exploitation and oppression.
All  May there be the healing of humanity.

We break this bread for those who follow other paths:
for those who follow the noble path of the Buddha,
the yogic path of the Hindus;
the way of the Eternal Guru of the Sikhs;
and for the children of Abraham and Sarah and Rachel - the Jews, and the Muslims.
All  May there be healing where there is pain and woundedness.

We break this bread
for the unhealed hurts and wounds
that lie within us all.
All  May we be healed.

Wine is poured into the cup/s
This is the cup of peace and of new life for all.
A sign of love for the community of hope.
All  A reminder of the call to live fully,
to love wastefully, and
to be all that we can be.

Communion
To eat and drink together reminds us
of the deeper aspects of human fellowship,
for from time immemorial
the sharing of bread and wine
has been the most universal of all symbols of community.
The bread and wine served in four groups in each corner of the sacred space

After Communion
We rejoice in the giftedness of each person here.
Divine Presence in all of life,
we give thanks that we have gathered together
in this sacred place.
All  We are grateful for who we are for each other.
May we continue to be truly thankful
in all we do and in all we become.

SCATTERING

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
Great God of Many Names”  (Tune: 66 84 + Chorus: 444) 39 (v1-4) WNC
Great God of many names:
Jehovah, Allah, Lord,
Christ, Brahman, Spirit, Adonai;
We worship you.
Chorus:
Whatever name,
whichever face,
we worship you.

With pomp and pageantry
Beneath an onion dome,
Or in a bare and simple room,
we worship you.
Chorus:

In chapel, mosque or shrine
we wait to praise your name,
through icon, book or choir
we worship you.
Chorus:

With tabla or guitar,
or with a thousand lights,
through fasting, feasting, fellowship
we worship you.
Chorus:

Words of Blessing
As the kookaburra gently settles on the tree, receive the gift of peace.
As the sun rises with light and warmth, receive the gift of life.
As the wind moves and dances round the earth, receive the gracious gift of the spirit.
(DStewart/wb)
May it be so.
All  May we make it be so.

OR

May the freshness of the dawn enliven my spirit,
May the rising of the sun enlighten my mind,
May the noon-tide of the day warm my heart
May the benediction of sunset clothe my being with restfulness (WLWallace/wb).
May it be so.
All   May it be so with us.

Hymn (Cont). Great God of Many Names”  (Tune: 66 84 + Chorus: 444) 39 (v5-6) WNC
With formal dress or free,
we meditate or dance,
through pesach, hajj or nam simran
we worship you.
Chorus:
Whatever name,
whichever face,
we worship you.

Whatever name or creed,
enlightenment or book,
we seek you through our pilgrimage
and worship you.
Chorus:  (Andrew Pratt)

'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:
Binkley, C. G. & J. M. McKeel. 2001. Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An International Curriculum on the Life and Teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2000. A World of Blessing. Benedictions from every Continent and many Cultures. Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Iona Community. 2001. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Mack, B. L. 1993. The Lost Gospel. The Book of Q and Christian Origins. New York. HarperSanFrancisco.
(TEL) Murray, S. E. 2008.  Touch the Earth Lightly. New Hymns written between 2003 & 2008. Carol Stream. Hope Publishing.
Patton, K. L. 1967. Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. New Resource Material. 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.
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:
Haley. UUA Worship Web. Boston.  < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Andrew Pratt. UK. "Progressive Hymn" Direct from the author.
The Liturgy, Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion... 
Shaped from resources created by and adapted from: Carter Heyward, L Bruce Miller, Michael Morwood, Shirley E Murray, David Bumbaugh, John S Spong, Rex Hunt, the Iona Community.

rexae74@gmail.com