Lent2B.25.2.2018

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
25 February 2018.  Lent 2B. (Purple)
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion

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)

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 

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

We gather here to celebrate life's beauty
and find healing for its pain;
to honour our kinship with each other and with the earth;
and to create a more compassionate world,
beginning with ourselves.
  (Adapt/Gary Kowalski)

OR

From the summer, now past, with its cordial good weather
we turn toward autumn with energy and enthusiasm renewed.

As we take a new look at the new situation
we hope to have knowledge sufficient
to meet the new problems and perplexities of our lives.

May our hope and courage be sustained,
and ou faith in the nature of humanity
be confirmed by every act of human kindness. (Bob Holmes/Resources)

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

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

Hymn  The people stand as they are able, to sing
God Gives The Song” 
(Tune: Kingsfold’ 86 86D)     20 TMT
God gives the song which we shall sing
Of freedom for us all
To leave behind our guilt and fears
And break our narrowness
Refrain:
Come share your tears of joy with me.
Dance like the Autumn leaves;
Life is for loving, joy and fun,
God is the lively one.

God gives the song which we shall sing
Of laughter for us all
Of twinkling eyes replacing frowns
And structures freed by clowns.
Refrain:

God gives the song which we shall sing
Of justice for us all
Of sharing with the hungry poor
What they should own by right. 
(William Wallace)
Refrain:
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
There is a time for everything in creation:
Mn  a time for light and a time for darkness,
Wn  a time for sound and a time for silence,
Mn  a time for action and a time for reflection,
W
n  
a time for others and a time for oneself.

But all these times are God’s time
All  and now is the time to be aware
(Adapt. William Wallace/htw)

Act of Awareness
From the earth we have come.
By its fruits we live.
This earth is our home.

We celebrate the beauty of our days,
and all their splendid avenues of love and hope.

OR

We pray:
Spirit of Life and Love, we have gathered
in this sacred place, again.
May we create here a circle of love,
ever expanding,
ever growing.

A place of wisdom.
A place of connection.
A place of hope.
May it be so.

Hymn Imagining Stars(Tune: ‘Stuttgart’. 87 87)     21 SNS2
When, at night, the stars shine on us
Light years from our tiny earth,
Songs and psalms provoke the questions
Of our fragile human worth.

These gigantic specks are burning
Balls of fire, as at play;
Stars in billions share their light and
Thus create a Milky Way.

We still gaze in raw amazement,
Contemplating timeless space;
Numberless, the stars keep stories
Hidden from our human race.

Tiny holes in heaven’s flooring
Letting light beyond shine through;
Stars invite us to imagine
What it is we cannot view.

Myst’ry stride across the canvas
Of the picture we might paint;
Sacredness is grandly present;
Let us praise without restraint.  (George Stuart)

OR

God Who Sets Us On A Journey”  (Tune: ‘Canvas’’)    32 FFS
God who sets us on a journey
to discover, dream and grow,
lead us as you led your people
in the desert long ago;
journey inward, journey outward,
stir the spirit, stretch the mind,
love for God and self and neighbour
marks the way that Christ defined.

Exploration brings new insights,
changes, choices we must face;
give us wisdom in deciding,
mindful always of your grace;
should we stumble, lose our bearings,
find it hard to know what's right,
we regain our true direction
focused on the Jesus light.

End our longing for the old days,
grant the vision that we lack –
once we've started on this journey
there can be no turning back;
let us travel light, discarding
excess baggage from our past,
cherish only what's essential,
choosing treasure that will last.

When we set up camp and settle
to avoid love's risk and pain,
you disturb complacent comfort,
pull the tent pegs up again;
keep us travelling in the knowledge
you are always at our side;
give us courage for the journey,
Christ our goal and Christ our guide. 
Joy Dine
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

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
As we gather let us claim
some stillness,
some silence.

A space and time to wonder…
(Silence)

The curious thing about wonder is that it sets human beings
apart from all other life forms.

Wonder gives us not only the capacity
to enjoy and respect nature, but also
the sense that we are part of a wider world.

Wonder excites us to look beyond immediate survival needs
to broader and far reaching contexts.  
(Ian Lawton)
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

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

The first is the second in a series we are hearing during Lent,
written by retired Uniting Church minister, Bruce Prewer.

The other is from the storyteller Mark, who's audience
was one of the early Jesus Movement communities.
Our reader is (NN).

In an Australian accent:
"Like a Plover"
By Bruce Prewer. Australian Prayers/73.

God, tender and strong,
as the plover defends her young
against their enemies,
so defend me
against those anxieties and nameless fears
which are my enemies.

Save me in the hour of trial,
and deliver me from evil.

Under your wings
let me shelter
until faith and courage return...

Traditional Gospel:
Mark 8:31-38 (Scholars Version)

Jesus started teaching [the disciples] that the son of Adam was destined to suffer a great deal,
and be rejected by the elders and the ranking priests, and the scholars,
and be killed, and after three days rise.
And he would say this openly.

And Peter took him aside and began to lecture him.
But he turned, noticed his disciples, and reprimanded Peter verbally:
'Get out of my sight, you Satan, you,
because you're not thinking in God's terms, but in human terms.'

After [Jesus] called the crowd together with his disciples, he said to them,
'Those who want to come after me should deny themselves,
pick up their cross, and follow me!

'Remember, those who try to save their life are going to lose it,
but those who lose their life [for my sake and]
for the sake of the good news are going to save it.

'After all, what good does it do a person to acquire the whole world and pay for it with life?
Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?

'Moreover, those who are ashamed of me and of my message...
of them the son of Adam will likewise be ashamed
when he comes in his Father's glory accompanied by holy angels.'

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany Celebrating Community (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share a litany celebrating community.
The people stand as they are able

We gather together in the awe of life
All  To celebrate mystery and community
We embrace all with unconditional love and gracious acceptance
All  
All are welcome; all are valued

Today we celebrate the place of inclusion, unity and the progressive way
All  We commit to life, to worthy and essential deeds
and happiness for all

We find a window to the God of many understandings
through the one we call Jesus
All  And also seek the insights of other faiths and spiritual leaders

We are a community of open mind and warm heart
All  Striving for and living out greater unity and peace in the world

We seek expressions and experiences of God within,
between and beyond thought, word and action
All Together we continue the exciting
unity-filled adventure of humanity. 
(C3E web site, 2009)

The Peace
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.

May a heart of peace rest with you.  (David Galston/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
When Evenings Shorten(Tune: ‘Cavell Street’)147 HoS
When evenings shorten and grow cool,
as grapes turn purple on the vine,
as golden grain is safely stored,
we see again our Easter sign.

As daisies fade along the hill,
and bush birds come to us for food,
in rain, or mist or bitter chill
we see again our Easter sign.

As trees grow bare, we see the trace
of life’s new buds along the bough.
We do not need to wait for spring;
we see again our Easter sign.

So let the southern Church rejoice!
As colour flames from hill and plain
so let us sing with hearts of joy:
we see again our Easter sign.  (Shirley Smith/adapted)

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…

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  God, who cares for us,
The wonder of whose presence fills us with awe.

Let kindness, justice and love shine in our world.
Let your secrets be known here as they are in heaven.
Give us the food and the hope we need for today.

Forgive us our wrongdoing
as we forgive the wrongs done to us.
Protect us from pride and from despair
and from the fear and hate which can swallow us up.

In you is truth, meaning, glory and power,
while worlds come and go.
Amen.  (MFurlong/nwi)

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
The riches of God's gracious love have been entrusted to us.
May we share the beauty of God
with all who walk with us, in caring service.

Invitation
Jesus invited all to the feast of peace and new life.
Jesus risked everything in compassion.
Jesus promised to make himself known in the breaking of the bread.

Thanksgiving
Holy is this cosmos,
whirling, expanding, living, dying,
yearning for abundance and freedom,
imperfect holiness, reaching for a promise of wholeness,
yet always, already a perfect reflection of Spirit.
All   We come to this table,
awe-struck creatures,
conscious that as we take these few short steps
to the bread and the cup,
the whole cosmos - gathered up in us-
journeys with us, and in us,
into the sanctifying heart and mind of the Christ. 
(Bruce Sanguin/idp)

In these 40 days of Lent,
we also remember the love made manifest in the
birth, life, and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

In his healing acts and radical teachings
we recall the words he spoke
to call forth love,
care and respect for one another.

We are grateful for this assurance of love amidst human betrayal,
care amidst hatred,
respect amidst oppression.

And so, with Elizabeth who prophesied a birth,
Martha who longed for the Christ,
and James and John who sought to follow in the Way,
we continue our thanks and praise, saying:
All  Holy, holy, holy, vulnerable God,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
All  Hosanna in the highest.

Bread and Wine
We remember...
Long ago, so our tradition says, Jesus took bread,
offered thanks for it, broke it,
and handed it to his friends, inviting them to eat.
Bread broken

We remember...
Long ago, so our tradition also says, Jesus poured a cup of wine,
offered thanks for it, and gave it to his friends.
Wine poured out

Bread... the very stuff of life.
Wine... fruit of the vine.

Communion
Let us share this bread and wine as Jesus taught us,
knowing that our lives are forever changed
by this and every breaking of bread.
Bread and Wine served in continuous line

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
Proclaim Faith, Hope & Love
” (Tune: ‘Carlisle’, 66 86. 234 TiS)       6 (v1-2) SNS
Proclaim the need for faith;
The trust we give to life –
In others and ourselves and God;
In triumph and in strife.

Proclaim the strength of hope;
Like stone foundations laid,
On which we build with confidence,
Continue unafraid.

Parting Words
Let us go in faith to ponder in our hearts
the mystery and the wonder of this season...
The Community Candle is extinguished

If, here, you have found freedom,
All  take it with you into the world.
If you have found comfort,
All  go and share it with others.
If you have dreamed dreams,
All  help one another, that they may come true.
If you have known love and unity,
All  
give some back to a bruised and hurting world. (LBellamy/C3E, 2009)

Words of Blessing
May the freshness of the dawn enliven your spirits
May the rising of the sun enlighten your minds
May the noon-tide of the day warm your hearts
May the sunset clothe us all with restfulness.
(William L Wallace/wb)
All  Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont).Proclaim Faith, Hope & Love (Tune: ‘Carlisle’, 66 86)       6 (v3-4) SNS
Proclaim the gift of love;
Like soft refreshing rain;
It comes unbidden, gen'rously
In pleasure and in pain.

With faith and hope and love –
The three that never cease,
Our life is rich and beautiful;
In God we dwell in peace.  
(George Stuart)
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:
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.
Duncan, G. (ed). 
Harvest for the World. A worship anthology on sharing in the work of creation. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2003.
Duncan, G. (ed). A World of Blessing. Benedictions from Every Continent and Many Cultures.  Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2000.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
Funk, R. W. & R. W. Hoover. The Five Gospels. The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus. New York. Macmillan Press, 1993.
(HoS) Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.
Morely, J. All Desires Known. Expanded edition. London. SPCK, 1992. 
Prewer, B. D. Australian Prayers. Adelaide. OpenBook Publishers, 1983.
Sanguin, B. If Darwin Prayed. Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics. Vancouver: EOS, 2010.
(SNS) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Second edition. Sydney. CPRT Sydney, 2006.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto. G Stuart, 2009.
The St Hilda Community. The New Women Included. A Book of Services and Prayers. London. SPCK, 1996.
(TMT) Wallace, W. L. The Mystery Telling. Hymns and Songs for the New Millennium. . Kingston. Selah Publishing, 2001.
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.
Withrow, L. Seasons of Prayer. Resources for Worship. London. SPCK, 1995.


Web sites/Other:
Kowalski. UUA Worship Web. Boston. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Ian Lawton. C3 Exchange (Community Church. Spring Lake. MI. <www.c3exchange.org/>
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/
Refreshment Station. Words by Nan Fink Gefen, taken from an Evolutionary Passover Haggadah by Tree Bressen.

rexae74@gmail.com