Lent3B.4.3.2018

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
4 March 2018.  Lent 3B. (Purple).


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

Amid all the noise in our lives,
let us 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.  (Adapt.THaley)

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of 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
Life is the Greatest Gift of All”  (Tune: ‘Brother James’ Air’, 86 86 86)      331 SLT
Life is the greatest gift of all
the riches on this earth;
life and its creatures, great and small,
of high and lowly birth:
so treasure it and measure it
with deeds of shining worth.

Mind is the brightest gift of all,
its thought no barrier mars;
it seeks creation’s hidden plan,
its quest surrounds all bars;
it reins the wind, it chains the storm,
it weighs the outmost stars.

We are of life, its shining gift,
the measure of all things;
up from the dust our temples lift,
our vision soars on wings;
for seed and root, for flower and fruit,
our grateful spirit sings.  William E Oliver

OR

Sing of a Sacred Circle(Tune: ‘Sacred Circle', 75 65)    23 TMT

Sing of a sacred circle
round the sky and earth,
binding plants and creatures,

linking death and birth.

Sing of that ring of mystery,

changed by fearsome greed;

pawned for Judas silver,

sold for idols' needs.

See how a people's loving
greens the Mammon ring;

hear the people's sharing,
help creation sing.

Sing of the Gospel ring-time;

love embracing earth;

vibrant sphere of our living,

circle death and birth.  (William L Wallace)
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
We gather in community
to rest from our labours,
to greet our neighbours,
All  
and to open our being to insight and intuition
of that greater reality of which we are a part.

May we find in our time together, inspiration and renewal.
May we touch the holy in each other
and be touched by the graciousness of life.
All  And may we find here a calm peacefulness
that will carry us through the days ahead.  (P. H. L'Herrou)

Act of Awareness 
In each moment of this day resides incredible power:
new life,
new healing,
new opportunity.

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.

OR

We pray:
Loving God may your presence comfort us,
and also confront us, with the responsibility
of making your spirit of love
flesh in our actions. (SDuncan/adapt)

May it be so.

HymnNoble, Yet Mystical Ground…” (Tune: ‘Was Lebet’ 11 10 11 10D)    115 WNC
Noble, yet mystical, ground of creation, 
star-fire and sun shower, and darkness and dreams;
all that through senses draws forth adoration,
God, we would worship, the love that redeems.

Human, yet awesome, the Christ, our relation,
offers a spirit: we learn to forgive.
Conquering our will this divine annexation
offers a way for us simply to live.

Spirit of living gives hope for our dying,
something transcending this life and its frame,
onward and upward in faith we are flying,
goal of existence, your love is our aim.
(Andrew Pratt)
The people sit

OR

Chant for the Seasons(Tune: ‘Praha’, Irreg.)    73 SLT
Can be sung separately as a chant, or the verses can be rearranged according to the actual season
Summer-time has turned the star-wheel,
autumn is upon us.  (Repeat)

Sweet the angling sun,
sweet upon the air
the smell of blue mist rising.
Summer-time has turned the star-wheel,
autumn is upon us.
Glorious the trees,
glorious the sight
of rust leaves, falling.
Summer-time has turned the star-wheel,
autumn is upon us.

Autumn cold has turned the star-wheel,
winter is upon us.  (Repeat)

Grey the windy storms,
cold upon our cheeks
the wet rain glistens, glistens.
Autumn cold has turned the star-wheel,
winter is upon us.
leaping is the fire,
golden in the glass
the cider glows like amber.
Autumn cold has turned the star-wheel,
winter is upon us.

Winter rains have turned the star-wheel,
spring-time is upon us.  (Repeat)

Sharp the smell of loam,
bursting in our eyes
the turrets of the tulip.
Winter rains have turned the star-wheel,
spring-time is upon us.
Greening is the grass,
soft upon our brows
the sunlight warm caresses.
Winter rains have turned the star-wheel,
spring-time is upon us.

Vernal clouds have turned the star-wheel,
summer is upon us.  (Repeat)

Gliding are the hawks,
hovering above
the hot and yellow hillside.
Vernal clouds have turned the star-wheel,
summer is upon us.
crickets in the night,
chirping in our ears
the sound of moon-lit music.
Vernal clouds have turned the star-wheel,
summer is upon us.  (Mark L Belletini)
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
Let us now open ourselves to the sacred silence of this place.
(Silence)

May the strength of silence support our courage to endure,
and open to us creative channels of the spirit.
(Bob Holmes/bhwm)
(Silence)

EXPLORING

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

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

The other is from the storyteller/theologian John, who's audience
was one of the later Jesus Movement communities.
Our reader is (NN).

In an Australian Accent:
"The Ways of God"
By Bruce Prewer. Australian Psalms/26.

The Southern Cross signals God's glory;
the Milky Way gleams with holy handiwork.
Every new day tells a divine story;
at night-time God's skills are displayed.

All nations and tongues can understand this language,
the message which saturates our planet.
Look at the merry old sun in his robes of light;
he smiles like a bridegroom on his wedding day.

Keen as an athlete at the Olympics,
he strides from Sydney to Perth.
Then he sprints the other half of the circuit,
missing no nation with his warmth.

How complete are the ways of God,
constantly renewing our humanity,
God is a dependable counsellor,
with wisdom for those who have open minds,
and purposes that are most beautiful,
making our heart leap with joy.

The commandments are clear,
bringing a new light to our eyes.
The respect God arouses is healthy,
extending forever.
Divine assessment is fair,
completely to be trusted.

The Word is more valuable than a fortune,
more precious than reserves of gold.
It is sweeter than the finest confectionery,
more natural than the honey of mallee blossom.
It keeps your servants alert and sensitive;
living by it brings us incomparable gain.

Traditional Gospel:
John 2:13-20 (Inclusive Text)

Just before the Jewish Passover Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
and in the Temple found people selling cattle and sheep,
and pigeons, and the money changers
seated at their counters there.  

Making a whip out of some cord, Jesus drove them all out of the Temple,
cattle and sheep as well,
scattered the money changers' coins,
knocked their tables over and said to the pigeon-sellers,
'Take all of this out of here and stop turning
God’s house into a market!”

Then the disciples remembered the words of scripture:
Zeal for your house will devour me.

The Temple authorities intervened and said:
'What sign can you show us to justify what you have done?'

Jesus answered:
'Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up.'

The authorities replied,
'It has taken 46 years to build this sanctuary:
are you going to raise it up in three days?'

Optional Gospel Reading
Traditional Gospel:
Mark 2:13-22  (Inclusive Text)

Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting;
and people came and said to Jesus,
“Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?”

Jesus said to them,
“The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? 
As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.

“The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.

“No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak;
otherwise, the patch pulls away from it,
the new from the old, and a worse tear is made.

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins;
otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins;
but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins”.

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 together a celebration of faith.
The people stand as they are able

God is with us.  This we celebrate.
For we have seen the signs of grace
in every place,
in every generation.
All  The beauty of the creation,
in all its pristine wonder,
is not the only dwelling place of Creativity.

This, our God, is born again in cities
as well as country stables.
All  Is found in holy places and the supermarket,
sits with us in coffee shops,
and by the one who hopefully sings a song
on the streets of this day.

The spirit dances on concrete
All  and holds in comfort those
who walk with briefcase or shopping bag.

The God who is more than we can ever name or know
All  is beside us in every work place and
every hidden home of our body, mind and soul. (Adapt. Dorothy McRae-McMahon/ith)
The people sit

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take some time to greet 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
Give Respect to Humankind(Tune: ‘Warrington’, 88 88)       60 SNS2
Giving respect to humankind
Is wise and good for there we find
Images of the God we praise
And love expressed in countless ways.

Giving respect to humankind
Can help us all to leave behind
Thoughts of revenge and words of spite;
Can prompt resolve to re-unite.

Giving respect to humankind
Arises from our heart and mind;
As we reflect on those we know
May caring thoughts have constant flow.

Giving respect to humankind
Is Jesus' theme; His word defined
How we might live affirming all
The human beauty in us all.

So let us honour humankind
With God's own image, so combined,
We find ourselves equipped to prize
The gentle, lovely, kind and wise. (George Stuart)
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)

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

Presentation
With these gifts may there also be a blessing...
on the places and people who know our need for creativity,
and nurture our tentative efforts into
full-bodied, undulating, elongating,
syncopating, blooming, blessed beauty. (Adapt.Yvonne Morland/bob)

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:
Holy God, as you have touched us
All  May we now touch others
with your love in us. 
(Adapt.Kathy Galloway/cw)

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 God 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)

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
Our World is One World(Tune: 'Chernobyl', 58 86 4)   134 (v1-2) SLT
Our world is one world
what touches one affects us all:
the seas that wash us round about,
the clouds that cover us,
the rains that fall.

Our world is one world
the thoughts we think affects us all:
the way we build our attitudes,
with love or hate, we make,
a bridge or wall.

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

From all the world that we have seen,
All From all the life that we have known
We here acclaim all that has been,
All And name tomorrow for our own. (Kenneth Patton/sscl)

Words of Blessing
In the starshine and sunshine of God may you be warmed and welcomed.
In the stories and laughter of Jesus may you be called and challenged.
In the fire and breath of the Holy Spirit may you be awakened and kept from harm.
(Ruth Burgess/bob)
All  
Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont).Our World is One World(Tune: 'Chernobyl', 58 86 4)    134 (v3-4) SLT
Our world is one world
it’s ways of wealth affects us all:
the way we spend, the way we share,
who are the rich or poor,
who stand or fall.

Our world is one world
just like a ship that bears us all:
where fear and greed make many holes,
but where our hearts can hear,
a different call.
(Cecily Taylor)
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.
Burgess, R. A Book of Blessings. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Holmes, R. H. The Bob Holmes Worship Materials. Vol 1. Little Falls. Self published, 1972.
(HoS) Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New ZealandPalmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2005.
McRae-McMahon, D. In This Hour. Liturgies for Pausing. Thornbury. DesBooks, 2001.
Patton, K. Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. Boston. Beacon Press, 1967.
(WNC) Pratt, A. Whatever Name or Creed. Hymns and Songs. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd. 2002
Prewer, B. D. Australian Psalms. Revised and expanded. Adelaide.  OpenBook Publishers, 2000.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
(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.
Ward, H; J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed). Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK, 1995.

Web Sites/Other:
Haley, L'Herrou, Duncan, UUA Worship Web. Boston. UUA. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
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