Mother'sDayB.13.5.2018

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
13 May 2018. Mother's Day.


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

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 are held by an awesome beauty.
 Above, below, surrounding us is the constant presence of Life…  
(Gretta Vosper/hb)

So let us celebrate the 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

Hymn  The people stand as they are able, to sing
"Praise to God, the World’s Creator"  (Tune: 'Abbot's Leigh', 87 87D)
Praise to God, the world’s creator,
Source of life and growth and breath,
Cradling in her arms her children,
Holding them from birth to death.
In our bodies, in our living,
Strength and truth of all we do,
God is present, working with us,
Making us creators too.

Praise to God our saving Wisdom,
Meeting us with love and grace,
Helping us to grow in wholeness,
Giving freedom, room, and space.
In our hurting, in our risking,
In the thoughts we dare not name,
God is present, growing with us,
Healing us from sin and shame.

Praise to God, the Spirit in us,
Prompting hidden depths of prayer,
Firing us to long for justice,
Reaching out with tender care.
In our searching, in our loving,
In our struggles to be free,
God is present, living in us,
Pointing us to what shall be.  (Jan Berry/cw)

OR

Our World Is One World”  (Tune: ‘Chernobyl’, 58 86 4)      134 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.

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.  (CTaylor)
Remain standing

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...

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.  Keri Wehlander/sosob

v2  Out of waiting comes birth, from the East comes the sunrise
(First bowl of flowers)

v3  Out of the seed comes new life
(Second bowl of flowers)

v4  Out of winter comes the spring
(Third bowl of flowers)

v5  Out of sleep comes the awakening (Margie Abbott/soc)
(Fourth bowl of flowers)  

Act of Awareness
We give thanks for the opportunities we have
to gather in this sacred space and celebrate our life together.
We will live this day as if it is the only day we have to live.
And we will sleep each night as if unnumbered tomorrows
will follow our each and every awakening (Adapt.KPatton/sscl)

OR

As we continue to share in this Easter season, may we be helped to say
yes to life,
yes to a new beginning,
yes to the presence that gives us courage
for whatever is ahead of us.

OR

We pray:
Living God, we offer thanks and praise
for the vitality of your presence in our midst,
and for this opportunity to come together
to celebrate our common hope.

Be the creativity that sustains us
in these changing and challenging times.
May it be so.

Lighting of Community Candle
Community Candle is lit

Hymn "Dear Mother God"  (Tune: 'Intercessor' 11 10 11 10)
Dear Mother God, your wings are warm around us,
We are enfolded in your love and care,
Safe in the dark, your heartbeat's pulse surround us,
You call to us, for you are always there.

You call to us, for we are in your image.
We wait on you, the nest is cold and bare -
High overhead your wing beats call us onward,
Filled with your power, we ride the empty air.

Let not our freedom scorn the needs of others -
We climb the clouds until our strong heart sings -
May we enfold our sisters and our brothers,
Till all are strong, till all have eagles' wings. (JWootton/cw)

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.

Reflection
“Valiant Women”
A compilation by Miriam Therese Winter and others

v1 Throughout history and at present,
there have been and are many valiant women,
generous, gifted, who have given of themselves
for the benefit of others
with little or no recompense.

v2  I picked a rose this morning...
Strong in colour,
with dew resting gently on its petals.

It’s fragrance filled my spirit.

As I picked it,
it’s thorns scratched my hand,
and blood mixed with the dew.

And I was reminded of life, and all that comes with it.
A rose is placed on the table near the Community Candle

v1 Today we celebrate, honour and mourn
the role and place of women in this world.

The strength and colour of women,
the fragrance and wholeness of women,
the damaged and bleeding women,
the relationships between women and men,
the life of women and men we know and don’t know.

We come to God, who created women as well as men.

OR

"Womanly God"
By Mary Ann Ebert. Celebrating Women/133.

Womanly God, who are you?
The weaver of warm garments and magic tapestries;
The homemaker, welcoming and accepting;
The sister, second half - disturbingly other;
THe listening, reassuring friend, silent consolation;
The delightful daughter, discovering and dancing;
The encouraging teacher, suggesting new words, new vision;
The backbreaker planter of fields, weeding, reaping; the treader of wine;
The nurse with full breasts and herbal remedies;
The virgin bride, the fulfilling wife, the desolate widow;
The free creative maiden; the long-living treasury of wisdom;
The wind that make the heart sing.

Music of Celebration

EXPLORING

Readings from our Religious Tradition
Let us now continue to listen to some of the after Easter stories.

In the Book of Proverbs there is a well known text about women.
Now while women want to be affirmed
not simply in terms of what they achieve,
it is important to recall from time to time that woman are achievers,
that they can do and will do well,
that doing well is also a tradition for women.

And the second continues to be a story from John,
who's audience was one of the later Jesus Movement communities.

Hebrew Scriptures:
Proverbs 31:10-31 (Adapted and paraphrased)

Who shall find a valiant woman?
Look! We are all around you...
unheralded,
invisible,
some say non-existent,
but we know otherwise.

She is in the work rooms of industry and on every functioning enterprise.
Broadminded, her global perspective is a source of nurture for her.
She rises early, before the dawn,
to prepare food for her family
and organise the tasks of the day...
contributing,
setting standards,
changing the course of history.

She considers her options, then makes her move,
investing the experience she already has
or even profits previously earned.

She works diligently, taking pride in her inner resources and strengths.

When her gifts are encouraged and their value affirmed,
she will work well into the night,
entering wholeheartedly into even the menial tasks...

She opens her heart to the needy,
she is generous with the poor,
yet she does not neglect her family’s needs
nor priorities of her own...

She often speaks with wisdom, and she teaches in a kindly way...
Her children rise up and call her happy;
her husband too, and he praises her:
'Many women succeed or do outstanding things, but you surpass them all...'

Traditional Gospel:
John 17: (Selected verses/NRSV)

After Jesus had spent time teaching his disciples, he took some time out for prayer.
This story commences in the midst of that prayer...

oo0oo

“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world.
They were yours, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word...

“For the words that you gave to me I have given to them,
and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you;
and they have believed that you sent me...

“And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.
Holy One, protect them in your name that you have given me, 
so that they may be one, as we are one.

“I have given them your word, and the world has hated them
because they do not belong to the world,
just as I do not belong to the world.

“I am not asking you to take them out of the world,
but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.

“As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world”.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

Litany from International Women’s Day (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

We enter into faith in God,
All  Female and male alike, for we are all together in Jesus Christ.

Yet more than this, as we prepare to welcome Jesus,
in the way that we welcome the gift of roses to our door,
Jesus is already preparing to welcome us,
as he welcomed the Samaritan women at the well.
All  We are welcomed, female and male alike,
for we are all together in Jesus Christ.

In the entire world;
in its creation, width and breadth is God’s grace,
ready to be celebrated.

In shouting and praising, even
when we struggle with our gender,
when injustice is around,
when we least want or expect it,
God’s grace is with us.
All  Female and male alike, God’s grace encompasses us all.

Christ arrives at the right moment
to challenge injustice,
to challenge the treatment of women in our community,
to challenge our structures and actions
All  Yet in our weakness, whether male or female, Christ still died.

While we question, and do not understand all that is God.
While we question the actions of our community,
and the treatment of those we love,
Christ struggles with us, in the power of God.
All  Bring us to a time, when as women and as men,
we celebrate the warmth of God together.
Where we are aware of our weakness and strengths,
as we honour and praise the fullness of God.

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.

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
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)
People sit

CELEBRATING

The Offering
Let us now present our offerings.

The Presentation 
God the weaver, making patterns,
spinning threads throughout our days,
help us to discern your weaving
in the multi-coloured autumn maze. (Adapt.Marjorie Dobson/mcm)

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:
Creation thrums with Being

and peals the Word - 'I am’.
All
We sometimes remember
to whisper the antiphon, 'We are'.
(VArnold/es)

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 the 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  Loving God,
within and around us, we revere you.
We seek to live life as you would want us to do:
with love and respect for all people
and all things in the universe.

May we find each day sufficient for our needs.
And find forgiveness when we do wrong,
just as we forgive those who do wrong to us.

In times of trouble, may we centre our lives in you.
For your being is love, which comes
with strength and with beauty.
Throughout eternity. Amen.  (Margaret Rolfe)

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
A Prophet-Woman(Tune: ‘Megerran’, 87 87D)    696 (v1-2) TiS
A prophet-woman broke a jar,
by Love's divine appointing,
With rare perfume she filled the room,
presiding and anointing.
A prophet-woman broke a jar,
the sneers of scorn defying,
With rare perfume she filled the room,
preparing Christ for dying.

A faithful woman left a tomb
by Love's divine commission,
She saw, she heard, she preached the Word,
arising from submission.
A faithful woman left a tomb
with resurrection gospel.
She saw, she heard, she preached the Word,
apostle to apostles.
Remain standing

OR

Nothing Less  (Tune: ‘Regent Square’)
A recessional hymn written for the Installation of The Right Reverend Kay Maree Goldsworthy as Archbishop of Perth (Australia), 10 February 2018, the first female Archbishop in the world.

Nothing less than love has saved us -
not our wisdom, art or skill.
Christ, amidst our mess and madness,
died and rose and, living still,
sends us, treasured, fed and cherished
empty hearts to find and fill.

Nothing less than faith sustains us - 
living water, pilgrims’ bread.
Christ, the friend who never leaves us,
walks the unknown path we tread,
sends us, brave or trembling, onward
to the work that lies ahead.

Nothing less than justice calls us - 
not what we may stand to gain.
Christ, beside the poor and voiceless,
pleads for peace, denounces pain,
sends us out to make a difference,
growing heaven’s earthly reign.
Remain standing

Litany in Praise of the Feminine
To be offered by the women of the congregation

v3  Mother God
Spirit-filled Woman
Source of all living things
Wm  It was you who breathed life into me.
In your likeness I was formed.
The darkness of your sacred womb enwraps me
in the silence of the Holy One

v4 Your creative energy pulsates through
every fibre of my being.
Wm  You birth forth life within me.
Your abundant breasts continue to sustain my very being.
You carry me close to your heart
And sing your song of love to me.

v5 You hold me close to your heart
And sing your song of love to me.
Wm You hold me close to you and comfort me.

v6  Cradled in your arms, I am at peace.
Wm  You bathe me with life-giving waters of your giftedness.

v7  Reflected in your eyes is my dignity as woman.
You nurture me and guide me
To proclaim my sacredness as woman of God
You call me forth to image your compassion, love and joy
To a broken world.
Wm  Together we dance life’s passionate song
(MKemen/wp)

OR

Litany in Praise of Valiant Women
Many remarkable achievements are absent
from the annals of history because they were done by women.
And the conclusion is drawn that nothing was done by women
because nothing is recorded there!

So let us now praise valiant women recalling to life
representatives of all those unsung heroines who lives are living testimony
that God is God in all.