Revd Rex A E Hunt
Web site: www.rexaehuntprogressive.com
LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
2 August 2015. Pentecost 10B. (Green).
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
Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times
v2 Come into this sacred space.
Come in bringing all of who you are.
Rest and quiet your week-worn spirit,
for you are here to touch again
eternal springs of hope and renewal (COwen-Towle/adapt).
v1 Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.
(Note: A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE)
Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit
Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
"God of our Every Day" (Tune: Jansen) 52 AA
God of our every day,
friend who will walk our way,
light who can change the
focus of our seeing:
capture our heart and mind,
be in the work we find,
till all we do becomes
your mode of being.
Speak to the spirit's void,
hands that are unemployed,
lives that are lived without
a true direction:
gifts that are hid, unearth,
lift us to know our worth
that in ourselves we see
your own reflection.
Shine through our winter's grey,
break through depression's day,
live in the little deaths
we die in growing:
meaning for whom we grope,
home of our strongest hope,
power and peace, through all
creation flowing. Shirley Erena Murray
“God Who Fills the Universe” (Tune: ‘Francis David’. 77 66 7) 37 SLT
God who fills the universe
from the atom to the stars,
make firm my changeful heart
so I may do my part
and bring joy to all the earth.
God who webs the universe
with amazing mysteries,
make glad my fragile soul
so I can see life whole
and bring hope to all the earth.
God who keeps the universe
by the truths of living love,
make strong that love in me
so I can set it free
and bring peace to all the earth. (CGSeaburg)
Like wind swaying through the trees on the (local hills)
or surging through thickets of wattle,
All so, is God's presence with us.
We rejoice in your presence
All Creator Spirit, Life-giving Spirit, Nurturing Spirit.
The chorus of suns and planets announce
the beginning of a new day.
All Each morning births new possibilities
and beckons fresh challenges.
The cycle of morning music and starry silence
promise second chances.
All Each day provides new vistas
and promotes further exploration.
The laughter of oceans and the wailing of winds
reflect the human condition.
All Each week declares we are in the world
and determines we are of the world.
The praises and prayers of all living things
affirm our connectedness.
All Each month begs for our nurture
and betrays our own nature.
What can ever separate us?
Only the self-imposed isolation
of arrogance or ignorance.
All What can draw us homeward?
Only the self-possessed compassion
of radical hospitality.
It begins with us.
It begins right now.
All It embraces morning.
It bursts forth in music. (GStewart)
Act of Awareness
It is good to be alive!
To share life with each other
in this wonder-filled and evolving universe.
We are most grateful.
May wisdom dawn in us
so we may see all things in clarity.
In all our living, may we
be freed to see things afresh,
be more fully alive,
and have the courage to keep faith in the future of humanity,
Creator Spirit, Life-giving Spirit, Nurturing Spirit.
May it be so.
Hymn "We Celebrate the Web of Life" (Tune: 'Wiltshire', 86 86, 112 TiS) 175 SLT
We celebrate the web of life
its magnitude we sing;
for we can see divinity
in every living thing.
A fragment of the perfect whole
in cactus and in quail,
as much in tiny barnacle
as in the great blue whale.
Of ancient dreams we are the sum;
our bones link stone to star,
and bind our future worlds to come
with worlds that were and are.
Respect the water, land, and air
which gave all creatures birth;
protect the lives of all that share
the glory of the earth. (ASCarpenter)
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.
hope isn't blue or loose or lost.
hope is full.
hope isn't tearful or funny
hope is cumulus and shag pile.
mood or diameter or pinned.
hope is hinge
hope is note
and bottle and flotsam and found.
pulpit or coal fired or concave.
hope is spinifex and singing.
hope is rain
By Rosemary Mitchel. Birthings and Blessings/94.
with new life!
God is present!
God is with us!
nothing can separate us!
Even when we feel unsure,
even when we feel broken to the core of our being -
We hold fast to God's love,
we are always welcome in God's household.
We will each, once again,
feel like a well-watered garden.
Full of life!
Radiant in the sun!
It will be good.
It is good.
Now let silence of this place once again gently enfold us.
Let us centre our minds and our hearts.
We are one with the universe.
We are one with the sun and the stars.
We are one with the earth.
We are one with the One who is mystery…
Music of Reflection
Reading from Biblical Tradition
A reading from our biblical tradition shall now be offered.
Reader Now I don’t know if it happened this way or not,
but I know this story is true... (Native American Storyteller)
John 6: 25-35 (NRSV)
When the crowd found that Jesus was on the other side of the sea, they said to him,
‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’
Jesus answered them:
‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me,
not because you saw signs, but because
you ate your fill of the loaves.
‘Do not work for the food that perishes,
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
‘For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’
Then they said to him,
‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’
Jesus answered them,
‘This is the work of God, that you believe
in him whom he has sent.’
So they said to him,
‘What sign are you going to give us then,
so we may see it and believe you?
What work are you performing?
‘Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written,
He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
Then Jesus said to them,
‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven,
but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.
‘For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’
They said to him:
‘Sir, give us this bread always.’
Jesus said to them,
'I am the bread of life.
'Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’.
Silence for Personal Reflection
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
We are a cloth of diverse colours
made from many gifts and graces.
All We are the people flowing forth from Creator God,
surprising ourselves with the things which can be done.
We are raw material for rewarding relationships as our lives interweave,
All contributing one to the other,
holding each other firm when one is weak or breaking.
We are each worthy of being respected and cared for
All essential to the pattern,
skilled in our appointed tasks,
sources of laughter and sharers of tears.
We commit ourselves to work together,
All that one day, this world may be a place
where all people live in justice, freedom and peace. (Adapt.DMcRae-McMahon/bst)
Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.
The peace 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
“Celebrate the Bush and Cities” (Tune: ‘Brookside’, Melody: William L. (Bill) Wallace
Harmony: Graham Hollobon Alternative Tune: ‘Abotts Leigh’
Musical Score: www.methodist.org.nz/resources/othernzhymns/Aotearoa hymns songsandchants
Celebrate the bush and cities,
Honour people and the land,
Weave their many diverse cultures
Till they form one golden strand.
Let the people bring together
All their many cultured ways
Finding deepest thoughts and feelings
Resonate in songs of praise.
Think of how the fearless migrants
Came in waka, ship or plane.
Each would claim this place as homeland,
Space they called their own domain.
Honour all who made the journey
Chasing dreams that surged ahead;
Celebrate each pioneer spirit
Whether living or long dead.
Let us reverence plants and creatures,
Birds and fish of sea and stream,
Viewing bush as sacred temple,
Holding air in high esteem.
Then our children will inherit
More than family wills can bring;
They will share the world of Nature,
Drinking from life's sacred spring.
Conversation with the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat
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
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and concerns shared.
In this abundant blessing
All We share the joy.
In this, our time of need,
All May love abound (GVosper/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:
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as appropriate
All Loving Presence, luminous in all creation,
hallowed be your name.
Thy kin-dom come.
May we reflect on earth
the yielding perfection of the heavens.
Help us to receive an illumed measure from the earth this day.
Forgive us when we trespass against others,
human and other than human,
as we forgive others who trespass against us.
Keep us on the path of wisdom
when we are tempted to take the selfish path.
May it be your rule we follow,
your power we exercise,
and your radiance that allures.
May this be the truth that guides our lives,
the ground from which our future will grow,
until we meet again. (BSanguin/dddc)
CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
and our gifts of bread and wine, shall now be received.
Love kindness, humbly walk with God
and, through compassion, trace
the person we are called to love
in each and every face. (APratt/ea)
Beginnings and endings shape this meal gathering today.
We celebrate a faithful, strong past.
We prepare for a future yet to be conceived.
We call it the rhythm of life.
So let us share both the food and the friendship,
with thankfulness and expectation.
May it be well with you.
All And also with you.
Life is a gift and we its celebration.
All May we rejoice in the beauty that we are. (GVosper/wwg)
We give thanks and praise for all that is good in the world.
For that mystery we name God…
For the sage we name Jesus…
For the renewing strength and freedom of the Spirit…
God of winter, the unpopular, slandered season;
God of lightning, wind and
God of brisk winter mornings, frosted back lawns
and stark hillsides; of warm socks, coats and gloves,
raincoats, umbrellas and warm fires,
we open ourselves to all the possibilities life offers us.
So we join in the canticle of the cosmos, saying:
All Holy, holy, holy, re-creating God,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Bread and Wine
We remember the times when Jesus faced
difficult decisions and destructive forces:
- in the days and nights of his searching,
- in finding ways to free others from images and ideas
that kept them captive and dependent and fearful of God,
- in breaking down social and religious barriers,
- in facing failure,
- in facing death (MMorwood/pns).
When we too experience the winter of our lives
may we find the courage to let go
and trust in your guiding, warming light.
And as we eat together at this table
we remember the importance and the words of many sages…and
the actions of all meals in the tradition of Jesus.
He took bread, gave thanks, broke it,
and gave it to his friends.
Bread is broken
He poured a cup of wine, offered thanks for it,
and gave it also to his friends.
Bread and wine,
a pouring out of his very being in the service of life,
inspired by the way of the cosmos
(the sun burning four million tons of hydrogen every second
in the service of the great procession of life (Adapt.BSanguin/idp).
Wine is poured out
In sharing this meal, we enter a new covenant,
with the Sacred, with all creation, and with one another,
All a promise to walk gently upon this planet,
to raise our voice in the service of life,
to love kindness,
and to seek justice (BSanguin/idp).
The bread and wine is served
God of amazing grace,
in the cold of the winter months
we are grateful for your presence, warming us.
We pray this presence will strengthen us
to follow in the way of Jesus, in this city.
Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
"God Gives Us a Future" (Tune: ‘Camberwell’ 65 65D) 687 (v1-2) TiS
God gives us a future
daring us to go
into dreams and dangers
on a path unknown.
We will face tomorrow
in the Spirit's power
we will let God change us
for new life starts now.
We must leave behind us
sins of yesterday
for God's new beginning
is a better way.
Fear and doubt and habit
must not hold us back:
God gives hope, and insight
and the strength we lack.
The God we worship is never confined to this holy place.
So go and travel with the God who is found
in ordinary and surprising places.
The candle is extinguished
May the quality of our lives be our benediction.
All And a blessing to all whom we touch. PRGiles
Words of Blessing
He who has called you will not leave you without encouragement.
Let the great God be between your shoulders,
to look after you at your coming and going.
Let the Son of Mary be very close to your heart.
And the lovely Spirit be poured upon you...
Yes, the lovely Spirit be poured all over you! (From a Celtic blessing)
All Amen. May it be so!
Hymn (Cont). "God Gives Us a Future" (Tune: ‘Camberwell’ 65 65D) 687 (v3) TiS
Holy Spirit, teach us
how to read the signs
how to meet the challenge
of our troubled times.
Love us into action
stir us into prayer
till we choose God's life, and
find our future there. EJSmith.
The people sit
'This Week' at (NN)
Birthdays and anniversaries
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:
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and songs for all churches. 1993. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
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). 2005. Entertaining Angels. A Worship Anthology on Sharing Christ’s Hospitality. Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Holy Bible. NRSV. 1989. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. 2005. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. 2001. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
McRae-McMahon, D. 1996. The Glory of Blood, Sweat and Tears. Liturgies for Living and Dying. Melbourne. JBCE.
Mitchell, R. C. & G. A. Ricciuti. 1992. Birthings and Blessings. Liberating Worship Services for the Inclusive Church. NY: New York. Crossroads.
Morwood, M. 2003. Praying a New Story. Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
Sanguin, B. 2007. Darwin, Divinity, and the Dance of the Cosmos. An Ecological Christianity. Canada: Kelowna. CopperHouse.
Sanguin, B. 2010. If Darwin Prayed. Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics. Vancouver: EOS.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. 1993. Boston. UUA.
(TiS) Together in Song. Australian Hymn Book 2. 1999. NSW: Sydney. HarperCollins Religious.
Vosper, G. 2008. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
Owen-Toole, Giles. UUA Worship Web. Boston. UUA. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Kevin Gillan. Eureka Street eZine. 16 January 2012
George Stewart. Unitarian Church of San Francisco. <www.uusf.org>