Pentecost19B.4.10.2015

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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


LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

4 October 2015.  Pentecost 19B. (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



GATHERING

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

This day we shall let the hills embrace us,
the trees comfort us,
and the sun enlighten our minds.

This day we shall let the sap rise within us
and dance the music of the Cosmos (Adpat.WLWallace/wb).

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

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

Hymn The people stand, as they are able, to sing
Morning Has Broken(Tune: ‘Bunessan’, 55 54D)   156 TiS
Morning has broken
like the first morning;
blackbird has spoken
like the first bird. 
Praise for the singing,
praise for the morning,
praise for them, springing
fresh from the word.

Sweet the rain’s new fall
sunlit from heaven,
like the first dewfall
on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness
of the wet garden,
sprung from completeness
where his feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight;
mine is the morning
born of the one light
Eden saw play.
Praise with elation,
praise every morning,
God’s recreation
of the new day.

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.
(WWallace)
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
Like wind swaying through the trees on the Brindabellas
or surging through thickets of wattle,
All  
so, is God's presentness with us.
We rejoice in this presence
All  
Creative Spirit,
Life-giving Spirit,
Nurturing Spirit.

Act of Awareness
Gathered here, we sense the Sacred in this place.
May we be awakened again to
the mysteries that humble us,
the realities that orient us,
the beauty that informs us,
the fellowship that sustains us,
and the creativity that heightens and deepens our living,
that we may give ourselves in honesty and openness
to the larger life before us.
(Adapt/Clarke Wells) 

OR

We pray:
God of surprises, startle us with truth we do not see,
amaze us with your power and grace,
beckon us, and lead us far above
restricted hope and narrow faith.
May it be so.

Hymn "Human Touch Can Light The Flame" (Tune: ‘Dunedin’, 88 88)   307 SLT
The human touch can light the flame
which gives a brightness to the day,
the spirit uses mortal flame,
life's vehicle for work and play.

The lover's kiss, the friends embrace,
the clasp of hands to show we care,
the light of welcome on the face
are treasured moments all can share.

May all who come within our reach
be kindled by our inner glow,
not just in spirit's words we preach,
in human touch love's faith we show. JStorey

OR

A Mirage, Nothing More(Tune: ‘From Strength to Strength’, 66 86D, 570 TiS)
A mirage, nothing more,
that’s how God often seems,
for even though we keep the faith,
is God a God of dreams?
We pray by night and day,
but answers seem remote,
and then detractors laugh at us,
make fun of us and gloat.

We’ve done our very best,
at least that’s what we thought,
and yet you’ve left us, lost, bereft,
without the God we sought.
Then when we need you most,
when every hope has gone,
we hear the whisper of a voice,
you bid us carry on.

In each and every one
you make your presence real,
the dream takes on reality,
your love provides the seal.
Your faithfulness is true,
we find you in our friends,
and when we join our hands through grace,
we know love never ends.
© Andrew Pratt 13/8/2011
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

Reflection
Matthew Fox writes:
"Say what you will, whether religion or spirituality acknowledge it or not, all human experiences – including spiritual experiences – are set in the matrix of Creation itself.

"Our existence is totally interdependent with the existence of stars, planets, the sun, rocks, water, plants and trees, flowers, birds, supernovas, galazies, atoms, the fireball that was the origin of this universe” (ormw)

Such is reflected in this meditation…

“Love all Creation”
By Dostoyevsky,
Brothers Karamazov

Love all Creation.
The whole and every grain of sand in it.
Love every leaf, and every ray of light.
Love the plants.
Love the animals.  Love everything.

If you love everything
you will perceive the Divine Mystery in all things.
Once you perceive it
you will comprehend it better every day.

And you will come, at last, to love the whole world
with an all embracing love.

Centering Silence
Now away from the busyness of life
and in the silence of this place,
let us give thanks
for the gift of one another!
(Silence)

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…
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Reading from our Biblical Tradition
A story from our biblical tradition shall now be offered.

Traditional Gospel:
Mark 10:2-16 (Inclusive Text)

Some Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
'Is it against the law for a man to divorce his wife?'

They were testing Jesus, who answered them,
‘What did Moses command you?'

'Moses allowed us' they said 'to draw up a writ of dismissal and so to divorce.'

Then Jesus said to them,
'It was because you were so unteachable that Moses
wrote this commandment for you.
But from the beginning of creation
God made them male and female.

‘This is why a man must leave father and mother,
and the two become one body.
They are no longer two, therefore, but one body.

‘So then, what God has united, no one must divide.'

Back in the house the disciples questioned Jesus again
about this, who said to them.

'The man who divorces his wife and marries another
is guilty of adultery against her.
And if a woman divorces her husband
and marries another she is guilty of adultery too.'

People were bringing little children for Jesus to touch them.
The disciples turned them away, but Jesus, seeing this, was indignant and said to them,
'Let the little children come to me; do not stop them;
for it is to such as these that the realm of God belongs.

‘I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome
the realm of God like a little child will never enter it.'

Then Jesus put his arms round them, laid his hands on them
and gave them his blessing.

Contemporary Exploration
• A Sermon suitable for this day can be found in my book, Against the Stream. Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew.

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

We celebrate
that where people are gathered together in love
All
God is present and good things happen and life is full.

We celebrate
that we are immersed in mystery
that our lives are more than they seem
All
that we belong to each other
and to a universe of great creative energies,
whose source and destiny is God.

We celebrate
that the spirit of God beat in the heart of Jesus of Nazareth
All
and God's good news was heard
by the broken and wounded.

We are glad that the spirit of peace
is present with us, the church,
All
as we gather to celebrate our common existence,
and the fidelity of God.

And most deeply we believe
that in our struggle to love,
All
we incarnate God in the world.

And so aware of mystery and wonder,
caught in friendship and laughter,
All
we become speechless before the joy in our hearts
as we celebrate the sacredness of life. (Adapt.JShea/hu)

Sharing 'The Peace
God makes peace within us.  Let us claim it.
God makes peace between us.  Let us share it. (nwi)
Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace.

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  The people stand, as they are able, to sing
Spirit of Springtime(Tune: ‘Verdure’)   59 FFS
Spirit if springtime in creation’s garden,
tingling the senses,
tickling the earth,
sap that is rising where the seed was sleeping,
push for a new world
coming to birth!

Heard in the song that sweeps from bush to ocean,
seen in the sunlight,
felt in the blood,
surge of delight at every greening, growing,
God in the promise,
blossom from bud.

Fresh as the rain that washes clean our vision,
keen as the wind on
Pentecost day,
bright as the Spirit in the life of Jesus,
bold as the mindset
thinking his way.

Springtime of hope from out of winter’s clutches,
warm us to witness
woo us to see
beauty will break through rotted leaves and ashes,
joy will erupt, and
life will leap free!
(Shirley Erena Murray)
The people sit

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:
May our thoughts be filled with transformation,
All
May our words reflect the yearnings of our hearts.
And may the spirit that binds within us as we gather

All Hallow each and every passing moment
we know here together
(Adapt.GVosper/ab).

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  O God, you love us like a good parent,
and are present in every aspect of our existence

May your nature become known and respected by all
May your joy, peace, wholeness and justice
be the reality for everyone
as we live by the Jesus Way

Give us all that we really need to live every day for you
And forgive us our failures as we forgive others for their failures
Keep us from doing those things which are not of you,
and cause us always to be centred on your love

For you are the true reality in this our now,
and in all our future.
In the Jesus Way we pray. (DSorril)

CELEBRATING

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)

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

Presentation
We are grateful for our life
and the courage we are given to live it.
Let our gratitude for life be expressed in our generosity.
Let our faith be expressed in good causes.
Let our belief in the future find full expression
in our daily attitude of mind. (Adapt.FMacnab/fwb)

Centering Words
The earth has gone the round of seasons:
from the vibrant green of spring's new life
to the lush richness of warm summer,
to the brilliant fulfillment of riotous autumn,
to the generosity and self-giving of winter.

Now we stand again, touched by the promise of new life in the spring.

Discernment
As we celebrate the renewal of life and hope,
we also celebrate the presentness
of the Spirit of Life and Hope and Creativity,
everywhere around and within us.

Silence

No matter who you are, or where you are
on life's journey, you are welcome
at this table with it's symbols of God's Creative Presence.
All  
In company with all who seek nourishment at this table,
we come to celebrate community, and to share
these life-giving symbols.
(JStinson/adapted)

Thanksgiving
It is right and our joy to give thanks
world-gazing, hope-cheering God, our cherisher.

We celebrate the changing mood of nature:
for sunshine and showers of a spring day,
for the nesting and cheerfulness of birds,
and the flowers of bush and garden...
wattle, heath, and bottle brush.
We give thanks, O Holy God.
All  
 We give thanks.

We who hold all such good things in trust,
in the company of each other,
and in company with people throughout the world
declare as generations before us have declared:
All  
 Holy, holy, holy, hope-breathing 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.

And we celebrate our knowledge of Jesus the Companion,
who taught all to care for the birds of the air,
and the grass of the paddock;
living expressions of the Spirit of Life in our midst.

We remember that night among friends,
reclined at table... Jesus again shared a meal with his friends.

Through grain and grape, bread and wine,
and in fellowship together,
Jesus spoke of his enduring love for each of them.

So we take this bread and this wine
mindful of the Spirit at work in our lives.
Thus making our living a source of renewal and hope.
All
  Amen.

Breaking of Bread/Pouring of Wine
Bread is broken

We break this bread in celebration of the great truth
that on this tiny planet, hurtling through cold, empty space,
death is made the servant of life,
and out of death, life is forever resurrected.

Wine poured out
This cup with its fruit of the vine,
is a celebration that things are not always as they seem:
that out of faithfulness and steadfastness,
out of suffering and sorrow,
may come unsought blessings.

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.
Bread and wine served

After Communion
We give thanks that we have
gathered together in this sacred place,
and been refreshed at this table.

We rejoice in the giftedness of each person here.
We are grateful for who we are for each other.
May we go forth into the world in courage and peace.

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand, as they are able, to sing
Take Off Your Shoes” (Tune: ‘Take off our shoes’)  651(v1-2) TiS
Refrain:
Take, take off your shoes,
you're standing on holy ground;
take, take off your shoes,
you're standing on holy ground.
Well, the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof
from the waters beneath to the heav’ens above,
so take, take, take off your shoes,
you're standing on my holy ground,
you’re standing on my holy ground.

On the eighth day of creation, well, the Lord looked around
at the power stations, freeways and the junk on the ground,
the factories with their waste-dumps and their chimneys so high,
you couldn't see the sun for all the smog in the sky.
Well, kids, you really filled the earth and then you subdued it,
but there's nothing in my book that says you've got to pollute it.
So,
Take, take off your shoes…

You've heated up my rivers with industrial mills,
you're killing off my oceans with your wastes and your spills,
you're fishing like there'll always be an endless supply,
and fighting one another for what's left to divide.
You didn't want advice when I first gave you dominion,
but maybe now it's time to get a second opinion.
So,
Take, take off your shoes…
Remain standing

Parting Words
Let us take on this week’s life
with renewed hope and imagination…
The Community Candle is extinguished

With faith to face our challenges,
With love that casts out fear,
With hope to trust tomorrow,
All
We accept this day as the gift it is:
a reason for rejoicing. GKowalski

Words of Blessing
And now may the blessings of life
be upon us, and upon this congregation.

May the memories we gather here give us hope for the future.

May the love that we share
bring strength and joy to our hearts,
and the peace of this community be with us
until we meet again.
All  
Amen! May it be so!

Hymn (Cont). Take Off Your Shoes” (Tune: ‘Take off your shoes’)  651(v3) TiS
Refrain:
Take, take off your shoes,
you're standing on holy ground;
take, take off your shoes, 
you're standing on holy ground. 
Well, the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof
from the waters beneath to the heav’ens above,
so take, take, take off your shoes,
you're standing on my holy ground,
you’re standing on my holy ground.

Your scientific minds - make sure you use them with care:
you're breaking down my ozone layer up in the air,
your fertilizer's turning mighty rivers bright green.
some folks are getting fatter while so many grow lean.
I told you to be fruitful and you sure multiplied,
but the rich took all the land and never learned to divide.
So,
Take, take off your shoes…
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 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.
(FFS)
Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. 2000. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Fox, M. 2004. 
One River, Many Wells. Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths. New York. Tarcher/Penguin Publishing.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. 2005. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. 2001. 
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Macnab, F. 2006. 
A Fine Wind Is Blowing: Psalms of the Bible in words that blow you away. Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
Seaburg, C. (ed). 1993. 
The Communion Book. Boston. UUMA.
Shea, J. 1977. 
The Hour of the Unexpected. Allen. Argus Communications.
(SLT)
Singing the Living Tradition. 1993.  Boston. UUA.
Stinson, J. 2006. “The encounter of progressive christian theology with the language of prayer and ritual on Sunday morning”. Westar Institute/Westar Leaders
Seminar. March 2006.
The St Hilda Community. 1996. 
The New Women Included. A Book of Services and Prayers. London.  SPCK.
(TiS)
Together in Song. Australian Hymn Book 2. 1999. Sydney. HarperCollins Religious.
Vosper, G. 2009/2010.
Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane.
(TMT) Wallace, W. L. 2001.
The Mystery Telling. Hymns and Songs for the New Millennium. Kingston. Selah Publishing.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed). 1995. 
Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK.
Withrow, L. 1995. 
Seasons of Prayer. Resources for Worship. London. SPCK.  

Web Sites/Other:
Wells, Sorril. UUA Worship Web. Boston. UUA. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Andrew Pratt. "A Mirage, Nothing More". Hymns and words blog site. UK. <http://hymnsandbooks.blogspot.com/> 

rexae74@gmail.com