Pentecost21B.21.10.2018

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
21 October 2018.  Pentecost 21B. (Green).
Celebrating Community around the Meal

Worth Pondering
“Human beings are made not born”
(Stephen Jenkinson)


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 of the (NN) Nation, past and present,
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

v1 Jesus calls all to an inclusive community.
Yet he promises no greatness and no soft beds.
Only to follow.

v2 In these times and in this place
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
"Come, O God, Of All The Earth" (Tune: 'Sing Out')   181 (v1-3) TiS
Come, O God of all the earth:
come to us, a Righteous One;
come, and bring our love to birth:
in the glory of your Son.
Refrain:
Sing out, earth and skies!
sing of the God who loves you;
raise your joyful cries;
dance to the life around you.

Come, O God of wind and flame:
fill the earth with righteousness;
teach us all to sing your name:
may our lives your love confess. 
Refrain:

Come, O God of flashing light:
twinkling star and burning sun;
God of day and God of night:
in your light we all are one, 
Refrain:
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
In our gathering together let us marvel at life,
recognising its wonders and its signs.
All
The blowing wind, the rising and setting sun,
the fruiting trees and drying grasses.

In their beginning, in their ending, they
offer evidence of continuing creativity
All
In all creation, visible and invisible. (Adapt.PPinsent/ml)

Act of Awareness
We receive fragments of holiness,
glimpses of eternity,
brief moments of insight.

Let us gather them up for the precious gifts that they are
and, renewed by their grace,
move boldly into the unknown.  
(SMCampbell/slt)

OR

We pray:
God, Source of Life, fulfil your promise
and bless us as we gather in your presentness.

Each day may we be transformed so we become
more human,
more friendly towards our neighbour
and all of creation.
May it be son.

Hymn "Come, O God, Of All The Earth" (Tune: 'Sing Out')   181 (v4-5) TiS
Come, O God of snow and rain:
shower down upon the earth;
come, a God of joy and pain:
God of sorrow, God of mirth. 
Refrain:
Sing out, earth and skies!
sing of the God who loves you;
raise your joyful cries;
dance to the life around you.

Come, O Justice, come, O Peace:
come and shape our hearts anew;
come and make oppression cease:
bring us all to life in you.
Refrain:   (Marty Haugen)
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
"We Celebrate…
By Ian Lawton. C3 Exchange, 2009.

v1 Do not take life or yourselves too seriously.  Live now.
v2 In each moment expect a miracle.  Enjoy creation.

v1 Look around you and see the beauty and wonder of this day
v2 and in this gathering!

v1 Look around you and see the joy, the possibilities of this day
v2 to live and love.

v1 We refuse to die before we die and rather live life
v2 to the fullest as best we can!

v1 We celebrate the whole of life!

Silence

Come apart now from the busyness of family and work,
and dwell in the presentness of Creativity God:
source of life.
(Silence)

Our tradition says God calls us to renew ourselves
and our life's purpose
as we gather with others who are searching.

So let us be in silence together.
(Silence)

EXPLORING

Reading from our Religious Tradition 1
Some readings from our broad religious tradition
shall now be offered.

Responsive Psalm:
Psalm 104.
A 21st century exploration by Francis Macnab.
A Fine Wind is Blowing/40.

• With eloquence and beautiful words, the psalmist writes this great poem to all creation.
He praises the Creator and encourages everyone to recognise so many causes of happiness.

O God on our beautiful summer evenings,
I look up to the great vault of the heavens.
My soul throbs with vitality
as the splendour of creation unfolds before me.

The clouds become your chariots.
You ride along on the wings of the wind.
The mountains gather their water,
and at your signal those waters roar down the mountains
and rush along the valleys.
The animals of the world find new life
in the refreshment of those waters.
The birds of the air excitedly build their nests
among the bushes and screech and sing among the branches.

Everything is so vibrant and alive.
The grass grows, the fields become green.
We sow our seed, bake our bread, tend our vines
and drink our wine to gladden out hearts.
We find oils to soften our faces,
and the best foods to sustain our strength and vitality.

Up there high in the hills, the mountain goats run wild
and the badger takes cover behind the rocks.
The moon tells us the flow of the seasons
and everyday the sun rises at dawn and sets at dusk.
At night time animals and birds search for their food.
In the day time, they go to their rest,
while we rise from our rest and begin our work.

All this is part of the wisdom and mystery
that is too wonderful to fathom.

When we think of the seas and the oceans
and all the creatures of the deep: the ships that sail to and fro.
All look beyond themselves
aware they depend on something greater than themselves.

If you hide from them, they become troubled and anxious.
Should you withhold their breath, they will cease to be.
But breathe on them
and new life comes back to them.

God, Creator of all things,
what can we do as we pause to contemplate
these wonders,
the works of all creation?

Help us to find real happiness in our hearts. 
Help us to sing as if it was the best song we will ever sing,
Help us to embrace the amazing vitality
of those who have received a blessing from God
and want to return the blessing a hundredfold
with appreciation and praise.

Music of Celebration

Reading from our Religious Tradition 2
Traditional Gospel:
Mark 10:35-45a (Inclusive Text)

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus.
'Teacher', they said, 'we want you to do us a favour.'

Jesus said to them,
'What is it you want me to do for you?'

They said,
'Allow us to sit one at your right hand 
and the other at your left in your glory.'

'You do not know what you are asking' Jesus said to them. 

'Can you drink the cup that I must drink, 
or be baptised with the baptism with which 
I must be baptised?'

They replied, 'We can'.

Jesus said to them,
'The cup that I must drink you shall drink,
and with the baptism with which I must be baptised
you shall be baptised,  but as for seats
at my right hand or my left,
these are not mine to grant;
they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.'

 When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant
with James and John, so Jesus called them and said,
'You know that among the gentiles their so-called rulers
lord it over them, and their great ones
make their authority felt.

'This is not to happen among you.
No; anyone who wants to become great among you
must be your servant, and anyone
who wants to be first among you must be slave of all.

'For the Human One did not come
to be served, but to serve...'

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

Litany: We Believe in a Sacred Power… (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

v1  We believe in a sacred power within and around us.
v2  A divine spirit that we call by many names
and experience in many ways,
that empowers and heals,
that calls us forth.

All  We believe in our creativity.
v1  Making and transforming beauty
out of words and notes,images and colours,
lines and pictures…
and silence.

All  We believe in doing justice.
v2  Justice that compels and empowers us
to risk whatever we must risk
to create a climate
in which all people can be who they are.

All  We believe in our dreams.
v3  We experience the world as it is,
in both its ugliness and beauty,
and we see what it can become.

All  We believe in making peace.
v1  A peace that is based on openness,
honesty and compassion.

All  We believe in hope.
v2  We expect change to continue to occur in our world.
We rely on our courage to continue
to bring about these changes.

All We believe in love.
v3  A passionate love within and around us
that laughs and cries,
challenges and comforts,
a healing love that perseveres.

All  We believe in potential.
v1  We know who we are,
painful as that can be at times,
yet we continue to call each other
to become more of who we are.

All  We believe in celebrating.
v2  We remember and we commemorate.
We create rituals.
We play and dance,
and sing and love well.

All  We believe in our diversity.
v3  We affirm our many shapes and sizes,
colours and traditions,
emotions and thoughts,
differences and similarities.

All  We believe in life.
v4  Life that wells up within
and flows out of us
like a streaming fountain.
All  
We believe we are good and holy,
a sacred part of all creation.  SKramer/cl

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
"Past and Present"  (Tune: ‘Cwm Rhondda’)                28 TMT
Past and present, with our dreaming,
Join to make us what we are;
Ancient wisdom, ancient follies
Shape the way we love and care:
Give us reverence,
Give us wisdom,
From the past for life today.

Make us mindful of the present -
Ev'ry force, each strength, each flaw;
Free us from those selfish motives
Which consume us more and more:
Give us vision,
Give us courage,
For this modern age of change.

We must face the future's challenge
To create a better earth
Hand in hand with all who labour
Dream and suffer for its birth:
For through sharing
And through caring
We shall build community.  (William L Wallace)

OR

"Companions, Let Us Pray Together" (Tune: ‘Companions’)      21 HoS
Companions, let us pray together,
in this place affirm our faith.
Our God who made us is here among us;
we stand together in God's grace.
Refrain:
We are whanau, we are one,
brothers, sisters, of the Son.
We are reaching for our freedom,
the prize that Christ has won.

The broken Christ stands here among us,
shares our suffering and our pain;
in breaking bread we find empowerment
to live in aroha again.
Refrain:

The risen Christ bring light and laughter,
celebrates the life we share;
the poured out wine of Christ's self-giving
inspires us to reach out and care.
Refrain:

Now let us sing to God who loves us
and accepts us as we are;
go out from here and live that message,
proclaim our oneness near and far.
Refrain:    (David Clark/Witi Wihimaera)
The people sit

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?  (Binkley & McKeel/jke)

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

Presentation
In hope and thanksgiving, these gifts
are offered for the good of
our neighbours,
our city,
our world.
All  
May it be so.

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY AROUND THE MEAL
Welcoming to the Table
At this table we give thanks for
justice, love, peace and freedom.
All At this table we give thanks for friends and strangers.
At this table we welcome old and young.
All are invited.  (Carter Heyward)

Thanksgiving
Source of Life and Creativity whom we name God,
we are gathered in your presence.

Here we will offer praise and thanksgiving.
Here we will remember the words and deeds
of the one called Jesus of Nazareth,
who dared to call you Abba
and invited us to do the same.

We remember that wherever he came, people rediscovered
their humanity, became filled with new meaning and purpose,
and found a new courage to live,
not just for themselves but for others.

We remember how he spoke of a new reality he called the realm of God,
already among us yet coming in ever greater fullness,
creating communities of justice, love and peace.

We remember how he spoke in parables about
a lost coin, a lost child and a sheep that strayed,
in order to proclaim your inclusive love.

And we remember our tradition over the ages…
How, in a meal with his disciples, he took bread in his hands,
blessed it, broke it, and shared it with them:
‘Let the bread you share be the means of my presence with you for all time.’

After the meal, he poured a cup of wine:
‘Share this cup, all of you, as a remembrance
of the open meals I shared with all.’

Bread and Wine
So now we take this bread and wine, breaking it and pouring it out…
that they might be shared among us as equals.
Bread broken, Wine poured out

May they nourish and sustain us on our life’s journey:
transforming, enabling, and empowering us,
as we continue to follow in the way of Jesus.  (Adapted/ Richard Osing, L&L Seminar)

Communion
Let us break bread together.
All  Together, we celebrate the festival of our liberation.
Bread and Wine served in the pews

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:
In this abundant blessing
All  
We share the joy.
In this, our time of need,
All  May love abound.  (Gretta Vosper/wwg)

And so we take this flame and light our special care candle...
The Care Candle is lit

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  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)

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand, as they are able, to sing
God Who Fills the Universe(Tune: ‘Francis David’. 77.66.7)             37(v1-2) 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.
Remain standing

Parting Words
As we prepare to leave this sacred space
where we have gathered together,
All  
let us return to our homes, our work and our school
enlivened and renewed…
The Community Candle is extinguished

Remembering that the universe is much larger
than our ability to comprehend,
let us go from this time together
with the resolve to allow wonder,
to find space to open up our minds 
and illumine our lives.  (Adapt.M N Leaming)

Blessing Words
May you always stand tall as a tree.
Be as strong as the rock Uluru.
As gentle and still as the morning mist.
Hold the warmth of the campfire in your heart.
And may the Creator Spirit always walk with you.
All  Amen! Blessed be!

Hymn (Cont). God Who Fills the Universe(Tune: ‘Francis David’. 77.66.7)          37(v3) SLT
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.  
(Carl G Seaburg)
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). Courage to Love. An Anthology of Inclusive Worship Material. Norwich: The Canterbury Press, 2002.
(HoS)
Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North: New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. Brisbane: Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2005.
Iona Community.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
McEwan, D. et al. (ed).
Making Liturgy. Creating rituals for worship and life. GtB: Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2001.
Macnab, F.
A Fine Wind is Blowing: Psalms of the bible in words that blow you away. VIC: Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2006.
(SLT)
Singing The Living Tradition. Boston: UUA, 1993.
The St Hilda Community.
The New Women Included. A Book of Services and Prayers. London:  SPCK, 1996.
(TiS)
Together in Song. Australian Hymn Book 2. Sydney: HarperCollins Religious, 1999.
Vosper, G. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is More Important than what we Believe. Toronto: HarperCollins, 2008.
(TMT) 
Wallace, W. L. The Mystery Telling. Hymns and Songs for the New Millennium. Kingston. Selah Publishing, 2001.


Web sites/Other:
Sorril, Leaming. UUA Worship Web. Boston: UUA. www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Ian Lawton. "We Celebrate..." C3 Exchange, Spring Lake. MI. <www.c3exchange.org>

rexae74@gmail.com