Pentecost2B.3.6.2018

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au
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A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
3 June 2018.   Pentecost 2B (Green)

Worth Pondering
“Life is not orderly.  No matter how we try to make life so,
right in the middle of it we die, lose a leg, fall in love,
drop a jar of applesauce”
Natalie Goldberg


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

As we gather together at this time, in this place
may we recognise and affirm:
the pieces of possibility,
the bits of good, we bring,
allowing our individual gifts to weave
a patchwork of celebration and justice.

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit in silence

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 People stand as they are able, to sing
Morning, So Fair To See(Tune: ‘Schonster herr Jesu’, 66.96.68)      42 SLT
Morning, so fair to see,
night, veiled in mystery –
glorious the earth and resplendent skies!
Pilgrims, we march along,
singing our joyous song,
as through an earthly paradise.

Tall are the verdant trees;
deep are the flashing seas;
glorious each wonder the seasons bring.
Brighter is faith’s surmise,
singing in pilgrim eyes,
from which our waking spirits spring.

Age after age we rise,
‘neath the eternal skies,
into the light from the shadowed past:
still shall our pilgrim song,
buoyant and brave and strong,
resound while life and mountains last.  (Vincent B Silliman)

OR

“Gift of the Solar Fire (In Praise of Light and Glass)”
Tune: ‘Solar Fire’ Barry Brinson.  Alternative Tune: ‘Diademata’
Musical Score: www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundless life

Gift of the solar fire,
Life-giving golden rays,
Caressing all Earth’s face with warmth
Till hearts are filled with praise.
Without you all is dark,
Without you all is dead,
The colours fade into a void
Which masks life’s sacred thread.

Rainbows delight our eyes
Clothed in the spectrum’s robe,
Unpacking all the artist skills
Within Earth’s fragile globe.
With glass we recreate
The wonder of the skies
And through the lens of crystal threads
See life with mystic eyes.

Mystery of God in light,
Seen both in joy and pain,
In haunting cross and sparkling seas,
In sunshine and the rain,
Within our complex self
We glimpse a gilded space,
A silence which we share with God,
A chalice filled with grace.

Though many hearts embrace
Sexist and racist ways
We seek to live inclusive lives
Of pluralistic praise.
We share our work and wealth,
We treasure Earth’s domains,
We honour all within its web
And all its life contains.  (William L Wallace) 
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
v1 Let us reverence Life with our eyes, ears and fingertips.
All 
Let us love the world through heart and mind and body.

v2 We feed our eyes upon the mystery in the faces
of our sisters and brothers and sisters,
of mothers and fathers, and children everywhere.
All  Let us be open to our full and emerging humanity. 

v1 We gather, not in bowing down, not with closed eyes
and stopped ears, but with the opening
of all windows of our beings,
with the full outstretching of our spirits.
All  Let us gather in meditation and singing, as those
who have fallen in love with life.  
(Adapt.Kenneth L Patton/sscl)

Act of Awareness
We come together in this hour…
in a wider search for truth and purpose.

In this quest, 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.

Let all who enter this sacred place
find comfort in this community.

OR

Universal God,
make us want to share our religious insights
in ever widening circles,
ourselves growing deeper and more broadminded,
reaching far beyond this place.

Gather us in,
and help us to raise each other up.
May it be so.

Hymn To Show By Touch And Word  (Tune: ‘Lodwick’)         19 SiF
To show by touch and word
devotion to the earth,
to hold in full regard
all life that comes to birth,
we need the strength of will and mind
the answers for our world to find.

Renewed in mind to choose
the things that matter most,
our hearts to long for truth
‘til pride that’s false is lost,
for every challenge that we face
we need true guidance and full grace.

Let love from day to day
be measure, rule, and norm,
and let our lives portray
pure love in human form.
The words of truth and touch of care
can make the difference everywhere.  (Fred Kaan, 1984) 
alt. with permission of the author, by Scott Kearns 2008
People sit after the hymn/song

Welcome   In your own words
A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are here 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

Centering Silence
Let us be still and know that all will be well,
that in all manner of things it will be well.
(Silence)

Questions linger…
Deep emotions are felt…
Fresh anticipation percolates, as this community
gathers together in this sacred place.

Draw your deep breath, knowing
you are welcomed and valued now, here.

Be at peace and at one with yourself
and with those close by…
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Two readings from our broad religious tradition…

Even as we seek understanding, our minds,
too often, shelter us from the realities we might uncover.
All  May we have the courage to hear and hold truths
found within these words. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

From the World Around us:
“Stirred by Goodness”
By Gretta Vosper. We All Breath.

Stirred by a yearning after goodness,
we scan our environs,
searching for signs of its presence
in what we find there.

In much, we find beauty;
in much, there is truth;
in neither is goodness bound to exist.

And so our quest is ongoing,
a constant assessing, filtering, and distilling
of what we encounter
and of what we gain.

May we ever be attentive
to those things that offer us goodness.
May it enter our hearts
and work to make us
vessels of the goodness
for which others seek.

As those who would offer
truth, beauty, and goodness,
we continue the quest.

OR

An Interview with Diarmuid O’Murchu… (1)

“The Social Edge Interview: Social Psychologist, Author, and Priest Diarmuid O’Murchu”
By Gerry McCarthy. Corpus- NCR, Canada.
<http://www.renewedpriesthood.org/ca/page.cfm?Web_ID=531>

Fr. Diarmuid O'Murchu is a social psychologist and member of the Sacred Heart Missionary Congregation. He lives in London, England.

GM: In [your book] Quantum Theology you explain that: "The church --which is rarely mentioned in the Gospels-- is intended to be the servant and herald of the New Reign of God in the world. The major problem facing the Christian Churches today is that they have lost touch with the Kin(g)dom agenda. The churches have largely betrayed the raison d'être of their existence." Do you have any sense that Christian Churches are attempting to get back in touch with the reason for their existence?

DO’M: In spite of their resistance, the churches are being forced to reclaim the priority of the Kingdom, but we also need to note that the Kingdom is flourishing outside the churches, far more effectively and creatively than within. This is largely the work of lay people from the ground up rather than of leaders from the top down. 

Lay people who have studied theology or spirituality, or who are involved in justice work, are the pioneers of this new and exciting development of our time. The Kingdom has outgrown the Church now, and I am not sure if the formal churches will ever really catch up, because they are still clinging on to baggage from the patriarchal past.

Traditional Gospel:
Mark 2:23-3:6  (NRSV)

One sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields;
and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain.

The Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?”

And he said to them,
“Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry
and in need of food? He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest,
and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful
for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.”

Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath;
so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

Again Jesus entered the synagogue,
and a man was there who had a withered hand.

They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath,
so that they might accuse him.

And he said to the man who had the withered hand,
“Come forward.”

Then he said to them,
“Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” 

But they were silent.

He looked around at them with anger;
he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man,
“Stretch out your hand.” 

He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him,
how to destroy him.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Celebration/Affirmation of Faith  (Optional)
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
(Adapted. John Shea/hu)

Sharing ‘The Peace’
Let us take a moment to celebrate 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
Love of Neighbour”  (Tune: ‘Bethany’, 87.87D)          114 MTH
If we claim to love our neighbours
while the hungry queue for food,
are we prey to self-deception,
is perception quite so crude?
If we sit beside our neighbours,
begging for the things they need,
we might share their own injustice
in a world that thrives on greed.

If we punish those with nothing,
blaming them for where they stand,
is this love of friend or neighbour,
do we still not understand?
Love of neighbour is not easy,
cuts us till we feel the pain,
sharing hurt that they are feeling
till they find new life again.

Love of neighbour sets us squarely
in the place where they now sit,
till the richness God has given
builds a pearl around the grit;
till each person shares the comfort
of the love of which we preach,
till we live as fact the Gospel:
none can be beyond love’s reach.   (Andrew Pratt/© Stainer & Bell)

OR

Travelling the Road to Freedom”  (Tune: ‘Travelling’)         52 EOA
Travelling the road to freedom.
Who wants to travel the road with me?
Feted by noise and branches
And banners hanging from every tree;
Cheered on by frenzied people,
Puzzled by what they hear and see:
Travelling the road to freedom,
Who wants to travel the road with me?

Travelling the road to freedom.
Who wants to travel the road with me?
Partnered by staunch supporters
Who, come the dark, will turn and flee;
Nourished by faith and patience,
Neither of which is plain to see:
Travelling the road to freedom,
Who wants to travel the road with me?

Travelling the road to freedom.
Who wants to travel the road with me?
Tipping the scales of justice,
Setting both minds and captives free;
Suffering and yet forgiving,
Even when my friends most disagree:
Travelling the road to freedom,
Who wants to travel the road with me?

Travelling the road to freedom.
I am the Way, I’ll take you there.
Choose to come on the journey,
Or choose to criticise and stare.
Earth’s mesmerising evil
Only a traveller can repair.
Travelling the road to freedom,
I am the Way, I’ll take you there.  (Bell/Maule)
People sit

CELEBRATING

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

Presentation
To be human is to be religious.
To be religious is to be mindful.
To be mindful is to pay attention.
To pay attention is to sanctify existence.  (St Stephen’s Project)

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 safe 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 the sacred among and within 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   Holy One,
whom we call by many different names,
Blessed are you.
Blessed are we in you.

May we create with you
a realm of mercy, peace and justice.
May love be done in the here and now
as it is in the infinite.
May we share life in bread and hope.

For our failures to love, we need forgiveness.
May we find the paths of reconciliation.

In the midst of evil's every incarnation,
From the powers that possess our spirits and our structures,
May we find liberation.

In the power that is love, we seek
to live and move and have our being.
May it be so,
now and forever. 
(Adapted. NancyLSteeves/StSC.N-TP)

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
In Each and Every Process”  ”  (Tune: ‘Morning Light’, 76.76D)      58(v1-2) SNS4
The colours of the sunset, the dancing of the waves,
The majesty of the mountains, the secrecy of the caves –
They all release a beauty from nature’s endless store
Of fascinating wonders and treasures we adore. 

The movement of the earth-worm, the busyness of bees,
The silent growth of flowers, the patience shown by trees –
They all release a beauty through nature’s charming ways;
Like all parades of living, they prompt us into praise. 

OR

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.
Remain standing

Parting Words
After the words, a quiet.
After the songs, a silence.
After the crowd only the memory recalls the gathering.
All  Peace and justice have need of us 
after the words, the music, and the gathering.
 

God grant you the depth for dedication to justice.
All God grant us the will 
to be apostles of peace
(Adapted. Max Coots)
The Community Candle is extinguished

Words of Blessing
We leave blessed by our connections
to one another, to the spirit of life.

Walk lightly that you see the life that is below your feet.
Spread your arms as if you had wings
and could dance through the air.

Feel the joy of the breath in your lungs
and the fire in your heart.

Live to love and be a blessing on this earth. (Susan Karlson)
All  Amen. May it be so

Hymn (Cont).  “In Each and Every Process”  ”  (Tune: ‘Morning Light’, 76.76D)      58(v3-4) SNS4
The systems in creation, the life-force here on earth,
The changing of the seasons encouraging new birth –
They all release the beauty in nature’s throbbing drive
To be the source confirming the pledge that life will thrive. 

We reverently acknowledge that God is surely known
In each and every process through which our world has grown;
In God we have our being; in God all comes to be;
In God are all beginnings; in God our destiny.  (George Stuart)

OR

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 Resources used in the Shaping of this Liturgy
(EOA) Bell, J. & G. Maule. Enemy of Apathy. Wild Goose Songs Vol. 2. Revised edition. Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 1990.
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, 2002.
Holy Bible. NRSV. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
(SiF) Kearns, S. (ed). Sing it Forward. Traditional Hymns Recast and Rewritten for Non-Exclusive Communities. In circulation from the author, 2009.
Patton, K. Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. Boston. Beacon Press, 1967.
Pratt, A. More Than Hymns. Words for a Lyrical Faith. London. Stainer & Bell, 2015.
Shea, J. The Hour of the Unexpected. Allen. Argus Communications, 1997.
(SLT) Singing The Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
(SNS4) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 4. Toronto. G Stuart, 2013.
Vosper, G. We All Breathe. Poems and Prayers. Toronto. PostPurgical Resources, 2012.
Vosper, G. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed). Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK, 1995.

Web sites/Other:
Coots, Karlson. UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/
St Stephen’s Non-Theistic Project. http://stephen.srv.ualberta.ca/publications/non-theistic-liturgy-resources/#sthash.0Sd5KwzN.wLO2Tlw4.dpbs

rexae74@gmail.com