Pentecost4B.17.6.2018

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
17 June 2018.  Pentecost 4B. (Green).
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion


Worth Pondering
“You can’t put sawdust in a meat pie
and expect it to be tasty”
Roy Miles


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

Gathering Music

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 

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

As we gather together on this day, 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.

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.
(Silence)

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

As we light our flame today, may it:
remind us of the ongoing process of evolution,
reminding us of the first gasping breath, the first clumsy step,
the first drop of warm milk, the first curious thought…

All these are wonders of the Universe.  (Adapt.JCH. Public domain)

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
"Softly Shout for Joy”  (Tune: 'Laudes Domini’, 666D)         2 SNS
When beauty casts its glow,
When children play in snow
I softly shout for joy!
When students get to know,
When trees, unnoticed, grow
I softly shout for joy!

If rich folk wish to share,
If people show they care
I softly shout for joy!
If discipline is fair,
If hope grows from despair
I softly shout for joy!

If stubborn tyrants bend,
If different races blend,
I softly shout for joy!
If outcasts find a friend,
If broken friendships mend
I softly shout for joy.

When God is clearly found
In everything around
I softly shout for joy!
Together we are bound
In love that’s quite profound
And so I shout for joy!  (George Stuart)

OR

Go-Between God (Tune: ‘Clover Place’, D C Gamon)      9 PaT
Go-between God, in the Spirit of Jesus,
reaching and welcoming, crossing divides,
let me be part of your bridge-building people,
making connections where prejudice rides.

Let me see value in colours and cultures
new to my landscape of habit or thought;
let me find treasures in other traditions,
gifts of new insight that strangers have brought.

Let me find truths in another faith’s scripture,
let me share wisdom wherever it shines,
lighting our differing pathways to worship,
seeking the scope of your stunning designs.

Let me accept revelation in science,
all that enhances the life of the earth,
let me reject all that threatens her nature,
testing technology’s status and worth.

Let me be part of a new evolution
honouring others who honour the good,
artists in living out love without labels,
standing in places where Jesus has stood.  (Shirley Erena Murray)

Opening Sentences
v1 Come along with me as a sojourner in faith.

v2 Bring along a sense of expectancy
a sense of high hopes
a glimpse of future possibility
a vivid imagination.
For God's creation is not done.
All
We are called to pioneer forth toward a future yet unnamed.
As we venture forward
we leave behind our desires for
a no-risk life,
worldly accumulations,
certainty of answers.
Let us travel light in the spirit of faith and expectation
toward the God of our hopes and dreams.
All
Let us be a witness to God's future breaking in.

v1 Come along with me as a sojourner in faith
secure in the knowledge
that we never travel alone.
(S Greg-Schroeder)

Act of Awareness
Each morning brings a newness that we need but step into.
It can wash us,
lift us,
heal us,
hold us
just as each of us has need.

May we be open to the power that lies dormant within us.
May we be full with a confidence in our own strength.
May we move from the routines that we follow
to the fullness of life that we might live.  (Gretta Vosper/hb).

OR

We pray:
Calling God, you have gathered us into this community.
A place has been made for each of us.
Let what we say and do here
be real for us and honest to your creativity,
and prepare us for the life of the world.
May it be so.

Hymn   "The Way Ahead”  (Tune: Normandy’, 87.87.D)            5 MTH
When life juggles with our learning, 
with the things we thought secure, 
then it seems the artist’s palette
spins and faith becomes obscure.
In the wash of different colours, 
as we seek for shape and form, 
others paint their faith by numbers 
forcing God to fit some norm.

But when life has torn the canvas,
when the numbers twist and slip;
then we need to find an image
that will help our hope to grip:
holding us, when we're past holding,
grounding when we're insecure,
till we find a faith, not drifting,
still dynamic, free, yet sure.  (Andrew Pratt 28/5/2010, © Stainer & Bell)

OR

God Who Sets Us On A Journey(Tune: ‘Canvas’’)   32 FFS
God who sets us on a journey
to discover, dream and grow,
lead us as you led your people
in the desert long ago;
journey inward, journey outward,
stir the spirit, stretch the mind,
love for God and self and neighbour
marks the way that Christ defined.

Exploration brings new insights,
changes, choices we must face;
give us wisdom in deciding,
mindful always of your grace;
should we stumble, lose our bearings,
find it hard to know what's right,
we regain our true direction
focused on the Jesus light.

End our longing for the old days,
grant the vision that we lack –
once we've started on this journey
there can be no turning back;
let us travel light, discarding
excess baggage from our past,
cherish only what's essential,
choosing treasure that will last.

When we set up camp and settle
to avoid love's risk and pain,
you disturb complacent comfort,
pull the tent pegs up again;
keep us travelling in the knowledge
you are always at our side;
give us courage for the journey,
Christ our goal and Christ our guide.  
Jill Dine

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

Meditation
"Gratitude"
By Michael R Leduc.

May we look with gratitude upon this day,
for the beauty of the world,
or the first radiance of dawn
and the last smoldering glow of sunset.

Let us be thankful for physical joys,
for hills to climb and hard work to do,
for music that lifts our hearts in one breath,
for the hand-clasp of a friend,
and for the gracious loveliness of children
who remind us of the wonders of life.

May we be appreciative above all
for the concern and love of those around us,
for the exceeding bliss of the touch of the holy
which suddenly awakens our drowsy souls
to the blessed awareness of the divine
within us and within others.

For all of this,
and for the countless other blessings present in our lives,
let us be grateful
.

Centering Silence
Let there be a time of silence between us…
(Silence)

May the silence remind us of the best hours we have known,
and strengthen our resolve to live in that spirit
which gives the better meaning to our lives. 
(Bob Holmes)
(Silence)

Spoken Reflection
(A voice from within the Congregation)

“Miracles do Happen”
By Peter Gebhardt. Eureka Street, Vol 22, No. 10, 28/5/2012

It might only be a small one,
     a dandelion dancing
in the heat of the day,
     it lands on you
     a moment of silver
     of lace
brief
     the melting of an icicle
          of a snowflake
               thousands of stars
          snow on red berries
          the bloodtide turns
          the stars seek watchers
          patterns in simplicity
the miracle of friendship,
the warmth of embrace,
the celebration of dawn.

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Two readings from our broad religious tradition shall now be offered.

From the World Around us:

An Interview with Diarmuid O’Murchu (3)

“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: Reports on our ecological crisis continue to appear. Last October, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment was released. We learn that annual average temperatures in the north will rise between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius on land and up to 7 degrees Celsius over the Arctic Ocean, with winter temperatures increasing even more. According to some estimates, climate change will mean that over a million discrete forms of life will be extinct by 2050. Have you witnessed more urgency among people of faith to address this crisis?

DO’M: There are movements within all the religions striving to incorporate the serious ecological plight in which we find ourselves today. These movements need all the support and affirmation we can give them, because in all cases they are a tiny minority within a faith or denomination, and they tend to be looked at askance by the majority of adherents within those systems. They provide important support for people of faith who want to embrace these urgent questions of our time, but they are unlikely to make any major inroads into the churches or the religions.

Traditional Gospel:
Mark 4:26-32 (NRSV)

Jesus said,
'The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground,
and would sleep and rise night and day,
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he does not know how.

'The earth produces of itself,
first the stalk,
then the head,
then the full grain in the head.

'But when the grain is ripe,
at once he goes in with his sickle,
because the harvest has come.'

Jesus also said,
'With what can we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable will we use for it?

'It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on earth.

‘Yet when it is sown it grows up
and becomes the greatest of all shrubs,
and puts forth large branches,
so the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Celebration of Faith  (Optional)
People stand as they are able

‘A Lifelong Sharing’
v1  Love cannot remain by itself—it has no meaning.
v2  Love has to be put into action and that action is service.
All  
Whatever form we are,
able or disabled,
rich or poor,
it is not how much we do,
but how much love we put in the doing;

v1  A lifelong sharing of love with others.  (Mother Teresa)

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  People stand as they are able, to sing
We Laugh, We Cry(Tune: ‘Credo’, Irreg.)         
 354 SLT
We laugh, we cry, we live, we die;
we dance, we sing our song.
We need to feel there’s something here
to which we can belong.
We need to feel the freedom
just to have some time alone.
But most of all we need close friends
we can call our very own.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a need to be together.
We have our hearts to give,
we have our thoughts to receive;
and we believe that sharing is an answer.

A child is born among us and
we feel a special glow.
We see time’s endless journey
as we watch the baby grow.
We thrill to hear
imagination freely running wild.
We dedicate our minds and hearts
To the spirit of this child.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a time to be together.
And with the grace of age,
we share the wonder of youth;
and we believe that growing is an answer.

Our lives are full of wonder and
our time is very brief.
The death of one among us
fills us all with pain and grief.
But as we live, so
shall we die and when our lives are done
the memories we shared with friends,
they will linger on and on.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a place to be together.
We have the right to grow,
we have the gift to believe;
that peace within our living is an answer.

We seek elusive answers to
the questions of this life.
We seek to put an end to
all the waste of human strife.
We search for truth,
equality, and blessed peace of mind.
And then, we come together here,
to make sense of what we find.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a joy being together.
And in our search for peace,
maybe we’ll finally see;
even to question, truly, is an answer.  (Shelly Jackson Denham)
People sit

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 joy and in sorrow
All We do not walk alone. 
(Gretta Vosper/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:  (Optional)
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Abba/Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as appropriate

All  Holy Being,
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. 
(NancyLSteeves/StSC.N-TP)

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)

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

Presentation
As a river without an outlet becomes stagnant,
so life which receives but does not give
becomes polluted and sour.

As we give, we know we will be refreshed
as well as being a blessing to others.

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
Thanksgiving
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.  Gretta Vosper/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…
(Silence)

God of winter, the unpopular, slandered season;
God of lightning, wind and storm;
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 our celebration to all people, saying:
All  Holy, holy, holy, re-creating 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.

The Celebration
When Jesus gathered with his friends
to tell them of a re-imagined way of living and being,
the conversations often went
on into the time for a meal.

Jesus ate and conversed
with the high and mighty,
with the pious and self-righteous, and
with those considered outcasts and sinners.
His table fellowship included everyone.

He often told them stories that caused them 
to wonder and ask questions.
He also welcomed these opportunities
to eat with those who disagreed with him
and engaged them in open discussion.

In this way, the issues of life and death,
justice and injustice,
conflict and peace,
goodness and evil
were talked through and made real to ordinary people…

We are here to carry on this tradition
of seeking for truth and recognising goodness
wherever they may be found.
All  This being so, we who are followers of Jesus in these times
gather around this table to pledge ourselves anew
to his words and ways.  
(Robert Jones)

Bread and Wine
v1 Now, in the way humans have made certain things
and certain actions holy throughout the ages,
we offer this bread
and this wine to one another...

v2 Let us be grateful for the words and ways of Jesus 
as they have been handed down to us
from generation to generation
by faithful followers and conscientious scholars.
All  We are grateful for the many records
of Jesus’ words and ways and for those who
cared for them, copied them,
studied them, interpreted them, and
preserved them for study and interpretation in our time.

v1 Let us, in the spirit of Jesus, welcome this knowledge
and determine to use it as he would use it
in the service of justice and well being
for all persons, creatures, and things.
All  We welcome the new ways of truth
and seek a deeper wisdom about all that is known.

Communion
Everyone is welcome to be here.
All  
In this way, we lift up a world of inclusion,
where all people live with respect and dignity.

Everyone present will receive a share.
All  
In this way, we lift up a world of generosity,
where, as in the examples of Jesus,
abundance overcomes scarcity so all are fed.

Everyone is invited now to take a portion,
and to see others also receive.
All  
In this way, we lift up a world of sufficiency,
where entrenched systems of privilege are challenged,
wealth is shared equally, and all are satisfied with enough.
  (Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

So in the meal tradition of Jesus
we break and share bread and drink wine…
Bread broken, Wine poured out

Pledging ourselves to allow the spirit
that moved in Jesus
to move freely in our lives.
The Bread and Wine are served

After Communion
v1  Let us give thanks for this communion
as it sustains us in our desire to be followers of Jesus
in our time and place.
v2  Let us acknowledge that sharing this bread and this wine
ties us to a great company of people throughout history
and around the present world.
All  
And let us renew our sense of belonging to this congregation
as we seek to bring the words and ways of Jesus
into relevant connection with life
as we live and understand it today. 
(Adapt. Robert Jones)

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
"Christ, the Tent God Pitched"
(Tune:’ Picardy’, 87 87 87)     1 (v1-3) TMT
Christ, the tent God pitched among us
tabernacled on this earth,
as the sacred mystic presence
which sustains our spirits' growth,
for in Christ the Word incarnate
God's new world is brought to birth.

We are called to live as pilgrims,
from our birth until that day,
when our bodies have their ending
in their earthly home of clay,
but not all who walk that journey
find the true, the living way.

We can trap ourselves in systems,
and destroy life's primal stream,
or can dance in life's adventure
to the edges of our dream,
binding beauty, love, and justice
into one great holy theme.
Remain standing

Parting Words
Let us go in faith to ponder in our hearts
the mystery and the wonder of this season...
The Community Candle is extinguished

There is hope.

Our God is a God of life,
and the power of the Holy Spirit
permeates all creation.
All To live according to the Spirit
is to embrace its presence in all creation.

Words of Blessing
Go boldly into the future which has been claimed by God.
Know that the God who holds all things will be there,
that Christ who calls us friend will walk beside us,
and the Spirit who makes all things new
will mark our way with light and hope.
All
Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont). "Christ, the Tent God Pitched" (Tune:’ Picardy’, 87 87 87)     1 (v4-5) TMT
Leaving all that breeds oppression
let us learn to travel light,
with no temple but our body,
and as shelter for the night,
pitch a pilgrim tent for dwelling
in the place of sheer delight.

Christ is found within each canvas
painted with the earth and sky,
in the singing and the dancing
and within the people's cry,
for the world is space for singing
God's great song that never dies. 
William L Wallace
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:
(AA)  
Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and Songs for all Churches. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 1993.
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.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
Holy Bible. NRSV. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
Holmes, R. H. The Bob Holmes Worship Materials. Vol 1.  Little Falls. Self published, 1972.
Iona Community. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Jones, Robert V. “Liturgy: The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper”. In private circulation from the author. L & L Seminar, Westar Institute, 2005.
(PaT) Murray, S. E. A Place at the Table. New Hymns written between 2009 and 2013. Carol Stream: Hope Publishing, 2013.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, J. & B. Hesle. Worship in the Spirit of Jesus. Theology, Liturgy, and Songs without Violence. Cleveland. The Pilgrim Press, 2005.
(MTH) Pratt, A. More Than Hymns. Words for a Lyrical Faith. London. Stainer & Bell, 2015.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
(SNS)  Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Sydney. CPRT Sydney, 2006.
The St Hilda Community. The New Women Included. A book of Services and Prayers. London.  SPCK, 1996.
Vosper, G.
Holy Breath. Prayers for Worship and Reflection. New & Revised edition. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2004/2010.
Vosper, G.
With or Without God. Why the Way we Live is more Important than What we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.
(TMT) Wallace, W. L.
The Mystery Telling. Hymns and Songs for the New Millennium.  Kingston. Selah Publishing, 2001.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed).
Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK, 1995.
Withrow, L.
Seasons of Prayer. Resources for Worship. London. SPCK, 1995.

Web sites/Other:
Greg-Schroeder, Leduc. UUA Worship Web. Boston. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Peter Gebhardt is a retired school principal and judge.

Nancy L Steeves. 'The Abba Prayer'. St Stephen's College. Non-Theistic Liturgies. <http://www.ualberta.ca/ST.STEPHENS/resources/>
Mother Teresa. ‘A Lifelong Sharing’. 562 SLT.

rexae74@gmail.com