Pentecost5B.24.6.2018

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
24 June 2018.  Pentecost 5B. (Green).

Worth Pondering:
“The trouble with doing nothing is that
you never know when you are finished”
Michael Roth


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

We gather in community
to rest from our labours,
to greet our neighbours,
and to open our being to insight and intuition
of that greater reality of which we are a part.

May we find in our time together inspiration and renewal.
May we touch the holy in each other
and be touched by the graciousness of life.
May we find here a calm peacefulness
that will carry us through the days ahead.

We are the sisters and brothers of all that is,
cherishing the earth,
embracing its life.

v2  Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.
(Silence)

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 People stand as they are able, to sing
Nature’s Beauty(Tune: ‘Regent Square’, 87.87.47 Extend.)        4 SNS3
Nature knows her sounds and movements
Heard and seen each day and night;
All her life in rich abundance
Fills my heart with great delight;
Celebrate with adoration;
Thankful for the world so bright.

Fearsome winds cause trees to whimper;
Storms can force the clouds to cry;
Raindrops, snowflakes dance together;
Sun and moon wink in reply;
Celebrate with adoration
All the wonders of the sky.

Celebrate all hidden textures;
Value all the roots below;
Celebrate all covered spendour;
Value beauty not on show;
Celebrate with adoration;
Thankful for the world we know.

Creatures bold and creatures timid
Offer beauty, each unique;
Trees and flowers paint a picture
On the plain and mountain peak;
Celebrate with adoration;
All revealed for those who seek.

We are blest with such profusion;
Beauty bursts out everywhere;
If we take the time to ponder
We may find a thankful prayer;
Celebrate with adoration
Thankful for the world we share.  (George Stuart)

OR

In The Bulb There Is A Flower(Tune: “Maria’s Tune”, 87.87D)
In the bulb there is a flower;
in the seed, an apple tree;
in cocoons, a hidden promise;
butterflies with soon be free!
in the cold and snow of winter
there's a spring that waits to be,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

There's a song in every silence,
seeking word and melody.
there's a dawn in every darkness,
bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future,
what it holds, a mystery;
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning;
in our time, infinity;
in our doubt there is believing;
in our life, eternity.
In our death, a resurrection;
at the last, a victory,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see. 
Natalie A Sleeth
People remain standing

Opening Sentences
In darkness seeds are drawn to germinate,
flowers prepare to bloom and our dreams unfold.
All  Darkness is gift.

In darkness, the edges blur.
Boundaries between reality and fantasy,
between friend and stranger become fluid,
opening new possibilities.
All  Darkness is gift.

In darkness, when our eyes rest, our ears
become more attentive to the sounds
of story, of lullaby, of wind, of loved ones breathing in the night.
All  Darkness is gift.

In the darkness, we find space for reflection;
for deep, dream filled and refreshing sleep.
We are bidden to journey into the unconscious.
All  Darkness is gift.

In the darkness of the womb, we were formed in great complexity. Under the cover of darkness, many creatures have their being. Only in the deepest darkness, can we see the star- studded sky. All  Darkness is a gift of grace.
As we think back on the shortest day,
may we also celebrate the many gifts of darkness
during this season of winter.  
 (Adapt. Nancy L Steeves/St Stephens Project)

OR

Southern Hemisphere Winter Equinox
v1  Darkness is a blessing.
All   It helps me fall asleep.

v2   Darkness is a blessing.
All  Only when a seed is in the dark will it sprout.

v3  Darkness is a blessing.
All  Some of my best visions come when I close my eyes.

v4  Darkness is a blessing.
All  Only in the darkest parts of the country can I see the stars clearly.

v5  Darkness is a blessing.
All  It brings relief from heat as I cross a desert.

v6  Darkness is a blessing.
All  Only when it is really dark can our body
produce the hormone melatonin which fights diseases.

v7  Darkness is a blessing.
All  Many animals thrive within the protective cover of darkness.

v8  Darkness is a blessing.
All  
We developed in the darkness of our mother's womb.
Truly darkness is a blessing.
 (Charles Bidwell/St Stephen’s Project) 

Act of Awareness
In each moment of this day resides incredible power:
new life,
healing,
opportunity.

May this time together empower us to take some new steps
so all our living is transforming and the
yearning of our hearts become reality.

OR

We pray:
Surprising God,
whose love leads us to new experiences,
help us to be open to your presence
among us and within.

Let us sense your glory in the sights
and sounds and celebrations of this winter day.
May it be so.
All   May it be so with us.

Hymn   Celebrate Each Difference“”  (Tune: ‘Intercessor’, 11.10.11.10)
We cannot make an easy, safe distinction,
all people are our neighbours, none denied.
The voices of all nations heard beside us:
all sisters, brothers, none we should deride.

The wall between the peoples has been broken.
In love of God divisions disappear.
As seen in Christ, we recognise our neighbours.
We greet unusual faces without fear.

We celebrate each difference God has given.
Each nation, black and white, both straight and gay,
the able and the challenged, God has offered,
that we might share together, learn and pray

We meet with those who paint a different picture,
who value God in words not yet our own.
In dialogue we offer one another
a vision we could never find alone.

This God we seek is greater than each difference;
the source and ground of all variety,
the centre and the soul of all creation,
erasing hate with love, to set us free.   
Andrew Pratt/ea

OR

Colour and Fragrance(Tune: ‘O Barvy Vune’, 55, 55, 11, 11)   78 SLT
Colour and fragrance, magical rhythm,
sweet changing music will change us with them:
life within life, inner light gently glowing,
surely you seem to be God’s vision growing.

O starry heavens, worlds of all splendour,
suns without number, new life engender:
wheel in a wheel with the light brightly glowing,
moving in harmony, God’s vision growing.

Handful of pebbles, high mountain passes,
depths of the ocean, dew on the grasses:
great things and small, with the light gently glowing,
word of the wordless song, God’s vision growing.

Delicate beings, lace-wing and sparrow
in field and forest, clover and yarrow:
life greeting life with the light brightly glowing,
none are too small to be God’s vision growing.

In human eyes burns the soul of living,
illumines altars of loving giving:
greeting, we meet, seeing light brightly glowing,
share in a greater life, God’s vision growing.

Shaper of all things, to us you’ve given
our chance to keep here on earth, a heaven.
Moving in harmony, light gently glowing,
may we be, gratefully, God’s vision growing.  (NFCapek/GUlp)

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
"Ladders"
By Jennifer Brooks.
For All That Is Our Life, 56-57.

Two men walked casually, each with a wooden ladder,
carried unceremoniously over the shoulder
as if the long and awkward burden
were no more than a sweatshirt,
or half-full bag, or at most a child of two
draped there for a few laughing moments.

But they went on from one job to another, 
the bucket one held (and waved in careless gesture)
suggesting window-washers headed for the next pane.

The little puzzle of why they carried ladders
along the busy road was nothing to the beauty of their walking,
the unconscious grace  as they kept the long tools in parallel
(all the while talking, shrugging, chuckling)
and seemingly unaware of the swathe they cut
without harm to passers-by.

No pas-de-deux at center stage could capture so lovingly
the rapture of ordinary life made remarkable
by mastery and unselfconscious pride.

Centering Silence
Let us now settle into silence and stillness.
(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)

OR

Let us attune ourselves to this season called Winter...
Let us listen to the sounds of nature.
Let us get in touch with the rotation of the earth under our feet.
Let us imagine our place on the earth as it rotates around the sun.
Let us ground 
ourselves on the soil of this sacred place.  (Adapt/Kathleen Glennon/hs)
(Silence)

Music of Celebration

EXPLORING

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

The World Around us:

An Interview with Diarmuid O’Murchu (4)
“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: You've written that the spiritual imagination "needs to be reawakened from its deadening and deadly entrenchment in mechanistic modelling, rational thought, and mental atrophy." Do you see signs that this imagination is being awakened?



DO’M: Yes, definitely. So many people these days are reading, reflecting, questioning, and exploring spiritual meaning. Many people also do a daily meditation practice. And growing numbers are grappling with work and economics to see how we can infuse that side of human life with more creativity and imagination. That is not an easy one. But it has to be said again that most people don't look to church or religion to feed the imagination.

OR

"The Big Storm"
By John Bell.
Present on Earth/43-44.

Na  He was sleeping.

Je  (Snores)

Na  …sleeping in the bow of the boat,
the sleep of a child... 
the sleep of a happy child…

A  Jesus, did you see that wave?

Je  (Snores)

Na  He was sleeping,

Je (Snores)

Na  and nothing disturbed him…
not the wind...
not the weather…

B  Jesus, this is getting rough!

C  Jesus, this is getting really rough!

D  Jesus, did you see that wave?

Je  (Snores)

Na  The sound of the sea…
the sound of the pounding...
the break of the waves...
the creak of the boat…

B  Jesus, I'm scared!

C  Jesus, I'm terrified!

A  Jesus, I'm going to spew (be sick)!!!

Je  (Snores)

Na  I will keep him,
keep him in perfect peace whose mind is set on me…
waking or sleeping…
waking or sleeping…

B  Jesus, can you swim?

C  Jesus, we're sinking!

A  Jesus, do something!

A,B,C  Waken up!  Jesus, Jesus!  Come on!  Help us!

Je  (Loudly)  Shshshsh…
(Quieter)  Shshshsh…
(Sternly)  …Oh where's your faith?
…even your little faith?

In the storm, in the darkness,
I am with you.
Let the waves roar,
but don't be distressed.

Otherwise you may never hear me saying,
'Peace!
Be Still.'

Traditional Gospel:
Mark 4: 35-41 (Inclusive Text)

With the coming of evening, Jesus said to the disciples,
'Let us cross over to the other side.'

And leaving the crowd behind they took Jesus,
just as he was, in the boat;
and there were other boats were with them.

Then it began to blow a gale and the waves 
were breaking into the boat so that the boat was almost swamped.

But Jesus was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep.

They woke Jesus up and said,
'Teacher, do you not care? We are going down?'

And Jesus woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea,
'Quiet now! Be calm!'

And the wind dropped, and all was calm again.
Then Jesus said to them,
'Why are you so frightened? 
How is it that you have no faith?'

They were filled with awe and said to one another,
'Who can this be?

Even the wind and the sea obey him?

(For those interested…You can purchase a copy of the Inclusive Texts/Readings (AU$50) from:
Inclusive Language Project
PO Box 1303
Toombul QLD 4012 Australia)

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

Lighting of the UCA Anniversary Candles (If appropriate)
In June 1977, the then members of this congregation,
along with people from all over (NN),
shared in the inauguration of the Uniting Church in Australia.

Since that time we have been enriched
by the vision of this fellowship - 
as a pilgrim people,
always on the way towards a promised goal.

v1  A candle is lit
We light this candle for our heritage in the
Congregational tradition,
with its commitment to freedom
and to the power of the priesthood of all believers .
All We stand in that great tradition.
And we affirm that the Uniting Church
has moved on in its journey as a pilgrim people of God.

v2  A second candle is lit
We light this candle for our heritage in the
Methodist tradition,
with its commitment to social justice
and its enthusiasm in communicating the gospel.
All We stand in that great tradition.
And we affirm that the Uniting Church
has moved on in its journey as a pilgrim people of God.

v3  A third candle is lit
We light this candle for our heritage in the
Presbyterian tradition,
with its respect for scholarship and its deep
understanding of the nature of the church.
All We stand in that great tradition.
And we affirm that the Uniting Church
has moved on in its journey as a pilgrim people of God.

v4  A fourth candle is lit
We light this fourth candle to celebrate the other great traditions,
which are now joined with us in this congregation:
Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, AOG, Lutheran, Orthodox,
‘church alumni’, Home church:
in all their diversity and all their faith.
All We stand in these great traditions too
while moving on as a pilgrim people of God.

In Christ we are one.
In Christ everything is made new.
Thanks be to God!

OR

A Celebration of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share together, a celebration of faith…
People stand as they are able

v1 The creativity of God fills the universe.
v2  Like rain falling upon the earth
and sun warming the rocks,
All the heart of God flows over us all in renewing grace and love.

v1 The generosity of Christ fills our lives.
v2  With company on the journey
and mercy in understanding,
All the Bread, the Way and the Truth set us free to live again.

v1 The faithfulness of the Spirit fills our future.
v2  It surrounds us with a cloud of hope
and lifts our tired feet once more.
All  In courage born of costly life, it calls and sings and dances on.

v1 We are the people of freedom.
v2  We lay down our past in God’s forgiveness.
All  We will walk on into God’s new day.

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
I Will Talk To My Heart”  (Tune: ‘Stillness’)    69 HoS
I will talk to my heart in the stillness,
I will talk to my heart when I pray,
I will let go of all my resentment
till compassion is my inner Way.
Refrain:
Trust the stillness,
trust the oneness,
trust the Way on inner prayer;
trust the stillness
trust the oneness,
trust the life of God we share.

I will watch all my thoughts in the stillness
I will watch all my thoughts when I pray,
I will watch all the stream of my thinking
till compassion is my inner Way.
Refrain:

I will dwell in the space of my oneness,
I will dwell in that space when I pray,
I will let go of all my divisions
till compassion is my inner Way.
Refrain:   (William L Wallace)
People sit

CELEBRATING

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

Presentation
May the blessings of God bring these gifts to life:
new hope of healing;
fresh ways of coping;
a chance to rest;
a chance to work;
a way to live gracefully.

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 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/St Stephen’s Project)

SCATTERING

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
"God Molds The Shapes Of Life"  (Tune: 'Little Conard, 66.66.88)    38(v1-2) TMT
God molds the shapes of life,
drawing the flow of tides,
firing the sunlight's blaze,
glazing the night with pride:
God gives the love which warms and moves
the patterned rhythm life provides.

Ponder the rising sap
changing to leaf's decay;
think of the winter's death
turning to spring's new day,
and in these cycles find the shapes
of all God dreams and all God makes.
Remain standing

Parting Words
The presentness of God reaches beyond this place...
The Community Candle is extinguished

v1 We give thanks for the life and wonder that thrives within us
All  breath and heartbeat, joy and sorrow, dance and stillness

We give thanks for the life that thrives between us
All  loving, understanding, creating, imagining, embracing and letting go

v2 We give thanks for all the life forms that surround and support us
All  the web of life that feeds and protects us and also needs our care

We give thanks for the life of the future
hidden in the present moment
All  inviting us to walk the path of infinite compassion

v1 We give thanks for the source of all life,
All  this living universe, of which our lives are an expression
.  (Ian Lawton/C3Ex)

Words of Blessing
May the blessing of twilight integrate the light and darkness of all. 
May the blessing of [a southern winter] equinox balance and anchor all. 
May the angel of balance support and strengthen all. 
May all of creation be truly blessed with harmony and stability.  (Adapted from Kathleen Glennon) 

OR

Go in peace.

And may the Holy God surprise you on the way,
Christ Jesus be your company
and the Spirit lift up your life.  
(wcc/isit)
All  Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont). "God Molds The Shapes of Life"  (Tune: 'Little Conard, 66.66.88)     38(v3-4) TMT