Pentecost6B.1.7.2018

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
Remember to Bookmark my web site to get the latest version:
www.rexaehuntprogressive.com


Details on the availability of my books, supporting progressive religious thought, HERE
Suggestion:
’Refresh’ each page before reading - especially if you are using Google Chrome - to make sure to get my latest edition

A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
1 July 2018.  Pentecost 6B. (Green).
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion


Worth Pondering
“Not to decide is to decide”
Harvey Cox

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 make the space sacred by our resolve 
to project onto the pathways of tomorrow
our best reflections.  
(Adapt. Stephen M. Shick/ctl

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
"Where Is Purpose?"
(Tune: 'Austria', 87.87D)       55 SNS
Lord our God we often ponder,
Where is meaning?  What is life?
Anxious troubled, stressed by living;
Is there any end to strife?
In the isolation crying,
Is there anyone who care?
Is there life or only dying?
Can we challenge God?  Who dares?

There is purpose in our wandering,
Found in others and their plight.
Found outside the limitations
Of our self and of our sight.
Found in pleasure and in sorrow,
Found by those who wish to seek;
Found today and found tomorrow;
Found by 'strong' and found by 'weak'.

Open life to hidden beauty;
To the cosmos and its charm;
To the love and joy around us
Giving us a sense of calm.
If we open all our windows,
Loving breeze may softly blow;
Union with another's caring,
God's own healing starts to flow.

As with nature and its vision,
Showing rainbows after rain,
Birth of babies of all species,
Wonderment replaces pain.
So the cross with all its cruelty,
Soaked in tragedy and crime;
Yet it marks God's loving presence
Brings new life for endless time.  
George Stuart

OR

Where Are The Voices(Tune: ‘Portent’)   75 FFS
Where are the voices for the earth?
Where are the eyes to see her pain,
wasted by our consuming path,
weeping the tears of poisoned rain?

Sacred the soil that hugs the seed,
sacred the silent fall of snow,
sacred the world that God decreed,
water and sun and river flow.

Where shall we run who break this code,
where shall tomorrow's children be,
left with the ruined gifts of God,
death for the creatures, land and sea?

We are the voices for the earth,
we who will care enough to cry,
cherish her beauty, clear her breath,
live that our planet may not die.  (Shirley Erena Murray)

Opening Sentences
God of the good presence all around us
All
help us to find and to celebrate
the goodness that is given to us
in this new day.  
Francis Macnab/fwb

Act of Awareness
Before us each day are challenges.
The choices we make craft us into who we are becoming.

May we ever open our eyes to the newness of our days.
May we sense the surge of wonder just beneath the surface of the ordinary.
May we find purpose in each breaking moment.  (Adapt.Gretta Vosper/ab)

OR

We pray:
Spirit of Life, open us to good ways to celebrate the simple joys of life,
so we can contribute some goodness to this new day.
May it be so.
All   May it be so with us.

Hymn "Wake, Now My Senses" (Tune: ‘Slane', 10.10.10.10)    298 SLT
Wake, now my senses, and hear the earth call;
feel the deep power of being in all;
keep, with the web of creation your vow,
giving, receiving as love shows us how.

Wake, now my reason, reach out to the new,
join with each pilgrim who quests for the true;
honour the beauty and wisdom of time;
suffer your limit, and praise the sublime.

Wake, now compassion, give heed to the cry;
voices of suffering fill the wide sky;
take as your neighbour both stranger and friend,
praying and striving their hardship to end.

Wake, now my conscience, with justice your guide;
join with all people whose rights are denied;
take not for granted a privileged place;
God's love embraces the whole human race.

Wake, now my vision of ministry clear;
brighten my pathway with radiance here;
mingle my calling with all who will share;
work toward a planet transformed by our care. 
Thomas J S Mikelson

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
"Let us be Gentle with Ourselves"
By Barbara Cheatham
 

Let us be gentle with ourselves just now. 
For a few moments, 
let us release ourselves from a world that is 'too much with us',
too noisy,
too frantic,
too demanding,
too judging.

Let us be gentle with ourselves just now.
For a few moments,
let us release ourselves into the calm, still world
that waits to receive us,
where the quiet is broken only by sounds of our own making,
by those of our children near-at-hand,
by passers-by in the street outside,
by a bird,
an airplane high overhead.

Within this welcoming quiet, let us befriend ourselves.
Where we would unfairly and endlessly
berate ourselves for our imperfections,
let the tongue of harsh judgment be silent.

We will do better tomorrow.
We will rise to the occasion.
We will surprise the world
with our goodness and achievements.

For now, let us simply rest in the gentleness of this moment,
letting the healing hand of
self-understanding and forgiveness
touch us with peace.

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

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

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

Reader:  May we open ourselves to the seeds of wisdom

that lies dormant in these readings.

All  And may our minds be fertile soil

in which they may grow strong and true.  
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

The World Around us (Responsive):
"The Wisdom of Science"
By David Rhys Williams. (c3Exchange)

Blessed are they who have vision and wonder enough
to behold a guiding star 
All  in the dark mystery which girdles the earth.

Blessed are they who have imagination enough
to detect the music of celestial voices
All  in the midnight hours of life.

Blessed are they who have faith enough
to contemplate a world of peace and justice
All  in the midst of present wrongs and strife.

Blessed are they who have wisdom enough to know that
All  the kingdom of heaven is very close at hand.

OR

An Interview with Diarmuid O’Murchu (5)
“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 spoken about the need to re-conceptualize what sexuality is and what it's about. Can you talk to me about this?

DO'M: I have spent [more than] 15 years working as a couples counsellor and 6 years as an AIDS-HIV counsellor. This provides something of the experiential background for my views on human sexuality.

Our current understanding of human sexuality strikes me as being heavily influenced by classical Greek thought. One example is Aristotle. For Aristotle, men alone are sexual, they alone possess the seed; women are endowed with wombs, biological receptacles for the fertilization of the seed which hopefully will produce a proper human being, namely a male.

Thomas Aquinas embraced this view, so did the Council of Trent. Hence the first Catholic theology of marriage, the purpose of which was: the procreation of the species. In this view there is nothing to sex except biological reproduction.

The view is still widely adopted especially by the major religions. Meanwhile, from about the middle of the last century a new consciousness around sexuality began to evolve, one far more congruent with how humans have understood sexuality in ancient, pre-Greek times. Sexuality is understood to be a spiritually infused, erotic, psychic energy, generative of creativity and intimacy, with procreation as just one possible outcome.

This is now the prevailing view, and in my opinion will continue to be so, despite the fact that no government or religion has yet officially endorsed it. Perhaps, the consciousness is not yet ready, but meanwhile there is gross confusion around this very central aspect of our human experience. You'll find more on this topic in my books Reclaiming Spirituality and in Poverty, Celibacy and Obedience.

If in Northern Hemisphere
"Summer Meditation”
Inspired by Burton Carley's 'September Meditation’
(Adapted by Rex A E Hunt) 

I do not know if the seasons remember their history 
or if the days and nights by which we count time 
remember their own passing. 

I do not know if the oak tree remembers its planting 
or if the eucalypt remembers its slow climb toward sun and stars. 

I do not know if the cockatoo remembers yesterday's mob gathering on 'the block’, or
if the robin remembers the meaning of winter. 

I do not know if the air remembers summer heat
or if the night remembers the moon. 

I do not know if the earth remembers the flowers from last spring,
or if the water remembers a swimmer's splashing delight. 

Perhaps that is the reason for our births:
to be the memory for creation. 

Perhaps this will be the only question we will have to answer:
'What can you tell me about summer?'

Traditional Gospel:
Mark 5:21, 25-34 (Inclusive Text)

When Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around and he stayed by the lakeside...

Now there was a woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for 12 years.
After long and painful treatment under various doctors,
she had spent all she had without being any the better for it.
In fact she was getting worse.

She had heard about Jesus, and she came up behind him
through the crowd and touched his cloak.
'If I touch even his clothes', she had told herself, 'I shall be well again.'
And the source of the bleeding dried up instantly,
and she felt in herself that she was cured of her complaint.

Immediately aware that power had gone out from him
Jesus turned round in the crowd and said,
'Who touched my clothes?'

The disciples said,
'You see how the crowd is pressing round you and yet you say, ‘Who touched my clothes?’

But Jesus continued to look all around to see who had done it.
Then the woman came forward, frightened and trembling
because she knew what had happened to her,
and she fell at his feet and told Jesus the whole story.

'My daughter', Jesus said, 'your faith has restored you to health; 
go in peace and be free of your complaint.'

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Celebration of Faith for Progressive Christians (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  We worship and adore God,
All  source, essence, and aim of all things,
spirit that enlivens all beings.

v1  We follow the way of Jesus, who found God in himself
and shared a way for others to find God in themselves.
All  He was born through love,
He lived for love,
He suffered for love,
He died for love,
But love never dies.

v1  We submit ourselves to the leadings of the love that is God,
All  that we may be compassionate to all beings,
that we may live and serve in community with others,
that we may ask for and offer forgiveness,
that we may praise and enjoy God forever.
 (Jim Burklo/b&b)

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
"Arms Only For Embracing”   (Ingrid Rogers)
My child, I want a world for you
we have not had before
where people build community
and no-one thinks of war,
where people use their arms only for embracing.

My child, I see a world that's just
where all can dwell secure,
a world where need and hunger cease
'cause people help the poor,
and want to use their arms only for embracing.

My child, I wish you could grow up
untouched by greed and hate,
within a world community
that's whole and unafraid,
since people use their arms only for embracing.

My child, I want to rest assured
that after I am gone,
more generations fill the earth
and life continues on,
'cause people use their arms only for embracing.

We ought to use our arms only for embracing...

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)

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  Life-Giver, Pain-Bearer, Love-Maker.
Source of all that is and that shall be.

Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo
through the universe!

The way of your justice be followed
by all peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done
by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and forever.  Amen.  (UIW2)

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
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
Through these gifts we offer our thanks:
for all we have,
for all we are.

Especially the gift of our lives.

Thanksgiving
God of fresh bread and new wine,
we sense your presentness among us
in grace-filled moments of sharing,
in carefully created communities of loving solidarity,
in holy times of birthing new life amid all the suffering.

We delight in the moving of your steadfast Spirit
demanding that we find water for the thirsty,
demanding that we prepare meals
for all who hunger, and
encouraging us to welcome all in our midst.

As we share this meal
may we be nourished by the dangerous memory
of Jesus and his friends,
who dared to feed those no one else would feed,
who included the ‘sinners’ that society shunned and oppressed,
who drew healing energy out of people past hope of healing,
who heard the cries of people dried up and desperate,
and nourished them with living water,
and life-giving bread.

This daring community uplifted the
power of justice and righteousness.
All  This daring community embraced those who were
searching, longing, and aching for acceptance and love.

The Story
Our tradition says…
On the night that Jesus was betrayed for his dreaming and daring and healing,
and according to the rules of hospitality and meal customs...

Jesus took bread, gave thanks 
and looking at his friends passed the bread to them.
And all of them ate from it.

All  The bread symbolised human lives
interconnected with other human lives,
and the power of giving and receiving.

Then Jesus took a cup of wine and after giving thanks,
he passed the cup to his friends.
And all of them drank from it.

Holy One, we remember the death and life of Jesus,
and the many committed faithful people then and now,
who have kept alive the dangerous memories of
fresh bread,
new wine, and
living water,
prepared, and shared and blessed, for all.

All  May our lives give birth
to your healing power in us and among us,
that turns water into wine,
bare tables into feast,
outsiders into beloved friends.
Together may we make all things new.
All  Together may we make your presence real in and around us.

Bread and Wine
This is the Bread of compassion and hope.
Bread broken

This is the Cup of blessing and of new life.
Wine poured

These the signs of love for the community of hope.
Let us share this meal together.

Communion
The Bread and Wine served

After Communion
Divine Presence in all of life we give thanks
for the gift of love that reaches into our hearts,
for the refreshment of this food that renews us,
for the memories of Jesus and his passion for justice and truth.
All  
May we be awakened to live faithfully and boldly,
with deep compassion and integrity. 
(Adapt/ Carter Heyward)

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
Inspired by Love and Anger
(Tune: ‘Salley Gardens'. Irish Trad)    44(v1-3) LA
Inspired by love and anger, disturbed by need and pain,
informed of God's own bias, we ask him once again:
'How long must some folk suffer?  How long can few folk mind?
How long dare vain self-interest turn prayer and pity blind'

From those forever victims of heartless human greed,
their cruel plight composes a litany of need:
'Where are the fruits of justice?  Where are the signs of peace?
When is the day when prisoners and dreams find their release?'

From those forever shackled to what their wealth can buy,
the fear of lost advantage provokes the bitter cry,
'Don't query our position!  Don't criticize our wealth!
Don't mention those exploited by politics and stealth!

OR

To Our Winters”  (Tune: ‘Echo Carol’. Louis Claude d'Aquin (1694-1772)
Arranged: David C Childs (1941-1999)

To our winters Jesus brings
Light and warmth and dancing,
Melting frozen lives and hearts,
Freeing and enhancing.
Christ proclaims each person’s worth
Spreading hope throughout the Earth.
Praise the Gospel Child,**
Praise the Word made flesh,
Praise Christ,
Praise God in Winter,
Winter and forever! 

Sound the trumpet, sing for joy,
God’s new world is dawning,
Bringing justice all can share,
Ending bitter mourning.
To the blind who cannot see
God in friend and enemy,
Christ brings light and truth,
God brings light and truth,
Brings light,
Brings light to people,
Light within their darkness.
Remain standing

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

Remembering that the universe is much larger
than our ability to comprehend,
All 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.  
MNLeaming

Words of Blessing
May the places where you walk become sacred spaces of the Holy God...
The places where you take your stand be signposts to the love of Christ...
The places where you rest be filled with the renewing grace of the Spirit.
All
Amen! May it be so!   Dorothy McRae-McMahon/ith

Hymn (Cont).Inspired…(Tune: ‘Salley Gardens'. Irish Trad)     44(v4-6) LA
To God, who through the prophets proclaimed a different age,
we offer earth's indifference, its agony and rage:
'When will the wronged be righted?  When will the kingdom come? 
When will the world be generous to all instead of some?'

God asks, 'Who will go for me? Who will extend my reach?
And who, when few will listen, will prophesy and preach?
And who, when few bid welcome, will offer all they know?
And who, when few dare follow, will walk the road I show?'

Amused in someone's kitchen, asleep in someone's boat,
attuned to what the ancients exposed, proclaimed and wrote,
a saviour without safety, a tradesman without tools
has come to tip the balance with fishermen and fools.  
(Bell & Maule)

OR

To Our Winters”  (Tune: ‘Echo Carol’. Louis Claude d'Aquin (1694-1772)
Arranged: David C Childs (1941-1999)

Hidden in the darkest night
Dwell the joys of Easter.
From the grave there springs new life
Rising from disaster.
Free us God to serve the world,
Let your love in us unfold.
Serve the Gospel Child,**
Serve the broken world,
Serve Christ,
Serve God in Winter,
Winter and forever! 
(William L Wallace)
** For use in the Northern Hemisphere:  Consider replacing “Gospel Child” with “Christmas Child” if used in December.
Note: The second half of each verse can be sung antiphonally with the exception of the last verse which should be sung together.

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:
(LA) Bell, J. & G. Maule. Love and Anger. Songs of Lively Faith and Social justice. 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, 2001.
Burklo, J. Birdlike and Barnless: Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians. Saint Johann Press, 2008.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2005.
Iona Community. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
McRae-McMahon, D. In This Hour. Liturgies for Pausing. Thornbury. DesBooks, 2001.
Macnab, F. A Fine Wind is Blowing: Psalms of the Bible in words that blow you away. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2006.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
(SNS) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional hymn tunes with New Century Lyrics. Second edition. Sydney. CPRT Sydney, 2006.
The St Hilda Community. The New Women Included. A book of Services and Prayers. London.  SPCK, 1996.
Uniting in Worship 2. Sydney. Uniting Church Press, 2005.
Vosper, G. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane., 2009/2010
Vosper, G. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is More Important than what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.


Web sites/Other:
Cheatham, Carley, Rogers. UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
The Liturgy of Holy Communion is influenced by the words and theology of Carter Heyward.
David Rhys Williams. C3 Exchange, Spring Lake. MI. <www.c3exchange.org/>

rexae74@gmail.com