Revd Rex A E Hunt
Web site: www.rexaehuntprogressive.com
LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
12 July 2015. Pentecost 7B. (Green).
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion
Acknowledgement of Country
(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
Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times
Life is an indescribable gift.
Our gathering together in this sacred place
is a celebration of that gift.
So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.
Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit
(Note: A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE)
Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
“Perfect Singer” (Tune: ‘Catherine’, 77 77. 622 TiS) 332 SLT
Perfect Singer, songs of earth
rise on every field and hearth;
let our voices sound again
ancient songs of joy and pain.
All your creatures strive for life
suffer hurt in angry strife,
seek compassion, find release
in the covenant of peace.
Sing a sacred melody
for the justice that shall be;
let our harmonies resolve
dissonance in steadfast love.
Steadfast Seeker, find our song
woven into lives made strong;
let the patterns of surprise
kindle hope with each sunrise. (G K Beach)
“Come, Teach Us, Spirit of God” (Tune: ‘Educare’)11 FFS
Come, teach us, Spirit of God,
the language of your way,
the lessons that we need to live,
the faith for every day.
Excite our minds to follow you,
to trace new truths in store,
new flight paths for our spirit space,
new marvels to explore.
Engage our wits to dance with you,
to leap from logic’s base,
to capture insight on the wing,
to sense your cosmic grace.
Inspire our spark to light from you,
to catch creation’s flair,
new artistry to celebrate,
new harmonies to dare.
Delight our hearts to worship you,
to learn compassion’s code,
to live in context of your love,
great teacher who is God. (SEMurray)
We give thanks for the life that pulsates within us
All breath and heartbeat, joy and sorrow, dance and stillness.
We give thanks for the life that ebbs and flows between us
All loving, understanding, creating, embracing and letting go.
We give thanks for the web of life that surrounds and sustains us
All feeding, protecting, teaching, inspiring mutual care.
We give thanks for the source of all life,
All this living universe, of which our lives are an expression. (ILawton.c3Exch)
Act of Awareness
The thought manifests as the word.
The word manifests as the deed.
The deed develops into habit.
And habit harden into character.
So watch the thought and its ways with care.
And let it spring from love
born out of concern for all beings (The Buddha/lp).
God of the important and the common place,
may our hearts be opened to be attentive:
that seeing, we may perceive,
and hearing, we may understand,
and understanding, we may act.
May it be so.
All May we make it so with us.
Hymn “Here Stands A Stranger, Who Is She?” (Tune: ‘Saffron Walden’, 88 86, 584 TiS)
Here stands a stranger, who is she?
We do not know. What do we see,
someone who threatens you and me?
Is she a foe, or friend?
Here stands a person, young or old,
seeking asylum, so we're told.
How does he fit your frame or mould?
Is he your foe or friend?
Here stands a child: assess her need.
What should we offer so we heed
her cry of hunger, so we feed
this child? This foe? This friend?
Here stands a person, this time, you.
The choice is yours. What will you do
to ask this stranger in, or sue
this foe, who could be friend?
Here is a mirror, see your face.
What do you offer; hatred, grace,
now in this very time and place,
to Christ you call your friend. APratt/ssb
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.
By Anna Compston. Dare to Dream/127.
Love is a whisper,
Not a tornado.
Love is a drift of petals,
Not a mighty oak tree.
Love is the song of a flute,
Not the blast of a trumpet.
Love is a beckoning finger,
Not a pair of handcuffs.
This is its strength.
It does not force.
It’s like a camp fire.
We gather round,
And are warmed.
Gathering as we do in this sacred place,
we pause again to reflect, to feel, and to commit
to thoughtful and mindful intention.
We wonder again about the ebb and flow
of this living, breathing, expanding universe…
And of this community.
We give our attention right now
to each other,
to new beginnings,
to this time,
to this season.
Let us now be ‘gathered round’ and allow this sacred space,
to offer its ‘warmed’ care to us.
Let us rest in its quiet, away from the
hustle and demands of everyday life.
And let us lay down our concerns
and matters for decision (Adapt. DMcRae-McMahon/ith).
Music of Reflection
Readings from broad Religious Tradition
Two readings from our broad religious tradition shall now be offered.
Reader Into this day will break moments of awareness,
tiny shards of light that illumine
the whole reality of existence.
All May these readings be such a moment
and may we be blessed by their gift (GVosper/ab)
The World Around Us:
"Homeless in Egypt"
By John Johansen-Berg. Entertaining Angels/121.
When people flee from scenes of war and carnage,
when people know terror because of violent rage,
where is the place of sanctuary?
When families are split by conflict,
when wounded victims escape from bloodshed,
where will they find a refuge?
you inspire us to welcome the asylum seeker,
you encourage us to open our hearts and homes
to the refugee.
When we offer sanctuary to such as these,
we open the door to the child whose family fled to Egypt.
King Herod heard of it, for Jesus' name had become known.
Some were saying:
"John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason
these powers are at work in him."
But others said, "It is Elijah."
And others said, "It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old."
But when Herod heard of it, he said:
"John, whom I beheaded, has been raised..."
Silence for Personal Reflection
If in Southern Hemisphere
A Litany Celebrating ‘Winter’ (Optional)
People stand as they are able
a time of snow and wetness.
All The days are short and cold,
the deciduous trees are bare.
a time for cutting away
dead wood from roses,
All and pruning unwanted branches
from grape vines.
a time of shaping things
All and tying up the waste,
a time for clearing, cool and passionless.
v1 Yet, in this time,
there is still growth:
the flower withers to form the seedcase,
just as souls need to be empty
before they can be filled to overflowing.
v2 Under the earth, tubers shrink
and turn inside out, sending up
the shafts of stem and sending down
the anchoring roots.
All Underneath everything, in the darkness,
new life is seething, yearning
to break through the surface.
v1 The husks fall away
from the seed
All and the ticking kernel starts to shoot (Adapt.TWatts/s).
v2 There is a modern
Jewish Seder service, which celebrates
the regeneration in the world of trees and plants.
It is held at this time – at mid-winter.
nuts and fruit, used in this service, being the rebirthing aspects
of a plant's life-cycle, are the only foods
that require no death,
not even the death of a plant.
living trees send forth their fruit and seeds
in such profusion that they overflow
beyond the needs of the next generation.
honour of that celebration, during The Peace this morning,
nuts and fruit will be distributed, symbolizing
the promise of mid-winter in our time and place.
If Northern Hemisphere
"The Summer Day”
By Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean -
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth
instead of up and down -
who is gazing around
with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms
and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to dowith your one wild and precious life? (Reprinted from The Hopewell Centre newsletter, 7/10)
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.
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.
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.
Conversation with the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat
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
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and concerns shared.
In joy and in sorrow
All We do not walk alone (GVosper/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:
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the 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
Jesus invited all to the feast of peace and new life.
Jesus risked everything in compassion.
Jesus promised to make himself known in the breaking of the bread.
Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
and our gifts of bread and wine, shall now be received.
O God, life-giving Spirit,
Spirit of healing and comfort
we commit ourselves to work with you and renew our world.
We give thanks for the wonderful gift of reflective awareness
that allows us to recognise and name
the presence of a Creative Spirit
beyond all imagining, in our universe.
All Yes, we join together in giving our thanks.
Everything we have
Everything we see
Everything we do
Everyone we love and everyone who loves us
reveals this sustaining Presence
and our total dependence on it.
We marvel and wonder at the size and complexity of our universe.
We marvel and wonder at the development of life on this planet.
We give thanks for the creative Presence
that 'energises' this life and all that exists.
We recognise that human life gives this Presence
a particular way of coming to expression,
and that in us the Presence can
sing and dance,
speak and write,
love and create.
Conscious that we live, move, and have our being in this Presence,
we give thanks for people throughout history
who have affirmed this loving presence in all people.
Especially we give thanks for Jesus of Nazareth.
All He loved so greatly and taught so clearly and courageously,
he was able to set people free
from images and ideas and religious practices
that bound them into fear
and a false sense of separation from the Spirit of all Life.
Through him we have learned
how our loving is a sharing in the life of this Spirit.
All In him we see this Presence urging all of us
to make its creativity on earth more visible. (Adapt.MMorwood/pns)
We also remember the night before he died Jesus again shared a meal with his friends.
Through grain and grape, bread and wine,
and in fellowship together,
Jesus spoke of his enduring love for each of them.
So we take this bread and this wine
mindful of the Presence at work in our lives,
All in the ordinary, in the everyday,
and in our desire to love as generously as Jesus loved.
Bread and Wine
Bread broken. Wine poured out.
Bread... the very stuff of life. Broken.
Wine... fruit of the vine. Cup full.
The bread and the wine served.
May the celebration of the wonder
and the mystery of the Scared Presence in our midst,
strengthen and enable us
to be the church in this place.
Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
“From Atoms to Planets” (Tune: ‘Kemeza’, 12 11 12 11)108 (v1-2) WNC
From atoms to planets eternity changes;
the hues and the colours that cover the earth,
through seasons and cycles, the world rearranges,
but sure is the love that has brought us to birth.
The wind and the weather distort vegetation,
the breakers are pounding and shaping the shore.
Our lives are spun round as each grief re-determines
the things that are doubtful and those that are sure.
Time has now come for us to leave this sacred place.
As we do, may we embrace the challenges
of our lives and our world...
The candle is extinguished
For the blessings we each bestow on one another
with our energy, compassion, and prayer,
we give thanks.
All For the blessings we become to others in need,
we give thanks and remember
that we are not alone. (DTaylor/fal)
Words of Blessing
Go in hope to discover the fragile and strong hopes which lie around you.
And may the Spirit of God dance in your path,
the Creator rise in life in surprising places,
and every turn in the road bring new possibilities.
All Amen! (DMcRae-McMahon/ith)
Hymn (Cont). “From Atoms to Planets” (Tune: ‘Kemeza’, 12 11 12 11)108 (v3) WNC
Amid all this turmoil, this change and mutation,
the strained intertwining of living and strife,
one thing remains constant, relentless, determined:
that God goes on loving in death as through life (APratt).
The people sit
'This Week' at (NN)
Birthdays and anniversaries
Morning tea is now served.
You are invited to share in the moment of fellowship.
You are invited to keep this copy of the liturgy and take it home with you
to share with another member of your family, or with a friend
I recommend the use of LicenSing - Copyright cleared music for churches
Some of the resources used in shaping this liturgy:
Binkley, C. G. & J. M. McKeel. 2001. Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An international curriculum on the life and teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2005. Entertaining Angels. A worship anthology on sharing Christ’s hospitality. Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2001. Shine On, Star of Bethlehem. A worship resource for advent, christmas and epiphany. Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Duncan, G. (ed). 1995. Dare to Dream. A prayer and worship anthology from around the world. London. Fount/HarperCollins.
(FFS) Faith forever singing. Songs for a new day. 2000. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
(HoS) Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. 2009. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. 2005. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. 2001. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
McRae-McMahon, D. 2001. In This Hour. Liturgies for pausing. Thornbury. DesBooks.
Morwood, M. 2003. Praying a New Story. Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
Pickett, H & E. (ed). 2005. For All That Is Our Life. A Meditation Anthology. Boston. Skinner House Books.
(WNC) Pratt, A. 2002. Whatever Name or Creed. Hymns and songs. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. 1993. Boston. UUA.
The St Hilda Community. 1996. The New Women Included. A Book of Services and Prayers. London. SPCK.
Uniting in Worship 2. 2005. Sydney. Uniting Church Press.
Vosper, G. 2009/2010. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane.
Vosper, G. 2008. With or Without God. Why the way we live is more important that what we believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
Watts, T; G. Lord. 2005. Sanctuary. Where Heaven Touches Earth. A group resource for those seeking simplicity, silence, and nurture. Canada: Kelowna. Wood Lake Books.
Ian Lawton. C3Exchange. Spring Lake. MI. <http://www.c3exchange.org/>