ReignChristB.22.11.2015

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au
Web site:  www.rexaehuntprogressive.com


LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
22 November 2015.  Reign of Christ B/Jesus the Nobody B. (White).

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


GATHERING

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

With faith to face our challenges,
With love that casts out fear,
With hope to trust tomorrow,
We accept this day as the gift it is:
a reason for rejoicing. GKowalski

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 The people stand, as they are able, to sing
Now Thank We All…(Tune: ‘Nun Danket alle Gott’, 67 67 66 66)  106(i) TiS
Now thank we all our God,
with hearts and hands and voices,
who wondrous things hath done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mother’s arms
hath blest us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
in this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son, and Holy Ghost,
one Lord in highest heaven:
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore. (MRinkart)
Remain standing

OR

All are Welcome to our Worship(Tune: Bithynia’, 87 87D)      1 SNS2
All are welcome to our worship,
All who have a thankful heart;
Thankful for the songs of nature
And the joy that they impart;
Thankful for the untold beauty
Of creation’s magic art;
Thankful for the love surrounding;
Thankful was can play our part.

 All are welcome in our worship;
Join with us in praise and prayer;
Join us as we ponder Jesus
And the way he showed such care;
As we think upon his teaching
We find hope and not despair,
For in Jesus’ words and actions
We are touched by love so rare.

All are welcome in our worship;
Everyone is welcome here;
God in Christ sits not in judgement;
Jesus’ message casts out fear;
God is never absent from us;
God in Christ is always near;
In God’s sight we all are precious;
Having ears, then ‘Let us hear!’ (George Stuart)

Opening Sentences
God of the cosmos
attune our ears to hear you today
All
in the great symphony of creation.

God of community
open our eyes to see you today
All
in the drama of nature's interconnectedness.

God of our hearts
touch our lives so we sense you today
All
in both the beauty and the agony 
of the world. KCompston/sco

Act of Awareness
In all our living, may we be freed
to see things afresh,
to be more fully alive,
and have the courage to keep faith in
the future of humanity.

OR

We pray:
Abiding God,
grant us the joy of feeling ourselves
a part of your vast magnificence,
your all-encompassing presentness.
May it be so.

Hymn Hymn to Christ the Companion”   1 FTS
Where two or three are gathered
in the name of Christ,
there will we know his presence,
share in a love unpriced.
He will be with us always,
even to journey's end;
found in our humblest neighbour,
present in foe and friend.

Forward our path together,
through a mysterious land,
darkened by our unknowing,
desert of rock and sand.
Spirit of Christ before us,
lead us through storm and night;
beacon of hope unfailing,
draw us towards your light.

Spur us to seek each other,
following the pilgrim way,
and, if our footsteps falter,
feed and sustain, we pray.
Broken the bread you offer,
shared is the cup you pour,
calling to true communion
now and for ever more.

O loving Christ-companion,
bond us, that we may be
one in our common purpose,
one in our loyalty;
strong for the weak and powerless,
open to truth, and pain,
daring to stand for justice,
working to bring your reign. CGibson
The people sit

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
“The Web of Life”
By Robert T Weston. Day of Promise: Collected Meditations, Vol. 1 Ed. Kathleen Montgomery

There is a living web that runs through us
To all the universe
Linking us each with each and through all life
On to the distant stars.

Each knows a little corner of the world, and lives
As if this were his all.

We no more see the farther reaches of the threads
Than we see of the future, yet they’re there.
Touch but one thread, no matter which;
The thoughtful eye may trace to distant lands
Its firm continuing strand, yet lose its filaments as they reach out,
But find at last it coming back to him from whom it led.

We move as in a fog, aware of self
But only dimly conscious of the rest
As they are close to us in sight or feeling.

New objects loom up for a time, fade in and out;
Then, sometimes, as we look on unawares, the fog lifts
And then there’s the web in shimmering beauty,
Reaching past all horizons.

We catch our breath;
Stretch out our eager hands, and then
In comes the fog again, and we go on,
Feeling a little foolish, doubting what we had seen.

The hands were right.  The web is real.
Our folly is that we so soon forget.

Centering Silence
In this time of silence may we move
from busy-ness
to quietness…

(Silence)

God of life
God of peace
God of wonders that will not cease...

Present with us now.
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our Biblical Tradition
A responsive psalm and a reading from our biblical tradition
shall now be read by (NN).

Responsive Psalm:
Psalm 133, 134
A 21st century exploration by Francis Macnab.
A Fine Wind is Blowing/48.

• The author looks for a united and better humanity.  How different the world would be if people everywhere would live and worship together!

Our human scene is constantly disrupted
by discordant views and divisive behaviour.
People take up positions they firmly believe are right
and lose respect for people who have taken up other positions.

How different the world could be
if people could live together and worship together.
That would be like the magnificent transformation of the hills after a heavy downpour of rain.
In such a dialogue of togetherness 
the best humanity would emerge and we would see 
something of what life is really about.

Everyone would lift their hands in prayer and celebration.
All
Come all of you searchers of this higher purpose.
Come and find that blessing of the God
who is Source and Substance of this hope for our world.

Traditional Gospel:
John 18:33-38 (Inclusive Text)

'Are you the King of the Jews' Pilate asked.
Jesus replied,
'Do you ask this of your own accord,
or have others spoken to you about me?'

Pilate replied,
'Am I a Jew?  It is your own people and the chief priests
who have handed you over to me:
what have you done?'

Jesus replied,
'My reign is not of this world; if my reign were of this world,
my servants would have fought to prevent my being
surrendered to the people.

'But my reign is not of this kind.'

'So you are a king then?' said Pilate.

'It is you who say it' answered Jesus.  'Yes, I am a king.
I was born for this, I came into the world for this:
to bear witness to the truth;
and all who are on the side of truth
listen to my voice.'

Pilate said, 'What is truth?'

Contemporary Exploration
• A Sermon suitable for this day can be found in my book, Against the Stream. Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew.

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

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

v1  Beckoning Christ,
you call us out of our comfortable ghetto of 'us' and ‘them’
to risk discipleship without walls.
All  
You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where God is worshipped above all other.

Wn  You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where prayer is offered day and night.
All  You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where we can share what we are
with others who love you.

Mn  You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where each person has something to give to the whole.
All  You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where compassion and respect
shape missionary endeavour.

v2  Keep on beckoning us out of our safe havens
into your rich fellowship
of challenge and reconciliation,
faith and hope. KCompston/sco

Sharing 'The Peace
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.

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  The people stand, as they are able, to sing
God, Composer and Conductor(Tune: ‘Regent Square’ OR ‘Westminster Abbey’)  34 HoS
God, composer and conductor
of earth’s matchless symphony,
makes from silence glorious music,
from discordance, harmony;
brings forth joy from deepest sorrow,
ecstasy from agony.

God, the architect and artist
of earth’s colours, textures, forms,
gives new wonder to our vision,
light in even darkest storms,
teaches that with understanding,
faith redeems and love reforms.

God of science, healer, teacher,
pushes out the boundaries
of capacity and knowledge,
challenges and gently frees
from the limits that restrain us,
offers opportunities.

God, creative spirit in us,
inspiration, force sublime,
leading us to new endeavour,
you, our living paradigm,
may we know your constant presence
now, and to the end of time. (Jocelyn Marshall)

OR

Jesus Story - The Rebel(Tune: ‘Irish’, 86 86)      30 SNS3
The Jesus story is the one
Which speaks to us today;
This Jesus’ story is the one
Built on the justice way.

This story tells me of a man
Who lived in Galilee;
His passion was a dangerous one
He worked for equity.

The power structures of his day
Did not like what they heard;
The outcasts and the common folk
Gained power from his word.

He taught that godliness was found
Outside the temple law;
He would not share religious rites
Which pushed aside the poor.

And so he paid the awful price;
He would not bow to wrong;
This story still inspires me -
Of one immensely strong. (GStuart) 

CELEBRATING

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

Presentation
May we be empowered to find a meaning in life,
a purpose, a belonging.
And in finding pleasure in receiving from life
may we also receive satisfaction in enriching life.

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 concerns shared.

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
May our thoughts be filled with transformation,
All
May our words reflect the yearnings of our hearts.
And may the spirit that binds within us as we gather

All Hallow each and every passing moment
we know here together
(Adapt.GVosper/ab).

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 presence 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 God, who cares for us,
The wonder of whose presence fills us with awe.

Let kindness, justice and love shine in our world.
Let your secrets be known here as they are in heaven.
Give us the food and the hope we need for today.

Forgive us our wrongdoing
as we forgive the wrongs done to us.
Protect us from pride and from despair
and from the fear and hate which can swallow us up.

In you is truth, meaning, glory and power,
while worlds come and go.
Amen. (MFurlong/nwi)

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand, as they are able, to sing
Christ Is Our Peace(Tune: ‘Suantrai’)   16 (v1-2) AA
Christ is our peace, Christ is our health,
he the true Word, his the true wealth –
gifts to be shared by the simple and poor:
peace in your land, peace at your door.

Peace in your mouth, peace in the hands
open to truth, to love's demands;
those who would go with Christ also must bleed -
bright is the flower, burst is the seed.
Remain standing

Parting Words
The God we worship is never confined to this holy place.
So go and travel with the God
who is found in ordinary and surprising places.
The Community Candle is extinguished

As we depart one from another,
let our hearts be secure through every human season.
All
Let our hearts be secure
in seasons of anguish as in seasons of joy,
in seasons of failure as in seasons of success,
in seasons of uncertainty as in seasons of security.

Let our hearts be secure in this dual reality:
we are worthy recipients of love and support
we can never earn,
All
and we are worthy providers of love
and support others cannot earn.

Let our hearts be secure,
All
for hearts know and understand
and will respond if invited in.  (JAHobart)

Words of Blessing
Go in peace and celebrate
the presence of the sacred in your lives.
All
Amen! May it be so!

Hymn (Cont). Christ Is Our Peace(Tune: ‘Suantrai’)   16 (v3) AA
Who work for peace find the true wealth,
who heal the hurt find their own health
peace will flow on through the hearts that believe:
this may we know, thus may we live (Shirley Erena Murray).
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 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:
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and Songs for all Churches. 1993. Raumati: New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
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). 1998. 
Seeing Christ in Others. An anthology for worship, mediation and mission. Norwich: The Canterbury Press.
(FTS)
Forward Together Songs. 1991. Melbourne: JBCE. 
(HoS) Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.

Inclusive Readings. Year C. 2006. Brisbane: Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. 2001. 
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications.
Macnab, F. 2006. A Fine Wind is Blowing: Psalms of the Bible in Words that Blow You Away. Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
(SLT) Singing The Living Tradition. 1993. Boston: UUA. 
(SNS2) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto. G Stuart, 2009.
(SNS3) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 3. Toronto. G Stuart, 2011
The St Hilda Community. 1996. The New Women Included. A Book of Services and Prayers. London:  SPCK.
(TiS)
Together in Song. Australian Hymn Book 2. 1999. Sydney: HarperCollins Religious.
Vosper, G. 2009/2010.
Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane: The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane.

Web sites/Other:
Kowalski, Hobart. UUA Worship Web. Boston: UUA. www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>

rexae74@gmail.com