Revd Rex A E Hunt
Web site: www.rexaehuntprogressive.com
LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
20 September 2015. Season of Creation 3B/Pentecost 17B. (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
With respect and gratitude for the original custodians of this land,
we gather together this day
to affirm in hope and faith,
that we can create a sacred space of welcome
for all who live in Australia.
So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.
Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit
v2 Fountain of life…
Pulse of life…
Breath of life…
All Earth is filled with the presentness of God.
v1 A planet filled with the presence of God
All a living green blue planet,
peoples from every corner of creation,
the vast reaches of space above us,
and the rocks and hills and wonders of the wild.
v2 Together this day,
let us sense the face of God in all creativity.
(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
"Song of Sky" (Tune: 'Abbot's Leigh', 87 87D, 446 TiS) 2 (v1-2) SCC
Lord of suns and star exploding
Galaxies and swirling skies,
Where you chose to show your glory
Took the heavens by surprise.
Lord of solar winds and wisdom,
Super stars that blow our mind,
Choosing such a fragile planet
Hardly seems a grand design.
On this piece of stardust swirling,
On this spinning spot in space,
Life itself was born like music,
When you showed your hidden face.
What an honour to be chosen,
Silent planet blue and green,
Filled with glory, grace and gardens,
Where the breath of God is seen.
What is even more amazing
We have poisoned Earth like fools.
Help us change our way of living,
Love the Earth and love her rules.
Help us stem the tide of traders
Leaving Earth an empty store;
Join us now Creator Spirit,
Come renew your Earth once more. © NHabel
Remain standing after the hymn
We invite the skies to worship with us:
All the subtle orange skies at dawn
and the bold red skies at sunset.
We join the heavens in praising God:
All proclaiming God’s glory across the globe
and hailing God’s name with the evening stars.
We join with the atmosphere in worship:
All the air, the moisture, the oxygen,
the wind and all the expressions of God’s Spirit.
We call the clouds to celebrate with storms:
All to carry the life giving drops of rain,
that give hope and healing to Earth.
We invite the winds to join our petitions:
All to carry our prayers to God above
and breathe our hopes to Christ in person.
We celebrate the song of the skies!
All Sing! Skies! Sing! (Adapt.NHabel/soc)
Act of Awareness
The earth turning…
Exploding orb of helium and hydrogen,
firing our lives into existence.
We are here.
We mindfully take our places in life again.
Imagine… we are one, connected, human family.
Be and know that you are the ones the world awaits.
Each of you here and now:
a beautiful presence.
Each… of you (Adapt.BKleinheksel/C3Exch).
Creativity God, whose renewing breath fills our planet,
may we discern your vibrant, creative presence among us.
And may our spirits be lifted as we celebrate
with the clouds, the winds, the dusk and the dawn.
We stand in awe before the vast reaches of space above us
and give thanks for the fragile piece of stardust we call Earth.
May it be so.
Hymn “Chant for the Seasons” (Tune: ‘Praha’, Irreg.) 73(v3) SLT
Winter rains have turned the star-wheel,
spring-time is upon us. (Repeat)
Sharp the smell of loam,
bursting in our eyes
the turrets of the tulip.
Winter rains have turned the star-wheel,
spring-time is upon us.
Greening is the grass,
soft upon our brows
the sunlight warm caresses.
Winter rains have turned the star-wheel,
spring-time is upon us. (MLBelletini)
“Down the Ages” (Tune: ‘Woodland’ 77 77) 2 SLT
Down the ages we have trod
many paths in search of God,
seeking ever to define
the Eternal and Divine.
Some have seen eternal good
pictured best in parenthood,
and a Being throned above
ruling over us in love.
There are others who proclaim
God and Nature are the same,
and the present God-head own
where creation’s laws are known.
There are eyes which best can see
God within humanity,
and God's countenance there trace
written in the human face.
Where compassion is most found
is for some the hallowed ground,
and these paths they upward plod
teaching us that love is God.
Though the truth we can't perceive
this at least we must believe,
what we take most earnestly
is our living Deity.
Our true God we there shall find
in what claims our heart and mind,
and our hidden thoughts enshrine
that which for us is Divine (JAStorey)
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.
Take the symbol (rosemary/gum leaf/lavender)
you received at the door, rub it between your fingers,
smell it, and share with the person next to you a memory
of an outback dawn or a glorious evening sky.
We remember the wonders of the worlds that surround us:
of lingering sunset and early dawn.
And we celebrate our kinship one with another
and with the whole of creation.
All We remember and rejoice.
Now away from the busyness of life
and in the silence of this place,
let us give thanks
for the gift of beauty all around us!
We celebrate the song of the sky!
All Sing, peoples, sing! (NHabel/soc)
Music of Celebration
Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
A reflection and a story from our broad religious tradition shall now be offered.
From the World around us:
"I still believe…”
By Anne Frank. Life Prayers /125.
In spite of everything, I still believe that people
are really good at heart.
I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation
consisting of confusion, misery, and death.
I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness,
I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us, too,
I can feel the suffering of millions, and yet,
if I look up into the heavens,
I think that it will all come right,
that this cruelty will end,
and that peace and tranquility will return again.
In the meantime, I must uphold my ideals,
for perhaps the time will come
when I shall be able to carry them out.
By Kenneth Patton. Services & Songs for the Celebration of Life/158
Over the mountains, through the haze,
The moon breaks through the green pine trees.
Its light falls in a silver shower
On maiden under a plum in flower.
Which is the loveliest of three,
The maiden, moon, or flowering tree?
A 21st century exploration by Francis Macnab.
There are many pathways in front of us.
We see some people take pathways that turn-out
to be destructive and unhealthy.
All But our happiness and well-being depend on us
taking the pathways that keep us connected
with the best purposes
and with the best spirit.
Look carefully at the tree that flourishes beside the river -
its leaves are healthy and it bears fruit in season.
We can be like the tree.
All But we can forget all that and become
like chaff blown in all directions by the wind.
God of all life has created in us a desire to be the best we can be.
When we follow that desire,
our whole being is strongly affirmed.
All But when we become indifferent to that desire,
we lose our connection with the best purposes
and the best spirit. (FMacnab/fwb)
Alternate - Season of Creation
Mark 9:33-37 (Inclusive Text)
Jesus and the disciples made their way to Capernaum.
And when Jesus was in the house he asked them,
'What were you arguing about on the way?'
They said nothing because they had been arguing
which of them was the greatest.
So Jesus sat down, called the Twelve and said,
'Whoever wants to be first must be last of all
and servant of all.'
Jesus then took a little child, set it in front of them,
put his arms around it, and said to them,
'Anyone who welcomes one of these little children
in my name, welcomes me;
and anyone who welcomes me
welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’
Silence for Personal Reflection
A Celebration of Faith
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 The sky does it simply, naturally
day by day by day
v2 the sun does it joyfully
like someone in love
like a runner on the starting-line
v1 the sky, the sun,
they just can't help themselves
v2 no loud voices, no grand speeches
but everyone sees,
and is happy with them.
All Make us like that, Lord,
so our faith is not in our words but in our lives,
not in what we say but in who we are,
passing on your love like an infectious laugh:
like the sun, like a starry night,
like a lamp on a stand,
light for life –
your light for our lives. (KGalloway/pod)
Sharing 'The Peace’
Let us take some time to celebrate one another.
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 Who Fills the Universe” (Tune: ‘Francis David’. 77 66 7) 37 SLT
God who fills the universe
from the atom to the stars,
make firm my changeful heart
so I may do my part
and bring joy to all the earth.
God who webs the universe
with amazing mysteries,
make glad my fragile soul
so I can see life whole
and bring hope to all the earth.
God who keeps the universe
by the truths of living love,
make strong that love in me
so I can set it free
and bring peace to all the earth. (CGSeaburg)
“Just as the Rainbow” (Tune: ‘Colours of Hope’, D C Damon) 22 PaT
Just as the rainbow, bright with its promise,
holds in its prism spectrums of light,
so do our human cultures and colours
bring to each other depth and delight.
Colours adorn us, colours define us,
colours enliven nature's own art,
colours divide us, stark in their meaning,
black and white judgments tear us apart.
Fear of the stranger, unspoken anger,
shades of misgiving show in our face,
colours of blood have stained our traditions,
led us to conflict, race against race.
God give us eyes to value our neighbour,
judging no colour, image or skin,
but where the heart is, open to friendship,
care and connection making us kin.
God give us wisdom, luminous thinking,
prizing this rainbow, sensing its scope,
finding the gold in icons of others,
working to paint the colours of hope. (Shirley Erina Murray)
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 the light and beauty of day
All We give thanks in awe and wonder.
In the dark and stillness of night
All We dream of healing and hope (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 Good caring presence within us, around us, and above us;
Hold us in a sense of mystery and wonder.
Let the fullness of your goodness be within us and around us.
Let all the world know your ways of caring and generosity.
May we find we have all we need
to meet each day without undue anxiety.
Overlook our many stupidities,
and help us to release everyone from their stupidities.
May we know we are accepted.
Strengthen us that we will reach out to the best,
always with the faith
to rise above the ugly realities of our existence.
And we celebrate the gifts you have given us:
the rich kingdom of life’s possibilities,
the power to do good and the triumphs of good,
and the moments when we have seen
the glory and wonder of everything.
You are life’s richness.
You are life’s power.
You are life’s ultimate meaning.
And for everyone.
And for ever more. Amen. (FMacnab/fwb)
CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
shall now be received.
The riches of God's gracious love have been entrusted to us.
May we share the beauty of God
with all who walk with us, in caring service.
No matter who you are, or where you are
on life's journey, you are welcome
at this table with it's symbols of God's Creative Presence.
All In company with all who seek nourishment at this table,
we come to celebrate community, and to share
these life-giving symbols. (JStinson/adapted)
In this time we call spring it is right and our joy
to pause in wonder and awe.
This day we celebrate the changing mood of nature:
for sunshine and showers of a spring day,
for the nesting and cheerfulness of birds,
and the flowers of bush and garden…
wattle, heath, and bottle brush.
All We pause, we celebrate, we give thanks.
We who hold all such good things in trust,
in the company of each other,
and in company with people throughout the world
declare as generations before us have declared:
All Holy, holy, holy, hope-breathing God,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
And we celebrate our knowledge of Jesus, a peasant sage,
who taught all to care for the birds of the air,
and the grass of the paddock;
living expressions of the Spirit of Life in our midst.
We remember our tradition…
When on that night among friends, reclined at table...
Jesus again shared a meal with them.
Through grain and grape, bread and wine,
and in fellowship together,
he spoke of his enduring love for each of them.
So we take this bread and this wine
mindful of the Spirit at work in our lives.
Thus making our living a source of renewal and hope.
All May it be so with us.
Breaking of the Bread/Pouring of the Wine
Bread is broken
We break this bread in celebration of the great truth
that on this tiny planet, hurtling through cold, empty space,
death is made the servant of life,
and out of death, life is forever resurrected.
Wine poured out
This cup with its fruit of the vine,
is a celebration that things are not always as they seem:
that out of faithfulness and steadfastness,
out of suffering and sorrow,
may come unsought blessings.
To eat and drink together reminds us
of the deeper aspects of human fellowship,
for from time immemorial
the sharing of bread and wine has been
the most universal of all symbols of community.
Bread and wine served
We give thanks that we have
gathered together in this sacred place,
and been refreshed at this table.
We rejoice in the giftedness of each person here.
We are grateful for who we are for each other.
May we go forth into the world in courage and peace.
Hymn The people stand, as they are able, to sing
“Colour and Fragrance” (Tune: ‘O Barvy Vune’, 55, 55, 11, 11) 78(v1-4) 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’ 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.
Let us embrace the wonder of this week
with expectation and imagination…
The Community Candle is extinguished
Hold again the fragrant symbol in your hands
and go forth to serve.
v2 Will you care for Planet Earth?
All We will remember our planet home!
We will nurture our planet!
We will act graciously to all humanity!
We will wonder at the beauty of dawn and sunset!
We will celebrate life!
Words of Blessing
May the God you see in all the colours of creation
arouse in you a sense of awe and wonder.
May the God who is a sacred presence be real to you.
May the God who is a source of inspiration and courage
keep calling you forward.
May your God go with you, and bless you. (FMacnab/StMichael's web site)
All Amen! May it be so!
Hymn (Cont). “Colour and Fragrance” (Tune: ‘O Barvy Vune’, 55, 55, 11, 11) 78(v5-6) SLT
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)
The people sit
'This Week' at (NN)
Birthdays and anniversaries
Morning tea is now served.
You are invited to share in the 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:
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.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. 2000. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Galloway, K. (ed). 1996. The Pattern of Our Days. Liturgies and Resources for worship. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. 2005. 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.
(PaT) Murray, S. E. A Place at the Table. New Hymns written between 2009 and 2013. Carol Stream: Hope Publishing, 2013.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon. 1996. Life Prayers From Around The World. 365 Prayers, Blessings, and Affirmations to Celebrate the Human Journey. New York. HarperCollins.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. 1993. Boston. UUA.
Stinson, J. 2006. “The encounter of progressive christian theology with the language of prayer and ritual on Sunday morning”. Westar Institute/Westar Leaders Seminar. March 2006.
The St Hilda Community. 1996. The New Women Included. A Book of Services and Prayers. London. SPCK.
Vosper, G. 2008. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
Norman Habel. Creation Liturgies. <www.seasonofcreation.com>
B Kleinheksel. C3 Exchange. <www.c3exchange.org>.
Francis Macnab. St Michael’s Uniting Church Web site. VIC Melbourne.