Revd Rex A E Hunt
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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
6 December 2015. Advent 2C. (Blue).
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion
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
Entry into the Celebration
The gong is rung three times
v1 The season of Advent challenges us
to see God's vision of what is yet to be,
to hear God's voice calling anew,
to smell the scent of God in our world.
v2 Peace be upon all who enter this house.
Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.
Music of Celebration
THE ADVENT WREATH WITH THE CHILDREN
The winds are scented
with every growing thing;
the jacaranda blossoms,
clothes fit for royalty.
All Come, companion Jesus, walk with us.
v1 Let us prepare a manger in our hearts
for the birth of the sacred.
v3 Why do we light a second candle?
v2 This second candle reminds us of peace.
A second candle is lit.
We give thanks that throughout this season of peace
there are many whose voices yet sing its songs…(GVosper/ab)
is the absence of conflict;
is a spiritual connection;
or better still
peace is a way of living,
a commitment to something important;
but peace as a wild eyed radical
screaming its way to revolution
isn’t quite the peace
we had in mind...
This is why we light a candle for peace. KHawker
(Note: A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE)
Hymn In solidarity with those for whom standing is not easy or possible we will remain seated to sing...
“Anna’s Song” 55 (v1-2) ISIT
Lift this child to the sun,
Raise this child to the sky;
God has come from above,
Come to earth from on high.
Lift this child, lift this child to the sun.
Lay this child on the ground,
One with us, one with earth;
Let God know in his son,
Human clay, human birth.
Lay this child, lay this child on the ground. © NHabel.
The children depart for Sunday Club.
Let us acknowledge the
awesome mystery embodied in every person.
All Through us God comes to unique and personal expression.
Let us give thanks
for the abundance of life on this earth.
All Through it we and all people may be nourished. (MMorwood/adapt)
Act of Awareness
We have gathered in this sacred place, again.
May we continue to create here a circle of love,
ever expanding, ever growing.
A place of wisdom.
A place of connection.
A place of hope.
God of time and eternity,
help us realise the significance of these moments together,
that they may open our eyes
to the blessings of the past
and the promise of the future.
Grant us courage for today and tomorrow.
Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
“God of Dawn” (Tune: 'Ivinghoe’, 87 87D. 631 TiS)
God of dawn, each day’s renewal
brings the world into your light.
As your sun defeats the shadows,
drives away the darkest night:
we would greet this new beginning
as your call to start again,
lead us on with hope and courage,
make your will and purpose plain.
Christ, you walked the world as we do,
knew its human pain and loss.
As your love broke through the barriers
by your death upon the cross;
we still speak your gospel message,
though two thousand years have gone.
Help us now translate its meaning
in this present world of wrong.
Holy Spirit, inspiration,
light and truth and root of prayer,
as your challenge moves us forward
taking us we know not where:
we will follow your direction,
though the way may not be clear.
Shape us, change, recreate us,
so the future holds no fear. MDobson/mcm
“This Is The Man” (Tune: ‘Stewardship’, 11 10 11 10)
This is the Baptist, unkempt and yet ready,
calling the people to listen and act;
calling them down to the water for washing,
talking of holiness, Godliness, fact.
This is the man who will call to
fisherman, Pharisee, zealot and priest;
here in the river the sinners will gather,
taking God's blessing and sharing God's peace.
This is the prophet announcing the crisis,
moment for turning for challenge and choice;
quenching of hatred, demanding repentance,
giving a reason to praise and rejoice.
This is the man, in humility pointing
others to one who would soon take his place.
Jesus is coming, the Spirit confirming,
this is my Son who will channel my grace.
Up from the waters the Christ is arising,
up from our slumbering we will rise too;
waking to love and to work every dawning,
each a disciple with Christ's work to do. © Andrew Pratt 1/12/2009
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.
"The Advent Spirit"
By Donna Morrison-Reed (Adapted)
Fill your heart like a vessel with the Advent spirit.
Take the time to let your vision clear and your concern deepen.
Allow your heart to overflow with all the authentic gifts
this season of preparation has to offer.
The blessings of Advent preparation
can overflow from each of our hearts,
if we take the time to fill our hearts first...
Let us stop the rush
and allow the spirit of the season to enter our being.
Let us clear our vision and deepen our concern.
Let it move us away from an
isolating concern for self, to a relationship of
love and care and wonder and joy
with all of life around us.
Let there be a quiet time among us.
Here in this time and in this place
is our chance to live like we wish the world would live.
May we find within ourselves
the courage to be who we are.
May we trust one another and know
there are many ways to go through life.
Together we can make possible justice and love.
We are all connected.
We are one body.
Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Some readings and a reflection from our broad religious tradition shall now be read.
The reader is (NN).
Reader: Even as we seek understanding, our minds,
too often, shelter us from the realities we might uncover.
All May we have the courage to hear and hold truths
found within these words (GVosper/ab)
From the Mystics:
"Longing for God"
By Mother Teresa. The Essential Mystics/214.
We all long for heaven where God is,
but we have it in our power to be in heaven with Him
at this very moment.
But being happy with Him now means
Loving as He loves,
Helping as He helps,
Giving as He gives,
Serving as He serves,
Rescuing as He rescues,
Being with Him twenty-four hours,
Touching Him in his distressing disguise.
Malachi 1:1a, 3:1-2 (NRSV)
The word of the Lord to Israel...
I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me,
and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple.
The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight - indeed,
he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.
But who can endure the day of his coming,
and who can stand when he appears?
For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap;
he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver...
Luke 3:1-6 (Inclusive Text)
In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar's reign, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea,
Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the lands of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the pontificate of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John, son of Zechariah, in the wilderness.
John went through the whole Jordan district
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
as it is written in the book of the sayings of the prophet Isaiah,
'A voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for our God,
make straight the paths.
Every valley will be filled in,
every mountain and hill be laid low,
winding ways will be straightened,
and rough roads made smooth.
And all shall see the salvation of God.’
Silence for Personal Reflection
Clear the Way. An Advent Litany (Optional)
The people stand as they are able
God of surprises you call us
from the narrowness of our traditions
to new ways of being church,
from the captivities of our culture
to creative witness for justice,
from the smallness of our horizons
to the bigness of your vision.
All Clear the way in us, your people,
that we might call others to freedom and renewed faith.
Jesus, wounded healer you call us
from preoccupation with our own histories
and hurts to daily tasks of peacemaking,
from privilege to pilgrimage,
from insularity to inclusive community.
All Clear the way in us, your people,
that we might call others to wholeness and integrity.
Holy, transforming, Spirit you call us
from fear to faithfulness,
from clutter to clarity,
from a desire to control to deeper trust,
from the refusal to love to a readiness to risk.
All Clear the way in us, your people,
that we might all know the beauty and power
and danger of the gospel. JPuls, GCashmore/cw
Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.
May a heart of peace rest with you.
All And also with you. (DGalston/q)
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.
Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
“A Moment of Wonder” (Tune: ‘St Catherine’s Court’, 12 11 12 11) 1MTH
A moment of wonder, amazement and grandeur,
a time when God’s glory shines clear through our lives,
God’s grace is beyond us, yet lives in each heartbeat,
the source of creation from which peace derives.
The eyes of our minds are enlightened with splendour,
inherited glory, the song of the saints
is ours for the asking, by faith becomes present
as life is set dancing, devoid of constraints.
O this is the spirit of joy and obedience,
it’s bending our pride to the purpose of God,
the rhythm, the harmony, gracefully springing:
our feet follow faithfully where Jesus trod. (AndrewPratt)
Reflections and Prayers
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns
Joys and concerns shared
May we today be touched by grace.
May we move beyond viewing this life
only through a frame,
Wm but touch and be touched by it,
Mn know it and be known by it,
All Love it, and be loved by it (Chinook Psalter/ep).
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 the new possibilities of the now
The 'Abba' Prayer:
You are invited to pray the Lord's Prayer in your original language, as that is appropriate.
All Father, may your name be holy.
May your rule take place.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Pardon our debts, for we ourselves pardon
everyone in debt to us.
And do not bring us to trial
into a trying situation. (B Mack/Q)
CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,
and our gifts of bread and wine, shall now be received.
The generosity of life is around us.
Even in difficult times
we can discover the spirit of generosity.
May we receive this generosity for our growing enrichment,
and may we give to this generosity
for the world's growing compassion. Adapt/FMacnab/h
May love be with you.
All And also with you.
Let us open our hearts.
All We open ourselves to love and to each other.
Let us give thanks for the gifts of life and faith.
All Spirit of life, of grape and grain, we gather in gratitude:
We are moved with wonder as we consider
the magnificence of this planet
which is our home for the journey.
All In creation, we engage mystery.
The universe proclaims the great love story.
Blessed be our lives.
Blessed be our land.
Blessed be the love in which all that is lives
and moves and has its being.
We have been entrusted with responsibility in creation,
respecting its systems, enjoying its beauty;
studying its ways, repairing its wounds,
tending its resources, loving it tenderly.
All When we falter or forget,
may our hearts be moved to fierce protection
at the sight of mountains rising,
a prairie/an outback sunset, a turning tide,
a blooming desert, a breeze upon our face.
May our hearts be opened
to all the dwelling places of the holy.
In wind and fire, in rain upon dry land,
in the song of sparrows,
in storm and stillness, the sacred emerges.
All In silence and speech,
in disturbance and rest,
in our nearest breath, and in the farthest star,
spirit is among us.
At this and other times,
we remember Jesus of Nazareth
in whose life and death we experience a vision of a new humanity
and in whose story we are called…
All To celebrate the sacred,
to live with respect in creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil.
Spirit of Life,
we are grateful for this bread and wine,
gifts of grain and vine.
May this bread nourish our capacity for compassion.
May this cup strengthen our commitment to community.
Sharing the ‘Bread of Compassion’ and the ‘Cup of Community’ (Nancy L Steeves)
Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"When The Summer Sun Is Shining" (Tune: 'All for Jesus', 87 87. 413 TiS) 66 (v1-2) SLT
When the summer sun is shining
over golden land and sea,
and the flowers in the hedge-row
welcome butterfly and bee,
then my open heart is glowing,
full of warmth for every one,
and I feel an inner beauty
which reflects the summer sun.
When the summer clouds of thunder
bring the long awaited rain,
and the thirsty soil is moistened
and the grass is green again;
then I long for summer sunshine,
but I know that clouds and tears
are a part of life's refreshment,
like the rainbow's hopes and fears.
May we go forth
in the certainty of faith,
in the knowledge of love,
and in the vision of hope.
All And in our going, may we be blessed
with all good things on this day and forever more. HBabcock
Words of Blessing
Go into this week,
held together by the love of God
clothed with the nature of Jesus our Companion
reinforced by the strength of the Holy Spirit.
All Amen. May it be so.
May the atmosphere,
the moist breath of God enveloping us,
penetrate every pore of our planet
and activate all those impulses needed
to keep our forests green,
our swallows singing,
and our dragonflies dancing.
All May it be so! (Habel/rm)
Hymn (Cont.) "When The Summer Sun …”" (Tune: 'All for Jesus', 87 87. 413 TiS 66 (v3) SLT
In the cool of summer evening,
when the dancing insects play,
and in garden, street, and meadow
linger echoes of the day;
then my heart is full of yearning;
hopes and mem'ries flood the whole
of my being, reaching inwards
to the corners of my soul. SHKnight
The people sit after the hymn
'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:
Dobson, M. 2004. Multi-coloured Maze. Drama, hymns, prayers and poems for worship and everyday living. London: Stainer & Bell.
Habel, N. Rainbow of Mysteries. Meeting the Sacred in Nature. Kelowna: Copper House/Wood Lake Publishing, 2012.
Harvey, A. (ed). 1996. The Essential Mystics. New York: HarperSanFrancisco.
Holy Bible. NRSV. 1989. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
(ISIT) In Spirit And In Truth. A Worship Book. 1991. Geneva: World Council of Churches. Seventh Assembly.
Inclusive Readings. Year C. 2006. Brisbane: Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Mack, B. L. 1993. The Lost Gospel. The Book of Q and Christian Origins. New York: HarperSanFrancisco.
Macnab, F. 1996. Hope: The Deeper Longings of the Mind and Heart. Richmond: Spectrum Publications.
Morwood, M. 2003.Praying A New Story . Richmond: Spectrum Publications.
(MTH) Pratt, A. More Than Hymns. Words for a Lyrical Faith. London: Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2015.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon. 1991. Earth Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth. New York: HarperCollins.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. 1993. Boston: UUA.
Vosper, G. 2009/2010. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane: The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed). 1995. Celebrating Women. New edition. London: SPCK.
Morrison-Reed, Babcock. UUA Worship Web. Boston: http://uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/index.php
Kathy Hawker. Outside The Box. 2006. <liturgyoutside.net/AdventCandleOutside.html>
Andrew Pratt. "This Is The Man". UK. eMail distribution direct from the author.
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. <http://www.questcentre.ca/>
Communion Liturgy. Nancy L. Steeves. St Stephen’s Non-Theistic Project.