BapJesusC.10.1.2016

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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


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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
10 January 2015. Epiphany 2C. (White).
Baptism/Naming of Jesus


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) 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

v1  Let there be joy in our coming together this day.
Let there be truth heard in the words we speak
and the songs we sing.
v2  Let there be help and healing for our disharmony and despair.
Let there be silence for the voice within us and beyond us. CSeaburg

v1  So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of Community Candle
The community candle is lit

We light this flame to honour our past.
We light this flame to endorse our present.
We light this flame to symbolise our future.

Hymn The people stand, as they are able to sing
"God Molds The Shapes…" (Tune: Little Conard 66 66 88. 469 TiS)    38 TMT
God molds the shapes of life,
drawing the flow of tides,
firing the sunlight's blaze,
glazing the night with pride:
God gives the love which warms and moves
the patterned rhythm life provides.

Ponder the rising sap
changing to leaf's decay;
think of the winter's death
turning to spring's new day,
and in these cycles find the shapes
of all God dreams and all God makes.

Pulse of the veins and lungs,
seasons of human hearts -
patterns that intertwine,
shaping our thought and art;
all these are part of nature's flow -
the life of God we reap and sow.

Sing to the God of change,
chaos, and fine design;
hallow the ordered forms
filled with the life divine.
In God the universe is one
and sings the hymn which God first sung! WWallace
Remain standing

OR

We Walk The Way That Has No End” (Tune: ‘Winchester’ 88 88)
We walk in silence while the earth
Quivers and cracks beneath our feet
Swallows our dreams and shatters worth
Solemn, we trudge to hearts’ dull beat.

We walk while singing, motley choir
of traitors, lovers, meek and proud
Small sparks of apostolic fire
light up the path, lighten the shroud.

We walk in solidarity
and sing of hope that never dies
We march to end disparity
graves open as our spirits rise.

We walk the way that has no end
Free to evolve, transform our creed
Hearts, torn like curtains, start to mend
Love rising now in word, in deed.

(optional verse)
There are no strangers on the way
Just travellers who will soon be friends
And destination—there is none:
A spiral path that never ends.
© Bronwyn Angela White (2012)

Opening Sentences
As we settle into this sacred place,
put away the pressures of the world that ask us
to perform,
to take up masks,
to put on brave fronts.
Silence the voices that ask you to be perfect.

This is a community of compassion and welcoming. (EA Hewitt/adapt)
All We bring all that we are and all that we yet can be,
to this safe and sacred place.

OR

We are called into this celebration,
not just by words spoken,
but also by miracles recalled: 
All   a baby's first cry,
the petals of a rose,
mist-covered hills,
the restless tides of the seas,
human love,
human hope.
 

We respond: 
All   with gratitude,
with joy,
with wonder,
at life's boundless possibilities
(Adapted/Gordon B. McKeeman) 

Act of Awareness
We receive fragments of holiness,
glimpses of eternity,
brief moments of insight.

Let us gather them up for the precious gifts that they are
and, renewed by their grace,
move boldly into the unknown.
(SMCampbell/slt)

OR

We pray:
May we look to the past with gratitude and
to the future with hope,
unafraid of hopes and dreams, yet
realistic about our limitations.

May we realize the significance of these moments together.
May we also gather courage for today and tomorrow.
May it be so.

Hymn Birth Of A Boy-child…(Tune: ‘Away in a Manager’, 11 11 11 11)   43 RP
The birth of a boy-child, the growth of a man:
his mother's enigma; a part of God's plan?
Uncertain, now standing a part of the crowd;
the still of the water foreshadows a shroud.

The death of an old life, the birth of a new,
as values are challenged, past choices askew.
Fierce currents of feeling, encounters of love,
a man by a river, a voice and a dove.

That voice stills the crowd at the slow river's rim:
'My son, my beloved, now listen to him.’
The birth of a boy-child, the growth of a man:
his mother's enigma; a part of God's plan? (APratt)
The people sit

OR

Wisdom Far Beyond(Tune: ‘Coronation Road’)    157 HoS
Wisdom far beyond our knowledge,
Word of endless mystery,
God, in whom is comprehended
all that was, is now, will be,
you have set us free to wander,
world on world, through time and space,
haunted by the hope of heaven,
nurtured by your constant grace.

Unimaginable lover,
faithful to eternity,
God, fulfilling and indwelling
all that was, is now, will be,
we can never stray beyond you,
loving Presence, you are here:
called to join your great adventure,
forth we go to find you there.

Beating heart of all creation,
first and final unity,
God who draws all things together,
all that was, is now, will be,
we have heard your distant music,
shared your dream of harmony:
now we go as reconcilers,
makers of community.

Focus of our search for meaning,
truth in our perplexity,
God the One by whom we measure
all that was, is now, will be,
centre of our heart’s devotion,
magnet of our questing mind,
spirit’s birth and soul’s companion,
journey’s end in you we find
(CGibson).
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.
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.

CENTERING

Centering Silence
Let us now settle into silence and stillness.
(Silence)

Let us centre our minds and our hearts.
We are one with the universe.
We are one with the sun and the stars.
We are one with the earth.
We are one with the One who is mystery…
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

Response
v1 Let us take time to stand in awe of this self-evolving universe.
v2 Let us marvel at the living eco-sphere of this planet.
Wm  
Let us set a supreme value on all forms of life.
Mn  Let us develop a lifestyle that preserves the balance
of the planetary eco-system.
All  Let us refrain from all activities that endanger the future of any species.
Let us devote ourselves to maximizing the future
of all living creatures.
Let us set the needs of the coming global society before
those of ourselves, our tribe, society, or nation.

v1 Let us learn to value the human relationships that bind us
together into social groups.
v2 Let us learn to appreciate the total cultural legacy
we have received from the past.
All  
Let us accept in a self-sacrificing fashion
the responsibility now laid upon us all
for the future of our species and of all planetary life (LGeering/gc).

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
A reading and a reflection from our broad
religious tradition shall now be read.

From the World Around us:
“Summer is Here”
By
Mary Ackerson. SBNR.org blog site

Summer is here – lush, seductive…

Sultry breezes awaken memories of summers past,
lure us to beaches, decks… ice cream.

Our senses are aroused by abundant life – verdant full trees,
nighttime cricket lullabies that fade to morning wake-up birdcalls.
Buzzing, hovering insects startle and harass
on afternoon walks…

Ripe tomato juice dribbles into our salads and off our sandwiches,
sugary berry juice trickles down our throats.
Fresh colorful flowers fuel our eyes and perfume our noses,

Our caresses are steamy, our skin salty.
Evenings are highlighted by golden side-rays of sun
as sea-gulls circle overhead before settling
onto water beds for the night.

We gather by lake’s edge to watch the crimson sun
paint the water pink and dip into the horizon in fiery display.
We relax while fading sunlight allows an early sprinkling of stars; 
and we linger into wonder at the dusty swath
of the Milky Way curve.

In predawn darkness we ooh at shooting star exhibits
of burning comet debris – an ancient summer ritual
marking earth’s yearly tour…

So, for today, let us breathe deeply and embrace life’s gifts,
let us be gentle with ourselves and each other,
caressing all our glorious flawed humanity,
let us find balance as we dive face-first into life rhythm,
and let us reach out to support and hold each other close.

OR

"Ordinary Graces"
By Joy Atkinson. For All that is our Life/2-3.

The red orange glaze on the low-sunk moon
seen in the parting of clouds.

The sight and sound of a bright field of wheat,
whispering, bending in waves.

The scent of a wind-borne sea, pine, jasmine,
and the waiting gifts of a harvest table.

The gentle tug of creation's umbilical cord
calling us out of despair.

The warmth of linked hands and shared thoughts,
calling us into community.

These gifts of grace we receive.
In them we rejoice
as we return our thanks.

Traditional Gospel:
Luke 3:15-22 (NRSV)

As the people were filled with expectation, and all
were questioning in their hearts concerning John,
whether he might be the Messiah,

John answered all of them by saying,
“I baptize you with water;
but one who is more powerful than I is coming;
I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals.

“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fork is in his hand,
to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat
into his granary; but the chaff he will burn
with unquenchable fire.”

So, with many other exhortations, John proclaimed
the good news to the people.

But Herod the ruler, who had been rebuked by John
because of Herodias, his brother’s wife,
and because of all the evil things that Herod had done,
added to them all by shutting up John in prison.

Now when all the people were baptized,
and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
the heaven was opened, and
the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.

And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

OR

Luke 3:15-16, 21-22    (Inclusive Text)

A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, 
who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ,
so John declared before them all, 
'I baptise you with water, 
but someone is coming, 
someone who is more powerful than I am,
the strap of whose sandals I am not fit to undo;
this one will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire'.   

Now when all the people had been baptised 
and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, 
heaven opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus 
in bodily shape, like a dove. 

And a voice came from heaven, 
'You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.' 

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany (Optional) 
People stand as they are able

We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and our concerns.
All
We come together in hope.

We greet each other warmly
with our voices and our smiles.
All
We come together in peace.

We share our growth and our aspirations.
All
We come together in wonder.

We share our losses and our disappointments.
All
We come together in sorrow.

We share our concern and our compassion.
All
We come together in love.

We sing and pray and listen.
We speak and read and dream.
We think and ponder and reflect.
We cry and laugh and centre.
We mourn and celebrate and meditate.
We strive for justice and for mercy.
All
We come together to celebrate life,
all of life, in the presentness of God. (Adapt.CMeyer)

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

May a heart of peace rest with you.
All  
And also with you. (DGalston/q)

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
"Arms Only For Embracing
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. IRogers
The people sit

The Offerings
Our offerings for the work of ministry in this city and beyond,
shall now be received.

The Presentation
God of Love, God of our baptism,
we rejoice to commit ourselves anew with our gifts.
Inspire each person to invest fully in the work
set before us.

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:
In this abundant blessing
All
We share the joy.
In this, our time of need,
All May love abound (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 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 Loving Presence, luminous in all creation,
hallowed be your name.
Thy kin-dom come.
May we reflect on earth
the yielding perfection of the heavens.

Help us to receive an illumined measure from the earth this day.
Forgive us when we trespass against others,
human and other than human,
as we forgive others who trespass against us.

Keep us on the path of wisdom
when we are tempted to take the selfish path.

May it be your rule we follow,
your power we exercise,
and your radiance that allures.

May this be the truth that guides our lives,
the ground from which our future will grow,
until we meet again. (BSanguin/dddc)

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
You Are Born In Us Again(Tune: ‘Dunstan’)   52 (v1-2) COC
You are born in us again
Like the warmth of the summer wind you come,
to melt away the icicles of vanity and pride;
you come to blow the very doors of loving open wide.
Like the warmth of the summer wind you come,
like the warmth of the summer wind you come.

You are born in us again
Like the scent of the summer rain you come,
You come to quench the thirsty and to freshen up the land;
you come to clean away the dust that settled in our hand.
Like the scent of the summer rain you come,
like the scent of the summer rain you come.

Parting Words
Let us embrace the wonder of this week
with expectation and imagination…
The Community Candle is extinguished

May God the giver of all good things, bless us with
All
the understanding of friends,
the lessons of experience,
the questionings of seekers,
the wisdom of thinkers, and
the service of helpers, now and always. (HRack/wob)

Words of Blessing
The Brotherly grace of Christ One,
the Fatherly love of Creativity God,
and the Sisterly encouragement of the Empowering Spirit,
will be with you here and everywhere.
All  
Amen. Blessed be!

Hymn (Cont.) You Are Born In Us Again(Tune: ‘Dunstan’)  52 (v3) COC
You are born in us again
Like the light of the summer sun you come,
to give light to the places that have never seen the Son;
you come now to embrace us, you’re the holy, holy one.
Like the light of the summer sun you come,
like the light of the summer sun you come. (MWilson)
The people sit after the hymn, then prepare to leave

Recessional Music


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:
(COC) Carol Our Christmas. A Book of New Zealand Carols. Raumati: New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 1996.
Duncan, G. (ed).
A World of Blessing. Benedictions from Every Continent and Many Cultures. Norwich: The Canterbury Press, 2000.
Geering, L.
The Greening of Christianity. Wellington: St Andrew’s Trust for the Study of Religion and Society, 2005.
Holy Bible. NRSV. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
(HoS)
Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North: New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.
Inclusive Readings. Year C. Brisbane: Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2006.
(RP) Pratt, A. Reclaiming Praise. Hymns from a Spiritual Journey. London: Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2006.
Pickett, H & E. (ed).
For All That is Our Life. A Meditation Anthology. Boston: Skinner House Books, 2005.
Sanguin, B.
Darwin, Divinity, and the Dance of the Cosmos. An Ecological Christianity. Kelowna: CopperHouse, 2007.
Singing The Living Tradition. Boston: UUA, 1993.
Vosper, G.
With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Toronto: HarperCollins, 2008.
(TMT) Wallace, W. L. 
The Mystery Telling. Hymns and Songs for the New Millennium. Kingston: Selah Publishing, 2001.

Web sites/Others:
Seaburg, McKeeman, Hewill, Meyer, Rogers. UUA Worship Web. Boston. http://uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/index.php
Margaret Ackerson. 2010. SBNR.org Blog/web site. USA.
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. <http://www.questcentre.ca/>
"We Walk the Way..." Bronwyn Angela White, Wellington, New Zealand. < http://www.spirit-and-faith.com/16346232>

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