Epiphany4C.31.1.2016

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

31 January 2016. Epiphany 4C. (Green).

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 Fold up the newspaper.
Turn off the kettle.
Close up your diary already filled with dates,
and times,
and people,
and places that claim you.

This congregation is ready for you
to fill this sacred space,
to create its spirit,
to generate its warmth,
to kindle its light. (Adapt.DBlanchard)

v2 Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of Community Candle
A Community Candle is lit

Divine spark from sacred dark
Symbol of our holy intent
illuminate this hour. 
KHuff

(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
"God Given Energy, Flaring and Fiery" (Tune: ‘Spean’, 11 10 11 10. 310(ii) TiS)
God given energy, flaring and fiery,
stella collisions of fury and pace;
shafts of the light from the cosmic conception
searing to earth from infinity's space.

Stars from eternity, driven by forces
formed at the birthing of matter and time;
mystical sinews restraining the planets,
elegant science and God's hidden rhyme;

These are the visions of wonder and rapture,
signs of significance, pointers to place,
drawing us out from our narrow discernment,
windows to love and God's infinite grace.
  © AndrewPratt
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
At this time and in this place,
may we keep in touch with the simple pleasures of life:
Wm  the smell of the bush after summer rain,
Mn  the sound of surf rolling on sandy shores,
Wm  
the juiciness of fruit freshly picked,
Mn  an evening breeze at the end of a hot day.

At this time and in this place may we
keep in touch with the simple pleasures of life:
All  gifts of Creativity God new every morning. 
(Adapt.BPrewer/jof)

Act of Awareness
Today we celebrate a dream awakening.
Today we celebrate with renewed hope in our hearts.
Today we act on an audacity of hopes and dreams for the future.

Today we begin the hard work for justice, equity and
compassion in all human relations,
for today is a day like no other and
it is ours to shape with vision and action.

Let us be together and celebrate a dream awakening (Adapt.EMStrong).

OR

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

Hymn  "All-Present, All-Visible, Source of All Life" (Tune: ‘Immortal, Invisible’)
All-present, all-visible, Source of all life,

Within and around us, through joy and through strife.
Most Sacred, Eternal, You move on the earth,

You beckon and call forth new life and new birth.

Enlivened, extravagant, Sower of seeds,

Abundant, abounding, Your mercy exceeds.
Unhindered, unbridled, you shine forth your grace,
That we may do likewise, revealing Your face.



You care for Creation, O Mother of all,

Great mountains, clear waters, and flowers so small.

The earth is Your temple, for all life to share,

So help us be stewards of healing and care.



Transcendent, uncharted, and still close at hand,
Encompassing people from near and far lands.
Within each new moment, throughout life and death,

Your praises are sung out from all that has breath! (SKlosterboer/p&f)

OR

Jesus Calls Us Here(Tune: ‘Gaelic Air’, 87 87D.)   477 TiS
Jesus calls us here to meet him
as, through word and song and prayer,
we affirm God's promised presence
where his people live and care.
Praise the God who keeps his promise;
praise the Son who calls us friends;
praise the Spirit who, among us,
to our hopes and fears attends.

Jesus calls us to confess him
Word of Life and Lord of All,
sharer of our flesh and frailness
saving all who fail or fall.
Tell his holy human story;
tell his tales that all may hear;
tell the world that Christ in glory
came to earth to meet us here.

Jesus calls us to each other:
found in him are no divides.
Race and class and sex and language
such are barriers he derides.
Join the hand of friend and stranger;
join the hands of age and youth;
join the faithful and the doubter
in their common search for truth. (Bell&Maule) 
People sit after the hymn

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

Meditation
"God Who Meets Us"
By  William Wallace.
Courage to Love/3.

O God, whom no image can encompass,
no definition encircle 
and yet 
who meets us in the gentle touch of love,
the beauty of a butterfly's wing, 
and the laughter of children, 
help us to move beyond our attempts to limit you,
intellectualise you 
or to eliminate you from all that is earthy,
sensuous or vibrant, 
so that we may greet you 
in every particle of this spectacular universe
which you are creating. 

Centering Silence
As you entered this sacred place today
you were given a small clutch of Oak leaves...

Hold them now in the palm of your hand as you close your eyes.
Feel the surface of the leaves...
There is energy and potency in these leaves
as new acorns begin to form and take shape within them.

Given the soil, the water and the light,
these tiny acorn seeds will grow into a tree
and produce shade for birds and humans.
(Silence)

So too does your life provide opportunity
for growth, for new possibilities, for new beginnings...
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our Biblical Tradition
Some readings from our biblical tradition shall now be read.

Hebrew Scriptures:
Jeremiah 1:4-5, 9-10, 17 
(NRSV/Inclusive Text)

In the days of Josiah,
the word of God was addressed to me, Jeremiah, saying,
'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
before you came to birth I consecrated you;
I have appointed you as prophet to the nations'.

Then Holy God touched my mouth saying to me,
'I have put my words in your mouth.
Today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to pull down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant...

'So brace yourself for action.
Stand up and tell them all I command you'.

Early Church:
"In Praise of Love"
(Based on i Corinthians 13:1, 4-8)
A translation by Margaret Lee and Brandon Scott. Sound Mapping the New Testament.

If I were fluent in human and heavenly tongues,
but lacked love,
I'd sound like a hollow gong
or a crashing cymbal...

love takes its time
makes itself good and useful
it doesn't envy
it doesn't boast
it doesn't bluster
it doesn't make a scene
it doesn't look after its own interests
it doesn't throw fits
it doesn't dwell on the negative
it takes no pleasure in injustice
but is delighted by the truth

love upholds everything
trusts in everything
hopes for everything
endures everything

love never falls away

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"All Who Love and Serve your City('Birtabus', 87 87)    634 TiS
All who love and serve your city,
all who bear its daily stress, 
all who cry for peace and justice,
all who curse and all who bless:

in your day of loss and sorrow, 
in your day of helpless strife,
honour, peace and love retreating,
seek the Lord, who is your life. 

In your day of wealth and plenty,
wasted work and wasted play, 
call to mind the word of Jesus, 
'I must work while it is day.' 

For all days are days of judgment,
and the Lord is waiting still, 
drawing near to those who spurn him,
offering peace and Calvary's hill.

Risen Lord, shall still our city 
be the city of despair? 
Come today, our Judge, our Glory,
be its name 'The Lord is there'.
(ERRoutley)
The people sit

Traditional Gospel:
Luke 4: 21-30 
(Inclusive Text)

Jesus finished speaking in the synagogue.
His speaking won the approval of all,
and they were astonished by the gracious words
that came from his lips.

They said, 'This is Joseph’s son surely?'

But Jesus replied,
'No doubt you will quote me the saying,
"Physician, heal yourself" and tell me,
'We have heard all that happened in Capernaum,
do the same here in your own countryside.'

And Jesus went on,
'I tell you solemnly, no prophets are ever accepted in their own country.

'There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you,
in Elijah's day, when heaven remained shut
for three years and six months
and a great famine raged throughout the land,
but Elijah was not sent to anyone of these;
he was sent to the widow at Zarephath, a Sidonian town.

'And in the prophet Elisha's time there were many lepers in Israel,
but none of these was cured, except the Syrian, Naaman.'

When they heard this everyone in the synagogue were enraged.
They sprang to their feet and hustled Jesus out of the town;
and they took him up to the brow of the hill
their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff,
but Jesus slipped through the crowd
and walked away.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

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

We celebrate that we are safe in the hands of God.
That God does not leave us alone,
All  who breathes within us our life
and walks within our way.

We affirm that Jesus as Companion truly lived as we do:
All  cried out with our cry, laughed with our laughter.

We believe that we are not defined
by the deaths that others deal us,
All  and we need not be defeated
by the powers which stand against us.

We claim this peace in Christ.
All  We receive this miracle from Creator God.
We celebrate this hope from Empower Spirit. 
(Adapt. DMcRae-McMahon/bst)

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

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

You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Life into Life, the Threads are Woven”  (Tune: ‘Stanley Street’)   28 TEL
Life into life, the threads are woven,
parent and child,
partner and friend;
tokens of love received and given:
joy at each birth,
grief at each end.
God of all time, all loves, all living,
hear as we bring our hearts' thanksgiving.

Life into life, our ways cross over,
culture and place,
neighbour and race;
in your good world help us discover
imprint of grace
in every face.
God of all time, all loves, all living,
hear as we bring our heart's thanksgiving.

Life into life, when love is spoken,
everyday things
give our heart wings,
life-changing ills when things are broken,
turn us to you,
seeing what's true,
God of all time, all loves, all living,
hear as we bring our heart's thanksgiving.

Life into life, your Holy Spirit
quickens the mind,
lifts humankind,
gives to our stream of days its current,
livens the slow,
charges the flow,
God of all time, all loves, all living,
hear as we bring our heart's thanksgiving.

Life into life, the world goes spinning,
catching your light,
gaining new sight;
you give us hope, a fresh beginning,
life's very breath,
life out of death.
God of all time, all loves, all living,
hears as we bring our heart's thanksgiving. (ShirleyEMurray)
The people sit

The Offering
Let us bring our offerings as a symbol
of our ministry in this place, and beyond.

The Presentation
We give thanks
for all we have,
for all we are.

And we give thanks for the privilege of responding
to God's generosity with these gifts
and with our lives.

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:
We turn to Life, to that vast creativity

All  
that empowers the universe
as the ocean animates the wave,

seeking to let go of that which blocks our healing.

All  May we open ourselves even now

to the wonder of life.

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  Mystery of God
heartbeat of the universe,
centre of spirited change and rebirth;
we glorify your ways:
the ways of dignity and justice,
the ways of love for all creatures,
the ways of caring for the earth.

Let us be simple in our needs,
showing compassion for our neighbour,
sharing generously what we have,
letting go our hurts and fears.

For in you we find peace,
in you we find hope,
and in you we find courage,
now and forever. 
Amen.  
(JennyBlood)

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Where Wide Sky Rolls Down(Tune: 'Hanover', 55 55 65 65).  188 (v1-3) TiS
Where wide sky rolls down and touches red sand,
where sun turns to gold the grass of the land,
let spinifex, mulga and waterhole tell
their joy in the One who made everything well.

Where rain-forest calm meets reef, tide and storm,
where green things grow lush and oceans are warm,
let every sea-creature and tropical bird
exult in the light of the life-giving Word.

Where red gum and creek cross hillside and plain,
where cool tree-ferns rise to welcome the rain,
let bushland, farm, mountain-top, all of their days
delight in the Spirit who formed them for praise.

Parting Words
As we prepare to leave this sacred space where we have worshipped together,
let us return to our homes and work
enlivened and renewed...
The Community Candle is extinguished

May we go forth from this place
thankful for the life that sustains and renews us,
and open to the grace that surrounds and surprises us.
All  May we go forth from this place
with openness and with thanksgiving  CAHowe

Words of Blessing
As the kookaburra gently settles on the tree,
receive the gift of Peace.

As the sun rises with light and warmth,
receive the gift of Life.

As the wind moves and dances round the earth,
receive the gracious gift of the Spirit. 
(Adapt.DStewart/wb)
All  May it be so!

Hymn (Cont.)  “Where Wide Sky Rolls Down”  (Tune: 'Hanover', 55 55 65 65)  188 (v4) TiS
Now, people of faith, come gather around
with songs to be shared, for blessings abound!
Australians, whatever your culture or race,
come, lift up your hearts to the Giver of grace. (EJSmith)

The people sit after the hymn

'This Week' at (NN)
Birthdays
Anniversaries
Significant events
Journeys

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:
Abbott, M. Sparks of the Cosmos. Rituals for Seasonal Use. Unley: MediaCom Education, 2001.
Duncan, G. (ed). A World of Blessing. Benedictions from Every Continent and Many Cultures. Norwich: The Canterbury Press, 2000.
Duncan, G. (ed). Courage to Love. An Anthology of Inclusive Worship Material. Norwich: The Canterbury Press, 2002.
Holy Bible. NRSV. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
Inclusive Readings. Year C. Brisbane: Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2006.
Lee, M. & B. B. Scott. Sound Mapping the New Testament. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press, 2009.
McRae-McMahon, D. The Glory of Blood, Sweat and Tears. Liturgies for living and dying. Melbourne: JBCE, 1996.

(TEL) Murray, S. E. Touch the Earth Lightly. New Hymns Written between 2003 & 2008. Carol Stream: Hope Publishing, 2008.
Prewer, B. D. Jesus our Future. Prayers for the Twenty-first century. Adelaide: OpenBook Publishers, 1998.
Special Resources. UCA National Assembly. (Issued from time to time).
(TiS) Together in Song. Australian Hymn Book 2. Sydney: HarperCollins Religious, 1999.


Web sites/Other:
Strong, Blanchard, Huff, Howe. UUA Worship Web. Boston. http://uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/index.php
“God Given Energy” Andrew Pratt eMail distribution. UK. Direct from the author.
 "All Present, All Visible..."
S. Klosterboer. http://processandfaith.org/resources/liturgy/hymn-creation-sunday
'Abba Prayer’. Jenny Blood. A New Zealand Anglican priest. < jennypat@ihug.co.nz>
David Galston.  Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/

rexae74@gmail.com