Epiphany7C.24.2.2019

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail:  rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
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A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
24 February 2019. Epiphany 7. (Green).
Celebrating Community in the Tradition of the Meal

Worth Pondering:
“If you are searching for sacred knowledge and not just a palliative for your fears,
then you will train yourself to be a good skeptic”
(Ann Druyan)

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 of the (N) Nation, past and present,
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

Rich and Striking Visuals
          “The function of beauty… is to make us aware of a reality which is richer and deeper
          and more marvellous than anything we can dream or conceive.” (Henry N. Wieman)
          Artwork OR Floral/Symbols display (cloths, candles, stones, wood, leaves, flowers, earth, water) OR projection of Film/Slides 

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

Come into this place.
Together we make it a holy place
with our every act of celebration.

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

O light of life,
be kindled again in our hearts
as we meet together this morning
to celebrate the joy of human community
seeking a wholeness that extends beyond ourselves. (Samuel A. Trumbore )

Note: (i) A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE
(ii) Additional Special Purpose Hymns that cover major international events or themes can be found HERE  They include these categories: 1. Bush (Brush) Fire, 2. Tsunami, Storms/Cyclones, 3. Earthquakes, 4. War/Remembrance, 5. Caregiving, 6. God as Mother, 7. Human Trafficking, 8. Disabled, 9. Migration/Refugees, 10. Terrorist Attacks, 11. Science/Cosmology
(iii) PLUS some specific resources on Terrorism 
HERE

Hymn  The people stand as they are able, to sing
Travelling the Road to Freedom” 
(Tune: ‘Travelling’)              52 EOA
Travelling the road to freedom.
Who wants to travel the road with me?
Feted by noise and branches
And banners hanging from every tree;
Cheered on by frenzied people,
Puzzled by what they hear and see:
Travelling the road to freedom,
Who wants to travel the road with me?

Travelling the road to freedom.
Who wants to travel the road with me?
Partnered by staunch supporters
Who, come the dark, will turn and flee;
Nourished by faith and patience,
Neither of which is plain to see:
Travelling the road to freedom,
Who wants to travel the road with me?

Travelling the road to freedom.
Who wants to travel the road with me?
Tipping the scales of justice,
Setting both minds and captives free;
Suffering and yet forgiving,
Even when my friends most disagree:
Travelling the road to freedom,
Who wants to travel the road with me?

Travelling the road to freedom.
I am the Way, I’ll take you there.
Choose to come on the journey,
Or choose to criticise and stare.
Earth’s mesmerising evil
Only a traveller can repair.
Travelling the road to freedom,
I am the Way, I’ll take you there. 
(Bell/Maule)
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
Come, let us gather in this sacred yet ordinary place
Knowing every place is sacred
Where we find peace or energy
Where beauty flourishes
Where we share body, mind and heart…
All   Come, let us gather in this sacred place.  (Adapt.Bronwyn Angela White, 2001)

Act of Awareness
Let go of the expectations placed on you by others—
and those they taught you to place on yourself.

Drop the guilt and the shame,
not to shirk accountability,
but in honest expectation of the possibility of forgiveness.

Let go of the thing you said the other day.
Let go of the thing you dread next week.
Be here, in this moment.
Breathe, here.  (Chip Roush)

OR

We pray:
Calling God, you have gathered us in your community.
You have made a place for us.

Let what we say and do here
be real for us and honest to you
and prepare us for the life of the world.
May it be so.

Hymn Perfect Singer”  (Tune:  ‘Catherine’, 77.77)              332 SLT
Perfect Singer, songs of earth
rise on every field and hearth;
let our voices sound again
ancient songs of joy and pain.

All your creatures strive for life
suffer hurt in angry strife,
seek compassion, find release
in the covenant of peace.

Sing a sacred melody
for the justice that shall be;
let our harmonies resolve
dissonance in steadfast love.

Steadfast Seeker, find our song
woven into lives made strong;
let the patterns of surprise
kindle hope with each sunrise. 
GKBeach
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

Centering silence
Let there be a quiet time among us.
(Silence)

May the silence remind us of the best hours we have known,
and strengthen our resolve
to live in that spirit
which gives the better meaning to our lives.  (
Bob Holmes)
(Silence)  

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Reading from our Religious Tradition
A reading from our religious tradition shall now be offered.

From the World Around us:
"Not Knowing Anyone
By  Marjorie Dobson. Multi-coloured Maze/138.

Alone,
and just inside that crowded room,
I stood,
the Babel-babble conversation
roaring round me.
But I was edgy and bewildered,
unconnected.

Until, across the room
I heard my name -
not called,
but spoken of with knowledge -
and there was one, at least,
who recognised my being,
not my face.

It was enough.
Existing in her mind
she had enlivened me.
Now I could be part
of those around.

I wonder -
did that woman ever know
how she had spoken me to life?

Traditional Gospel:
Luke 6: 27-35 
(Inclusive Text)

Jesus said to the disciples:
'I say this to you who are listening:
Love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you,
pray for those who treat you badly.

'To the one who slaps you on the cheek,
present the other cheek too;
to the one who takes your cloak from you,
do not refuse your tunic.

'Give to everyone who asks you,
and do not ask for your property back
from the one who robs you.

'Treat others as you would like them to treat you.
If you love those who love you, what thanks can you expect?
Even sinners love those who love them.

'And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what thanks can you expect?
Even sinners do that much.

'And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive,
what thanks can you expect?
For even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount.

'Instead, love your enemies and do good,
and lend without any hope of return.
You will have a great reward,
and you will be children of the Most High
who is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.'

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

An Affirmation of our Humanity  (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on
let us share together an Affirmation of our Humanity.
The people stand as they are able

May we be aware of our weaknesses --
and strengthened by that awareness.
Wn.  May we be conscious of our shortcomings --
and alerted by that consciousness.
Mn.  May we know our limitations --
and be humbled by that knowledge.

Thus may we come to pay less attention
to our weaknesses, shortcomings, limitations --
All  And to give greater attention
to possible areas of continuing growth:
awareness, consciousness, knowledge!  R T Dick

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.  (David Galston/q)
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

CELEBRATING

Hymn/Song   The people stand as they are able, to sing
May the Mystery of God…”  (Tune:  ‘Marlborough Sounds’)          95 AA
May the mystery of God enfold us,
may the wisdom of God uphold us,
may the fragrance of God be around us,
may the brightness of God surround us,
may the wonder of God renew us,
may the loving of God flow through us,
may the peace of God deeply move us,
may the moving of God bring us peace.   
Joy Cowley
The people sit

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?  (Binkley & McKeel/jke)

Care Candle
We are people of all ages who enter this safe space
bringing our joys and concerns
Joy and Celebrations; Griefs and Concerns shared

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
Let each of us find a window
All
 To see beyond our own enclosures.
Let each of us find a door
All  To open ourselves into new being.  (Adapt.Kenneth Patton/sscl)

And so we take a 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 the new possibilities of the now.

The ‘Abba’ Prayer:  (Optional)
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Abba/Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as appropriate

All  Loving God, within and around us, we revere you.
We seek to live life as you would want us to do:
with love and respect for all people
and all things in the universe.

May we find each day sufficient for our needs.
And find forgiveness when we do wrong,
just as we forgive those who do wrong to us.

In times of trouble, may we centre our lives in you.
For your being is love,
which comes with strength and with beauty.
Throughout eternity.
Amen.    Margaret Rolfe

The Offerings
Let us bring our offerings and gifts of bread and wine
as a symbol of our ministry in this place and beyond

The Presentation
As we bring our gifts forward,
may our whole life move forward,
in good faith,
with good feelings,
and with a good belief about the future.  
(Francis Macnab/h)

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY IN THE TRADITION OF THE MEAL 
Invitation
In faith and love, gathered in this place,
we celebrate the brightness of community
and the season of late Summer called ‘Kooyang' (Season of Eels)
by the Djab Wurrung and Jardwidjarli People.

Thanksgiving
God of the summer’s day and the changing seasons,
of the lingering sunset and early dawn,
All  
We stand in awe and wonder..

God of the hot north wind and the refreshing shower,
of the shady tree and the cool water bag,
the ripening harvest and sparkling sea,
All  
All creation blesses the creator, the Source of Energy and Life...

For all things bright and beautiful.
For all things dark and mysterious and lovely.
For all things green and growing and strong.
For all things weak and struggling to push life up through rocky earth.
For all human faces, hearts, minds, and hands which surround us.
All  And for all non human minds and hearts,
paws and claws, 
fins and wings...  (G A Ricciuti/bb)

So we join our praise with all your people
across the generations, saying
All  Holy, holy, holy, Celebrating God,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.

In our awe and wonder
we also pause to remember the ways of Rabbi Jesus
who walked the dusty roads of Galilee,
who taught from seashore and mountainside,
who told stories of the sower and the seed,
the lilies of the field,
and the birds of the air.

On the night of his arrest, so our tradition reminds us,
Jesus shared a meal with his disciples.
Bread broken in silence
Wine poured out in silence

May this bread nourish our capacity for compassion.
May this cup strengthen our commitment to community. 

Communion
So come, taste of this same Bread and Wine…
Gifts of the earth.
Work of human hands.
By Intinction, continuous line.
It is an open table. Bread and Wine is available to all

In the Southern hemisphere:
"End of Summer…" 
 Today, so our yearly calendar says, also marks the end of summer. 
 When we begin to celebrate a time of transition, 
 a season of change - one of the hinges of the year.

We also welcome each other back
to the world of responsibilities and duties
to the home-bound, work-bound joys and duties
of autumn followed by winter followed by spring.

The work and the promise of another year intrude
even though our hearts still cling
to warm sunlight, blue skies...
to long days and short nights.

On this last Sunday of summer then, I would share with you a summer gift.
Gifts are distributed - flowers, herbs, twigs, etc.

In these baskets are some tiny fragments of summer remains:
captured sunlight, quiet herb gardens, bbq conversations,
walks in the bush or along the beach.

As we end one season - summer, and begin another - autumn,
you are invited to take one of these gifts.
Take it home with you, put it away somewhere special -
a place where you will not encounter it every day,
but at frequent intervals,
when you are most in need of a bit of summer.

Then, in the midst of hectic activity,
may it give you pause to relive for a moment
the relaxed and lazy hours of summer
when life gather strength and renews itself.  (Adapt.David Bumbaugh/tcb)

PARTING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"Where the Road Runs Out"                      156(v1-2) AA
Where the road runs out and the signposts end,
where we come to the edge of today,
be the God of Abraham for us,
send us out upon our way.
Refrain:
Lord, you were our beginning,
the faith that gave us birth.
We look to you, our ending,
our hope for heaven and earth.

When the coast is left and we journey on
to the rim of the sky and the sea,
be the sailor's friend, be the dolphin Christ,
lead us in to eternity.
Refrain:

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

And now we take our leave.
All  Before we gather here again:
may each of us bring happiness into another's life;
may we each be surprised by the gifts that surround us;
may each of us be enlivened by constant curiosity.

And may we remain together in spirit
til the hour we meet again.  
BCheatham

Words of Blessing
Go boldly into the future which has been claimed by God.
Know that the God who holds all things will be there,
that Christ who calls us friend will walk beside us,
and the Spirit who makes all things new
will mark our way with light and hope.
All  Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont.)  "Where the Road Runs Out"            156(v3) AA
When the clouds are low and the wind is strong,
when tomorrow's storm draws near,
be the spirit bird hovering overhead
who will take away our fear. 
Colin Gibson
Refrain:
Lord, you were our beginning,
the faith that gave us birth.
We look to you, our ending,
our hope for heaven and earth.
The people sit after the hymn

'This week' at (NN)
Notices
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Significant events
Journeys

Recessional Music

Fellowship
Morning tea is now served.
You are invited to share in this 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:
Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and Songs for all Churches
. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 1993.
Bell, J. & G. Maule.
Enemy of Apathy. Wild Goose Songs Vol. 2. Revised edition. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 1990.
Binkley, C. G. & J. M. McKeel.
Jesus and his kingdom of equals. An international curriculum on the life and teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press, 2001.
Dobson, M. 2004. 
Multi-coloured Maze. Drama, Hymns, Prayers and Poems for Worship and Everyday Living. London. Stainer & Bell.
Holmes, R. H.
The Bob Holmes Worship Materials. Vol 1.  Little Falls. Self published, 1972.
Inclusive Readings. Year C. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2006.
Iona Community.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Macnab, F.
Hope: The Deeper Longings of the Mind and Heart. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 1996.
Mitchell, R. C. & G. A. Ricciuti.
Birthings and blessings. Liberating Worship Services for the Inclusive Church. New York. Crossroads, 1992.
Morely, J.
All Desires Known. Expanded edition. London. SPCK, 1992.
Patton, K. Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. Boston. Beacon Press, 1967.
Prewer, B. D. Australian Prayers. Adelaide. OpenBook Publishers, 1983.
"Amazing Love". Margaret Rolfe. (Canberra).
Seaburg, C. (ed). The Communion Book. Boston. UUMA, 1993.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
The St Hilda Community. The New Women Included. A Book of Services and Prayers. London.  SPCK, 1996.
White, B. A. You Who Delight Me. Words of Spirit and Faith. Wellington: Steele Roberts Publishers, 2012.
Withrow, L. Seasons of Prayer. Resources for Worship. London. SPCK, 1995.

Web sites/Other:
Roush. UUA Worship Web. Boston. UUA.

rexae74@gmail.com