AshWednesdayC.6.3.2019

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail:  rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au
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A GATHERING LITURGY FOR
ASH WEDNESDAY

6 March 2019  (Purple)


Worth Pondering
“Jesus was born a pilgrim,
and from the very beginning until the very end of his [life],
he always seemed to be on the road or on the verge of moving on”
(Donald Burt)


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
As people enter they are to collect a tea-candle

Entry into the Celebration
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.

Silence
Let us be in silence together.
(Silence)

Lighting of the Community Candle
Fire is your sacrament, O God, fire is sacred.

We light this flame to affirm that new light
is ever waiting to break through to enlighten our ways:
that new truth is ever waiting
to break through to illumine our minds,
and that new love is ever waiting
to break through to warm our hearts.  CAHowe

Lighting of the Personal Candles
People come forward to light their tea candle
and place it on the table around the Community Candle

Response
Out of nothingness we came through birth into life:
All  With the Spirit of God within us.

From the life of God the universe unfolded into being
All  
With the Spirit of God within it.

From the heart of God creation goes on till the end of time
All  
With the Spirit of God within it
and with our spirit within it.

Let us embrace the God who enfolds us
All  We delight in God.  (Pitt St Uniting Church)

Welcome

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Let us listen to some stories of faith.

World Around Us:
“Creation Psalm” (Adapted)
By John Polhill. Eggs and Ashes/60.

v1  Creativity God, 
we offer our praise for the joy creation brings to our hearts:
and the fascination as we seek to understand
and use new, gentler technologies.

v4  We are worried that everything we do
seems to spoil the beauty of nature;
for every gain we make from technology
there seems to be a resultant damage to nature.

v3  We are afraid the economic drives of
individuals and corporations will be stronger
than the voices of those who want to follow a sustainable lifestyle,
and the consequences will be an
irreversible environmental disaster.

v1  We offer our thanks 
for the freedom to choose how to live;
for the model of living Jesus gives us.

v4  We celebrate there are people who care
and campaign about environmental issues:
scientists,
business people,
politicians.
And all who work to make sustainability more possible.

v3  May we be helped to delight in letting creation be itself, 
to delight in the extra effort it takes to live sustainably,
and to have a greater sense of your Presentness
when we choose the gentler path.

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 6 (Selected verses, Inclusive Text)

Jesus said to the disciples:
Be careful not to parade your good deeds before others to attract their notice;
by doing this you will lose all heavenly reward.

So when you give alms,
do not have it trumpeted before you:
this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues
and in the streets to win the admiration of others.
I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward...

And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites:
they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues
and at the street corners
for people to see them.
I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward...

When you fast
do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do:
they pull long faces
to let others know they are fasting.
I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward...

Silence

Response
v1 Let us enter the journey of Lent.
We are people who stand among others as truly human -
no better, no worse -
simply offered the grace of God as we go.

v2 We are connected in creation
by water which gives us life…
Let us respect the sacredness of water:
a blessing from Holy God.
A jug of water is placed on the table

v1 The pain of the earth is raw,
like the pain of a mother
whose children are torn
from the softness and warmth of her breast.
May creation be healed.
Bread and Wine is placed on the table

v2  People are harmed by water exploitation, pollution,
drought, erosion and flood.
Lives are put at risk.
Lives are robbed of dignity.
May our concern and our lament be real.
A bowl of Ashes is placed on table

SERVICE OF THE ASHES
The Ashes
Ash Wednesday invites us to come back to earth.
To wonder at the gift of life,
my life
our life
with the earth, the shared body of our existence.

These ashes were once trees and shrubs,
and places where life was lived to its fullest.
Once they were full of life.
Now they are black and grey.
Dry.
Lifeless.

But mixed with the oil and water of our baptism
make good fertiliser:
it will help the seeds of the gospel take deeper root in us
and bring forth the fruits,
the harvest of justice, peace, and generosity.

These are ashes worth wearing.
For from the burnt ashes will spring the green shoot of life
and the purple flower of attentiveness to God.

Preparation of Ashes

Blessing
We pray:
May these ashes be blessed in our wearing.
May they be for us a symbol of our return to the earth.

May we be blessed.
May we be earthed in everlasting love,
as forgiven and forgiving people.
Amen.

Distribution
Those who wish to be marked are invited to come forward

Receive the mark of our humanness...

Prayer
We pray:
We are thankful for forgiveness and healing.

Mindful of faith that sees possibilities,
faith that endures,
faith that inspires...

Mindful of love’s call
to be faithful,
to endure,
to be generous and forgiving whatever the cost.

Mindful of the hope of new life
as we follow Jesus during this Lenten journey.
May it be so.

Silence

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY IN THE TRADITION OF THE MEAL
The Invitation
Our tradition says at a supper, Jesus, sharing bread and wine,
invited the disciples to share his journey.

Here tonight, through bread and wine,
we renew our journey with Jesus and his disciples.

Here tonight, through bread and wine,
we renew our unity with one another, with the earth,
and our interwovenness
with the broken ones of the world.

The Story
We are reminded again of the tradition that surrounds this story.

Long ago,
on the night he was handed over, Jesus took bread,
gave thanks, and broke it:
'This bread is broken, as my body will be'.

And he gave it to his friends, inviting them to eat:
'Remember all that I have been to you'.

Long ago, on that same night,
Jesus poured a cup of wine, offered thanks for it,
and gave it to his friends:
'This wine is poured out, as my life will be.
Remember me and give thanks for all I have given'.

Thanksgiving
Creating God, Source of Life, we offer our thanks.

The smell of gums after rain,
The surprise of ducks in flight,
The taste of peach and plum and nectarine,
For all gifts simple and profound,
in country and city,
in paddock, or back yard and on lake:
We give thanks.
All  
We give thanks.

In this season of transition
as the leaves prepare to begin their subtle change of colour
and our hearts cling to the warmth as the days shorten,
once again we are reminded,
that new possibilities can rise from our failures
or disappointments
or what has come to an end.

We give thanks for all the influences in our lives
that have helped us to see beyond the present:
that teach us to combine labour and rest,
that bring us the cycles of time and season,
that sustain us when we are in need.
All  
God loves in us;
God cares through us;
God laughs in us;
God cries in us as nowhere else.  (Michael Morwood/pns)

Especially we give thanks for Jesus of Nazareth,
gatherer of folk,
teller of stories,
breaker of bread,
pourer of wine,
weaver of lives.

In his life, wisdom, stories and social vision
we recall the words he spoke
to call forth in us love, care and respect for one another:
All  
And we believe the same Spirit of God
that came to visibility in Jesus
yearns for visible expression in us.

Bread and Wine
The Bread is broken... the Wine poured, in silence.

Communion
So come, taste of this same bread and wine…
Gifts of the earth.
Work of human hands.
Distribution of Bread and Wine, continuous lines

After Communion
May the bread and the wine and the remembering
be a blessing on us all.

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

May a heart of peace rest with you.  (David Galston/q)
All  And also with you!
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

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  Forty Days and Forty Night”  (Tune: ‘Intercessor’, 11.10.11.10)        28 MTH
Wild wilderness, pathetic desolation,
as Jesus walked, then rested for the night,
for forty days his strength was tried and tested,
for forty days he sifted wrong and right.

He woke to hunger tangled in his being,
what miracle might turn these stones to bread?
But God within the centre of his spirit
was food enough to keep his body fed.

His faith was such that it could move a mountain
and God could save him from the greatest fall.
But faith like this need not be tried or tested;
the love of God will never slip or stall.

He climbed the mountain, saw the world in splendour,
then thought of ruling all his eyes could see;
yet power like this was not the thing he needed -
devoid of wealth he’d set the people free.

Beyond temptation love would live incarnate,
his human flesh would laugh and cry and weep,
in Christ God’s love and grace would not diminish,
dynamic Love would never die nor sleep.  (Andrew Pratt. © Copyright 2015 Stainer & Bell Ltd)

OR

"The Man Who Lived in Galilee”  (Tune: ‘Tyrolese’, 86.86D)      77 SNS4 
The man who lived in Galilee
Two thousand years ago,
Lived life like humble, lowly folk;
To riches he said “No.”
He owned no house; he wrote no book;
Did not invent a thing!
He lead no army into war.
Taught outcasts how to sing. 

The man who lived in Galilee
Two thousand years ago,
Did not obey the temple law;
He scorned the status quo;
He was not of the ruling class;
He did not covet fame;
Instead he mixed with those ‘unclean’,
Whose lives were full of shame. 

This man who lived in Galilee
Two thousand years ago,
Points to a new humanity
Where love has constant flow;
His life revealed what love can do;
He did not want to die;
But when he did his death proclaimed
That love will never die.  (George Stuart)

Words of Blessing
May the blessing in the strength of the Brindabellas,
the calm of Lake Burley Griffin
the freshness of gum tree and wild flower
remain with you...

And may God's strength, peace and creativity
go with you always. 
All
 Amen! May it be so!
People leave as they wish


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.
Burgess, R. & C. Polhill. Eggs and Ashes. Practical & Liturgical Resources for Lent and Holy Week. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2004.
Inclusive Readings. Year C. Brisbane: Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2006.
McRae-McMahon, D. Echoes of Our Journey. Liturgies of the people. Melbourne: JBCE, 1993.
Morwood, M. Praying a New Story. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2003.
(MTH)  
Pratt, A. More Than Hymns. Words for a Lyrical Faith. London. Stainer & Bell, 2015.
Seaburg, C. (ed). The Communion Book. Boston: UUMA, 1993.
(SNS4) 
Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 4. Toronto. G Stuart, 2013.
Withrow, L. Seasons of Prayer. Resources for Worship. London: SPCK, 1995.

Web sites/Other:
Howe. UUA Worship Web. Boston. http://uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/index.php
Bruce Prewer Web Site. VIC: Bendigo.
L Bruce Miller. Edmonton, Canada.
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. <http://www.questcentre.ca/>

rexae74@gmail.com