Easter2C.3.4.2016

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
3 April 2016. Easter 2C. (White).


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, cultural background or sexual orientation


GATHERING

Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

It is God, in the dawning,
In the renewal,
In the arrival,
In the new day.

God's presence fills this place of gathering.
The whole earth is full of God's glory.

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

For this new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends…
We give thanks. (Ralph Waldo Emerson/li)

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

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
Empowering God, when the road ahead looms endless,
All
empower us to be companions
for one another along the road.

Inspiring God, when the road forward is blocked,
All inspire in us creative responses
that move us beyond the barriers.

Enabling God, when the road before us divides,
All enable us to feel your presence luring us on.

Act of Awareness
It is good to be alive!
To share life with each other
in this wonder-filled and evolving universe.
We are most grateful.

May wisdom dawn in us
so we may see all things in clarity.

OR

We pray:
God of time and eternity,
help us look to the future with hope.

May we be unafraid of hopes and dreams.
May we be realistic about our limitations
but never to lose hope
in our potential to transcend them.

Grant us courage for today and tomorrow.
May it be so.

Hymn "God Comes to Us as One Unheard(Tune: 'Irish' 86 86. 126 TiS)   41 HoS
God comes to us as one unheard
in silences profound,
or marvels of a symphony,
sublimity of sound.

God comes to us as one unseen
in beauties of the earth;
a seagull's flight, a sunset sky,
the miracle of birth.

God comes to us as one unknown
to share our joys, our pain;
that presence felt, the gift of grace
our peace and hope sustain.

God comes to us at every hour
when strength and faith are weak;
the smiles of friends, encircling arms,
of reassurance speak.

God comes in unexpected ways,
surprising us with joy,
reminding that the light of love
no darkness can destroy.

Teach us, O God, to recognise
your spirit everywhere;
make us aware, responsive, keen,
your love for all to share. (JMarshall) 
The 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.

Music of Celebration

EXPLORING

Readings from our Religious Tradition
Let us now listen to some stories from our broad religious tradition.

From our World Around us:
“We Build Temples in the Heart”
By Patrick Murfin.

We have seen the great cathedrals,
stone laid upon stone,
carved and cared for by centuries of certain hands;

seen the slender minarets
soar from dusty streets
to raise the cry of faith
to the One and Only God;

seen the placid pagodas
where gilded Buddhas squat
amid the temple bells and incense.

We have seen the tumbled temples
half-buried in the sands,
choked with verdant tangles,
sunk in corralled seas
old truths toppled and forgotten.

We have even seen the wattled huts,
the sweat lodge hogans,
the wheeled yurts,
and the Ice Age caverns
where unwritten worship
raised its knowing voices.

But here we build temples in our hearts.
Side by side we gather.

Responsive Psalm:
(i)  Psalm 150  (NRSV amended)

Praise the Holy One!
All Praise God in the sanctuary!
Praise God in the mighty firmament!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
Praise God according to his surpassing greatness!

Praise God with trumpet sound;
praise God with lute and harp!
All Praise God with tambourine and dance;
praise God with strings and pipe!
Praise God with clanging cymbals;
praise God with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that breathes praise the Holy One!
All Praise for ever more. Amen!

(or ii)  Psalm 150
By Francis Macnab. A Fine Wind is Blowing/54.

Consider the wonder of the ocean, the heavens, the mountains and the wind.
Consider the mystery of the greatest joy and the strength of the best care.
And consider the source of all these gifts - the God we try to know, but can never really know.

Gather therefore in the sanctuary,
bring together all the positive feelings you can muster,
all your best affirmations and express them all to him.

Get hold of every instrument you can find -
the trumpets, the lute, the harp,
strings and flutes, cymbals and drums.
Bring them all to life - so that
they will in one massive and marvellous sound say YES,
to the God beyond us.

Let everyone who can dance, dance with gladness.
Let all who can sing, sing aloud.
Let everything that has breath pour out
their hope and their happiness,
their gratitude and generosity.

Put of the depths of our experience
we celebrate the mystery of God's healing presence.

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
We Are An Easter People” 
(Tune: Alive)   146 AA
We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
the yeast is rising in our hearts,
our wine has vintage taste.
Refrain:
Christ is risen,
Christ is risen,
risen in our lives.

We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
our tears are freed to flow and heal
our shattered hopes and hearts.
Refrain:

We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
our fears have died, we rise to dream,
to love, to dance, to live. 
(William L Wallace)
Refrain:

Traditional Gospel:
John 20:19-27
(Inclusive Text)

In the evening on that same day, the first day of the week,
the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were,
for fear of the people.

Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,
‘Peace be with you,’
and showed them his hands and his side.

The disciples were filled with joy when they saw The Risen One,
who said to them again,
‘Peace be with you. As God sent me, so I am sending you.’

After saying this Jesus breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven.
For those whose  sins you retain, they are retained.’

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.

When the disciples said,’We have seen the Risen One’,
Thomas answered,
‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands
and can put my finger into the holes they made,
and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’

Eight days later the disciples were in the house again
and Thomas was with them.

The doors were closed, but Jesus came in
and stood among them and said,
‘Peace be with you.’

Then speaking to Thomas,
‘Thomas, put your finger here; look, here are my hands.
Give me your hand; put it into my side.
Doubt no longer but believe.”

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

An Affirmation of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share together an affirmation of faith.
The people stand as they are able

All With faith to face our challenges,
With love that casts out fear,
With hope to trust tomorrow,
We accept this day as the gift it is:
a reason for rejoicing. 
(Gary Kowalski)

Sharing 'The Peace'
We enter as strangers.  We leave as friends.
Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace.

The peace of God is here... to stay (Iona).
All Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
"Climate is Warming"  (Tune: 'The Ash Grove", 12 11 12 11D, 531 TiS)    44 SNS2
As climate is warming
Will bees keep on swarming
If we just continue to damage the earth?
Will birds and sea-creatures
With beautiful features
Forever be lost by denying their worth?
Will trees and each flower
Succumb to the power
Of poisons and toxins we put in the air?
As ice-caps diminish,
A sign of the finish,
We must meet this crisis and show that we care.

If we start to measure
Some things that we treasure
It may cause us anguish to let these things go;
For comfort and leisure,
Our life-style and pleasure,
We claim we have earned and don't wish to forgo;
But we can all ponder
And face what we squander,
Then start to make change in the way that we live;
We can curb excesses;
Each harms and oppresses
The poor and the weak; we take what they don't give.

To greenhouse emissions
We make our additions
And by them we foster some possible gloom,
But with perseverance
We can make a diff’rence;
We can work to limit the fuel we consume,
We'll tell each law-maker
That every green acre
Is ours to look after and not to destroy,
God's bounty possessing;
We're stewards of blessing;
We meet our commitment with challenging joy.

With nature so fragile,
Yet dazzling and fertile,
We ponder its beauty, its charm and its grace;
Evolving triumphant
With life so abundant,
Confounded we are with so much to embrace.
Yet these green-house gases
Pollute in their masses;
We need to decrease them; we know that we should!
When nature is bleeding
We hear urgent pleading
To change our behaviour; we know how we could!

If we stop this warming
Then bees will keep swarming
And sweetness of honey remains for our taste.
Then birds and sea creatures
And hills and sea beaches
Will stay in their magic, unharmed by our waste.
The charm every hour
Of trees and each flower
Will bring us to silence in wonder and awe.
With God so surrounding
In beauty astounding
We kneel in God's presence to praise and adore. (George Stuart)

OR

"Come Celebrate..." (Tune: 'Gift of Life', CGibson)     17 HoS
Come celebrate the gift of life:
creation’s journey from the star
whose first great flaring forth of light
responded to God’s word of power.
Enable us, O God, to see
your living word is in us still;
this vibrant possibility
within our human lives fulfil.

Come celebrate the gift of love,
potential in each human soul,
revealed by Jesus as he strove
to heal our world and make us whole.
Enable us, O God, to choose
beyond the inborn needs of self;
in loving, be prepared to lose
our boundaries, and find new life.

Come celebrate the gift of power:
the flow of God within each soul,
which calls us in this present hour
to see creation as a whole.
Enable us, O God, to know
your life is present in all things;
and may our lives, within that flow,
reflect the joy creation sings. (Margaret Bond)

CELEBRATING

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

The Presentation
May all givers be blessed because we need to be generous
in order to be whole.

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? 
(jke)

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 joy and in sorrow
All  We do not walk alone  (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 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 that is appropriate

All  God, lover of us all, most holy one.
Help us to respond to you.
To create what you want for us here on earth.

Give us today enough for our needs.
Forgive our weak and deliberate offences,
just as we must forgive others
when they hurt us.

Help us to resist evil and to do what is good.
For we are yours, endowed with your power
to make our world whole.
Amen. (LWinkley/cw)

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Celebrate all Human Beauty”  (Tune: Nettleton’, 87 87D. 392 TiS)
Celebrate all human beauty
caught in colour, form and face,
celebrate the human body
made to move with speed and grace.
Celebrate the human spirit
leaping high to reach a goal,
celebrate our Maker's wisdom
crafting body, mind and soul.

Celebrate our own endeavours
to achieve and to arrive
over handicap and hurdle
when against ourselves we strive,
iron will and summoned courage
sweeping obstacles aside,
sweating out our inner conflict
to acquit ourselves with pride.

Parting Words
Let us take on this week’s life with renewed hope and imagination...
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
And now may the blessings of life be upon us,
and upon this congregation.

May the memories we gather here give us hope for the future.
May the love that we share
bring strength and joy to our hearts,
and the peace of this community be with us
until we meet again.
All  Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont.) Celebrate all Human Beauty”  (Tune: Nettleton’, 87 87D. 392 TiS)
Sport and faith both speak a language
universal, sensed and known;
where there's shared exhilaration,
new community is grown,
friendship found in common focus,
effort turned to common goal,
honouring our maker's purpose,
health in body, mind and soul. 
(Shirley Erena Murray/sco)
The people sit after the hymn

'This Week' at (NN)
Notices
Birthdays and anniversaries
Significant events
Journey candles

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:
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and Songs for all Churches. 1993. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust. 
(EOA) Bell, J. &  G. Maule. 1990. Enemy of Apathy. Wild Goose Songs Vol. 2. Revised edition. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Binkley, C. G. & J. M. McKeel. 2001. 
Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An International Curriculum on the Life and Teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press.
Duncan, G. (ed). 1998.
Seeing Christ in Others. An Anthology for Worship, Mediation and Mission. Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Falla, T. C. (ed). 1994 . Be Our Freedom Lord. Responsive Prayers and Readings for Contemporary Worship. Revised edition. Adelaide. Open Books Publications.
Holy Bible. NRSV. 1989. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers.
(HoS) Hope is our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. 2009. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Inclusive Readings. Year C. 2006. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. 2001.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Macnab, F. 2006. 
A Fine Wind is Blowing: Psalms of the Bible in words that Blow you away. Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
Macnab, F. 1996.
Hope: The Deeper Longings of the Mind and Heart. Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. 2009. 
Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto. G Stuart.
Vosper, G. 2008. 
With or Without God. Why the way we Live is More Important than What we Believe. Toronto. HarperCollins.
Ward, H.; J. Wild & J Morley. (ed). 1995. Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK.

Web sites/Other:
Murfin, Kowalski. UUA Worship Web. Boston. http://uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/index.php

rexae74@gmail.com