Easter3C.10.4.2016

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
10 April 2016. Easter 3C. (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, age, cultural background or sexual orientation


GATHERING

Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

Let there be joy in our coming together this morning.
Let there be truth heard in the words we speak and the songs we sing.

Let there be help and healing for our disharmony and despair.
Let there be silence for the voice within us and beyond us.
Let there be joy in our coming together.
  Carl Seaburg

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

For gathering today in this sacred space,
we light the flame. 

For the opportunity to be together as a community,
to remember the past,
to claim our future,
to be alive in our present,
we light the flame.  (Apt./DSorrells)

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
I Danced in the Morning…” 
(Tune: ‘Lord of the Dance’)   242 TiS
I danced I the morning when the world was begun,
and I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun;
and I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth,
at Bethlehem I had my birth:
Refrain:
Dance, then, wherever you may be;
I am the Lord of the dance, said he;
and I’ll lead you all where ever you may be,
and I’ll lead you all in the dance, said he.

I danced for the scribe and pharisee,
but they would not dance and they wouldn’t follow me.
I danced for the fishermen, for James and John,
they left with me and the dance went on:
Refrain:

I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame:
the holy people said it was a shame.
They whipped and they stripped and they hung me high,
and they left me there on a cross to die:
Refrain:

I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black;
it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back.
They buried my body and they thought I’d gone;
but I am the dance and I still go on:
Refrain:

They cut me down and I leap up high,
I am the life that’ll never, never die;
I’ll live in you as you live in me:
I am the Lord of the dance, said he: (SCarter)
Refrain:
Remain standing

OR

Easter 4(Tune: ‘Fulda’)
Was it the shaking ground that moved
the stone, that freed the resting Word,
that called the Christ to life again:
God's Spirit, breathing, moved and stirred?

Whatever cause, we may not know,
but Mary heard a calming voice,
that turned her life around again,
that gave her reason to rejoice.

The world still spinning, recollects
that God survived all human scorn;
that lives were changed for ever more
in meeting love alive, re-born.

This is the Voice that turns us round,
that calmly offers grace to cope;
that gives us strength to live again,
that gives us cause to sing our hope (© Andrew Pratt 1/4/2011).

Opening Sentences
Through this time of celebration,
we leave for a time the daily sequence of events,
to examine life in its eternal dimensions 
and consequences:
All  
asking questions about our values
our directions, our goals, and our relationships.

Let us spend this time in the presentness
of the Sacred One - God.
All  Praise be for this gathered community
in this sacred place, for all people.

Act of Awareness
We are part of all that sustains or destroys life.
Creation and destruction occur in continually unfolding ways.
And so may we open our ears to the continually unfolding Word.

Life speaks to us in new and vital and imperative ways.
With all the power we have been given,
let us be silent and open to listening…
for nourishment,
for comfort,
for challenge and new focus.  (St Stephen’s Project).

OR

We pray:
God, help us to listen to our inner spirits...
To the inner yearning to belong
to something greater than ourselves.

Help us to listen to our inner spirits
and find there the presence
of your good encouraging spirit. 
Francis Macnab
May it be so!

Hymn Morning has Broken”  (Tune: ‘Bunessan’, 55 54D)   156 TiS
Morning has broken
like the first morning;
blackbird has spoken
like the first bird.
Praise for the singing,
praise for the morning,
praise for them, springing
fresh from the word.

Sweet the rain’s new fall
sunlit from heaven,
like the first dewfall
on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness
of the wet garden,
sprung from completeness
where his feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight;
mine is the morning
born of the one light
Eden saw play.
Praise with elation,
praise every morning,
God’s recreation
of the new day. (EFarjeon)
The people sit after the hymn

OR

Holy Mystery, Holy Wisdom(Tune: ‘Austrian’, 87 87D)
Holy Mystery, Holy Wisdom
Wholly Love who guides our way,
Loving Presence, Source of Being,
Now transform us day by day.
Words of Scripture tell our stories,
Voices rise in gifts of song,
Calling us to loving action,
Faith-filled as we journey on.

We are partners in creation,
Bound by love to all around,
Seeking justice and compassion,
Sharing truths that we have found.
Spirit - Source of Inspiration,
Love - our song along the way,
Holy Mystery, Holy Wisdom –
Source of hope with each new day (© Gayle Simonson, 2005).

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

From our World Around us:
“Christian Toleration?”
By Sue Brown. Seeing Christ in Others/98.

Toleration is often
exalted as a virtue.
I am not so sure.

I know I do not yearn to be 'tolerated'.
Did the father barely tolerate the prodigal?
Does the father merely tolerate us all?

I tolerate, without much thought,
the motorway at dawn,
stale air in city streets,
siren and motor horn.

I tolerate an icy wind,
I tolerate the daily grind.
I tolerate the miscellany
of pulsating humankind

Do I tolerate my brothers and my sisters?
I know I do not long to be tolerated.
I long to be
loved,
understood,
welcomed.

Hebrew Scriptures:
Psalm 30
A contemporary paraphrasing by Francis Macnab. A Fine Wind is Blowing/14-15.

• The author of the Psalm finds himself 'in the pits". Yet he also feels God lifting him up…
‘Let me throw off the heavy blanket of depression’, he says.

When I really stop to think, I know I have a lot to thank God for.
There were times when I clearly needed help,
when people around me were being of no help at all.
I began to sink into the worst misery.
I kept asking: How can I get out of
this hell-hole?

Then I felt the listening God was hearing me.
I began to feel his presence
lifting me up;
and the things and the people against me
became less dominant in my thoughts…

After all, what is the good of my life,
if I am down in the pits of despair,
continually griping about this and groaning about that…?

Let me throw off the heavy blanket of my depressions,
and put on the lighter clothes of a buoyant spirit.

Set me free, O God, so that I can sing good songs every day.
Yes, everyday,
I want to be part of God's great-song!

Hymn  In solidarity with those for whom standing is not easy or possible, we will remain seated to sing
In the Bulb there is a Flower”  (Tune: “Maria’s Tune”, 87 87D, 420 TiS) 
In the bulb there is a flower;
in the seed, an apple tree;
in cocoons, a hidden promise;
butterflies with soon be free!
in the cold and snow of winter
there's a spring that waits to be,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

There's a song in every silence,
seeking word and melody.
there's a dawn in every darkness,
bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future,
what it holds, a mystery;
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning;
in our time, infinity;
in our doubt there is believing;
in our life, eternity.
In our death, a resurrection;
at the last, a victory,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.
  NAW Sleeth

Traditional Gospel:
John 21:1-17  (Inclusive Text)

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples.
It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this:
Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
the sons of Zebedee and two more of the disciples were together.

Simon Peter said, 'I'm going fishing.'
They replied, 'We'll come with you.'

They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.

It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore,
though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus.

Jesus called out, 'Have you caught anything, friends?'
And when they answered, 'No',
Jesus said, 'Throw the net out to starboard and you'll find something.'

So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish
they could not haul it in.

The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It is Jesus.'
At these words, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on,
wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water.

The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish;
they were only about a hundred yards from land.

As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there,
and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it.

Jesus said, 'Bring some of the fish you have just caught.'
Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore,
full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them;
and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken.

Jesus said to them, 'Come and have breakfast.'
None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, 'Who are you?

Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them,
and the same with the fish.

This was the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples
after rising from the dead.

After the meal Jesus said to Simon Peter,
'Do you love me more than these others do?'
Peter answered, 'Yes, you know I love you.'
Jesus said, 'Feed my lambs.'

A second time Jesus said, 'Simon, do you love me?'
Peter replied, 'Yes, you know I love you.'
Jesus said, 'Look after my sheep.'

Then said a third time, 'Simon, do you love me?'
Peter was upset that Jesus asked the third time, 'Do you love me?' and said,
'You know everything; you know that I love you.'
Jesus said, 'Feed my sheep… Follow me!'

(For those interested, as several have asked... You can purchase a copy of the Inclusive Texts/Readings from:
Inclusive Language Project
PO Box 1303
Toombul QLD 4012 Australia)

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

We experience the holiness of God
All in wonder of creation
in endless sky and sea;
in breathless beauty and quiet bush;
in acts of courage and silent heart.

We know Jesus as a gateway into God
All in gifts of healing  and liberations of life;
in recognitions of love and callings to serve;
in sufferings for others and glimpses of grace.

We live from God's Spirit
All in moments of faith,
in dreams beyond hoping
and in rhythms of new energy.

We name the God who is our centre.
All We claim the goodness that is ours in God.
We announce the truth that lies at the heart of the gospel.
We believe we are not alone in our struggle
to be the church.  (Adapt.D McRae-McMahon/eoj)

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
Dancing with God(Tune: ‘To God be the Glory’, 147 TiS)   23 SNS2
Our energy level is high when we start;
We quickly discover the dance in our heart;
For God is within and between and beyond;
With movement and rhythm we love to respond.
Come and try; don’t be shy;
We are given the chance
To be free; and with glee
To be part of the dance;
The rhythm of life has a wonderful beat;
God’s life is indwelling and deems all complete.

Some steps are familiar but some are quite new;
Some easy to learn and some harder to do;
Life’s beat is amazing; we truly are blest;
With God as our partner we dance at our best.
Come and try; don’t be shy;
We are given the chance
To be free; Come! Agree
To be part of the dance;
The rhythm of life is a rhythm so strong;
In God we keep dancing; in God we belong.

Sometime we’re exhausted, our eagerness gone;
We wish to slow down but the dance hastens on;
With God dwelling in us we dance the last mile;
In God we can finish and do it in style.
Come and try; don’t be shy;
We are given the chance
To be free; constantly
To be part of the dance;
This rhythm of life in the depths of our soul
Is God’s gracious gift; it declares we are whole. (George Stuart)

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

The Presentation
The landscape of life is filled with the nearness of God:
a daffodil in bloom,
a single green leaf,
the red and green flash of a parrot.

May we too be a people of adventure and life,
grace-filled companions, offering
courage and hope in ordinary places.

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:
May we have courage in uncertain times,
All Let it all happen.  No mood is final.
May we recognise new beginnings
in what seem to be endings,
All Let it all happen.  No feeling is final. (Lawton.3C Exchange)

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 (Optional)
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
It All Depends”  (Tune: Te Horo)   39 (v1-2) FFS
It all depends on where I'm going
if I reach my anywhere,
but this I'm surely, surely knowing,
that I'll never leave God's care;
it all depends on when I'm travelling,
maybe now or maybe then,
but the Son of God will lead me
through each where and why and when.

It all depends on how I'm choosing
for the life that is in me,
but I will never lose the hand of Christ,
the one who walks with me;
if I stumble or I falter
he will steady me once more,
for there is no darkest pathway 
that we cannot both explore.

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

This celebration need not cease.
All  It can echo in our lives, in our words,
in our deeds, in our moods, in our dreams.

Carry the spirit of this gathering with you wherever you may go.
Be a blessing in your going out and your coming in.
  GMcKeeman/Adapt

Words of Blessing
Walk well your journey in peace and in justice.
May you be wrapped in the shawl of God's loving.
May you be cherished.
May you be blessed… this day, and for ever.
All
Amen.

Hymn (Cont.) It All Depends”  (Tune: Te Horo)   39 (v3) FFS
It all depends on who comes with me 
if I break or if I bend, 
but this I'm surely, surely knowing, 
God will be there at the end - 
in the laughter and the sadness, 
in the pleasure or the pain, 
by my side and all about me 
God's own Spirit will remain. 
Colin Gibson
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:
Binkley, C. G. & J. M. McKeel. 2001.  Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An international curriculum on the life and teaching of JesusSeeing Christ in Others. An anthology for worship, mediation and mission. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press.
Duncan, G. (ed). 1998. . Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a new day. 2000. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Inclusive Readings. Year CIona Abbey Worship Book. 2012. Toombul. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. 2001. . Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Macnab, F. 2006. A Fine Wind is Blowing: Psalms of the Bible in words that blow you awayEchoes Of Our Journey. Liturgies of the People. Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
McRae-McMahon, D. 1993. . Melbourne. JBCE.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. 2009. 
Singing a New Song. Traditional hymn tunes with new century lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto. G Stuart.
(TiS) Together in Song. Australian Hymn Book 2. 1999. Sydney. HarperCollins Religious.
Vosper, G. 2008.  With or without God. Why the way we live is more important that what we believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed). 1995.
Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK.

Web sites/Other:
Sorrells, Seaburg, Sleeth, McKeeman. UUA Worship Web. Boston. http://uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/index.php
Gayle Simonson, "Holy Mystery...". One of several non-theistic resources found at: <http://www.ualberta.ca/ST.STEPHENS/resources>
Andrew Pratt. Easter 4".  Direct from the author.
"In the Bulb..." Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site: hymns.uk.com
Ian Lawton. C3Exchange, Spring Lake. MI. <http://www.c3exchange.org/ 

rexae74@gmail.com