Easter4C.17.4.2016

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
17 April 2016. Easter 4C. (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

Come into this place of worship!
This congregation is ready for you
to fill this sacred space,
to create its spirit,
to generate its warmth,
to kindle its light.

Let us then celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

Deep calls unto deep,
joy calls unto joy,
light calls unto light.
(GBMcKeeman)

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
"The Leaf Unfurling"  (Tune: ‘All Life is One’ 10 10 10 4)   7 SLT
The leaf unfurling in the April air,
the new-born child, the loving parents’ care;
these constant, common miracles we share:
Alleluia! Alleluia!

All life is one, a single branching tree,
all pain a part of human misery,
all happiness a gift to you and me:
Alleluia! Alleluia!

The self-same bells for joy and sorrow ring.
No one can know what the next hour will bring.
We cry, we laugh, we mourn, and still we sing:
Alleluia! Alleluia! (Don Cohen)

OR

Here All Belong” (Tune: ‘Here I am Lord’ (Dan Schutte. 658 TiS)
Truth be told, we’re not alone:
we have built ourselves a home;
built it large, and built it free –
love was our goal.
This, a home for anyone,
creed or custom, barring none.
This, a place where love can grow –
here all belong.
Refrain:
May we find here, what we’re seeking.
May we share the strength to carry on.
May the love here do the healing,
lift our hearts, and make us all as one.

Truth be told, we cannot be
whole without diversity.
many different voices raised
create the song.
Whether brown or black or white,
all together, we are light;
any-gendered, any-loved –
here all belong
Refrain:

Truth be told, when gathered here,
we can all our sorrows bear,
held in hearts made strong by love;
we shall not fail.
Aged wisdom, questing youth,
all connected, seeking truth,
altogether, each inspires –
here all belong.
Refrain:    © 2016 Gretta Vosper
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
In our gathering here together, let us:
open our minds to the challenge of reason,
open our hearts to the healing of love,
open our lives to the comfort of joy.
All
Astonished by the miracle of life,
grateful for the gift of fellowship,
confident in the power of living faith,

we are here gathered.  (LBates/adapted)

Act of Awareness
Silently a flower blooms.
In silence it falls away.

Yet here now, in this moment, at this place,
the world of the flower,
the whole of the world is blooming.

This is the talk of the flower,
the truth of the blossom:
the glory of eternal life is fully shining here (Adapt.ZShinayama/lp)

OR

We pray:
We give thanks for the opportunity we have
to worship in this sacred place this day.

May we be surrounded with a very real sense
of the presentness of the Source of our Living,
as we spend this time together.
May it be so.

Hymn
On a Cool and Autumn Dawn(Tune: ‘Te Ripeka’)  110 HoS
On a cool and autumn dawn,
as the sun awoke the eastern sky,
we decided you were such a risk,
we abandoned you to die –
on a cool and autumn dawn.

On a cool and autumn morn,
as the sun began to climb above,
we nailed you to a kauri beam,
as your wounded eyes spoke of love –
on a cool and autumn morn.

On a cool and autumn noon,
as the sun lit every watching face,
you forgave our cries of heartless hate
with compassion and with grace –
on a cool and autumn noon

On a cool and autumn day,
as the sun began its western slide,
‘It is finished!’ came your cry of hope,
confident of Eastertide –
on a cool and autumn day.

On a cool and autumn eve,
in the fading light when hope seemed lost,
in the tomb we laid your mortal bones,
waiting for God’s Pentecost –
on a cool and autumn eve (Bill Bennett)

OR

We Can Change the World” (Tune: ‘Jerusalem’)    68 SNS
How can we change the world we know?
How can creation safely grow?
What can we do to stem the flow
Of evil now and long ago?
We dream of pictures bold and bright,
Of children squealing with delight,
Of strong integrity for the right,
Of darkness conquered by the light.

How can we change the world to be
Where ev’ryone is safe and free?
How can we make society
A kind and just community?
We dream that fear will have no place;
When war will cease and leave no trace;
When all humanity, every race,
Will greet each other and embrace.

We can do more than only dream;
We can enhance love’s wondrous beam;
And when the torment is extreme
Be sources from which hope can stream.
We can refuse to bow to greed;
We can speak up for those who bleed;
We can, with sympathy, help to feed
The hungry ones and those in need.

In Christ we have the way laid bare;
Follow his calling, if we dare;
God’s love is costly, so beware
God’s claims can take us anywhere.
But in God’s love we can be strong;
And be triumphant over wrong;
And in our joy we sing a song,
For in God’s love we all belong (George Stuart).
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 broad Religious Tradition
Let us now listen to some stories from our broad religious tradition.

From our World Around us:
“Baptized by the Morning”
By Bruce Prewer.  Australian Prayers/104.

Risen Lord Jesus,
as the rising sun
baptizes trees and shrubs
in rippling light,
let me be baptized
by your resurrection light.

May I trust in you above all else,
hope in you above all other goals,
seek you in all things,
find you in every situation,
meet you among all people,
know you over everything -

And love you with adoration
beyond
beyond
beyond all telling.

Hebrew Scriptures:
Psalm 23
A contemporary paraphrasing by Francis Macnab. A Fine Wind is Blowing/14-15.

In his wanderings and his daily work, the psalmist turns to the imagery of a Shepherd caring for the sheep, calm waters, a cup overflowing.  Our task is to see how these images can be translated into images that will be meaningful for us, recognising the psalmist’s anxieties are also ours.

Generous Giver of all things:
in your presence my inner spirit is fully satisfied.
I know I share in the abundance of life.
I can lie down without fear.
I can sit beside the stillness of the river.
I find my soul is strengthened.

I know there are right paths.
My God will guide me to them.
I know I must face the shadows of life and meet my death.
I will do so with courage.

I know there is an unseen presence with me
that gives me comfort and strength.

Generous Giver
along with all the uncertainties and threats of life,
you provide me with good gifts.
When I have enough, you pour into my life something more.
Indeed: my cup overflows.

May I find and give goodness and kindness every day of my life.
Let my life be a constant expression of my desire
to reflect your good presence
wherever I am, wherever I go.
Wherever.
Forever!

Hymn  In solidarity with those for whom standing is not easy or possible, we will remain seated to sing
"Dear Mother God(Tune: ‘Intercessor,’ 11 10 11 10, 587 TiS)
Dear Mother God, your wings are warm around us,
We are enfolded in your love and care,
Safe in the dark, your heartbeat's pulse surround us,
You call to us, for you are always there.

You call to us, for we are in your image.
We wait on you, the nest is cold and bare -
High overhead your wingbeats call us onward,
Filled with your power, we ride the empty air.

Let not our freedom scorn the needs of others -
We climb the clouds until our strong heart sings -
May we enfold our sisters and our brothers,
Till all are strong, till all have eagles' wings.
  (JWootton/cw)

Traditional Gospel:
John 10: 22-24, 27-30  (Scholars Version/adapted)

It was the Festival of Lights in Jerusalem and it was wintertime.
Jesus was walking around in the temple area,
in Solomon's Colonnade.

Judeans surrounded him, asking
“How long are you going to keep us in suspense?
If you are the Anointed, just say so.”

Jesus replied…
"The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice;
I know them and they follow me.
I provide them with real life.

They will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me.

"The One who sent me, who gave them to me,
is greater than anyone, and no one can steal from the Holy One.

"The One who sent me, and I, are one.”

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

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

What a joyful celebration when we come together
as a community of people on the Way,
All a network of worshippers with common purpose,
a united walk towards the promised land.

Jesus goes ahead of us as the shepherd leads the sheep
All and we hear the song of the redeemed
as prisoners are released, the blind given sight,
the exploited and oppressed are given new hope
and the rainbow sign arcs above the pilgrims
who walk together to the city of peace.
  JJohansen-Berg/sco

Sharing 'The Peace'
We enter as strangers.  We leave as friends.
Let us greet one 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  "Great Lover Calling Us To Share"  (Tune: 'Galilee', 88 88. 402 TiS)
Great Lover, calling us to share
your joy in all created things
from atom-dance to eagles' wings,
we come and go, to praise and care.

Though sure of resurrection-grace,
we ache for all earth's troubled lands
and hold the planet in our hands,
a fragile, unprotected place.

Your questing Spirit longs to gain
no simple fishing-ground for souls,
but as life's story onward rolls,
world more joyful and humane.

As midwives who assist at birth,
we give our uttermost, yet grieve
lest folly, greed or hate should leave
a spoiled, aborted, barren earth.

Self-giving Lover, since you dare
to join us in our history,
embracing all our destiny,
we'll come and go with praise and care. (Brian Wren)

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:
Including four-part sung:"We shall be peace" (Words & music: Larry Dittberner)  Page: 214. Worship in the Spirit of Jesus.

We shall be peace.
We shall live in peace.
Take it to the whole world around.
We shall be peace

Listening Response:
May our thoughts be filled with transformation,
All May our words reflect the yearnings of our hearts.
And may the spirit that binds within us as we gather

All Hallow each and every passing moment
we know here together
(Adapt.GVosper/ab).

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)

CELEBRATING

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION, OR THE JESUS BANQUET
The Offering
Let us bring our offerings as a symbol of our ministry 
in this place and beyond, and our gifts of bread and wine

Presentation

Welcome to this banqueting table.
Enjoy the hospitality
All  All human beings are equal.
All life is sacred.

We give thanks for the gifts of the earth,
for its love, and its creativity...

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...
All The earth and all that is in it
gives witness to the spirit of life.

The Invitation

Here today, through bread and wine,
we renew our unity with one another,

and with all those who have gone before us in this place.

Here today, through bread and wine,
we renew our communion with the earth

and our inter-wovenness with the broken ones of the world.

Here today, in this season of transition
as the leaves continue 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.

The Story

We give thanks for the life of Jesus, our sage,
and the memory of his loving kindness.


He taught that compassion is the heart of God.
He practised equality in the simple act of table fellowship.

When he blessed bread, he used his traditional Jewish prayers, saying:
All Blessed is the Holy One of Israel,
sovereign of all that is who brings forth

the bread from the ground.

And when he blessed wine, he said:
All Blessed is the Holy One of Israel,
sovereign of all that is who brings forth

grape from the vine.

We share in this act of friendship with millions of people
around the world
 and with all faithful people of the past.

With them and in celebration of our community we say:
All Gifts to share and sustaining memory

Bring people in hope together.
The banquet's joy and celebration

Mark the presence of light.

Bread and Wine

To gather around this table,
to break bread freely and to share wine openly,
is to bring justice to life.

True acts of sharing help us
to be like the human Jesus, who taught:
All Be compassionate as God is compassionate.

And who said:
All Give and there will be gifts given to you.

May the bread we break speak of love.
May the wine we pour speak of compassion.
May our commitment to peace bear witness

to the heart of this community.

Communion

As a community we share bread and wine
to acknowledge the bond of our common humanity.
This is bread for our journey and wine for our life
.
Distribution of bread and wine, in continuous line or small scattered groups around the worship space

After Communion

May we be a people who unite our words
with our deeds. (David Galston/q)

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Where the Light of Easter Day(Tune: ‘Crusader’, 78 44 77)   58 (v1-3) TEL
Where the light of Easter Day
shines through our life, then faith can say,
Christ is living,
Christ is moving,
Christ is changing all the world.
Here is God's good kingdom!

Where the yeast of love will rise,
bubbling with God's new enterprise,
Christ is living,
Christ is moving,
Christ is working through the world.
Here is God's good kingdom!

Where a child can grow in trust,
where there is joy that powers are just,
Christ is living,
Christ is moving,
Christ will colour all the world.
Here is God's good kingdom!

Parting Words
Time has now come for us to leave this sacred place.
As we do, may we embrace the challenges
of our lives and our world...
The Community Candle is extinguished

Remembering that the universe is much larger
than our ability to comprehend,
All let us go from this time together with the resolve
to allow wonder - that sense of what is sacred -
to find space to open up our minds
and illumine our lives.
  MLeaming

Words of Blessing
And now may the rhythms of our coming together,
the melodies of our worship,
and the harmonies of our farewells,
make musical our living,
soothing our spirits
and uplifting our souls,
This day and into the beckoning future
(RSGilbert)
All
Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont.) Where the Light of Easter Day(Tune: ‘Crusader’, 78 44 77)    58 (v4-5) TEL
Where the harvests ripen in peace,
where all the sounds of gunfire cease,
Christ is living,
Christ is moving,
Christ is healing in the world.
Here is God's good kingdom!

Where the Spirit's flame bums bright,
where there is health and truth and light,
Christ is living
Christ is moving,
Christ will resurrect the world.
Here is God's good kingdom!  (Shirley Erena Murray)
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 Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press.
Duncan, G. (ed). 1998.
Seeing Christ in Others. An anthology for Worship, Mediation and Mission. Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Funk, R. W. & R. W. Hoover. 1993. The Five Gospels. The search for the authentic words of Jesus. New York. MacMillan Press.

(HoS) Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.
Iona Community. 2001.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
McRae-McMahon, D. 1993. 
Echoes of our Journey. Liturgies of the people. Melbourne. JBCE.
Macnab, F. 2006.
A Fine Wind is Blowing: Psalms of the Bible in words that blow you away. Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
(TEL) Murray, S. E. 2008. Touch the Earth Lightly. New hymns written between 2003 & 2008. Carol Stream. Hope Publishing.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, J. & B. Hesle. 2005. Worship in the Spirit of Jesus. Theology, Liturgy, and Songs without ViolenceCleveland. The Pilgrim Press.
Prewer, B. D. 1983. 
Australian Prayers.  Adelaide: OpenBook Publishers.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon. 1996.
Life Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Blessings, and Affirmations to Celebrate the Human Journey. New York: HarperCollins. 
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. 1993. Boston. UUA.
(SNS) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Sydney. CPRT Sydney, 2006.
Vosper, G. 2009/2010. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane: The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed). 1995.
Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK.

Web sites/Other:
McKeeman, Gilbert. UUA Worship Web. Boston. http://uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/index.php
Brian Wren. "Great Lover..." Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site: hymns.uk.com
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. <http://www.questcentre.ca/>
Gretta Vosper. 
‘Here All Belong’.  grettavosper.ca

rexae74@gmail.com