Revd Rex A E Hunt
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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
24 April 2016. Easter 5C. (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) People 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
Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times
In the Spirit of God who shares divinity with us,
In the Spirit of God who shares humanity with us,
In the Spirit of God who unsettles and inspires us…
Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.
Lighting of Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit
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 Universe in God” (Tune: “Praise My Soul”, 87 87 87. 179 TiS) 13 SNS
All creation sings a story
Of great splendours to declare.
When we contemplate its beauty
We are called forth into prayer.
We, enchanted, stand in silence;
God discovered everywhere.
When we stumble on new knowledge,
When new insights help us grow,
We are quick to re-discover
Just how much we do not know.
But the Universe smiles gently,
As our theories come and go.
Outer space and inner being
Both have secrets they conceal.
Galaxies so grimly awesome,
Deep emotions that we feel –
All in God are judged as sacred;
It is God they all reveal.
Ageless mysteries still excite us;
Time and space we must explore.
God the 'Presence' and 'Surrounding’,
God the ever wondrous ‘More’
Is not found by science labours,
But in praise when we adore. George Stuart
Be in love with life
and so become friends and partners of God.
All Now is the time to live a new life
in balance with Life and with the Earth.
Act of Awareness
Marvel at life!
Strive to know its ways!
Seek wisdom and truth,
to life’s mysteries!
Wondrous indeed is life! (Adapt. Rabbi Rami M Shapiro/ep)
Spirit of Life, we gather grateful for
the companionship of hearts and minds
seeking to speak the truth in love.
We gather grateful for our heritage, for the women and men before us
whose prophetic words and deeds make possible our dreams and our insight.
And we gather grateful for the gift of life itself,
mindful that to respect life means both to celebrate what life is
and to insist on what it can become. (MS Milner)
May it be so.
Hymn "All-Present, All-Visible, Source of All Life" (Tune: ‘Immortal, Invisible’)
All-present, all-visible, Source of all life,
Within and around us, through joy and through strife.
Most Sacred, Eternal, You move on the earth,
You beckon and call forth new life and new birth.
Enlivened, extravagant, Sower of seeds,
Abundant, abounding, Your mercy exceeds.
Unhindered, unbridled, you shine forth your grace,
That we may do likewise, revealing Your face.
You care for Creation, O Mother of all,
Great mountains, clear waters, and flowers so small.
The earth is Your temple, for all life to share,
So help us be stewards of healing and care.
Transcendent, uncharted, and still close at hand,
Encompassing people from near and far lands.
Within each new moment, throughout life and death,
Your praises are sung out from all that has breath! (SKlosterboer/p&f)
The people sit after the hymn
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
Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Let us now listen to some stories from our broad religious tradition.
The World Around Us:
"O Source of Life and Love”
By Bruce Southworth.
O Source of life and love,
Torn by desires to sit back
and to enjoy the beauty of the world —
to savor the blue skies and gentle days —
and by desires to recast the world and to fight its evils —
to save the world...
Torn by all those things that hurt and confuse
and make no sense amid beauty —
yet supported by all those things that heal and hold us —smiles, kisses, mountain vistas
and gentle waves, warm words...
We live in mystery.
We live torn apart at times -
so much glory -
so much pain.
We live in faith —
faith in ourselves and each other —
faith that we can create bonds of the spirit
that proclaim we are not alone.
We have much health within us;
we can live through the heartache to new life.
So, for the grace of the world
and all the tumble, too,
this day we give thanks.
John 13:31-35 (Inclusive Text)
When Judas had gone Jesus said:
'Now has the Promised One been glorified,
and in this One, God has been glorified.
'If God has been found glorified in me,
I will in turn be glorified in God's own glory and very soon.
'My friends, I shall not be with you much longer.
You will look for me, and, as I told the Jews,
where I am going, you cannot come.
‘I give you a new commandment:
love one another;
just as I have loved you,
you also must love one another.
'By this love you have for one another,
everyone will know that you are my disciples.’
Silence for Personal Reflection
A Celebration of Faith (Optional)
The people stand a they are able
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share a celebration of faith.
v1 The sky does it simply, naturally day by day by day
v2 the sun does it joyfully
like someone in love
like a runner on the starting-line
v1 the sky, the sun, they just can't help themselves
v2 no loud voices, no grand speeches
but everyone sees, and is happy with them.
All May we be like that,
so our faith is not in our words but in our lives,
not in what we say but in who we are,
passing on your love like an infectious laugh:
like the sun, like a starry night,
like a lamp on a stand,
light for life. (Adapt.KGalloway/pod)
(If celebrating Earth Day)
v1 Earth teach me!
Le Earth teach me patience
as the plants grow slowly
Ri Earth teach me hope
as the first shoots break through
Le Earth teach me courage
as the wild animals protect their young
Ri Earth teach me blessing
as the sun rises each day
Le Earth teach me loving kindness
as the birds migrate for winter
Ri Earth teach me freedom
as the birds who fly alone
Le Earth teach me celebration
as the apples come to full fruit
Ri Earth teach me yearning
as the rain nourishes the drought.
v1 Earth teach me. (Margie Abbott/sotc)
Sharing 'The Peace’
Let us take some time to celebrate each other.
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
“Blossoms” (Tune: ‘Distress’, LM) 87 SSCL
One night my walking found a bush,
Its green all calicoes with bloom;
The air about the bush was hush
With sensuous velvets of perfume.
The blossoms, dream-white in the moon,
Drugged me like fuming poppy-fire,
And started in my head a rune,
And cloyed my journey with desire.
Now I know fine why lotus fruit
Made Grecian sailors indiscreet,
Why drunken bees the flowers loot,
And what it is makes honey sweet. (Kenneth Patton)
(If remembering ANZAC Day)
“Honour the Dead”. Hymn for Anzac Day” (Tune: ‘Anzac’, 10 10 10 10) 61 HoS
Honour the dead, our country's fighting brave,
honour our children left in foreign grave,
where poppies blow and sorrow seeds her flowers,
honour the crosses marked forever ours.
Weep for the places ravaged by our blood,
weep for the young bones buried in the mud,
weep for the powers of violence and greed,
weep for the deals done in the name of need.
Honour the brave whose conscience was their call,
answered no bugle, went against the wall,
suffered in prisons of contempt and shame,
branded as cowards, in our country's name.
Weep for the waste of all that might have been,
weep for the cost that war has made obscene,
weep for the homes that ache with human pain,
weep that we ever sanction war again.
Honour the dream for which our nation bled,
held now in trust to justify the dead,
honour their vision on this solemn day:
peace known in freedom, peace the only way. (Shirley Erena Murray)
An editorial on ANZAC Day by Fr Andrew Hamilton...
Let us bring our offerings as a symbol of our ministry
in this place and beyond.
We give these gifts as an act of celebration.
And we celebrate our own new life, and the worldwide proclamation
of the good news to all people, everywhere.
With the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat
"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
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Concerns shared.
As one heart is lifted
All May we share its celebration
As one heart is burdened
All May we share the pain it knows (Gretta Vosper/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: (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. (Lala Winkley/cw)
The sacred is everywhere,
At the heart of everything
That was, is, or to be.
All We may besmirch it at times, and
May be denied or corrupted for a time.
The scriptures aren’t the final word.
Let the churches dissimulate,
the synagogues sneer,
The mosques rant and rave,
The temples decree;
All It isn’t what one says
But in what one does
That we discover where the sacred is
And is marked by peace and love. (Robert Halsey/vv)
Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
“God's Dearest Work of Art”
God's dearest work of art
we long have called the heart,
the depth within from which begin
the prayers that we impart.
A heart whose thought exceed
our reason and our need,
and open us to fuller life
beyond our wants and greed.
In manner bold or meek,
if from the heart we speak
we speak to God, we reach to God,
for God is whom we seek.
And when our heart lies bare,
no matter when or where,
or how the words are first addressed,
our speaking is a prayer.
Let us take on this week’s life
with renewed hope and imagination…
The Community Candle is extinguished
After the words, a quiet.
After the songs, a silence.
After the crowd
only the memory recalls the gathering.
All Peace and justice have need of us
after the words, the music, and the gathering.
God grant you the depth for dedication to justice.
All God grant us the will
to be apostles of peace. (Adapted. Max Coots)
Words of Blessing
The blessing of the God of Sarah and Hagar, as of Abraham…
the blessing of the Son, born of the woman Mary…
the blessing of the Holy Spirit who broods over us as a mother, her children,
be with you all. (LWilson/cw )
All Amen. May it be so.
Hymn (Cont.) “God's Dearest Work of Art”
To so disclose the heart
is then the crucial part.
The very wish to speak like this
becomes the way to start.
And when, touched by love's fire,
to love we then aspire,
we know al that we need to know:
the heart lives through desire. (© William Flanders, 2004)
The people sit after the hymn
'This Week' at (NN)
Birthdays and anniversaries
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:
Abbott, M. Sparks of the Cosmos. Rituals for Seasonal Use. Unley: MediaCom Education, 2001.
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.
Galloway, K. (ed). The Pattern of Our Days. Liturgies and Resources for Worship. Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 1996.
Halsey, R. Voices from the Void. Singapore. Trafford Publishing, 2012.
(HoS) Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.
Inclusive Readings. Year C. Toombul: Inclusive Language Project, 2012.
Iona Community. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
(SSCL) Patton, K. Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. Boston. Beacon Press, 1967.
(SNS) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional hymn tunes with new century lyrics. Sydney. CPRT Sydney, 2006.
Vosper, G. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed). Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK, 1995.
Southworth, Milner, Coots. UUA Worship Web. Boston. http://uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/index.php
William Flanders. 'Skeptic's hymns". web site.
"All Present..." S. Klosterboer. Process & Faith. http://processandfaith.org/