Easter7C.8.5.2016

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

8 May 2016. Easter 7C. (White).
Mother's Day

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

Each of us arrives from all the ordinariness of living.

We come to centre ourselves once more.
To touch again that place inside.
And to choose again our better selves. 
(MYoung)

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

The blessing of God
The shalom of God
The light of God
be among us and between us, now and always.

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
Gather Us In…”  (Tune: ‘Gather Us In’)    474 (v1-3) TiS
(Or all four verses if using separate 2nd hymn)

Here in this place, new light is streaming
now is the darkness, vanished away,

See, in this space, our fears and our dreamings
brought here to you in the light of this day.
Refrain:
Gather us in the lost and forsaken
Gather us in the blind and the lame;
Call unto us now, and we shall awaken
We shall arise at the sound of our name.

We are the young, our lives are a myst’ry,
we are the old who yearn for your face,
We have been sung through out all of hist’ry,
called to be light to the whole human race.
Refrain:
Gather us in the rich and the haughty
Gather us in the proud and the strong;
Give us a heart so meek and so lowly
Give us the courage to enter the song.

Here we will take the wine and the water,
here we will take the bread of new birth
Here you shall call your sons and your daughters
call us anew to be salt for the earth.
Refrain:
Give to us drink the wine of compassion
Give to us eat the bread that is you;
Nourish us well, and teach us to fashion
Lives that are holy and hearts that are true.

Remain standing

Opening Sentences
We come to re-weave the unraveling fabric of community
To re-connect once more with the larger human family
All
To find once more that place of calm.
To remind ourselves that we belong.
And to remember what it is we belong to.

We come –
All To centre ourselves,
to open ourselves,
to remember ourselves.
And to celebrate the life we share together.
  (MYoung)

Act of Awareness
How beautiful is this day.
How crisp and clean the air.
How clear the sky.
How full of life the teeming earth.

And we are alive! (SCampbell)

OR

We pray:
We come to be opened by visions that can enlist us
in larger causes and more caring actions.

We come to hear stories that might take us
into a deeper kind of integrity, and reconnect us
with our better selves.

So may the warmer fullness that we seek
fill our hearts, our minds and our souls.
May it be so.

Hymn Gather Us In…”  (Tune: ‘Gather us in’)    474 (v4) TiS
Not in the dark of buildings confining,
not in some heaven, light years away,
but here in this place, the new light is shining,
now is the Kingdom now is the day.
Refrain:
Gather us in and hold us forever
Gather us in and make us your own;
Gather us in all peoples together,
Fire of love in our flesh and our bone.
  (Marty Haugen)

OR

"Ascension Hymn" (Tune: 'Kingsfold', 86 86D. 262 TiS)
All heaven sighed as joy was shed, 
and love would soon be free, 
not bound to just one place and time, 
yes, this would be the key:
beyond the cross, beyond the grave, 
the Christ would rise again, 
not just to life to greet his friends, 
but on beyond earth’s pain.

Disciples waited on that hill 
as Christ was lost to sight, 
then time would test their faithfulness, 
there was no shining light;
for as they gazed, and as they looked, 
it did not seem so clear; 
some doubted what they saw and felt,
and some were filled with fear.

Uncertainty would rule their lives, 
within this hollow time. 
The world went on insensible 
to faith’s forgotten rhyme.
Then in a room behind locked doors, 
the Spirit came with fire, 
and each disciple found a voice 
to challenge and inspire.  
(
© Andrew Pratt 30/3/2010)
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 religious tradition.

Early Christianity:
Acts 16:25-34
(NRSV)

• In Macedonia, Paul commands a spirit to leave a slave girl, who was a fortune-teller.
Her owners not happy at the loss of income, has Paul and Silas arrested, beaten, and put in jail…

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God,
and the prisoners were listening to them.

Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent
that the foundations of the prison were shaken;
and immediately all the doors were opened
and everyone’s chains were unfastened.

When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open,
he drew his sword and was about to kill himself,
since he supposed the prisoners had escaped.

But Paul shouted in a loud voice,
“Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.”

The jailer called for lights, and rushing in,
he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.
Then he brought them outside and said,
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved,
you and your household.”

They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds;
then he and his entire family were baptized without delay.

He brought them up into the house and set food before them;
and he and his entire household rejoiced
that he had become a believer in God.

From the World around us:
“Easter Week1”
Gretta Vosper. We All Breathe.

How beautiful the energy of those ignited by a dream!
How filled with song and dance and passion!
They set their sights on points of possibility
and work, play, inch, leap, edge, sing themselves,
(and often those about them)
toward their far-off summits,
ever-over-brimming
with the joy of what will be.

May we catch the awe
that sweeps up their hearts
and casts them toward a more beautiful tomorrow!

May we fill our arms with all their world will need!

And may we hear,
even in our darkest moments,
the hope they beat into our hearts with their passage.
May it draw us into harmony,
filling us with a passion all our own.
This we breathe into being,
and those who dwell in possibility...

Traditional Gospel:
John 17:20-21, 25-26 
(NRSV)

Jesus is at prayer:
”I ask not only on behalf of these,
but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.

“As you, Father, are in me and I am in you,
may they also be in us, so that the world may believe
that you have sent me…

“The world does not know you, but I know you;
and these know that you have sent me.
I made your name known to them, and I will make it known,
so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

Litany for Women on Mother’s Day
v1  Today is Mother’s Day.

v2  The story of the modern celebration of Mother’s Day goes back to
Ann Marie Jarvis who, in America, founded a group called
‘Mother’s Day Work Clubs’ after their civil war.
The group worked to bring healing to all.

In the spirit of that care and healing let us share this special Litany for Women…

v3 Mother God, Spirit-filled Woman, Source of all living things
All  it was you who breathed life into us.
In your likeness we were formed.
The darkness of your sacred womb
enwraps us in the silence of the Holy One.

v4 Your creative energy pulsates through every fibre of my being.
Wm  You birth forth life within me.
Your abundant breasts continue to sustain my very being.
You carry me close to your heart and sing your song of love to me.

v5 You hold me close to your heart and sing your song of love to me.
Wm  You hold me close to you and comfort me.
Cradled in your arms, I am at peace.

v6 You bathe me with life-giving waters of your giftedness.
Wm  Reflected in your eyes is my dignity as woman.
You nurture me and guide me to proclaim
my sacredness as woman of God.

v2 You call me forth to image your compassion, love and joy to a broken world.
Mn  Together we dance life’s passionate song.  (MKemen/w)

OR

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

All  We worship and adore God,
source, essence, and aim of all things,
spirit that enlivens all beings.

We follow the way of Jesus, who found God in himself
and shared a way for others to find God in themselves.
He was born through love,
He lived for love,
He suffered for love,
He died for love,
But love never dies.

We submit ourselves to the leadings of the love that is God,
that we may be compassionate to all beings,
that we may live and serve in community with others,
that we may ask for and offer forgiveness,
that we may praise and enjoy God forever.
(Jim Burklo/b&b)

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take some time 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.

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
You Do Not Need To Come…(Tune: ‘Ominpresence’, 86 86 10 10)       4 TMT
You do not need to come, O God,
you are already here.
You do not need to go, O God,
you are already there.
It is our minds that need to be aware;
it is our hearts, O God, that need to care.

We are your hands and feet, O God,
the presence all can see.
We are the body and the blood,
the Christ in you and me.
It is our minds that need to be aware;
it is our hearts, O God, that need to care.

You do not need to go, O God,
you are already there.
You do not need to come, O God,
you are already here.
It is our minds that need to be aware;
it is our hearts, O God, that need to care. (William L Wallace)

CELEBRATING

The Offerings
Let us bring our offerings…
From each according to ability.
All  
To each, according to need (David Galston/q).

The Presentation
May these gifts be used to further the way of love, hope, and justice
in this city and our world.

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 caring for one another
All May we be untiring.
In sheltering one another
All  May we be strong.

In holding one another
All May we be tender (Gretta Vosper/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.  
(Lala Winkley/cw)

OR

Litany:The Larger Circle”
We clasp the hands of those that go before us,
All  And the hands of those who come after us.
We enter the little circle of each other’s arms
All   And the larger circle of lovers,
whose hands are joined in a dance,

And the larger circle of all creatures,
All  Passing in and out of life,
who move also in a dance,

To music so subtle and vast that
no ear hears it
All  Except in fragments.  (Wendell Berry/slt)

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
All of Humanity”  (Tune: ‘Russia’, 11 10 11 10, 89 AHB)   101 (v1-3) SNS
All of humanity, now and for ever
Glows with the beauty we're favoured to share;
Each race and culture, unknown or familiar,
Brings with it treasures both complex and rare.

Stories and liturgies, sacred and holy
Tell of the cosmos, of virtue and life;
Some tell of evil, of hell and of glory;
Guiding the faithful through conflict and strife.

Peace and equality, freedom and justice,
We would confirm these as values we hold.
Sharing our faiths with discretion and with frankness;
Open to learn so new truth may unfold.
Remain standing

OR

Colour and Fragrance(Tune: ‘O Barvy Vune’, 55, 55, 11, 11)   78 (v1-3) SLT
Colour and fragrance, magical rhythm,
sweet changing music will change us with them:
life within life, inner light gently glowing,
surely you seem to be God’ vision growing.

O starry heavens, worlds of all splendour,
suns without number, new life engender:
wheel in a wheel with the light brightly glowing,
moving in harmony, God’s vision growing.

Handful of pebbles, high mountain passes,
depths of the ocean, dew on the grasses:
great things and small, with the light gently glowing,
word of the wordless song, God’s vision growing.
Remain standing

A Celebration of Women
As we prepare to leave let us continue to celebrate the role of women
in this place
in our biblical tradition,
and in society…

The colour purple is a significant colour in our lives.
Purple for the dignity of women…
of biblical women,
of women in history.
(Either a candle or coloured ribbon/cloth can be used. Text to be altered accordingly)...

We stand up for and commit ourselves to the dignity of women.
All We light this purple candle for the dignity of women.
The purple candle is lit/purple ribbon put in place

The colour white is another significant colour in our lives.
White for the singlemindedness of women…
of contemporary women in the community, in parliament, in the church.

We stand up for and commit ourselves to the singlemindedness of women.
All We light this white candle for the singlemindedness of women.
The white candle is lit...

The colour green is a third significant colour.
Green for the hope of the women's movement…
biblical women and women in history who dared to stand tall.

We stand up for and commit ourselves to the hope of the women’s movement.
All We light this green candle for the hope of all women. (Coralie Ling/cmw. Adapted)
The green candle is lit...

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

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
The courage of the early morning
’s dawning,
the strength of the sprawling hills,
and the peace of the evening’s ending,
enter our hearts this day, and ever more.
All
Amen.  May it be so.

Hymn (Cont.) All of Humanity”  (Tune: ‘Russia’, 11 10 11 10, 89 AHB)   101 (v4-5) SNS
We must repudiate all of the conflicts
Caused in the name of some pious intent;
Let us denounce and dismiss hateful edicts;
Let love abound. For the past we repent!

With deep sincerity, honour all goodness,
Kindness and courage, all mercy and grace,
Patience and loyalty, both love and forgiveness;
Found in each culture and found in each race.  (George Stuart)
The people sit after the hymn

OR

Colour and Fragrance(Tune: ‘O Barvy Vune’, 55, 55, 11, 11) 78 (v4-6) SLT
Delicate beings, lace-wing and sparrow
in field and forest, clover and yarrow:
life greeting life with the light brightly glowing,
none are too small to be God’s vision growing.

In human eyes burns the soul of living,
illumines altars of loving giving:
greeting, we meet, seeing light brightly glowing,
share in a greater life, God’s vision growing.

Shaper of all things, to us you’ve given
our chance to keep here on earth, a heaven.
Moving in harmony, light gently glowing,
may we be, gratefully, God’s vision growing. (Norbert F Capek/Grace Ulp)
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:
Ahlers, J; R Broughton, & C. Koch. (ed) (No date). Womenpsalms. Winona. St Mary’s Press/Christian Brothers Publications.
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.
Ellem, E. W. (ed).
The Church Made Whole. National conference on Women in the Uniting Church in Australia. Melbourne. David Lovell, 1990.
Holy Bible. NRSV. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
(SNS) Stuart, G.
Singing a New Song. Traditional hymn tunes with new century lyrics. Sydney. CPRT Sydney, 2006.
(SLT) Singing The Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
(TiS)
Together in Song. Australian Hymn Book 2. Sydney. HarperCollins Religious, 1999.
Vosper, G. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane: The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.
Vosper, G. We All Breathe. Poems and Prayers. Toronto. PostPurgical Resources, 2012.
(TMT) Wallace, W. L. The Mystery Telling. Hymns and songs for the new millennium. Kingston. Selah Publishing, 2001.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed).
Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK, 1995.

Web sites/Other:
Young, Campbell, Cheatham. UUA Worship Web. Boston. http://uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/index.php
Andrew Pratt. "Ascension Hymn". Hymns and words blog site. UK.
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. <http://www.questcentre.ca/>

rexae74@gmail.com