EasterC.21.4.2019

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail:  rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au
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The Other Lectionary’ - a suggested ‘southern hemisphere’ Lectionary (with a few Resources added) offered in parallel to,
or even replacement of, 
the RCL which is in standard use by many.


A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
21 April 2019. Easter Day C. (White).

Celebrating Belonging in Baptism
Celebrating Community in the Tradition of the Meal

Worth Pondering
“Whatever conclusion one might end up with about Jesus,
it must be a possible Jesus and not an incredible one.
A possible Jesus is a Jesus situated in his historical circumstances
and who did things and said things that a real person
could have reasonably believed or done at that time”
(David Galston)


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 of the (NN) Nation, past and present,
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

Rich and Striking Visuals
          “The function of beauty… is to make us aware of a reality which is richer and deeper
          and more marvellous than anything we can dream or conceive.” (Henry N. Wieman)
          Artwork OR Floral/Symbols display (cloths, candles, stones, wood, leaves, flowers, earth, water) OR projection of Film/Slides 

Entry into the Celebration
The worship space has been changed since we left it on Good Friday morning.
The wooden cross is no longer present. All that remains is the outline of the cross made from the petals and leaves scattered by the women of the congregation...

The gong is sounded three times

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

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  They include these categories: 1. Bush (Brush) Fire, 2. Tsunami, Storms/Cyclones, 3. Earthquakes, 4. War/Remembrance, 5. Caregiving, 6. God as Mother, 7. Human Trafficking, 8. Disabled, 9. Migration/Refugees, 10. Terrorist Attacks, 11. Science/Cosmology
(iii) PLUS some specific resources on Terrorism 
HERE

Hymn  The people stand as they are able, to sing
Praise to God, the World’s Creator”  (Tune: 'Abbot's Leigh’, 87.87D)
Praise to God, the world’s creator,
Source of life and growth and breath,
Cradling in her arms her children,
Holding them from birth to death.
In our bodies, in our living,
Strength and truth of all we do,
God is present, working with us,
Making us creators too.

Praise to God our saving Wisdom,
Meeting us with love and grace,
Helping us to grow in wholeness,
Giving freedom, room, and space.
In our hurting, in our risking,
In the thoughts we dare not name,
God is present, growing with us,
Healing us from sin and shame.

Praise to God, the Spirit in us,
Prompting hidden depths of prayer,
Firing us to long for justice,
Reaching out with tender care.
In our searching, in our loving,
In our struggles to be free,
God is present, living in us,
Pointing us to what shall be.
  Jan Berry/cw
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
v2  We live at mystery's edge
watching for a startling luminescence
or a word to guide us.
All  
In fragile occurrence the Holy One presents oneself
and we must pause...

Daily, there are glimmers,
reflections of a seamless mercy
revealed in common intricacies.
All  These circles of grace spill out around us
and announce that we are part of this mystery. 
KWehlander/adapted

v1  Today we celebrate life over death.
Today we celebrate the flame that lives again.
We will light the fire...
Community Candle is lit

aware that the power of resurrection
has forever changed who we are,
and given us the courage
to boldly proclaim a living faith.

Today we celebrate:
new life,
new joy,
new possibilities.
All  We give thanks for the Spirit of Life
visible in Jesus,
visible in us,
visible in people in all walks of life.  
(Michael Morwood/pns)

Act of Awareness
Marvel at life!
Strive to know its ways!
Seek wisdom and truth,
the gateways
to life’s mysteries!

Wondrous indeed is life! (Adapt. Rabbi Rami M Shapiro/ep)

OR

We pray:
God of terror and joy, you arise to shake the earth.
Open our graves and give us back the past;
so that all that has been buried
may be freed and forgiven,
and our lives may return to you.
May it be so.

Hymn Easter 2”   (Tune: ‘Omni Die’, 87.87)
Stripped of leaves trees tell the story:
naked possibility.
Colours, rampant, rage before me
reaching for eternity.

Now the cross is grazed and gory,
petals fall around its head.
Christ has suffered death, not glory,
buried in that stone cold bed.

No more cross, the tomb is empty,
leaves and petals mark the place;
place of hope and new creation,
barren earth, the ground of grace.  (
© Andrew Pratt 11/2005)

OR

Easter 5(Tune: ‘Dijon’, 87.87)
In our end is our beginning,
cosmic riddle of our birth,
why the Alpha and Omega
came in flesh and came to birth.

Death will no more signal ending,
love survives beyond this life,
not diminished or extinguished
by  our common human strife.

When the tears of life have ended,
when the rivers all run dry,
love exists, will flow forever
on beyond each dying sigh.

Jesus, Alpha and Omega,
Word before all worlds began,
ground of confident existence,
infinite beyond life’s span.  (© Andrew Pratt 25/3/2013)
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

CELEBRATING BELONGING IN BAPTISM (Optional)
A Liturgy is available

Baptism Hymn
Now let (NN) receive the gift of the congregation
as we stand and sing the Baptism Hymn...

When a Baby...”   (Tune: 'Infant Holy', 447D.444477)
When a baby in your arms
grips your little finger tight,
but cannot tell you why,
or say your name,
remember Christmas,
a shining star above,
and tiny fingers,
clutching from the cradle,
holding you with love,
holding you with eternal love.

When a baby in your arms
gives a yelling, bawling cry,
then wails a nameless need
you can't ignore,
remember Christmas,
a shining star above,
and hear the crying,
crying from the cradle,
calling you with love,
calling you with eternal love.

When a baby in your arms
gazes deep into your eyes,
and you're the only face
that baby knows,
remember Christmas,
a shining star above,
and eyes a-gazing,
gazing from the cradle,
meeting you with love,
meeting you with eternal love.  (Adapt.Brian Wren)
Parents and God parents return to their seats

Recollection of Baptism
In the very early Christianities,
when the people gathered to worship on Easter morning,
they would also be reminded of their baptism
as they witnessed the baptism of others.

This morning we, 20 centuries later, follow in that tradition...

v2  Come, Sage of Wisdom,
refresh the lives of all your faithful people.
As water is sprinkled over the congregation...

Always remember you are baptised and be thankful.

EXPLORING

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

From our World Around us:
"Easter Morning"
By Bruce Prewer. More Australian Psalms/151.

Black light transforms the clouds in the east,
the swamphens wake
at this new dawning.

Against the sky sacred ibis wend
like angel forms,
to hopeless mourning.

The sun comes up and the magpies sing.
God is alive
in everything this Easter morning.

OR

"Did The Sun Come Up This Morning?”
By Victoria Safford. UUA Worship Web

The dead shall rise again.
Have you seen the trees? Have you seen the maple buds?
The magnolias, swelling?
Poplars, the first lacy, pale spray across the shoulder of the hills?
The forsythia (or as one child I know calls it, the three-sythia, the two-sythia),
and those three small, flowering, perfect crabapple trees in the park,
strong little trees begging children to climb them and get lost for a while in their magical, pink canopies?

Did you smell the rain this week, and the muddy, ready earth receiving it?
Did you smell the musty, lusty, mouldy pile of leaves all thawed now,
and underneath, the moist and living earthworms, wide awake?

Is it safe, I wonder, to presume that we have all seen the dead resurrected?
Can we presume, just quietly among us, this basic fact?
Can we admit, however carefully at first, however foolish it may sound,
that once or twice in our lives or perhaps over and over and tumbling over,
we have seen events miraculous? 

Choose the words you will, whatever words you need.
If 'miracle' cloys, try 'unexpected.' 'Surprising.' 'Unanticipated.' 'Lucky.’ ‘
That which has been given us, that second chance, that second wind,
by the grace of God knows what.’
The dead shall rise again.

We know, because we’ve seen it…
Did the sun come up this morning, no thanks to us and all for us,
and did the earth awake again, or did it not?

We will testify to resurrection.

Traditional Gospel:
Luke 24:1-12 (Inclusive Text)

On the first day of the week, at the first sign of dawn,
the women went to the tomb with the spices they had prepared.

They found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb,
but on entering discovered that the body of Jesus was not there.

As they stood there not knowing what to think,
two figures in brilliant clothes suddenly appered at their side.
Terrified, the women lowered their eyes.

But the two of them said,
“Why look among the dead for someone who is alive?
He is not here, he is risen.

"Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee:
that the Promised One had to be handed over
into the power of sinners and be crucified,
and rise again on the third day.”

And they remembered Jesus' words.

When the women returned from the tomb
they told all this to the Eleven and to all the others.

The women were Mary of Magdala, Joanna,
and Mary the mother of James.

The other women with them also told the apostles,
but this story of theirs seemed pure nonsense,
and they did not believe them.

Peter, however, went running to the tomb.
He bent down and saw the binding cloths, but nothing else.
He then went home, amazed at what had happened.

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 our faith.
The people stand

The creativity of God fills the universe.
v2  Like rain falling upon the earth
and sun warming the rocks,
All  the heart of God flows over us all
in renewing grace and love.

The generosity of Christ fills our lives.
v2  With company on the journey
and mercy in understanding,
All  the Bread, the Way and the Truth
set us free to live again.

The faithfulness of the Spirit fills our future.
v2  It surrounds us with a cloud of hope
and lifts our tired feet once more.
All  In courage born of costly life,
it calls and sings and dances on.

We are the people of freedom.
v2 We lay down our past in God’s forgiveness.
All We will walk on into God’s new day.  (Dorothy McRae-McMahon/eoj)

OR

If in Northern Hemisphere...

A Spring Litany
v1 
Spring is the celebration of the return
of vibrant colour to our world.
v2
 With each budding leaf and every blade of grass
the earth is enlivened again.
All
 The rhythm of the change of seasons
beats with the hope of new beginnings
.

v1  The world is awash in hues of green,
the colour of expectancy.
v2
 With water and sunshine it will soon host
rainbows and wildflowers.
All
 The rhythm of the changing heart
beats hope at the break of a new day
.

v1  The prism of creation casts its light on humanity.
v2
 Like all living things, we are varied shades
of a diverse and wonderful spectrum.
All
 The rhythm of the changing mind
beats love at the sight of difference
.

v1  May the hands I hold today,
emblems of the infinite palate, be warmed
by the common blood that courses through eternal veins.
All 
The rhythm of the changing life
beats praise for our common embrace
.  (George L Stewart/adapt/www.uusf.org)

Sharing 'The Peace'
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)              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)

Reflections and Prayers
Care Candle:
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Celebrations; Griefs and Concerns shared

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
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)

OR

Sung Response:
Flow’r of compassion
All  Bloom within, bloom within
Bloom within each heart
.

Blossom of love, you
All  Draw us close, draw us close
Draw us close together
.

Delicate fragrance,
All  Drift beyond, drift beyond
Drift beyond all boarders.
 (Bret Hesle/wsj) 

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 Abba/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.   (Lala Winkley/cw)

OR

All  Ground of all being, we honour
the many names for our experience of the sacred.

May we build a community
faithful to the dream of heaven on earth.

May there be food for all who hunger this day.

May we be forgiven for the falseness of what we have done
as we forgive those who have been untrue to us.

May we not feel abandoned in hard times
but find strength to meet each moment.

For the light of life, the vitality of being
is within us and beyond us,
now and forever, Amen
.  (Nancy L Steeves/StSC.N-TL)

CELEBRATING

The Offering
Let us now present our offerings and gifts of bread and wine.

The Presentation
By our smallest actions,
we become part of a bigger world.

The smallest giving can be an expression
of the good spirit of generosity and caring.

Help us to carry through the doorway of each new day
this good spirit of generosity and caring.

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY IN THE TRADITION OF THE MEAL
The Tradition
Such an event as sharing bread and wine,
(and bread and fish,) was common in the time of Jesus.

Folk gathered for the sacred moment of the meal
when bread was broken and the cup blessed.

It reminded them of their story,
the way they believed their God had led them,
the hope that was given to them,
and the blessing they received.

We are told in our tradition:
Jesus took the bread and wine
and gave that additional blessing of faith for the future day.

The church through the generations
has embraced this event as a central sacrament of the Faith.
It was to be the substantial symbol of a life-enhancing presence,
giving the courage to bring a different spirit to the world.

This table sets before us the symbols of life.
All  We give thanks to God for our life
and the courage we are given to live it.

We are here given this sacrament to
enhance and enrich our life.
All  We will receive it with thanksgiving and faith.

Silence

Wherever we are, we are surrounded by the Good Presence.
All  May the Good Presence change our way of being in the world.
We pause in gratitude for our life
and the many gifts of life.
All  
Again and again, we want our life and our gratitude
to be good and generous.

(Pause)

Here in this sacred place, we are lifted into
the awesome mystery of life.
All  And we reach out to all that is good.

Here in this sacred place we give words
to our inner sense of gratitude and hope.
All  We pause in gratitude for all that has been given;
in hope for all that yet will be.

And so we take these gifts of bread and wine,
such ordinary things of life,
to lift us into the eternal mystery of God's
acceptance and grace.

We now give to this bread and wine
a special meaning and significance,
that they will bring to each one of us the renewed
awareness of the Presence of the Good Spirit of God;
and the renewed strengthening of our faith,
that the ways of Jesus will keep alive the courage
to be people of a New Way,
helping to build a better world.

Bread and Wine
As he took the bread, I take it.
As he blessed the bread, I bless it.
As he broke the bread, I break it.
Bread is broken

Let it be a symbol of the Presence:
a symbol of care and compassion
calling us to the highest spirit of care and compassion.

The bread is broken for us to take.
All  We will receive it in faith.

As he took the wine, I take it.
As he raised the cup, I raise it.
As he blessed the cup, I bless it.
Cup/wine is raised

Let it be a symbol of remembering.
And a symbol of healing and renewal.

The wine is here for us to take.
All  We will receive it in faith.

Silence

May the Good Spirit of God accept us and renew our faith
as we receive this sacrament.
All  This is our hope.

May the Good Spirit of God accept us and encourage us
to be carriers of goodwill.
All  This is our prayer.

May the Good Spirit of God accept us and give
new strength to all our living.
All  This is the blessing we seek.  
(Adapt.Francis Macnab/fwb)

Communion
Bread and Wine is served in four small circles around the worship space

Baptismal Candle  (Optional)
If there has been a Baptism a lighted candle is given
Parents gather at the front of the Gathering space

(NN), may this candle remind you
throughout your life, of Jesus,
who opened peoples’ minds and hearts
to see the ‘light’ of God’s presence within them.

(N) and (N) use this candle
to help you tell (NN) the story of his/her baptism,
as you light it each year to remember this day.
Parents return to their seats

SCATTERING

Hymn  The people stand as they are able, to sing