EasterC.27.3.2016

Revd Rex A E Hunt

International eMail:  rexae74@gmail.com

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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

27 March 2016. Easter Day C. (White).
Celebrating Belonging: Sacrament of Baptism
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion


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, cultural background or sexual orientation


GATHERING

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.

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Praise to God, the World’s Creator”  (Tune: 'Abbot's Leigh’, 87 87D, 153 TiS)
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.
  JBerry/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.
Amen.

Hymn Easter 2”   (Tune: ‘Omni Die’ 87 87, 101TiS)
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: THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
A Liturgy is available

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

When a Baby...”   (Tune: “Infant Holy”, 292 TiS)
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.

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

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.

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.  (D 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
. (GLStewart/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, 531 TiS)    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 concerns shared.

Focused Thoughts:
Sung response:
Flow’r of compassion
Bloom within, bloom within
Bloom within each heart.

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

Delicate fragrance,
Drift beyond, drift beyond
Drift beyond all boarders  (Nelson-Pallmeyer & Hesle/wsj). 

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 (GVosper/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
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

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: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
The Tradition of the Meal
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.

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

After Communion
Take with you the blessing of this sacrament.
Take with you the blessing of the Good Spirit into your daily life.
Take with you the blessing of care and compassion.
  (Adapt.F Macnab/fwb)

Baptismal Candle
A lighted candle is given

(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
Easter Song: Christ is Alive”    15 (v1-2) AA
Christ is alive, and the universe must celebrate,
and the stars and the suns shout on this Easter Day!
Christ is alive, and his family must celebrate
in a great alleluia,
a great alleluia
to praise the power that made the stone roll away.

Here is our hope: in the mystery of suffering
is the heartbeat of Love, Love that will not let go,
here is our hope, that in God we are not separate,
and we sing alleluia,
we sing alleluia
to praise the power that made the stone roll away.

Parting Words
The presentness of God reaches beyond this place...
The Community Candle is extinguished

And now may we go forth
in the certainty of faith,
in the knowledge of love,
and in the vision of hope.
All And in our going,
may we be blessed with all good things
on this day and forevermore.
  HBabcock

Blessing Words
May God the starmaker cradle and circle you.
May God the storyteller beckon and encourage you.
May God the life changer challenge you and cherish you.

May you walk in the light of God’s love and laughter
all the moments of your nights and days.
All  Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont.) "Easter Song: Christ is Alive” 15 (v3) AA
Christ Spirit, dance through the dullness of humanity
to the music of God, God who has set us free!
You are the pulse of the new creations energy;
with a great alleluia,
a great alleluia
we praise the power that made the stone roll away.  
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:
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and Songs for all Churches
. 1993. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Burgess, R. 2001. A Book of Blessings. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Inclusive Readings. Year C. 2006. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
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.
Macnab, F. 1996. Hope: The Deeper Longings of the Mind and Heart. Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
Morwood, M. 2003.
Praying a New Story. Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, J. & B. Hesle. 2005.  
Worship in the Spirit of Jesus. Theology, Liturgy, and Songs without Violence. Cleveland. The Pilgrim Press
Prewer, B. D. 1996.
More Australian Psalms. Adelaide. OpenBook Publishers.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. 2009. 
Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics.  Volume 2. Toronto. G Stuart.
Uniting in Worship. Leader’s Book. 1988. Melbourne. Uniting Church Press.
Vosper, G. 2008. 
With or Without God. Why the Way we Live is More Important than What we Believe. Toronto. HarperCollins.
Ward, H.; J. Wild & J Morley. (ed). 1995.
Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK.

Web sites/Other:
Wehlander, Babcock. UUA Worship Web. http://uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/index.php
Andrew Pratt "Easter2" and "Easter5". eMail listing. UK. Direct from the author.
Michael Morwood. Baptism ceremony. <http://www.greatnewstory.com>
Brian Wren. Stainer & Bell web site. <hymn.co.uk>

rexae74@gmail.com