Lent2C.17.3.2019

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail:  rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au
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A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
17 March 2019.  Lent 2. (Purple).

Worth Pondering
“If we dream alone, it remains only a dream.
If we dream together, it is the beginning of reality”
(Dom Hilder Camarra)


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 (N) 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, age, cultural background or sexual orientation


GATHERING

Refreshment Station/Water Basins
Pottery basins are set on stands near the entrance to the Gathering space. 
Attendees are invited to dip their hands in the cool water in the basins as they arrive. 
Or to rinse each other’s hands. 
That we may relax, be refreshed, and prepare for this time together.

(Note: A small sign is placed above the basin explaining that as they dip their hands in the water, they are invited to relax and try to mindfully set aside or release for a time anything that might be preventing them from being fully present—each traveller rinsing the “dust from the road”).

OR

(A suggestion of other words)
We come together from our separate lives,
each of us bringing our concerns, our preoccupations,
our hopes, and our dreams.

We are not yet fully present.
The traffic, the last-minute cooking, the final details still cling to us.
Our bodies hold the rush of the past few hours.

It is now time to let go of these pressures and really arrive…   

When you are ready, repeat silently to yourself: ‘Hineini’ or ‘Here I am’.
Hineini is used in the Torah to signify being present
in body, mind, and spirit.

It means settling into where we are and simply being “here”. (Adapted/Nan Fink Gene)

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 

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is struck three times

It is God, in the dawning,
in the renewal,
in the arrival,
in the new day.
The whole earth is full of God's glory.

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
A 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  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
Forty Days and Forty Night”  (Tune: ‘Intercessor’, 11.10.11.10)             28 MTH
Wild wilderness, pathetic desolation,
as Jesus walked, then rested for the night,
for forty days his strength was tried and tested,
for forty days he sifted wrong and right.

He woke to hunger tangled in his being,
what miracle might turn these stones to bread?
But God within the centre of his spirit
was food enough to keep his body fed.

His faith was such that it could move a mountain
and God could save him from the greatest fall.
But faith like this need not be tried or tested;
the love of God will never slip or stall.

He climbed the mountain, saw the world in splendour,
then thought of ruling all his eyes could see;
yet power like this was not the thing he needed -
devoid of wealth he’d set the people free.

Beyond temptation love would live incarnate,
his human flesh would laugh and cry and weep,
in Christ God’s love and grace would not diminish,
dynamic Love would never die nor sleep.  (Andrew Pratt. © Copyright 2015 Stainer & Bell Ltd)

OR

"God is Constant Pursuing Love" (Tune: ‘Hyfrydol’, 87.87D)               14 SNS
As we worship with thanksgiving;
Sense God's presence in each one;
Feel the pulse of wholesome living,
Yes! the vict'ry can be won.
Cautiously we seek God's kingdom;
We approach God's open door;
Prized and precious we are welcome.
Peace in God we need, no more.

God is love and love gives freedom;
Freedom from all fear and guilt.
God is love and love will blossom;
Broken lives can be rebuilt.
Punishment for past wrongdoing
In God's dealings has no place.
Love is constant, keeps pursuing;
We are bound in God's embrace.

God is love and love is gentle;
Love can keep no scores of wrong.
God is love and love is central
When discipleship is strong.
If the kind and good and tender
Are to happen here today;
It will issue from surrender
Of our lives to Jesus' way. 
George Stuart
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
In hope, in longing
All  
We're glad to come together.
In trust, in community
All  
We're glad to come together.
In many moods, in many shapes and sizes
All  
We're glad to come together.
In peace, in joy
All  
We're glad to come together in this Lenten season(Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

Act of Awareness
May our time together renew our hope.
May the stories we share refresh our courage.
May the songs we sing lift our spirits.
May the words we speak invigorate us.
May the touch of hands, the sound of laughter,
the sight of faces new and familiar,
restore us in faith.  (CODame).

OR

We pray:
Remind us, O Spirit, that life is worth living.
Remind us, O Creator, that the struggle for justice is worth undertaking.
Remind us, O Mercy, that love and action are one.
May it be so.   (Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

Hymn  Here in the Busy City”      166 AOV2
Here in the busy city
now let the church be seen
where lesser gods are worshipped
in money and machine;
where news is but sensation,
the Good News hardly heard
now let the church take action
in living out the word!

In policies and planning
the church be there to speak
to moderate the powerful,
to argue for the weak:
where law must sit in judgement
and love is little known,
there at the crisis centre
the Christ concern be shown.

Where litter chokes the gutter
and people go to waste,
where joblessness is bitter
and living lost its taste
to underlevened people
be proof of rising yeast,
in lives devoid of flavour
be saltiness released!

Here in the busy city
God walks on every street
in generous or greedy,
the honest or the cheat,
and daily we must offer
the good that goes unpriced
with vigour and with vision
the lifestyle of the Christ. 
Shirley Erena Murray.
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.

CENTERING

Presentation of Water Basins
Words which acknowledge that the dust of many roads and many life experiences has been rinsed into the basins,
and calls for the contents of the basins and the gathering to be transformed, renewed, and more fully alive

The dust of many roads and may life experiences
has been washed in this refreshing water.
For this place is a sacred place.

May we
greet one another with open hearts and minds;
inspire each other to consider new questions
and seek deeper meaning;
and cultivate both wisdom and compassion.

And may this time together empower us to take some new steps
so all our living is transforming and the
yearning of our hearts become reality.
The bowls of water are removed from the Gathering space

OR

Meditation
"Our True Home"
Thich Nhat Hanh.
Life Prayers/367.

Our true home is in the present moment.
To live in the present moment is a miracle.
The miracle is not to walk on water.
The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment,
to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.

Peace is all around us -
in the world and in nature –
and within us -
in our bodies and our spirits.

Once we learn to touch this peace,
we will be healed and transformed.
It is not a matter of faith;
it is a matter of practice.

Centering Silence
Let us open ourselves to the sacred silence of this place.
(The charka is sounded)

Silence

In the silence may we be enfolded in the depths of love.
Renewed.
Refreshed.
Restored.

And may we be saturate with unending peace.
(The charka is sounded)

Silence

OR

Life is filled with deep mysteries.
Although we enter this place
to come to understand them more fully,
it is beyond these walls,
in the common things of the everyday,
that we most regularly meet them.
Starlight, wind, heatwaves off the pavement,
music in the silence of a smile.
(Silence)

So, while we are here,
let us open ourselves to the contemplation of mystery
but let us never confine it to this space.
May we delve into it here,
but find it everywhere.

As those who walk in mystery… (Gretta Vosper/hb)
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Some readings from our broad religious tradition shall now be offered.

From our Contemporary World:
"Torn Shirt"
By Linda Jones. Let Justice Roll Down/75.

Torn shirt, no shoes,
My brother.
Hungry, he touches my heart
and I ache to understand, to see,
to feel, to reach,
to share his life,
his laugh, his dance.
I even drink the coffee that he grows,
And smell the flowers that he picks,
My brother,
Lord,
May his hunger change my heart.

God of compassion,
I see him now,
Torn shirt, no shoes,
My brother.

Our lives meet in the global market,
woven together in the web of trade.

But he's hungry,
he touches my heart
And I ache to understand,
To share his life,
his laugh, his dance.

God of compassion and justice,
May such hunger change my heart.

Traditional Gospel:
Luke 13:31-35 (NRSV/adapted)

Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said,
‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you’.

‘Go and tell that fox for me’, Jesus said,
Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow,
and on the third day I finish my work.

Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day
I must be on my way, because it is impossible
for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
the city that kills the prophets and stones those
who are sent to it!

How often have I desired to gather your children together
as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,
and you were not willing!

See, your house is left to you.

And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say,
‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Holy God.’

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

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

We celebrate our God
All  who is not afraid of our minds
with all their questions,
and all their doubting searchings for the truth.

We celebrate our God
All  who knows and loves our deepest hearts,
whose compassion is always greater than ours
so that the measure of our kindness
is always less than that of God.

We celebrate our God
All  who engages with our souls,
linking us with the mystery of the universe,
the endlessness of eternity,
yet is as close to us in our beings
as a parent with a child.   
© Dorothy McRae-McMahon (plpm).

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment 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.

CELEBRATING

Hymn  The people stand as they are able, to sing
Imagination of the Heart”  (Tune: ’Imagination’, 88.86)         104 RP
Imagination of the heart
will rise on soaring wings of song;
will elevate our bland desires,
transcend our human wrong.

The spirit will inspire, define
the love that gives this passage worth,
the pain we gather on the way,
the trust of love's new birth.

We emulate that wild design,
the flaunting serenade to peace
that brought a saviour to his knees
that brought a thief release.

High-handed love, incarnate hope,
that freed our stony hearts by grace;
we offer praise, it is your due,
from all the human race.  (Andrew Pratt)
The people sit

The Offerings
Let us bring our offerings as a symbol of our ministry
in this place and beyond.

The Presentation
Compassionate God,
may we serve you night and day,
wherever we are, in all we do.

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?  (Binkley & McKeel/jke)

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:
Holy God, as you have touched us

All  May we now touch others

with your love in us.  (Adapt.Kate Galloway/cw)

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 appropriate

All  Eternal Spirit
Source of all that is and ever shall be,
Loving Parent in whom we discern heaven,
May knowledge of your holiness inspire all peoples.

And may your commonwealth of peace and freedom
flourish on earth, until all of humankind
heed your call to justice and compassion.

May we find the bread that we need for today.
And for the hurts we cause one another
may we be forgiven in the same measure
that we forgive.

In times of trial and temptation,
help us to be strong;
When life seems overwhelming,
Help us to endure;
And thus from the yoke of sin deliver us.

May you reign in the power of human love,
Now and forever.  
(Tom Hall)
Amen.

PARTING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Presentness – The Canberra Affirmation(Tune: ‘Ascalon’, 6.6.8D)       27(v1-3) SNS2
There is a 'presentness'
In our midst that we confess;
Sensed both within and beyond us all;
This 'presentness' can be
Transforming constantly
In each event and overall.

We give this 'presentness'
Many names which do express
The faith of those with religious creed;
'God', 'Sacred' and 'Divine'
'Love' and 'The one true vine'
Can prompt the caring act and deed.

We recognize these names
Are but only passing frames
For all the pictures we have been taught;
Each image we attempt
Can never be exempt
From all prevailing views and thought.

Parting Words
Let us embrace the wonder of this week
with expectation and imagination...
The Community Candle is extinguished

With faith to face our challenges,
With love that casts out fear,
With hope to trust tomorrow,
We accept this day as the gift it is:
a reason for rejoicing.
  Gary Kowalski

Words of Blessing
Go in courage and celebration!

And may all the faces of the Holy God
be turned towards you in love,
the earth itself speak to you of its creativity,
and who we are, each and all,
be honoured in our authentic journeys.
All Amen. May it be so!  (Dorothy McRae-McMahon/ith)

Hymn (Cont.)  “Presentness – The Canberra Affirmation(Tune: ‘Ascalon’, 6.6.8D)         27(v4) SNS2
To this grand mystery,
Our response can only be
Far and beyond what we understand;
For our ability
To search infinity
Can never match such high demand. George Stuart
The people sit after the hymn

'This Week' at (NN)
Notices
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Significant events
Journeys

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:
(AOV2) As One Voice2. Uniting God's People in Song. Manly Vale. Willow Connection.
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.
Duncan, G. (ed). Let Justice Roll Down. A Worship Resource for Lent, Holy Week & Easter. Cleveland. The Pilgrim Press, 2003.
Holy Bible. NRSV. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
McRae-McMahon, D. In This Hour. Liturgies for Pausing. Thornbury. DesBooks, 2001.
McRae-McMahon, D. Prayers for Life's Particular Moments. Thornbury. DesBooks, 2001.
Macnab, F. Hope: The Deeper Longings of the Mind and Heart. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 1996.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, J. & B. Hesle. Worship in the Spirit of Jesus. Theology, Liturgy, and Songs Without Violence. Cleveland. The Pilgrim Press, 2005.
(RP) Pratt, A. Reclaiming Praise. Hymns from a Spiritual Journey. London: Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2006.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon. Life Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Blessings, and Affirmations to Celebrate the Human Journey. New York. HarperCollins, 1996.