Lent3C.24.3.2019

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail:  rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au
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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
24 March 2019. Lent 3. (Purple).
Celebrating Community in the Tradition of the Meal

Worth Pondering
“Eternity has nothing to do with the hereafter. This is it.
If you don't get it here, you won't get it anywhere”
(Joseph Campbell)


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, 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

Come into this gathering.
May this time together be creative
Of a new outreach of trust and confidence
That life was meant to be lived at the full tide.
  Bob Holmes

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the 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  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
"Whispers Rippled Through The Cosmos(Tune: 'Nettleton', 87.87)
Whispers rippled through the cosmos,
pan-galactic breath of God;
marking paths of whirling planets,
stellar strings where stars first trod.

Major chords of constellations
ringing on the staves of time,
soften to a sombre minor,
echoes of an ancient rhyme.

God is in this wild confusion
bringing order, giving grace;
author, ground of all creation,
fount of being, Lord of space.

All transcendent power and glory
now distilled, condensed, confined;
shaped while shaping rich resources
cradling waiting humankind
  © Andrew Pratt
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 solidarity with those who struggle
All  
We're glad to come together in this Lenten season.  (Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

Act of Awareness
I will nurse this autumn carefully,
treat its brittleness gently,
smooth its crumbling edges, its weeping afternoons

I will nurture this autumn knowing
it is myself
in a pure and golden form,
and that childlike
soft words will be brought bubbling up
to be recorded in the pattern of the leaves
and the low fog coming across the bay.  (Edited. Wendy Smyer You/lp)

(Silence)

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  "Past and Present"   (Tune: 'Cwm Rhondda 87.87.47)             28 TMT
Past and present, with our dreaming,
Join to make us what we are;
Ancient wisdom, ancient follies
Shape the way we love and care:
Give us reverence,
Give us wisdom,
From the past for life today,
From the past for life today.

Make us mindful of the present -
Ev'ry force, each strength, each flaw;
Free us from those selfish motives
Which consume us more and more:
Give us vision,
Give us courage,
For this modern age of change,
For this modern age of change.

We must face the future's challenge
To create a better earth
Hand in hand with all who labour
Dream and suffer for its birth:
For through sharing
And through caring
We shall build community,
We shall build community.
  William L Wallace
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

Meditation
"Resting in the Grace of the World"
Wendell Berry.
Earth Prayers/102.

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief.  I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light.  For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Centering Silence
Let us take a moment to settle into the silence of this place.
(The charka is sounded)

Silence

May our silence grow profound
as we are embraced by the spirit
of our highest hopes.  BHamilton-Holway
(The charka is sounded)

Silence

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our Religious Tradition
Some readings from our broad religious tradition shall now be offered.
Our reader is (NN).

The World Around Us:
"Grounded Faith"
By Henry Nelson Wieman. Reprinted in Outstretched Wings of the Spirit/17.

Faith is essential to religion.
A faith is a transforming and activating belief.  It is belief becoming dynamic, functioning in life...

What we call our faith is the total, integrated structure of all of our beliefs,
made coherent and rational, and constantly tested out
and either reaffirmed or corrected by continuing life experience.
It becomes the foundation for our personal morale and morals
as we confront the challenges of daily life.

Faith is our character.

Traditional Gospel:
Luke 13:1-9 (Inclusive Text)

Some people arrived and told Jesus about Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with that their sacrifices.

At this Jesus said to them,
‘Do you suppose these Galileans who suffered like that
were greater sinners than any other Galileans?

‘They were not, I tell you.
No, but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.

‘Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell and killed them?
Do you suppose that they were more guilty
than all the other people living in Jerusalem?

‘They were not, I tell you.
No, but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.’

Jesus told this parable:
‘A vinedresser had a fig tree planted in his vineyard
and came looking for fruit on it but found none.

‘The vinedresser the said to the one who looked after the vineyard,
Look here, for three years now I have been coming
to look for fruit on this fig tree, and finding none.

Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?

‘The vineyard worker replied,
Leave it one more year and give me time to dig around it and manure it:
it may bear fruit next year;
if not, then you can cut it down.’

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

Beckoning Christ,
you call us out of our comfortable ghetto of 'us' and 'them'
to risk discipleship without walls.
All  You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where God is worshipped above all other.

Wn You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where prayer is offered day and night.
All  
You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where we can share what we are with others who love you.

Mn You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where each person has something to give to the whole.
All  You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where compassion and respect shape missionary endeavour.

Keep on beckoning us out of our safe havens
into your rich fellowship of
challenge and reconciliation, faith and hope.  (
Kate Compston/sco)

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.

May a heart of peace rest with you.
All And also with you.  (David Galston/q)
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Celebrate the Cosmic Birthing(Tune: ‘Hymn to Joy’)
Celebrate the cosmic birthing,
Flash of primal energy:
Swirling gases, densing matter
Stuff of galaxies to be.
Celebrate the life-force pulsing
through these 15 billion years,
Trillion, trillion stars emerging
From the cradle of the spheres.

Celebrate the white-heat furnace-
life evoking mother sun;
Celebrate her planet-offspring
Nine, in cosmic dance as one.
Celebrate her favoured daughter,
Earth, in cloak of fragile green;
Cragging rocks, and sounding ocean-
Surface-lashed, beneath serene.

Join the mystic dance of species,
Chaining, weaving, circling, one
Strong-competing, close depending,
Life swift ending, new begun.
Sing our senseful keen awareness-
Form and sound, scent, taste and hue.
High achieving, passing, transient-
Living, dying born anew.  (Ian Cairns)
The people sit

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:
Creation thrums with Being
and peals the Word - 'I am’.
All We sometimes remember
to whisper the antiphon, 'We are'
.
(VArnold/es)

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)

CELEBRATING

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY IN THE TRADITION OF THE MEAL
The Offering 
Let us bring our offerings as a symbol of our ministry
in this place and beyond.

The Presentation 
Open our eyes, our ears, our mouths.
Let us be doers of the word and not hearers only,
taking on those tasks set before us
with uncommon vision and
wholehearted expectation.
 (Francis Macnab/h)

Invitation
Friends we are about to share in the sacred story
and celebrate community together in a symbolic meal.

This time of the year each day grows a little shorter,
and, as each week passes, we move closer
to the winter equinox.

As you, O Autumn, take pleasure in your great bounty,
let us also take delight
in the abundance of the simple things in life
which are the true source of joy. (Edward Hays/ep)

Thanksgiving
In time beyond our dreaming Creativity God hovered over the water,
and was revealed in fire and storm and precious law.

Likewise, humanity in this creative likeness evolved on this earth,
along with earth’s minerals and waters, flowers and fruits,
living creatures of grace and beauty!
All  
We offer this our thanks and praise.

In the 40 days of Lent,
we also remember the love made manifest in the
birth, life, and stories of Jesus of Nazareth.

In his healing acts and radical teachings
we recall the words he spoke
to call forth love, care and respect for one another.

And so, with Elizabeth who prophesied a birth,
Martha who longed for The Anointed One,
and James and John who sought to follow on the Way,
we join together, saying:
All  
Holy, holy, holy, vulnerable God,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
All  
Hosanna in the highest.

Bread and Wine
We remember…
Long ago, so our tradition says, Jesus took bread,
offered thanks for it, and broke it.
Bread broken

He handed it to his friends, and invited them to eat.

We remember…
Long ago, so our tradition also says, Jesus poured a cup of wine,
offered thanks for it, and gave it to his friends.
Wine poured out

Bread... the very stuff of life.