Lent4C.6.3.2016

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
6 March 2016. Lent 4. (Purple).


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

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is struck three times

As we gather together on this day, at this time, in this place
may we recognise and affirm:
the pieces of possibility,
the bits of good, we bring,
allowing our individual gifts
to weave a patchwork of celebration and justice.

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
A Community Candle is lit

(Note: A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE)

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"God Of All Time"  (Tune: Infinite)    49 (1-2) AA
God of all time,
all seasons of our living,
source of our spark,
protector of our flame,
blazing before our birth,
beyond our dying,
God of all time,
we come to sing your name.

Here in this place
where others have been building,
we come to claim
the legacy of faith,
take, in our turn
the telling of your story,
and though we tremble,
speak your hope, your truth. Shirley Erena Murray
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 resistance to those who dominate
All  
We're glad to come together in this Lenten season(Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

Act of Awareness
For all that is our life we offer thanks and praise.
For all life is a gift which we are called to use,
to build the store of common good.

May we know once again that we are not isolated beings
but connected, in mystery and miracle,
to the universe,
to this community, and
to each other.

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.  (Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

Hymn  "When Love is Taught in Parables" (Tune: 'McKee', 86 86. 459 (i) TiS)
When love is taught is parables,
and hope in history,
we thank you, God, for trusting us
with Jesus' memory.

When broken people speak their need
and pray to be made whole,
we thank you, God, for Christ, who heals
our body, mind, and soul.

When hearts are lifted, wine is poured,
and common bread is blessed,
we thank you, God, that in this meal
we share in heaven's feast.

When Christians claim the Spirit's power,
and faith, now fed, can grow,
we thank you, God, and go in peace,
to share the peace we know.  
© Elizabeth J Smith

OR

"The Way Ahead"  (Tune: 87 87)
When life juggles with our learning,
with the things we thought secure,
then it seems the artist’s palette
spins and faith becomes obscure.

In the wash of different colours, 
as we seek for shape and form, 
others paint their faith by numbers 
forcing God to fit some norm.

But when life has torn the canvas, 
when the numbers twist and slip; 
then we need to find an image 
that will help our hope to grip:

holding us, when we're past holding,
grounding when we're insecure,
till we find a faith, not drifting,
still dynamic, free, yet sure. © Andrew Pratt 28/5/2010
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

Meditation
"Seeing the Rainbow in our Faces"
Rabbi Arthur Waskow
. Life Prayers/105.

We are the generation that stands between the fires:
behind us the flame and smoke
that rose from Auschwitz and from Hiroshima;
before us the nightmare of a Flood of Fire,
the flame and smoke that consume all Earth.

It is our task to make from fire not an all-consuming blaze
but the light in which we see each other fully.

All of us different,
all of us bearing One Spark.

We light these fires to see more clearly
that the Earth and all who live as part of it
are not for burning.

We light these fires to see more clearly
the rainbow in our many-colored faces.

Blessed is the One within the many.
Blessed are the Many who make one.

Centering Silence
In the silence which we now claim, let us be gentle with ourselves.

For a few moments, let us release ourselves
from a world that is too noisy, too busy, too demanding.
For a few moments, let us release ourselves
into the calm, still world that waits to receive us…

where the quiet is broken only by sounds
of our own making.
(The charka is sounded)

Silence

Within this welcoming quiet, let us befriend ourselves.
Let us rest in the gentleness of this moment.
  BCheatham/adapted

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Reading from our Religious Tradition
A reading from our religious tradition shall now be offered.

Traditional Gospel:
(i) Luke 15:1-3, 12-24 32
(Inclusive Text)

The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking
the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say…
So he spoke this parable:

A man had two sons.
The younger said to his father,
‘Father, let me have a share of the estate that would come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.

A few days later the younger son got together
everything he had and left for a distant country
where he squandered his money on a life of loose living.

When he had spent it all, that country experienced
a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch,
so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants
who put him on his farm to feed the pigs.

And he would willingly have filled his belly
with the husks the pigs were eating,
but no one offered him anything.

Then he came to his senses and said,
‘How many of my father’s paid servants have more food than they want,
and here I am dying of hunger!

‘I will leave this place and go to my father and say:
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as one of your paid servants.

So he left the place and went back to his father.

While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity.
He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly.

Then the son said,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’

But the father said to his servants,
‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

‘Bring the calf we have been fattening and kill it;
we are going to have a feast, a celebration, because
this son of mine was dead and has come back to life,
he was lost and is found!’

And they began to celebrate...

Hymn  Great God of All Creation”  (Tune: ‘King Lynn’ 76 76D. 249 TiS)
Great God of all creation,
bright as the morning sun,
our dawning praise is rising,
our daily work begun.
A quiet blade is growing,
up from the rich, dark earth,
the life that once was hidden
is springing into birth.

The land is always changing,
it bears our human mark,
idyllic scenes are hiding
a life that's hard and stark.
A lack of understanding
of all we do and share,
obscures the deprivation
that's hardly hidden there.

We work within the compass
that nature will allow,
we follow through the seasons,
we harrow, seed or plough.
O holy one of heaven,
as stewards, give us grace,
to care for your creation,
to value country space.  © Andrew Pratt

OR

Spirit of Life(Tune: ‘Spirit of Life’ 8 12 8 12 8 10) 123 SLT
Spirit of Life, come unto me.
Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion.
Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;
Move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.
Roots hold me close; wings set me free;
Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me. (CMcDade)

(ii)  Luke 15:25- 32 (Inclusive Text)
Now the elder son was out in the fields,
and on his way back, as he drew near the house,
he could hear music and dancing.

Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about.
‘Your brother has come’, replied the servant,
‘and your father has killed the calf we had fattened,
because he has got him back safe and sound.’

He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father
came out to plead with him, but he answered his father,
‘Look, all these years I have slaved for you,
and never once disobeyed your orders,
yet you never offered me so much as a kid
for me to celebrate with my friends.

‘But, for this son of yours, when he comes back
after swallowing up your property – on loose living - you kill the calf we had been fattening!’

The father said,
‘My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours.

But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother here was dead and has come to life;
he was lost and is found.’

Contemporary Exploration HERE and HERE and HERE

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 a God
All  who lives and speaks in sunsets,
in love-wrapped gifts, and fleeting butterflies.

We celebrate a Christ
All  who honoured our humanness,
who climbed trees, skinned knees;
who laughed and cried,
loved and wept, bled and died.

We celebrate a Spirit,
All  who mystically joins us to people everywhere,
and incorporates us into Christ.

We celebrate a church,
All  seeking, however imperfectly,
to act justly, love mercy,
and walk humbly with our God.  (Adapt.DMcRae-McMahon/eoj)

OR

Litany for the Soil and the Harvest (Optional and if appropriate)
Creativity God, may we learn to care for this earth
and be good stewards of all that is in it.
All
 May our hands be open to cherish this gift.

How precious is the soil time made:
All 
It is rich and fertile, a single seed
will bring forth a hundred seeds.

How beautiful is the soil time has made:
All
 Frail seeds blown by gentle winds
become garlands of colour
flowering in crevice and cranny.

How mysterious is the soil time has made:
All 
Its deep brings forth minerals
which bring energy and ornament to our lives
.

How fruitful is the soil time has made:
All
 It brings forth crops of grain and wood,
fruits and vegetables, roots and berries.

May the land and all who live on it, be blessed.
All
 May it bring forth goodness to nourish and renew
the whole community who shares it.

Transfigure this earth:
All
 May your kingdom come on it.
Transfigure this earth:
All
 May flowers bloom on it.
Transfigure this earth:
All
 May fruit and vegetables and nuts ripen on it.
Transfigure this earth:
All
 May people and animals be friends on it.
Transfigure this earth:
All
 May peace reign on it. (Unknown/Adapted)

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.
May a heart of peace rest with you. (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
God of Unexplored Tomorrows”  (Tune: ‘Marching’, 87 87. 165 TiS) 27 FFS
God of unexplored tomorrows,
of today and yesterday,
God of rock and flowing river,
be our refuge, be our way.

Guardian rock above, before us,
strong foundation where we build,
landmark through the haze of doubting,
shelter where our fears are stilled,

Be the cleansing, quenching water,
irrigate, disturb and move,
stir us from our easy shallows,
current of refreshing love.

God of rock and flowing river
now and ever with us stand,
to transform our land of promise
into each one's promised land.  Beverley Jones
The people sit

The Offering
Let us bring our offerings as symbols of our ministry
in this place and beyond.

The Presentation
Let our gratitude for life be expressed in our generosity.
Let our faith be expressed in good causes.
Let our belief in the future find full expression
in our daily attitude of mind. 
(FMacnab/fwb)

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
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 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)

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
The Bible – The Canberra Affirmation(Tune: ‘Regent Square’, 87 87 47 extend. 431 TiS)  29 (v1-2) SNS2
We receive the Hebrew Scriptures
And the Christian Scriptures too
As collections, human writings
Rich in mem'ry and review;
These describe attempts, responding
To the 'sacred', sensed as true.

Indispensable, this Bible
Is part of our heritage,
In tradition, pers'nal journeys
It finds us at every stage;
Reading, list'ning and debating,
Finding wisdom for each age.

Parting Words
Let us take on this week’s life with renewed hope and imagination
The Community Candle is extinguished

As the spirit teaches inwardly,
may we involve ourselves in the grander issues of life:
All those issues which make a compelling difference,
which create the good life for all humanity.  RHolmes/rhw

Words of Blessing
And may the holy mystery of God be found along the road.
The wonder of the costly love of Jesus embrace you.
And the Spirit bless and keep you, always.
All  Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont.) The Bible – The Canberra Affirmation” (Tune: ‘Regent Square’, 87 87 47 extend. 431 TiS)  29 (v3-4) SNS2
Yet we claim the right to question;
Take responsibility
To interpret texts and stories,
Searching each quite critically;
Then empowered with life's schooling
Wrest its wisdom honestly.

We accept that other sources –
Stories, poems, many a song,
And imagination pictures
Of our life, both weak and strong,
Join the process of our searching
For the 'sacred'; all belong.
 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 the moment 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.
Binkley, C. G. & J. M. McKeel. 2001. Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An International Curriculum on the Life and Teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. 2000. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Holmes, R. H. 1972. The Bob Holmes Worship Materials. Vol 1.  Little Falls. Self published.
Inclusive Readings. Year C. 2006. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
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.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, J. & B. Hesle. 2005. Worship in the Spirit of Jesus. Theology, Liturgy, and Songs without Violence. Cleveland. The Pilgrin Press.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon. 1996. Life Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Blessings, and Affirmations to Celebrate the Human Journey. New York. HarperCollins.
(SLT) Singing The Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. 2009.  Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto. George Stuart.
Vosper, G. 2008. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Toronto. HarperCollins.

Web sites/Other:
"The Way Ahead" and "Great God...". Andrew Pratt. UK. eMail hymn service originally direct from the author.
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. <http://www.questcentre.ca/>

rexae74@gmail.com