Lent5C.7.4.2019

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail:  rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au
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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
7 April 2019. Lent 5. (Purple).
An Autumn/Harvest Reflection with the Jesus Banquet

Worth Pondering
“The evolutionary epic is for me a religious world view” 
(Karl E Peters)

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

This day we shall let
the hills embrace us,
the trees comfort us,
and the sun enlighten our minds.

This day we shall let the sap rise within us
and dance the music of the Cosmos.
  Adapted.William L Wallace/wb

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
God Gives the Song”  (Tune: Kingsfold’, 86.86D)                              20(v1-3) TMT
God gives the song which we shall sing
Of freedom for us all
To leave behind our guilt and fears
And break our narrowness
Refrain:
Come share your tears of joy with me.
Dance like the Autumn leaves;
Life is for loving, joy and fun,
God is the lively one.

God gives the song which we shall sing
Of laughter for us all
Of twinkling eyes replacing frowns
And structures freed by clowns.
Refrain:

God gives the song which we shall sing
Of justice for us all
Of sharing with the hungry poor
What they should own by right.
Refrain:
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 memory of Jesus, who lived with compassion
All  
We're glad to come together in this Lenten season(Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

Act of Awareness
The symbols of life are all around us:
light and noise,
infants and adults,
birds and animals,
colours and movement,
words of goodwill, songs of joy.

May we learn to recognise and renew these symbols everyday.
And be inspired to nurture and share them generously.

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 (Cont) God Gives the Song”  (Tune: Kingsfold’, 86.86D)                    20(v4-6) TMT
God gives the song which we shall sing
Of peace for everyone
Of quietness amid the noise
And love in place of war
Refrain:
Come share your tears of joy with me.
Dance like the Autumn leaves;
Life is for loving, joy and fun,
God is the lively one.

God gives the song which we shall sing
Of loving for us all
Of fragile dreams and constant care,
Acceptance, warmth and hope.
Refrain:

God gives the song which we shall sing
Of oneness for us all
To bind together all that lives
So all shall know their worth.  (William L Wallace)
Refrain:
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
"The Gift"
By Zam Walker
. Timeless Prayers for Peace/114.

God grant us the gift of dreaming:
The dream of a world enjoying its extraordinary colour and beauty-
Not viewing life through tunnel-visioned, grey-tinted spectacles.

The dream of breadth and variety in glorious harmony -
Not definition through division, prejudice and ignorance.

The dream of acceptance and inclusion -
Not judgement and exclusion.

The dream of Your love and humour -
Not our idolatry and self-righteousness.

The dream of 'we might'-
Not 'we cannot'.

God give us the vision and imagination to dream
and enable us to make the dream a reality.

Centering Silence
In this time of silence may we move from busy-ness to quietness...
(
The charka is sounded)

Silence

God of life
God of peace
God of wonders that will not cease...
Present with us now.
(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 World Around Us:
“Autumn Finale’
By Robert Charles Howard.
Unity Tree/12

Spare no lament for the maple leaves
that hail their impending fall
with blazing gold and scarlet concerts
bright as Christmas brass in marble halls.

How bold their radiant hymns resound -
mute to the sweatered ones below
whose treble scraping rakes -
raise smoldering pyres of the fallen.

Steamy plumes from cocoa mugs
blend with burning oak and maple wisps
as rakers chant their own sweet airs,
“The colors surprised this year,
didn’t think we’d had the rain.”

So spare no lament for the maple leaves
whose jubilant anthems,
raised beneath the harvest moon,
herald their fall with rainbow alleluias.

OR

“Autumn”
By Ann Gray.

Autumn  sneaks upon me
with the rain.

Suddenly,
a shout of colour
compels my captured eyes
and stops my breath.
I gasp,
at brilliant yellow, mustard,
purple, persimmon and red,
camellia pinks,
and iced sky piercing through to greet.
Colours of joysplash stroked on…
Acrylics sing my heart…Each shaped leaf, equal...
the best,
demands my feasting eye.

Contented canopies…
until, tomorrow's appointed time,
one by one
they softly drop,
a wafted griefing fall,
spiralling,
to lie with friends... that touch.

An overwhelming palette…nourishing my feet.
I'm too moved to speak!

Looking up next day,
drawn back again I see,
strong fearless ribs,
of charcoal grey.
An almost leafless tree.
Like roadway maps
the branches run, to decorate the sky.

North east, north west,
'good bones' they say, that make for great design.
There's more to tell.
Willow, arched and oranged,
supple arcs of strength,
Ash, cherry, pear, birch, the elm,
and last not least, I see
the grafted sturdy Apple,
good stock,
coated silver, branching expectantly...

The Autumn thrill so huge.
It 'colours' me,
this Presence... when I see. 

OR

To The Blessings of This Season
By Ken Sawyer. (UUA WorshipWeb)

To the blessings of this season,
may our senses be alert
and our hearts take heed,
for in a busy and sometimes tragic world,
beauty is often the comfort most sure.

To the blessings of warm, accepting human relationship,
may our hearts be open
and our minds take heed,
for in a lonely and sometimes frightening world,
friendship is often the support than upholds us.

To the blessings of high ideals and noble aspirations,
may our minds be open,
and our hands take heed,
for in a troubled and sometimes dangerous world,
justice is often the hope that sustains us.

Forgiving each other and ourselves for all we do not sense,
for the love we do not share,
for the acts of justice we avoid,
let us treasure the parts of ourselves that do respond.

Blessed be the life that comforts, sustains and upholds us,
and blessed be we who do, now and then, awaken to its grace.

Traditional Gospel:
John 12:1-5, 7-8  (Scholars Version)

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived.
There they gave a dinner for him.
Martha did the serving, and Lazarus was one of those who ate with him.

Mary brought in a pound of expensive lotion
and anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair.
And the house was filled with the lotion's fragrance.

Judas Iscariot, the disciple... says,
‘Why wasn't this lotion sold. It would bring a year's wages,
and the proceeds could have been given to the poor?’

‘Let her alone,’ Jesus said. ‘Let her keep it for the time I am to be embalmed.
There will always be poor around, but I won't always be around.’

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

Affirmation of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on let us stand
and share together an affirmation of faith.
The people stand as they are able

v1  May our time together renew our hope.
All  May the stories we share refresh our courage.
v2  May the songs we sing lift our spirits.
All  
May the words we speak invigorate us.

v1 May the touch of hands,
the sound of laughter,
the sight of faces new and familiar,
All  restore us in faith
CODame

Sharing 'The Peace'
We enter as strangers.  We leave as friends.   (RMitchell/bb)
The peace of God is here... to stay.
All   
Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
"Autumn Comes in all its Fullness(Tune: 'Hamilton Avenue', 87.87)              8 HoS

Autumn comes in all its fullness
harvesting both land and hearts

Autumn has its birth in winter

in the stillness where life starts.
Refrain:

Every death brings hope of birthing,

every birth enfolds life's end,
for the seasons of our living
mirror patterns nature penned.

Autumn gives us time for choosing
seeds which bear the richest fruits,

fragile life which we can nurture
into just or vain pursuits.

Refrain:

Buried in autumnal endings

lies the shoot that bursts the tomb

for the letting go in autumn
sows the seed that births the bloom. (William L Wallace)

Refrain:
The people sit

OR

May We Cast the Vision(Tune: ‘King’s Weston’)
Are we not still dreaming
of a world of peace,
where all live in freedom
and all hatred’s ceased?
Are we not still hoping
for a fair new day,
one for which all suffering
long before did fade?

Have we not the knowledge
that can feed each child,
shelter ev’ry family,
nations reconcile?
Have we not the wisdom
to look back and see
all that’s come between us
throughout history?

Can we not be faithful
to the call of love;
all it builds between us,
is that not enough?
Can we not find reasons
to reach out and share –
all we own, together –
all because we care?

On this day, we’re dreaming
of a world made bright,
freed from all its sorrows,
living into light.
May we feel the courage
stirring deep within.
May we cast the vision
and this work begin.  (2017 gretta vosper)

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:
May we have courage in uncertain times,
All  Let it all happen.  No mood is final.
May we recognise new beginnings
in what seem to be endings,
All  Let it all happen.  No feeling is final.  (3C Exchange)

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 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

With the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat

Celebrating our Time and Place
After the sun of Summer has done its work, people gather in
threshing fields,
vineyards,
orchards and
home vegetable gardens,
to celebrate their reward.

This morning, we have been reflecting on Autumn, the season reward.
And witness its celebration in the gradual
changing colours of the leaves.
Leaves are brought forward

But let us also remember the earth and our attachment to it.
Traditional harvest festivals originated among simple people
who lived close to the soil.

The seeds entrusted to Mother Earth in the Spring
have been watched, watered and weeded
until the time of harvest is at hand...
Over the decades this season has been universally celebrated.

(Some words which localise the fruit, produce, etc.

So let us then give thanks for the rewards of this season,
by honouring one of the fruits of our own area:
(eg. the apple.)
Children bring forward apples.
Pieces of sliced apple distributed by the children throughout the congregation and eaten. Enjoy!

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: THE JESUS BANQUET
Offerings
Let us bring our offerings and our gifts of bread and wine
as symbols of our ministry in this place and beyond.

Presentation
God the weaver, making patterns,
spinning threads throughout our days,
may we be helped to discern your weaving
in the multi-coloured autumn maze. (Adapt.Marjorie Dobson/mcm)

The Invitation
Here today, through bread and wine,
we renew our unity with one another,
and with all those who have gone before us in this place.

Here today, through bread and wine,
we renew our communion with the earth
and our interwovenness with the broken ones of the world.

The Story
We give thanks for the life of Jesus, our sage,
and the memory of his loving kindness.
He taught that compassion is the heart of God.
He practised equality in the simple act of table fellowship.

When he blessed bread, he used his traditional Jewish prayers, saying:
All   Blessed is the Holy One of Israel,
sovereign of all that is who brings forth
the bread from the ground.

And when he blessed wine, he said:
All   Blessed is the Holy One of Israel,
sovereign of all that is who brings forth
grape from the vine.

We share in this act of friendship with millions of people around the world
and with all faithful people of the past.
With them and in celebration of our community we say:
All   Gifts to share and sustaining memory
Bring people in hope together.
The banquet's joy and celebration
Mark the presence of light.

Bread and Wine
May the bread we break speak of Love.
May the wine we pour speak of compassion.
May our commitment to peace bear witness
to the heart of this community.

Communion
This is bread for our journey and wine for our life
Distribution of Bread and Wine, in continuous line

After Communion
May we be a people who unites our words with our deeds. (Galston/q)

PARTING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Paths to the Sacred – The Canberra Affirmation(Tune: ‘Ewing’, 76.76D)                 30(v1-2) SNS2
We recognize the' sacred' is sought in many ways,
With diff’rent paths to travel, with diff’rent passageways;
Midst serious disagreement we still respect, with grace,
Diversity of truth-claims; for each can have its place.

We honour diff’rent meanings and much integrity
Surrounding each tradition in this diversity;
We also honour people with righteous piety
Who practise their faith-teachings with poise and dignity.

Attempts to convert others to sets of fixed belief
Is not part of our program, sustained or even brief;
For we reject the process if it is not their choice
In open explorations through which they have their voice.
(George Stuart)

Parting Words
The God we worship is never confined to this holy place.
So go and travel with the God
who is found in ordinary and surprising places.
The Community Candle is extinguished

Go in faith, for there is God
riding in the light on the water,
singing in the songs of the birds,
sitting in the midst of the feasts of life.
All We go in faith to live in joyous freedom, 
to play in the creation,
and to drink deeply of the gracious cup of life.
  Dorothy McRae-McMahon/bst

Words of Blessing
As a kookaburra gently settles on the tree, receive the gift of peace.
As a flame rises with light and warmth, receive the gift of life.
As the wind moves and dances round the earth,
receive the gracious gift of the Spirit.  Adapt.Stewart/wb
All
May it be so. Amen.

Hymn (Cont.) Paths to the Sacred – The Canberra Affirmation” (Tune: ‘Ewing’, 76.76D)           30(v3) SNS2
Attempts to convert others to sets of fixed belief
Is not part of our program, sustained or even brief;
For we reject the process if it is not their choice
In open explorations through which they have their voice.
 (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:
Dobson, M. Multi-coloured Maze. Drama, Hymns, Prayers and Poems for Worship and Everyday Living
. London. Stainer & Bell, 2004.
Duncan, G. (ed). Timeless Prayers for Peace. Voices Together from Around the World. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2003.
Duncan, G. (ed). A World of Blessing. Benedictions from Every Continent and Many Cultures. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2000.
Funk, R. W. & R. W. Hoover. The Five Gospels. The Search for the Authentic words of Jesus. New York. MacMillan Press, 1993.
(HoS) Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.
Howard, R. C. Unity Tree: Collected Poems. Createspace Independent Publishing, 2015
McRae-McMahon, D. 1996. The Glory of Blood, Sweat and Tears. Liturgies for Living and Dying. Melbourne. JBCE.
Macnab, F. Hope: The Deeper Longings of the Mind and Heart. Richmond. Spectrum Publication, 1996s.
Mitchell, R. C. & G. A. Ricciuti. Birthings and Blessings. Liberating Worship Services for the Inclusive Church. New York. Crossroads, 1992.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, J. & B. Hesle. Worship in the Spirit of Jesus. Theology, Liturgy, and Songs without Violence. OH: Cleveland. The Pilgrin Press, 2005.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto. G Stuart, 2009.
(TMT) Wallace, W. L. The Mystery Telling. Hymns and Songs for the New Millennium.  Kingston. Selah Publishing, 2001.

Web sites/Other:
Dame, Sawyer. UUA Worship Web. Boston. http://uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/index.php
Ann Gray. "Autumn". Direct from the author. eMail: anngavin@omninet.net.au
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. <http://www.questcentre.ca/>
Refreshment Station.
 
Words by Nan Fink Gefen, taken from an Evolutionary Passover Haggadah by Tree Bressen.
“May we Cast the Vision”.  Gretta Vosper. Direct from the author.

rexae74@gmail.com