PalmC.20.3.2016

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
20 March 2016. Palm Sunday C. (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

Silence

LITURGY OF THE BRANCHES
Introduction
For the past five weeks of the Season of Lent
we have been on a journey
remembering the story of Jesus' journey.

Now we’re one week from the season called Easter!

Today is what has traditionally been called 'Palm Sunday’.
But you won’t hear about ’palms’ in this story from Luke.
That’s in the story as told by John.

And Mark and Matthew mention only ‘leafy branches'.

Anyway… This is the day on which, our tradition tells us,
Jesus entered Jerusalem, and just days before his death.
So I invite you to reflect on some of the feelings
associated with Holy Week.
(Pause)

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

Hymn In solidarity with those for whom standing is not easy or possible we will remain seated to sing
Palm Sunday(Tune: “Ellacombe 2’, 86 86D. 453 TiS)
The day of palms is come again,
day of triumphant praise,
when crowds excited ran to sing
the song the psalmist raised.
‘Blessed the one who comes,’ they cry,
‘to set his people free.’
Gladly we join our song with theirs
who yearn for liberty.

How soon the gladness disappears
and darkness stalks the streets!
The king who rides a donkey’s foal
with coats beneath its feet
will soon a crown of thorns endure,
a throne of rough-hewn wood.
A day of agony draws near
when evil strikes at good.

‘Hosanna!’ turns to ‘Crucify!’;
rejoicing turns to scorn.
If this were all there were to tell,
how deeply we should mourn.
Yet death is not the final step
that Christ our Saviour trod.
Onward he marches, leading home
the world he won for God. © PSheppy 2007

OR

To Bring a City to its Sense(Tune: ‘Fingal’, ‘Detroit’, CM) 109 WNC
To bring a city to its sense,
a nation to its knees,
they welcomed Nazareth’s carpenter,
waved palms cut from the trees.

Hosannas filled the quiet air,
they strained to glimpse a view;
‘Messiah’ they acclaimed this man
whom Pharisees would sue.

He turned the table upside down,
he spun their world around,
he challenged preconceived ideas,
flung hatred to the ground.

This man had learnt too much, it seemed,
knew ways of right and wrong,
his ear attuned to righteousness
sensed discord in their song.

The politicians and the priests
were threatened by his choice;
the hypocrites would silence him,
and still we shun his voice.
(© Andrew Pratt)

Let’s imagine we to have come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.

Traditional Gospel
Luke 19:28-40 (NRSV/adapted)

Jesus went on ahead of the disciples, heading towards Jerusalem.

As they were approaching Bethphage and Bethany,
at the place called the Mount of Olives,
Jesus sent two of the disciples on ahead, saying,
‘Go into the village ahead of you,
and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt
that has never been ridden.

‘Untie it and bring it here.
If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say,
‘The Anointed One needs it.’

So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them.

As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them,
‘Why are you untying the colt?’
‘The Anointed One needs it’, they replied.

Then the disciples brought the colt to Jesus;
and after throwing their cloaks on the colt’s back,
they set Jesus on it.

As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road.

As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives,
all the disciples began to praise God enthusiastically
for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,
‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!’

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus,
‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’
Jesus answered,
‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.’

Silence
The gong is sounded

Reflection 1
Jesus dared to live God’s way
in the midst of all the 'ups' and 'downs' of life.
We too are called to proclaim our faith faithfully
by the way we live, and treat one another.

Silence
The gong is sounded a second time

Reflection 2
Jesus wanted his disciples to live passionate,
justice seeking, God centred lives.

Silence
The gong is sounded a third time

Reflection 3
Jesus, as human face of God, shared his life
that others might sense the new signs of hope
in their everyday lives.

Silence
The gong is sounded a fourth time

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

The light waits –
Who will keep the light burning in our day?
Who will take the light into the world?
Who will carry the light into a new year?
All  
Who will carry the light in this our city,
if we do not?

Act of Awareness
It is good to be alive!
To share life with each other
in this wonder-filled and evolving universe.
We are most grateful.

May wisdom dawn in us so we may see all things in clarity.

OR

We pray:
Universal God,
make us want to share our religious insights
in ever widening circles,
ourselves growing deeper and more broadminded,
reaching far beyond this place.

Gather us in, and help us to raise each other up.
All   May it be so.

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Here in the Busy City(Tune: 76 76)   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

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

'Letting Go Meditation
Take some deep slow breaths and relax.

Begin to let go of the tensions in your body.
Feel the pressure and busyness slipping away.

As you draw breath think of how your body is using oxygen:
It is being carried to every part of your body…
Feel the life it brings.

As you exhale, you breathe out carbon dioxide which you don’t need.
Trees and plants take this is.
They then produce oxygen which sustains you.

You are an integral part of God’s creation. (JBaker/aw)
(Silence)

• Music of Reflection  (If appropriate)
God of the Galaxies”  54 AA
Two verses will be played softly during the silence.
Following the chord, the congregation will then sing the following verse.

Life is a holy thing, life is a whole,
linking each creature and blessing us all,
making connections of body and soul.
Let us care for your garden
and honour the earth. Shirley Erena Murray

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Let us continue to listen to some Palm Sunday readings
from our broad religious tradition.

The World Around us:
Option (i) “Donkey Day”
By Janet Lees.
Let Justice Roll Down/129.

Cross-marked beast
bearing cross-burdened Christ,
what is your message today
as you travel the palm-strewn way?
Stumbling on a stony track,
people's coats on your back,
you were chosen for faithfulness.

This is a calling we share,
as the cross-marked hill
comes closer still.

Your job is to carry him today,
yesterday's weight forgotten;
tomorrow's burden still uncertain.

May we, his cross-marked people
bear him just as faithfully.

OR

(ii) "Tough faith”
By Bruce Prewer. More Australian Psalms/86.

It was never easy!

This life of faith,
lived freely and lovingly
despite contemporary pride
and age-old enigmas,
has always been tough,
for Abraham, Sarah, Job,
Thomas, Mary, Augustine,
Luther, McKillop, Flynn.

Lord, we believe; save us from unbelief!
Pity the overt arrogance
of modern culture,
drunk on small achievements,
thinking that our era
has put paid to faith,
throwing away God
as a superstition
clutched by the ignorant.

It was never easy!
Choice, commitment,
whether to gamble one's all
on current self-adulation,
or to plunge into the Under-Swell
of hope and faith, spirit and truth,
flowing with creative love,
rampant with celebration
and the glory of Christ.

Lord, we believe; save us from unbelief.

OR

(iii) "Waving the Palms"
By David O Rankin. UUA Worship Web

Palm Sunday is found:
whenever we are serving a noble and unpopular cause with selfless devotion,
holding to the ideals of truth and justice;

whenever we are seeking to uplift the fallen, to comfort the brokenhearted,
to strengthen and encourage the weak and hopeless;

whenever we are working bravely and persistently in the face of abuse and criticism
to establish more equitable relations in the world;

whenever we are sacrificing our lives in behalf of what we believe
to be the service of love for all humanity.

That is Palm Sunday!

Contemporary Exploration 1

Contemporary Exploration 2

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Palm Sunday Reflection: Twenty Centuries Past
The people stand as they are able

Twenty centuries past, what city has not heard of your coming?
From Beijing to Berlin, from Jerusalem to Johannesburg,
from New York to New Delhi
surely the word has spread that you've come in peace,
not violence
to enrich, renew, transform our lives and bring us to shalom?
All  
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
Hosanna in the highest.

Twenty centuries past, what city has not heard of your church?
From Catholic, Orthodox, Uniting or Anglican,
Evangelical, Progressive or Pentecostal
surely the message of acceptance, healing, confidence
in your royal advent, has been passed on through
faithful living?
All  
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
Hosanna in the highest.

Twenty centuries past, what city has not rejected you?
From penthouse to tenement, from factory to leisure centre,
from theme park to concert hall,
surely the news is that this life is for taking, not giving
and what stands in the way of this lifestyle
must now be removed?
All  
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
Hosanna in the highest.

Twenty centuries past, what city does the Christ seek to enter?
From leafy suburb to shanty town, from housing estate
to West-End flat, from salon to slum,
surely the sign of the church free from pride, united in deed,
must be the welcome the Christ longs for
as he enters our city?
All  
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
Hosanna in the highest. (JYoung/adapted/ljrd)

Sharing 'The Peace
We enter as strangers.  We leave as friends.
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 The people stand as they are able, to sing
When Our Heart is in a Holy Place” 1008 StJ
Refrain:
When our heart is in a holy place,
When our heart is in a holy place,
We are blessed with love
And amazing grace,
When our heart is in a holy place.

When we trust the wisdom in each of us,
Ev’ry colour every creed and kind,
And we see our faces in each other’s eyes,
Then our heart is in a holy place.
Refrain:

When we tell our story from deep inside,
And we listen with a loving mind,
And we hear our voices in each other’s words,
Then our heart is in a holy place.
Refrain:

When we share the silence of sacred space,
And the God of our Heart stirs with in,
And we feel the power of each other’s faith,
Then our heart is in a holy place.
Refrain:

When our heart is in a holy place,
When our heart is in a holy place,
We are blessed with love
And amazing grace,
When our heart is in a holy place.
When our heart is in a holy place.
The people sit

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:
In this abundant blessing
All
We share the joy.
In this, our time of need,
All May love abound (Gretta Vosper/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:  (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

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)

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
The Offering
Let us now bring our offerings, symbols of our ministry
in this place and beyond, and our gifts
of bread and wine.

The Presentation
We gather here, and we go from here,
as those who have received,
and as those who have given.

May the spirit that surrounds
every good thing we give
be expanded and enhanced.

Thanksgiving
May God be with you.
All  And also with you. 
Open your hearts.
All  
We open them to the Good and to one another.
Let us give thanks to God.
All  
It is right to give thanks and praise.

In the Beginning
v1 In the beginning was God
v2 In the beginning, the source of all that is
v3 In the beginning, God yearning,
v4 God moaning,
v1 God labouring
v2 God giving birth
v3 God rejoicing
v4 And God loved what had been made

v1 And God said, "It is good”.
v2 Then God, knowing all that is good, is shared
v3 Held the earth tenderly in embracing arms
v4 God yearned for relationship
v1 God longed to share the good earth
v2 And humanity was born in the yearning of God
v3 We were born to share the earth.

v4 In the earth was the seed
v1 In the seed was the grain
v2 In the grain was the harvest
v3 In the harvest was the bread
v4 In the bread was empowerment.

v1 And God said, All shall eat of the earth
v2 All shall eat of the seed
v3 All shall eat of the grain
v4 All shall eat of the harvest
v1 All shall eat of the bread
v2 All shall eat of the power.

v3 God said, You are my people
v4 My friends
v1 My lovers
v2 My sisters
v3 And brothers
v4 All of you shall eat
v1 Of the bread
v2 And the power
v3 All shall eat.

v4 Then God, gathering up courage in love, said
v1 Let there be bread!
v2 And God's people, God's friends and lovers,
knelt on the earth
v3 planted the seeds
v4 prayed for rain
v1 sang for the grain
v2 made the harvest
v3 cracked the wheat
v4 pounded the flour
v1 kneaded the dough
v2 kindled the fire
v3 filled the air with the smell of fresh bread

v4 And there was bread!
v1 And it was good!

v2 We, the people of God in this place, say today
v3 All shall eat of the bread
v4 And the power.
v1 We say today
v2 All shall have power
v3 And bread.

v4 Today we say
v1 Let there be bread.
v2 And let there be empowerment!
v3 Let us eat of the bread and the power!
v4 And all will be filled. (CHeyward/cw/adapted)

Bread and Wine
We remember, at the end of a journey,
among friends, gathered round a table, our tradition says:
Jesus took bread...  said a blessing…
broke it and shared it with his friends…
Bread broken

Our tradition also says:
Jesus poured a cup of wine…
said a blessing…  and shared it too with his friends…
Wine poured out

Communion
Let us share this bread and wine as we have been taught,
knowing that our lives are forever changed
by this and every breaking of bread.
The bread and the wine will be served in small circles around the Table

After Communion
We have been welcomed, fed, and empowered.
May we now go out to live and work
that others may see and experience our love and acceptance.

This day and always.

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Values – The Canberra Affirmation(Tune: ‘Tallis Canon’, 88 88)   31 (v1-4) SNS2
Transforming is the path we take
With others, to community;
This path involves compassion bold,
Inclusion and integrity.

The values this path asks of us
Is to adopt, uphold, support
Equality, connectedness
In social action, noble thought.

This path entails a peaceful stance;
It seeks non-violence in its heart;
And with forgiveness at its core
Has harmony its counterpart.

This path invites a passion strong
In stewardship of all the earth,
For all life forms and nature's charm,
For us to recognize its worth.

Parting Words
As we prepare to leave this sacred space
where we have celebrated life together,
let us return to our workenlivened and renewed…

The Community Candle is extinguished

And now may the rhythms of our coming together:
the melodies of our worship,
and the harmonies of our farewells,
All  
Make musical our living, soothing our spirits
and uplifting our souls
This day
All  and into the beckoning future.

Words of Blessing
Go in peace.

And may the Holy God surprise you on the way,
Jesus the Sage be your company
and the Spirit lift up your life.
All
Amen. May it be so!

Hymn (Cont.) Values – The Canberra Affirmation(Tune: ‘Tallis Canon’, 88 88)   31 (v5-6) SNS2
This path encourages and prompts
Good humour, challenge, deeds of grace;
With acts of generosity
To bring a smile to every face.

The centre of this path we find
A oneness, we can all rehearse,
With self, the 'sacred', others too;
A oneness with the universe. (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:
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and songs for all churches. 1993. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust. 
(AOV2) As One Voice2. Uniting God's people in song. Manly Vale. Willow Connection.
Baker, J. et al.  2003.
Alternative Worship. London. SPCK.
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.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2003. 
Let Justice Roll Down. A worship resource for lent, holy week & easter. Cleveland. The Pilgrim Press.
Holy Bible. NRSV. 1989. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Iona Community. 2001.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
(WNC) Pratt, A. 2002.
Whatever Name or Creed. Hymns and Songs. London: Stainer & Bell Ltd.
Prewer, B. D. 1996.
More Australian Psalms. Adelaide. OpenBook Publishers.
(StJ)
Singing the Journey. 2005. Boston. UUA.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. 2009.  
Singing a New Song. Traditional hymn tunes with new century lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto. G Stuart.
Vosper, G. 2008. 
With or Without God. Why the way we live is more important that what we believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed). 1995.
Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK.

Web sites/Other:
Rankin. UUA Worship Web. Boston. http://uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/index.php
Paul Sheppy. [w-rcl] Liturgy web site.

rexae74@gmail.com