Revd Rex A E Hunt
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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
4 September 2016. Season of Creation1/Pentecost 16C. (Green).
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion
Theme: Ocean Sunday
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 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
The gong is sounded three times
Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit
This flame is warm as the companionship of friends is warm.
Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.
If also celebrating Father’s Day...
For sleepless nights awaiting the curfew-breakers
For anxious hours as a driving instructor
For hours spent on sidelines, cheering
And watching school plays, sometimes “resting our eyes,”
For the pressures of bread-winning
And “wait ‘til your father gets home.”
For teaching moments and mentoring moments,
For making up answers when you just don’t know,
But are expected to because you know everything
For scrapes and boo-boo kisses and bandaids,
For hugs and kisses and silliness and play
For bedtime stories and early morning ice time
For all the after-shave and ties received as gifts
For handing over car keys and waves good-bye
For father-daughter wedding dances.
And cradling grandchildren for the first time
For all the moments and all the meaning in the role of a lifetime,
We light [this flame] for fathers and for fatherhood. (Peter Friedrichs)
Entry into the Celebration
v2 Fountain of life…Pulse of life…Breath of life…
All Earth is filled with the presentness of God.
v1 Holy! Holy! Holy!
The oceans are filled with the presentness of God.
All Holy! Holy! Holy!
Earth is filled with the presentness of God.
v2 Together this day, let us sense
the face of God in all creativity. (Norman Habel/soc)
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 the 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
Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
“Song of the Waters” (Tune: “Praise my Soul”, 87 87 87, 134 TiS) 4 (v1-3) HH
Watch once more the windswept storm clouds;
Suddenly the sky has wings!
God has come to rain among us,
Giving hope to all dry things.
Sing a song of splashing waters,
Pulsing through the veins of Earth.
Taste the moisture of the morning,
Smoother than the best red wine;
Toast the lifeblood of the planet:
Here's to God's wild wet design!
Sing a song of flowing waters,
Pulsing through the veins of Earth.
View anew the dark blue ocean,
Whales cavorting, spraying foam;
God at play with deep sea monsters,
Feeling very much at home.
Sing a song of laughing waters,
Pulsing through the veins of Earth.
The spirit of Creativity God has hovered over the waters…
We invite the oceans to worship with us:
All The deep sea currents and coral reefs,
the mountain peaks on the ocean floor.
We call the swirling seas to celebrate with us:
All The icebergs that break off from the South/North Pole,
the calm waters that caress the Equator.
We join all ocean life in songs of praise:
All Whales and dolphins dancing on the surface,
and choirs of angel fish assembled below.
We summon the seashore kissed by the breath of God:
All The pelican, the stingray, the silver gull,
the white caps and waves that splash in praise.
Oceans, seas and watery deeps,
All Celebrate, with all that lives within you,
and roar in praise with us today.
Roar, ocean, roar!
All Roar, roar in praise! (Norman Habel)
Act of Awareness
Marvel at life!
Strive to know its ways!
Seek wisdom and truth,
to life’s mysteries!
Wondrous indeed is life! (Adapt. Rabbi Rami M Shapiro/ep)
As we reflect on the mysteries of the ocean depths,
we celebrate the wondrous seas that surround us.
May we empathise with the groaning of creation beneath us.
May we sense the presentness of God in the tides and currents.
May we care for the oceans and all our waterways.
May it be so.
Hymn (Cont.) “Song of the Waters” (Tune: “Praise my soul”, 87 87 87, 134 TiS) 4 (v4) HH
Feel the breath of God move softly,
Gentle mists that brush the skin;
Earth is breathing God's own spirit,
Life renewed from deep within.
Sing a song of living waters,
Pulsing through the veins of Earth. (Norman Habel)
The people sit after the hymn
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.
A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who may be joining us for a first time.
Your presence enriches this gathering and contributes to
the creative evolution of community.
Thanks for the gift of you! (Central United, Moncton, Canada)
This morning we begin the Season of Creation.
And the commencement theme is Ocean Sunday.
Some bowls/files of salt water are being passed among you.
Dip your fingers in the water, taste it,
and share with the person next to you
a memory of times at the seashore or in the ocean
that stirred your sense of wonder.
We remember our excitement when waves washed on our feet,
and sand oozed between our toes.
All We remember and rejoice.
Now away from the busyness of life
and in the silence of this sacred place,
let us give thanks for the gift of water,
and the mystery of an endless horizon
stretching out across the ocean.
Roar, ocean, roar!
All We give thanks for living waters so much
a part of who we are!
Music of Celebration
Readings from our broad Biblical Tradition
A story and some sayings from our broad biblical tradition
will be told by (NN).
Reader: May we open ourselves to the seeds of wisdom
that lies dormant in this reading.
All And may our minds be fertile soil
in which it may grow strong and true (Gretta Vosper/ab)
Luke 14: 25-33 (Inclusive Text)
Great crowds accompanied Jesus on the way and turning,
Jesus spoke to them.
‘If any of you come to me without turning your back
on your father, mother, wife, husband, children, brothers, sisters,
yes, and your own life too; you cannot be my disciple.
Anyone who does not take up the cross and
follow me cannot be my disciple.’
‘And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower,
would not first sit clown and work out the cost
to see if there was enough to complete it?
Otherwise, if the foundation was laid and then the work could not be ﬁnished,
the onlookers would all start making fun saying,
”Here is a builder who started to build and was unable to finish.“
'Or again, if a nation is about to engage another in battle,
will they not sit down first and consider whether with ten thousand soldiers
they could stand up to the enemy coming with twenty thousand?
If not, then while the enemy was still a long way off,
they will send envoys to sue for peace.
'So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple
unless you give up all your possessions.’
“The Spirituality of the Earth”
By Thomas Berry.
The spirituality of Earth refers to a quality of Earth itself, not a human spirituality with special reference to the planet Earth.
Earth is the maternal principle out of which we are born and from which we derive all that we are and all that we have.
We come into being in and through Earth.
Simply put, We are Earth-lings. Earth is our origin, our nourishment, our educator, our healer, our fulfillment.
At its core, even our spirituality is Earth-derived.
The human and Earth are totally implicated, each in the other.
If there is no spirituality in Earth, then there is no spirituality in us.
Not to recognize the spirit dimension of Earth reveals a radical lack cf spiritual perception…
What is needed is a new spiritual, even mystical, communion with Earth,
a true aesthetic of Earth, sensitivity to Earth’s needs, a valid economy of Earth.
We need a way of designating the Earth-human world in its continuity and identity
rather than exclusively by its discontinuity and difference.
We especially need to recognize the numinous qualities cf Earth.
Season of Creation1 Gospel:
Luke 5: 1-11 (Open English Bible/A New New Testament)
Once, when the people were pressing around Jesus as they listened to God's message,
he happened to be standing by the shore of the Lake of Gennesaret,
and saw two boats close to the shore.
The fishermen had gone away from them and were washing the nets.
So, getting into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon,
Jesus asked him to push off a little way from the shore,
and then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon:
"Push off into deep water,
and throw out your nets for a haul."
"We have been hard at work all night, sir," answered Simon,
"and have not caught anything, but if you say so, I will throw out the nets."
They did so, and enclosed such a great shoal of fish
that their nets began to break.
So they signaled to their partners in the other boat
to come and help them; and they came
and filled both the boats so full of fish tat they were almost sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he threw himself sown at Jesus's knees, exclaiming:
"Master, leave me, for I am a sinful man!"
For he and all who were with him were lost in amazement
at the haul of fish which they had made;
and so too, were James and John, Zebedee's sons, who were Simon's partners.
"Do not be afraid." Jesus said to Simon; "from today you will catch people."
And when they had brought their boats to shore,
they left everything, and followed him.
Fourth Book of the Odes of Solomon 34: 1-6 (A New New Testament)
There is no difficult path where the heart is simple
Nor a burden in honest thoughts
Nor a storm in the depth of enlightened thought.
Where one is fortified by beauty
There is nothing at odds in them.
The image of that which is below
Is that which is above.
Indeed everything is from above,
And from below is nothing.
However, it is supposed by those in
whom there is no understanding.
Comfort has been revealed for your salvation,
Trust and live and be saved.
• Another Sermon suitable for Season of Creation1 can be found in my book, Against the Stream. Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew.
Silence for Personal Reflection
An Affirmation of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, and in solidarity
with the Oceans of the world, let us stand and share together an affirmation of faith.
The people stand as they are able
All We affirm that the oceans and their resources
are a necessary element of life on this planet.
We believe that the health of the oceans,
and the wise, safe and sustainable use of the ocean resources,
should be protected for the long term benefit
and existence of all peoples.
We support the acquisition of the knowledge necessary
for the understanding and stewardship of the oceans;
that such knowledge should be used
for the adoption of policies, standards and regulations
to protect the ocean environment and resources.
We stand in solidarity with all who recognise
the wisdom of acting in unison to protect the oceans. (Author/source unknown)
Sharing 'The Peace’
God makes peace within us. Let us claim it.
God makes peace between us. Let us share it. (nwi)
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 May be sung more than once. People remain seated to sing
“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. (Carolyn McDade)
"Song for Planet Earth" (Tune: ‘Bunessan’)
Mystery and wonder greet Your creation;
out of the chaos galaxies grow:
may we discern Your purpose emerging –
inter-connections in all we know.
Kangaroos bounding through ancient fern gullies,
whales in the oceans, birds in the air:
we are a part of all this profusion,
may we yet grasp how stewards should care.
We are a nation of droughts and downpours,
yet blighting our world by a consumerist urge:
may we have grace to repent of our folly,
move with Your rhythm, conserve Your earth.
You have endowed us with wisdom and foresight,
minds that can focus, dreams that bring life:
may we have wills to embrace all creation,
to faithfully serve You doing the right. (Neil Wilkinson, 2007)
Reflections and Prayers
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Concerns shared
Creation thrums with Being
and peals the Word - 'I am’.
All We sometimes remember
to whisper the antiphon, 'We are'. (VArnold/Eureka Street eZine 20, 23. 23/11/10)
And so we take a 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 the 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 that is appropriate
All Loving Presence, luminous in all creation,
hallowed be your name.
Thy kin-dom come.
May we reflect on earth
the yielding perfection of the heavens.
Help us to receive an illumined measure from the earth this day.
Forgive us when we trespass against others,
human and other than human,
as we forgive others who trespass against us.
Keep us on the path of wisdom
when we are tempted to take the selfish path.
May it be your rule we follow,
your power we exercise,
and your radiance that allures.
May this be the truth that guides our lives,
the ground from which our future will grow,
until we meet again. (Bruce Sanguin/dddc)
With the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat
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 OR THE JESUS BANQUET
Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,
and our gifts of bread and wine, shall now be received.
May our hearts be opened, our hands unclenched,
and our ears unclogged, that we may
feel and touch and taste and see
the breath and play of Creativity God around us.
The earth has gone the round of seasons:
from the vibrant green of spring's new life
to the lush richness of warm summer,
to the brilliant fulfillment of riotous autumn,
to the generosity and self-giving of winter.
Now we stand again, touched by the promise
of new life in early spring.
Thus it is fitting that as we celebrate the renewal of life and hope,
we also celebrate the presentness
of the Spirit of Life and Hope and Creativity,
everywhere around and within us.
Words of Welcome/Inclusion
No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey,
you are welcome at this table
with it's symbols of God's Creative Presence.
All In company with all who seek nourishment at this table,
we come to celebrate community,
and to share these life-giving symbols. (Jerry Stinson/adapted)
It is right and our joy to give thanks
world-gazing, hope-cheering God, our cherisher.
We celebrate the changing mood of nature:
for sunshine and showers of an early spring day.
for the nesting and cheerfulness of birds,
and the flowers of bush and garden…wattle, heath, and bottle brush. (Bruce Prewer)
We who hold all such good things in trust,
in the company of each other,
and in company with people throughout the world
declare as generations before us have declared:
All Holy, holy, holy, hope-breathing 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.
And we celebrate our knowledge of the one called Jesus,
who taught all to care for the birds of the air,
and the grass of the paddock;
living expressions of the Spirit of Life in our midst.
Through his sayings and parables,
he broke down existing biases and opened a way
for more humane ways of living.
Jesus at supper is a demonstration of this teaching.
He urged his followers to include a wide variety of people
in what he called the realm of God,
and he encouraged them to be open
to the insights and understandings
that come from honest and respectful dialogue among
those who seek a worthy way of life.
We are here to carry on this tradition
of seeking for truth and recognizing goodness
wherever they may be found.
Bread and Wine
Bread is broken, Wine poured out
So we take and break this bread, and pour out this wine
mindful of the Spirit at work in our lives,
making our living a source of renewal and hope.
Bread and wine served in small groups around the Table
Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
“God Who Carved... Landscape” (Tune: ‘Dansey’). 31 (v1-2) FFS
God who carved this timeless landscape,
snow-clad ridge to valley plain,
power of surging race and river,
limestone crag and scarred terrain;
maker still of earth, fire, water,
artistry of sight and sound,
Southern lights and sunset splendour,
raise our eyes and you are found.
Calendar of nature's balance,
rhythms of the farming year,
shearing, milking, ploughing, pruning,
manger setting ever near!
lonely struggle in the byways,
nor'west dust or snow and flood,
fellowship of tears and laughter:
Lord, with you, we're understood.
Time has now come for us to leave this sacred place.
As we do, may we embrace the challengesof our lives and our world…
The Community Candle is extinguished
Remembering again the smell and the caress of the Ocean…
Will you care for Planet Earth?
All We will empathise with the Oceans.
We will be sensitive to the cries of creation
and the songs of our kin.
We will celebrate life!
Words of Blessing
As the sun in its shining brings glory
As the stars in the night scatter dark
As the moon gives us hope in its radiance
So may the light of Creativity God
fill your heart and your mind and your life.
All Amen! May it be so!
Hymn (Cont) “God Who Carved... Landscape” (Tune: ‘Dansey’). 31 (v3) FFS
Giving thanks for those before us,
village life and tussock track,
as we turn to face the future,
history's wind upon our back;
scattered are our congregations,
each now shares in ministry,
bonding strength of work together:
spirit of community. (Doug Grierson)
The people sit after the hymn
'This Week' at (NN)
Birthdays and anniversaries
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:
Abbott, M. Sparks of the Cosmos. Rituals for Seasonal Use. Unley. MediaCom, 2001
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.
Burgess, R. A Book of Blessings. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Duncan, G. (ed). Courage to Love. An Anthology of Inclusive Worship Material. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2002.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
(HH) Habel, Norman. Habel Hymns 1. Songs to celebrate with creation. Adelaide. Flinders Press, 2004.
Inclusive Readings. Year C. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2006.
Iona Community. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Jones, Robert V. 2005. Liturgy: The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. In private circulation from the author. L & L Seminar.
Prewer, B. D. 1983. Australian Prayers. Adelaide. OpenBook Publishers.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon. Earth Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.
Sanguin, B. Darwin, Divinity, and the Dance of the Cosmos. An Ecological Christianity. Canada: Kelowna. CopperHouse, 2007.
Seaburg, C. (ed). The Communion Book. Boston. UUMA, 1993.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
Stinson, J. 2006. “The encounter of progressive christian theology with the language of prayer and ritual on Sunday morning”. Westar Institute/Westar Literacy & Liturgy Seminar. March 2006.
Taussig, H. (ed). A New New Testament. A Bible for the 21st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts. NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
The St Hilda Community. The New Women Included. A book of services and prayers. London. SPCK, 1996.
Tucker, M. E. & J. Grim. (ed). Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community. Mary knoll. Orbit Books, 2014.
Vosper, G. 2009. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed). Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK, 1995.
Norman Habel. Season of Creation. <www.seasonofcreation.com>
Friedrichs. UUA Worship Web. Boston. UUA. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>