Pentecost12C.7.8.2016

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
7 August 2016. Pentecost 12C. (Green).

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


GATHERING

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

v1 Sing out happiness upon the morning.
Celebrate the famous sun and the comely earth.
Think upon love, that it may grow within us,
and compassion, that it may call us to its service (Kenneth L Patton/sscl).

v2  Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

Life is a gift for which we are grateful.
We gather in community to celebrate
the glories and the mysteries of this gift.  MMontgomery/slt

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

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Colourful Creator”  (Tune: 'Houghton', 65 65D)    190 TiS
Colourful Creator, God of mystery,
thank you for the artist teaching us to see
glimpses of the meaning of the commonplace,
visions of the holy in each human face.

Harmony of ages, God of listening ear,
thank you for composers tuning us to hear
echoes of the Gospel in the songs we sing,
sounds of love and longing from the deepest spring

Author of our journey, God of near and far,
praise for tale and drama telling who we are,
stripping to the essence struggles of our day,
times of change and conflict when we choose our way.

God of truth and beauty, Poet of the Word,
may we be creators by the Spirit stirred,
open to your presence in our joy and strife,
vessels of the holy coursing through our life. Ruth C Duck.

Remain standing

Opening Sentences
God of all living, we have seen your presence
in the rhythm and surprises of our years.
All  
You have accompanied us through all that is past.
So we express our thanks.

We recognise your closeness in this day.
All You challenge and encourage us in each act and decision.
So we offer our praise.

Now we look for you
in the promises which stretch before us.
All You meet us with hope.
In this we trust.

Act of Awareness
We are part of all that sustains or destroys life.
Creation and destruction occur in continually unfolding ways.
And so may we open our ears to the continually unfolding Word.

Life speaks to us in new and vital and imperative ways.
With all the power we have been given,
let us be silent and open to listening…
for nourishment,
for comfort,
for challenge and new focus.

May it be so (St Stephen’s Project).

OR

We pray:
Spirit of life and hope, we sense your presence in this place.
Awaken us again to the mysteries that humble us,
the realities that orient us,
the beauty that informs us,
the fellowship that sustains us,
and the creativity that heightens and deepens our living,
that we may give ourselves in honesty and openness
to the larger life before us.
May it be so.  (Adapt.CWells)

Hymn "Here We Gather"  (Tune:  'Holy Manna')    4 SIF
Here we gather, here we come together
Seeking wisdom, seeking truth.
Minds are ready, hearts are open
To receive what each can give,
Drawing deep from wells of knowledge
Sharing insights old and new,
As we gather, as we come together
Finding wisdom, finding truth.

As we gather, as we come together
Seeking comfort, seeking strength,
Minds are ready, hearts are open
To receive what each can give,
Needs and fears expressed and honoured
Care extended warm and free,
As we gather, as we come together
Finding comfort, finding strength.

Wide world over, we will come together
Seeking justice, seeking peace.
Minds are ready, hearts are open
To receive what each can give,
Deep respect and deep compassion
Lives committed to the cause,
Wide world over, we will come together
Bringing justice, bringing peace. © Scott Kearns 2008

OR

Nature’s Beauty(Tune: ‘Regent Square’, 87 87 47 Extend)    4 SNS3
Nature knows her sounds and movements
Heard and seen each day and night;
All her life in rich abundance
Fills my heart with great delight;
Celebrate with adoration;
Thankful for the world so bright.

Fearsome winds cause trees to whimper;
Storms can force the clouds to cry;
Raindrops, snowflakes dance together;
Sun and moon wink in reply;
Celebrate with adoration
All the wonders of the sky.

Celebrate all hidden textures;
Value all the roots below;
Celebrate all covered spendour;
Value beauty not on show;
Celebrate with adoration;
Thankful for the world we know.

Creatures bold and creatures timid
Offer beauty, each unique;
Trees and flowers paint a picture
On the plain and mountain peak;
Celebrate with adoration;
All revealed for those who seek.

We are blest with such profusion;
Beauty bursts out everywhere;
If we take the time to ponder
We may find a thankful prayer;
Celebrate with adoration
Thankful for the world we share  (George Stuart).
The 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.

OR

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)

Reflection
“A Friendship Blessing”
By John O’Donohue. Anam Cara/60.

May you be blessed with good friends.
May you learn to be a good friend to your self.

May you be able to journey to that place in your soul
where there is great love, warmth, feeling and forgiveness.
May this change you.
May it transfigure that which is negative, distant, or cold in you.

May you be brought in to the real passion,
kinship and affinity of belonging.

May you treasure your friends.
May you be good to them and may you be there for them;
may they bring you all the blessings, challenges,
truth and light that you need for your journey.

May you never be isolated;
but may you always be in the gentle nest
of belonging with your anam cara - soul friend.

Silence
“Sh'ma:  An Interpretation for the 21st Century”.
Adapted from Rabbi Arthur Waskow.

Sh'sh'sh'ma Yisra'el? 
Hush'sh'sh…
Listen, you Godwrestlers!

Pause from your wrestling and hush'sh'sh to hear.
Hear in the stillness the still silent voice,

The silent breathing that intertwines life;
Yahh elohenu, 
Breath of Life, is our God.
Each breath unique…

Listen, you Godwrestlers!
The world is one,
All its parts are intertwined…,
Silence

Special Music

EXPLORING

Reading from our Religious Tradition
A story from our religious tradition will be told by (N).

Reader:  Even as we seek understanding, our minds,
too often, shelter us from the realities we might uncover.
All   May we have the courage to hear and hold truths
found within these words.   (Gretta Vosper/ab)

Traditional Gospel:
Luke 12:32-34 (Scholars Edition)

'Don't be afraid, little flock, for it has delighted your Father
to give you his domain.

"Sell your belongings, and donate to charity;
make yourselves purses that don't wear out,
with inexhaustible wealth in heaven, where no robber can get to it
and no moth can destroy it.

"As you know, what you treasure is your heart's true measure".

OR

Traditional Gospel2:
Matthew 25:31-46 
(Inclusive Text)

Jesus said to the disciples:
‘When the Promised One comes in glory,
with all the angels, then he will sit on the throne of glory.

‘All the nations will be gathered before him,
and he will separate people one from another
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
and will put the sheep at the right hand
and the goats at the left.

‘Then the king will say to those at the right hand,
Come, you that are blessed of God,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
for I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you gave me clothing,
I was sick and you took care of me,
I was in prison and you visited me.

‘Then the righteous will answer him,
When was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food,
or thirsty and gave you something to drink?
And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you,
or naked and gave you clothing?
And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?

‘And the king will answer them,
Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these
who are members of my family,
you did it to me.'

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A 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 s eeking, however imperfectly, 
to act justly, love mercy,
and walk humbly with our God.
  (Adapt.Dorothy McRae-McMahon/eoj)

OR

v1 There comes a time
All
 to break the silence.
v2
There comes a time
All
 to move beyond fear.

v1 There comes a time
All
 to speak one’s truth, even if it will not be welcome.
v2
There comes a time
All
 to call into question what has gone before.

v1 There comes a time
All
for the singing of a new song, for the claiming of power.
v2
There comes a time
All
 when we find courage, we dare to know who we are,
and who we love.

v1 There comes a time
All
 when friends are there, holding us so gently in their love.
(Pause)

v1 There comes a time when the truth at last makes us free.
Life will not be denied!
All 
Let all hearts swell in glad acceptance,
joyful with the sense of always becoming.

v1&2
 For out of the cosmos, out of earth, out of ourselves,
there rises spirit... It rises irresistible in us. (Adapt.KGibbons/C3)

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace.

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 People stand as they are able, to sing
Through Winter Cold(Tune: ‘Chilcombe’)        139 HoS
Through winter cold and drifted snow,
through bitter wind and biting frost
the silent seeds of spring will grow
and buried dreams will not be lost.

Within God’s world, as seasons turn,
we sleep and grow, with changing need
to shed old concepts and to learn
the faith that sprouts like mustard seed.

It is compassion warms the day
and hugs the lonely or the cold,
speaks out for justice, come what may
when people’s lives are bought and sold.

And as in winter, as in grief
the frozen heart of things in numb,
compassion melts our unbelief
and all is changed, for spring has come. (Shirley Erena Murray)

CELEBRATING

Offerings
Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,
shall now be received.

Presentation
May our giving and our actions bring these gifts to life:
new hope of healing;
fresh ways of coping;
a chance to rest;
a chance to work;
a way to live gracefully.

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  (Gretta Vosper/wwg)

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
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as that is appropriate

All God - heart of the world:
revealed through every aspect of creation:
understood through our awareness.

May we honour the holiness of creation and act accordingly
so that your love is reflected in the way we live.
May we always be thankful for the food we eat
and the friends we have.
May we forgive those who transgress against us
and be forgiven for our own.

In the freedom of love may we live as your heartbeat
and not be compromised by hesitation.

Through our freedom, may your justice
be seen and heard and experienced
forever and ever. 
 Sherri J Weinberg

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Nothing is Lost…”  (Tune: ‘Greenlane’)     50 (v1-2) FFS
Nothing is lost on the breath of God,

nothing is lost for ever;

God's breath is love, and that love will remain,

holding the world for ever.

No feather too light, no hair too fine,

no flower too brief in its glory;

no drop in the ocean, no dust in the air,

but is counted and told in God's story.


Nothing is lost to the eyes of God,

nothing is lost for ever;

God sees with love and that love will remain,

holding the world for ever.

No journey too far, no distance too great,

no valley of darkness too blinding;

no creature too humble, no child too small
for God to be seeking, and finding.

Remain standing

Parting Words
Time has now come for us to leave this sacred place.
As we do, may we embrace the challenges of our lives and our world...
The community candle is extinguished

After the words, a quiet.
After the songs, a silence.
After the crowd only the memory recalls the gathering.
All Peace and justice have need of us
after the words, the music, and the gathering.

God grant you the depth for dedication to justice.
All God grant us the will to be apostles of peace.
  (Adapt.Max Coots) 

Words of Blessing
May the God who dances in creation,
who embraces us with human love,
who shakes our lives like thunder,
bless us and drive us out with power
to fill the world with her justice.
All  
Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont)  "Nothing is Lost…”  (Tune: ‘Greenlane’)     50 (v3) FFS
Nothing is lost to the heart of God,

nothing is lost for ever;

God's heart is love, and that love will remain,

holding the world for ever.

No impulse of love, no office of care,
no moment of life in its fulness;

no beginning too late, no ending too soon,

but is gathered and known in God's goodness.
 
(Colin Gibson)
The people sit after the hymn

'This Week' at (NN)
Notices
Birthdays and anniversaries
Significant events
Journey candles

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:
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, 2002.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2002. Courage to Love. An anthology of inclusive worship materialFaith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
(FFS) . 2000. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Funk, R. W. & R. W Hoover. 1993.  The Five Gospels. The search for the authentic words of Jesus. Hope is Our Song. New hymns and songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. New York. Macmillan Publishing.
(HoS)2009.  Palmerston North. The New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. 2004. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. 2001. Iona Abbey Worship BookSing it Forward. Traditional hymns recast and rewritten for non-exclusive communities. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
(SiF) Kearns, S. (ed) 2009.  . 
In circulation from the author.
McRae-McMahon, D. 1993.  Echoes of our Journey. Liturgies of the peopleAnam Cara. Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World. Melbourne. JBCE.
O’Donohue, J. 1997. . London. Bantam Books.
Patton, K. 1967. Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. Boston: Beacon Press.
Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 3. Toronto. G Stuart, 2011.
(TiS)
Together in Song. Australian Hymn Book 2. 1999. Sydney. HarperCollins Religious.
Vosper, G. 
Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane: The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.
Vosper, G.
With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.

Web sites/Other:
Wells, Coots. UUA Worship Web. Boston. UUA. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/> 
Sherri Weinberg. 2004. St Paul's Presbyterian Church. NZ: Devonport.
Rabbi Arthur Waskow. Shalom Center. "We are part..." One of several non-theistic resources found at: <http://www.ualberta.ca/ST.STEPHENS/resources>
‘There comes a time’. Gibbons. 3C Exchange.

rexae74@gmail.com