Pentecost20C.2.10.2016

Revd Rex A E Hunt

International eMail: rexae74@gmail.com
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Rex A E Hunt 
When Progressives Gather Together:Liturgy, Lectionary, Landscape… And Other Explorations
Melbourne: Morning Star Publishing, 2016
(In the USA published by Wipf & Stock)


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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
2 October 2016. Pentecost 20C. (Green).
Celebrating Community: The Jesus Banquet


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

Jesus calls us to an inclusive community.
Yet he promises no greatness and no soft beds.
He calls us only to follow.

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 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 The people stand as they are able, to sing
"Dreaming of a New Faith"  (Tune: 'Mainzer' 88 88, 1(ii) AHB)   33 SNS2
We seek a faith community,
One which promotes inquiry,
And which eschews rigidity,
Yet opens to the mystery.

For God cannot be held inside
The thoughts and words that we provide;
Nor in our creeds which can divide;
Nor dogma that is glorified.

But dreams can challenge and correct;
Can prompt us question and reflect;
And with sincerity, to respect
The other faiths which some reject.

Our common dreams can be the seeds
Growing new truths a new age needs;
Our dreams can quash divisive creeds
From which exclusiveness proceeds.

Our common dreams can then ignite
Flames which can burn with wisdom's light;
And then responding with delight
Uncover more divine insight. (George Stuart)

Remain standing

Opening Sentences
As surely as we belong to the universe
, we belong together.

All 
We gather here to transcend the isolated self.
To reconnect,
To know ourselves to be at home,
Here on earth, under the stars,
Linked with each other.
(Margaret A Keip)

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 (St Stephen’s Project).

OR

We pray:
God, source of life, may we be blessed with your presentness.

Each day may we be transformed so we become
more human, more friendly
towards our neighbour and all of creation.
May it be so.

Hymn  Maker of Mystery” (Tune: By Colin Gibson)    47 FFS
Maker of mystery,
dreamer of what will be,
well-spring and fertile ground of all our growing:
tending the buried seed,
foreseeing every need,
you draw us into life beyond our knowing.

Christ, strong and living vine,
spreading through space and time,
deep rooted in the love of God our mother:
dying, you live and share
your strength with us, to bear
ripe fruit in season for the life of others.

Wild Spirit, springing green,
coiled in the depths unseen,
promise of fruit within the seed maturing:
new life, you grow and swell,
burst from the outgrown shell,
hundredfold yield in every age ensuring.

Living and loving God,
sing in the pulse of our blood,
help us to know you in your own creation,
love you, the life of all,
serve you and hear your call
from our first forming to our full salvation.  
Marnie Barrell

OR

"Spring Has Now Unwrapped..." (Tune: 'Blackburn', 76 76D)   63 SLT
Spring has now unwrapped the flowers,
day is fast reviving,
life in all her growing powers
toward the light is striving.
Gone the iron touch of cold,
winter time and frost time,
seedlings working through the mold
now make up for lost time.

Herb and plant that, winter long,
slumbered at their leisure,
now be stirring green and strong,
find in growth their pleasure.
All the world with beauty fills,
gold and green enhancing;
flowers make glee among the hills,
set the meadows dancing.
(Piae Cantiones, 1582)
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
“Robust Spirit”
By Bruce Prewer.
More Australian Prayers/53

O robust Spirit!
Enemy of sentimental delusions!

Come with your cyclonic love
and blow away our tents,
so that we may once more
look upon the midnight stars
and shiver with wonder
at your love for us
who love each other selectively
and worship you but fitfully.

O robust Spirit!
Friend of pilgrims and cross-bearers!
Toughen us for the journey
that awaits the pure in heart.

Music of Celebration

Silence
In the moment of silence which we now share, may each speak a personal prayer...
Whether to seek forgiveness
To renew strength to do rightly
To commend a loved  one to God
Or to quest for a greater knowledge of the spirit.

Let us gather together in the silence of this place,
which now we make holy
by our every act of worship. 
Bob Holmes/adapted
(Silence)

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Two reflections from our broad religious tradition shall be read by (NN).

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)

From the World Around us:
“The Longing of Nature”
John O’Donohue.
Eternal Echoes/14-15.

Celtic spirituality reminds us that we do not live simply in the thoughts, feelings or relationships.
We belong on the earth.
The rhythm of the clay and its seasons sings within our hearts.
The sun warms the clay and fosters life.
The moon blesses the night.
In the uncluttered world of Celtic spirituality there is a clear view of the sacrament of nature as it brings forth visible presence.
The Celts worshipped in groves in nature and attended to the silent divinity of wild places.
Certain wells, trees, animals and birds were sacred to them. 

Where and what a people worship always offers a clue to where they understand the source of life to be.
Most of our experience of religion happens within the walled frame of church or temple.
Our God is approached through thought. word and ritual.

The Celts had no walls around their worship.
Being in nature was already to be in the Divine Presence.
Nature was the theatre of the diverse drama trudges of the Divine Imagination.
This freedom id beautifully echoed in the lyric poem: 
      Ah blackbird it is well for you,
      Wherever in the thicket you next,
      Hermit that sounds no bell,
      Sweet, soft fairylike is your note
. (Trans. Myles Dillion)

The contemplative presence of nature is not ostentatious or cluttered by thought.
Its majesty and elegance drift into voice in the single, subtle note of the blackbird.

Traditional Gospel:
Luke 17:5-10 (Inclusive Text)

The apostles said to Jesus, "Increase our faith.”
Jesus replied,
"Were your faith the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mulberry tree,
'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you."

"Which of you, with a servant ploughing or minding sheep,
would say when the servant returned from the fields,
'Come and have your meal immediately'?

“Would you not be more likely to say,
'Get my supper laid; make yourself tidy and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You can eat and drink yourself afterwards'?

“Must you be grateful to the servant for doing your bidding?
So with you: when you have done all you have been told to do, say,
'We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty."

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Celebration of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and join together in a celebration of faith.
The people stand as they are able

The people of God have a human face.
All We laugh, we weep, we wait in hope.
We lift our eyes
All
and stub our toes,
we love,
All
and struggle,
we fail,
All
we stand and always we stand on trembling ground.

But God is God
and Jesus is the Christ
and the Spirit will lift up our feet.
All God is in the centre,
God is at our endings.
Nothing lies beyond the love of God in Christ.
  (Adapt.Pitt St. Uniting/eoj)

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.

May a heart of peace be with you.
All And also with you (David Galston/q).
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
A Hymn of Exploration(Tune: ‘Northbrook’, 11.10.11.10, 157 TiS)
We take the path that leads beyond this moment, 
while seeking all the hope faith has to give; 
we walk so near the edge of understanding,
while grasping what we need to know to live.

This is no abstract whim that we are tracing, 
this story of God’s free, creative grace; 
this is no empty, useless recitation, 
but God’s own love that nothing can erase.

The vision that you give, each new disclosure, 
will bring us closer to our common goal, 
the point where you assure us of salvation,
for us and every other living soul. © Andrew Pratt 23/6/2010

OR

The Lone, Wild Bird(Tune: ‘Prospect’, LM)    15 SLT
The lone, wild bird in lofty flight
is still with thee, nor leaves they sight.
And I am thine! I rest in thee.
Great spirit come and rest in me.

The ends of earth are in thy hand,
the sea’s dark deep and far off land.
And I am thine! I rest in thee.
Great spirit come and rest in me. (H R MacFayden, 1877-1964)

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:
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 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  Most compassionate Life-giver,
may we honour and praise you: 
may we work with you to establish
your new order of justice, peace and love.

Give us what we need for growth,
and help us, through forgiving others, to accept forgiveness.
Strengthen us in the time of testing,
that we may resist all evil.

For all the tenderness, strength and love are yours,
now and forever.  Amen.  (William L Wallace)

CELEBRATING

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: THE JESUS BANQUET
Let us bring our offerings and our gifts of bread and wine
…

From each according to ability.
All To each according to need (David Galston/q).

Presentation

v1
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 fulfilment of riotous autumn,
to the generosity and self-giving of winter.

Now we stand again, touched by the promise of new life in the spring.

v2 This time of year each day grows a little longer.
Across time and throughout various cultures,
the theme related to this season of waiting are consistent:
anticipation,
excitement,
hope,
rebirth,
renewal,
resurrection.
All Egyptian or Hebrew, Christian or Pagan,
members of First Nations or descendents of Europeans,
indeed people all around the world share this one promise:
the light is breaking forward;
dawn is on the way.

v1 The Hebrew Bible speaks of hope against hope and of waiting upon the light.
“Arise, shine, your light has come,”
proclaimed the prophet Isaiah.

v2 And in the Exodus story, Israel is led through the darkness with a fiery light.
v1 Early Gnostic movements spoke of an ocean of light
above us from which we are in temporary exile,
and the Apostle Paul described Christian people as the children of light.

v2 In ancient Egypt, Horus was a sun god whose journey
across the sky defeated the darkness of night.
v1 The Akkadian sun god Shamash was a being
of justice and correct balance;
and Sumer’s Utu, the son of the moon, was the spirit of the law.
All Jesus said, “Let your light shine” and
“a city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
He did not call his followers into
depression and hopelessness, but rather to vision and to light.

v2 During this season of waiting upon the light,
may the practice of our daily lives
reflect the anticipated light.

Bread and Wine
v1 May the gifts we offer the world,
share in those ancient notions of the balance of justice,
the light of hope, and
the peace of understanding.

v2 Welcome everyone to this banqueting time.
We break bread as a community in solidarity,
and we share wine to express our common bond.

This is bread for your journey and wine for your life (David Galston/q).
Bread and Wine shared

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Just as the Rainbow(Tune: ‘Colours of Hope’,  D C Damon)    22 (V1-3) PaT
Just as the rainbow, bright with its promise,

holds in its prism spectrums of light,
so do our human cultures and colours
bring to each other depth and delight.

Colours adorn us, colours define us,

colours enliven nature's own art,

colours divide us, stark in their meaning,
black and white judgments tear us apart.

Fear of the stranger, unspoken anger,

shades of misgiving show in our face,

colours of blood have stained our traditions,

led us to conflict, race against race.
Remain standing

Parting Words