Pentecost2C.29.5.2016

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
29 May 2016. Pentecost 2C. (Green).
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion


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

Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

Live this moment in its fullness, for in it is
all plentitude,
all realisation,
all time.  (Kenneth Patton/sscl)

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

For gathering today in this sacred space, we light the flame.
For the opportunity to be together as a community,
we light the flame.  (Adapt/DSorrells)

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

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Praises Singing(Tune: ‘Praise My Soul’, 87 87 87. 134 TIS)       SiF
Praise, my soul, the wondrous beauty
to discover everywhere:
painted sunset, morning glory,
cooling rain, and breezes fair.
    Praises singing, praises bringing,
    for the wonder that we share.

Praise, my soul, the sense of myst’ry,
knowledge we have yet to find,
much awaiting our discovery,
life’s details of every kind.
    Praises singing, praises bringing,
    for the questing, searching mind.

Praise, my soul, the deep compassion
freely offered, freely giv’n,
care that reaches past the barriers,
care that takes the stranger in.
    Praises singing, our lives bringing,
    joined with all we share a part.

Praise, my soul, the sense of justice,
seeing others equally,
full respect for rights and honour,
full respect for dignity.
    Praises singing, our lives bringing,
    t’wards a whole humanity
. © Scott Kearns 2008

OR

Just as the Rainbow(Tune: ‘Colours of Hope’,  D C Damon)    22 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.

God give us eyes to value our neighbour,

judging no colour, image or skin,
but where the heart is, open to friendship,
care and connection making us kin.

God give us wisdom, luminous thinking,
prizing this rainbow, sensing its scope,
finding the gold in icons of others,

working to paint the colours of hope. (Shirley Erena Murray)
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
Spirit of God brooding over the waters of our chaos,
All   
inspire us to generous living.
Wind of God dancing over the desert of our reluctance,
All  
lead us to the oasis of celebration.
Breath of God inspiring communication among strangers,
All  
make us channels of your peace.  (Kate McIlhagga/cw)

Act of Awareness
We have gathered in this sacred place, again.

May we continue to create here a circle of love,
ever expanding, ever growing.
A place of wisdom.
A place of connection.
A place of hope.

OR

We pray:
Be with us, O God, in
our thinking,
our feeling, and
our being.

Touch us where we need to feel your presence
and encourage us where we need your inspiration.
May it be so.

Hymn “This Hazy, Gleaming Veil”  (Tune: ‘St Michael’, SM. 483 TiS)   3 RP
This hazy, gleaming veil,
this cloudy, milky skein,
the galaxy in which we live
this home that God has vowed.

A hundred billion stars
form that galactic space
these myriad sparks of dancing light
are signings of God's grace.

This place of hopes and dreams
God gives into our hands,
and we are stewards of its worth,
its rich majestic strands.

So limited our grasp
so narrow human scope,
so much is still beyond our reach,
yet beauty frames our hope.  © 
Andrew Pratt
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.

Meditation
“Some Sayings…”
By Meister Eckhart. (13th century)

What good is it to me
if Mary gave birth to Jesus 1400 years ago,
if I do not also give birth to him in my time and my culture…

What is the test that you have indeed undergone this holy birth?
Listen carefully.
If this birth has truly taken place within you,
then every single creature points you toward God…

God is creating the entire universe fully and totally in this present now.
Everything God created in the beginning –
and even previous to that…

God creates now all at once.

Silence
So come now apart from the busyness of family and work,
and dwell in the presentness of God
who is our source of creativity and being.
(Silence)

May the silence which we now share quieten us,
touch our need,
refresh our courage,
enlarge our wonder.
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Let us now listen to some readings and reflections
from our broad religious tradition.

Hebrew Scriptures:
(Alternate) Psalm 30.
By Francis Macnab. A Fine Wind is Blowing/14-15.

The author of the Psalm finds himself 'in the pits". Yet he also feels God lifting him up…
‘Let me throw off the heavy blanket of depression’, he says.

When I really stop to think, I know I have a lot to thank God for.
There were times when I clearly needed help,
when people around me were being of no help at all.
I began to sink into the worst misery.
I kept asking: How can I get out of this hell-hole?

Then I felt the listening God was hearing me.

I began to feel his presence lifting me up;
and the things and the people against me
became less dominant in my thoughts…

After all, what is the good of my life,
if I am down in the pits of despair,
continually griping about this and groaning about that…?

Let me throw off the heavy blanket of my depressions,
and put on the lighter clothes of a buoyant spirit.

Set me free, O God, so that I can sing good songs every day.
Yes, everyday,
I want to be part of God's great-song!

The World Around us:
(i)  “A Joyous Quality”
By Henry N Wieman & Donald S Harrington. Outstretched Wings of the Spirit/23.

Religious living is oriented and integrated
toward one supreme area of worth.

Consequently all living is measured and ordered with reference to that which the devotee
holds to be The Most High…

There is a feeling that life is worth living.
There is a sense of direction.
There is a joyous quality through the sense of moving on
toward that value set as supreme, a consciousness of making progress…

Everything that occurs makes much more difference to the religiously integrated person…

To have a clear sense of direction,
a definite hierarchy of loyalties so as to be able to put first things first,
is fundamental to real enjoyment of life.

We want to know that we are accomplishing something,
getting somewhere worth while, if we are to be happy.
In the light of such an o'er arching commitment,
every smallest detail of life gains an eternal significance.

OR

(ii) "God's Dye" 
By Jim Burklo. www.tcpc.blogs.com/musings (22/4/2010)

A few years back, Roberta and I were treated to a meal at Giorgio Baldi,
a restaurant near Sunset Boulevard and the Pacific Coast Highway.

It was pointed out to me that Hollywood notables were sitting at the tables around us.
Clueless as I was about the identities of these personages,
even then I didn't get it that I we were in a super-star restaurant.

Not until I placed on my tongue the asparagus ravioli I had ordered on a whim.
It would not be correct to say that I ate that ravioli.
Rather, it dissolved into my body in successive ecstasies of flavor, aroma, and texture.

If I am what I eat, I was an ennobled being that night.

A few weeks ago, Roberta made an extraordinarily tasty dinner
using the Arrabbiata pasta sauce produced by Giorgio Baldi.
This sauce is the refined quintessence, the Platonic ideal of tomatoes, not the flawed mortal form.

The cost of it is accordingly celestial.
At $7.00 for a smallish jar, it's not something
one could afford to turn into a habit.  

And there's another reason not to make it a habit.
This sauce is cooked down to its bosons.
It is so utterly disintegrated from its original constituent elements
that it stained our dishes, right through the glaze.

The dishes were cheap but beautiful 'seconds'
from the famous Heath Ceramics studio in Sausalito;
the glaze was thin, so the sauce seeped in.  

A few Sundays ago, at Easter,
I stood in line to receive communion with the other members of our church.
We received the bread from Reverend Rachel,
and dipped it in the wine, and put it on our tongues,
and let it melt into our mouths, coloring our souls with kindness.

We let divine love get through our skin,
so we could be stained with the rainbow colors of holy compassion.
"We take on God's dye".

And the church (or the mosque, or the synagogue, or the temple) is the vat where we soak our souls.

We're surrounded by God's colors every day, all the time, everywhere.
But so often we're so glazed-over so that this brightness doesn't get in.
The fabric of our lives gets waxed-over by habitual ways of seeing and doing.
We become tasteless and colorless.

Meditative prayer, humble worship, selfless service
open up the pores of our souls so that
we can receive all the hues of the Holy One.

And who has a better dye than God's?

Hymn In solidarity with those for whom standing is not easy or possible, we will remain seated to sing
A hymn from the ‘progressive’ movement of the late 1800s.

Seek Not Afar For Beauty”  (Tune: ‘Sursum corda’, 10 10 10 10, 240 TiS)   174 HCL
Seek not afar for beauty; lo! it glows
In dew-wet grasses all about thy feet;
In birds, in sunshine, childish faces sweet,
In stars and mountain summits topped with snows.

Go not abroad for happiness: for see
It is a flower blooming at thy door.
Bring love and justice home, and then no more
Thou'lt wonder in what dwelling joy may be.

Dream not of noble service elsewhere wrought;
The simple duty that awaits thy hand
Is God's voice speaking a divine command:
Life's common deeds build all that saints have thought.

In wonder-workings, or some bush aflame,
We look for God and fancy God concealed;
But in earth's common things God stands re-vealed,
While grass and flowers and stars spell out the
Name.  (MJSavage, 1883)

Traditional Gospel:
(Alternate, because it never gets selected in the Lectionary)

Luke 9:11-17  (Inclusive Text)

Jesus made the crowds welcome and talked to them about the realm of God;
and cured those who were in need of healing.

It was late afternoon when the Twelve came to Jesus and said,
'Send the people away, and they can go to the villages and farms round about
to find lodging and food: for we are in a lonely place here.'

Jesus replied,
'Give them something to eat yourselves.'

But they said,
'We have no more than five loaves and two fish,
unless we are to go ourselves and buy food for all these people.'

For there were about five thousand.

But Jesus said to the disciples,
'Get them to sit down in parties of about fifty.'

They did so and made them all sit down.

Then Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish,
raised his eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them;
then broke the loaves and handed them to the disciples to distribute among the crowd.

They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps remaining were collected
they filled twelve baskets.

Contemporary Exploration HERE and HERE

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany: ‘Clear the Way’ (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share a litany called ‘Clear the way’.
The people stand, as they are able

v1  God of surprises you call us
from the narrowness of our traditions to new ways of being church,
from the captivities of our culture to creative witness for justice,
from the smallness of our horizons to the bigness of your vision.
All  Clear the way in us, your people,
that we might call others to freedom
and renewed faith.

v2  Jesus, wounded healer you call us
from preoccupation with our own histories and hurts to daily tasks of peacemaking,
from privilege to pilgrimage,
from insularity to inclusive community.
All  Clear the way in us, your people,
that we might call others to wholeness and integrity.

v1  Holy, transforming, Spirit you call us
from fear to faithfulness,
from clutter to clarity,
from a desire to control to deeper trust,
from the refusal to love to a readiness to risk.
All  Clear the way in us, your people,
that we might all know the beauty and power
and danger of the gospel. 
JPuls, GCashmore/cw

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

May a heart of peace rest 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
Give Respect to Humankind(Tune: ‘Warrington’, 88 88. 207 TiS) 60 SNS2
Giving respect to humankind
Is wise and good for there we find
Images of the God we praise
And love expressed in countless ways.

Giving respect to humankind
Can help us all to leave behind
Thoughts of revenge and words of spite;
Can prompt resolve to re-unite.

Giving respect to humankind
Arises from our heart and mind;
As we reflect on those we know
May caring thoughts have constant flow.

Giving respect to humankind
Is Jesus' theme; His word defined
How we might live affirming all
The human beauty in us all.

So let us honour humankind
With God's own image, so combined,
We find ourselves equipped to prize
The gentle, lovely, kind and wise. (George Stuart)

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:
We turn to Life, to that vast creativity

All  
that empowers the universe
as the ocean animates the wave,

seeking to let go of that which blocks our healing.

All  
May we open ourselves even now

to the wonder of Life.

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 that is appropriate

All   O presence and pow’r within us,
Being and Life of all.
How we are filled, how we o’erflow
with infinite love and gladness!

We shall this day sow grace and peace,
and show mercy to all,
and gentle loving-kindness.

And we shall be not so self-serving,
but a constant source of giving.

For ours is the essence,
and the wholeness,
and the fullness forever.
(Paul Alan Laughlin/4r)
Amen.

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

Presentation
For all the saints who went before us
who have spoken to our hearts...
For all the saints who live beside us...