PentecostC.15.5.2016

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
15 May 2016. Pentecost C. (Red).


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

Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

Now is the time to dance heaven's dance,
Time to discern eternity's face,
Moment of knowing beyond all sight,
Day of God's smile and tender embrace.
  (William L Wallace)

OR

Look to the salutation to the dawn,
Look to this day for it is life, the very life of life (Adapt.Sanskrit/ep).

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

We light this flame to affirm that new light
is ever waiting to break through to enlighten our ways:
that new truth is ever waiting
to break through to illumine our minds,
and that new love is ever waiting
to break through to warm our hearts.

May we be open to this light,
and to the rich possibilities that it brings us.
  C A Howe

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
Lithe Spirit You’re Bounding and Leaping”  (Tune: 9 8 11 8)   85 WNC
Lithe spirit you’re bounding and leaping,
stars shimmer and flash from your heels,
until the whole world burns with pardon and praise,
until the lost know how love feels.

O harlequin dazzle by dancing,
let joy spring like sparks from a flame,
until every person consumed by your love
comes blithely to join in your game.

Come juggler, spinning and turning
our chances and dreams like a top,
until all our values are turned upside down
whirl on through the world, never stop.
  © Andrew Pratt

OR

Pentecost(Tune: ‘Streets of Laredo’)
The backwash of rumour unsettles the faithful,
that Jesus has risen, the morning has come,
when all of the world will be shaken and driven,
the spirit is waiting, will rise with the sun.

The locks are unbroken, disciples are waiting,
each ear is attuned for an uncommon sound:
the footsteps of soldiers, a hidden informant,
the spirit is waking to turn them around.

In hushed conversation they plan out a future,
not knowing for certain what fate has in store,
when flames curl around them, warm hearts and clear voices,
the spirit has found them behind that closed door.

And now we wait with them, we follow tradition,
we echo the story that we’ve heard before,
God’s spirit is near us, around and within us,
empowering, informing what God has in store.

So let us go out in the power of that spirit
to live lives like Jesus, to cheer and restore
the ones who are broken, derided, forsaken,
the spirit is moving, the future is sure. © Andrew Pratt 17/4/2010
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
Spirit Friend, you come like the wind
and the earth grows hale at your breath.
Wm  You arrive – like the wind filling a thousand sails
on Sydney Harbour…
Mn  
like moist air carrying refreshing rain to the Brindabellas…
All  
Seed us with new patterns of life
and leave us giddy with new possibilities
as we breathe this Breath of Life.

Act of Awareness
We gather grateful for the companionship
of hearts and minds
seeking to speak the truth in love.

We gather grateful for our heritage,
for the women and men before us
whose prophetic words and deeds
make possible our dreams and our insight.

And we gather grateful for the gift of life itself,
mindful that to respect life means both
to celebrate what life is
and to insist on what it can become (Adapt.MSMilner)

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 fellowship that sustains us,
that we may give ourselves in honesty and openness
to the larger life before us. (Adapt.CWells)
May it be so.

Hymn Praise to the Living God”  (Tune: ‘Leoni’, 66 84D, 102TiS)   215 SLT
Praise to the living God,
all praised be The Name,
which was, and is, and is to be,
for aye the same.
The one eternal God
ere aught that now appears:
the first, the last, beyond all thought
or timeless years!

Unformed, all lovely forms
declare God’s loveliness,
no holiness on earth
can e’er The Name express
whose love enfolds us all;
whose laud the earth displays,
Yea, everywhere, above, below,
is perfect praise.

The spirit floweth free,
high surging where it will,
in prophet's word did speak of old,
and speaketh still.
The Torah rest secure,
and changeless it shall stand,
deep writ upon the human heart,
on sea and land.

Eternal life hath God
implanted in the soul;
such love shall be our strength
and stay while ages roll.
Praise to the living God!
All praised be The Name
which was, and is, and is to be,
for aye the same!  (From the Jewish Yigdal c. 13th cent.)
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
“Help me say Goodbye to the Leaves”
By Lindy Conroe (Adapted).
For All That Is Our Life/50

Grant me courage, Lord, to say goodbye
to the leaves,
to accept the turning.

I want to ignore the red and yellow
glimmers hidden among the greens-
proof that the seasons will,
as they always do,
change again.

The greens I draw energy from
[have] transformed into brilliance,
then fallen and disappeared,
revealing long, black limbs against
grey [June] skies.

I will think of
times past,
people past,
mortality.

Give me courage, Lord, to say goodbye.

Silence
Let us take a moment to settle into the silence.
(Silence)

In these brief moments of silence and meditation may we find strength.
May our lives be rich in affection,
deep in understanding and
sympathy for each other.

May the blessings of life be known to all. (Adapt.Bob Holmes/wm)
(Silence)

EXPLORING

Readings from our Religious Tradition
Let us now listen to some stories from our broad religious tradition.

Reader: The delight of a story well-known
fills our hearts as we listen
for its familiar end.
All   May we hear, even in its simple telling,
stories that, to us, are ever new
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

From our World around us:
"For Desert Times"
By Margaret Keip
.

The journeys of our lives are never fully charted.
There come to each of us deserts to cross - barren stretches -
where the green edge on the horizon may be our destination,
or an oasis on our way,
or a mirage that beckons only to leave us lost.
When fear grips the heart,
or despair bows the head,
may we bend as heart and head lead us down
to touch the ground beneath our feet.

May we scoop some sand into our hands
and receive what the sand would teach us:
it holds the warmth of the sun when the sun has left our sight,
as it holds the cool of the night when the stars have faded.
Hidden among its grains are tiny seeds,
at rest and waiting,
dormant yet undefeated.

Desert flowers.
They endure.
Moistened by our tears and by the rains which come
to end even the longest drought,
they send down roots and they bloom.

May we believe in those seeds, and in the seeds within us.
May we remember in our dry seasons that we, too, are desert flowers.

OR

From Early Christianities:
Acts 2:1-4 (Inclusive Text) 

When Pentecost day came around,
the apostles had all met in one room,
when suddenly they heard
what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven.
The noise filled the entire house where they were sitting.

And something appeared to them
that seemed like tongues of fire;
these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them.

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak foreign languages,
as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.

OR

The Sophia of Jesus Christ 90:14 - 92:5 (Nag Hammadi Library)

After Jesus Christ rose from the dead,
his twelve disciples and seven women continued to be his followers
and went to Galilee onto the mountain called “Divination and Joy”.

When they gathered together and were perplexed about the underlying reality
of the universe and the plan and the holy providence
and the power of the authorities and about everything
the Saviour is doing with them in the secret of the holy plan,
the Saviour appeared, not in his previous form,
but in the invisible spirit.

And his likeness resembled a great angel of light.
But his resemblance I must not describe.
No mortal flesh could endure it,
but only pure and perfect flesh,
like that which he taught us about on the mountain
called “Of Olives” in Galilee.

And he said, “Peace be to you! My peace I give to you!”
And they all marvelled and were afraid.

The Saviour laughed and said to them:
“What are you thinking about?
Why are you perplexed?
What are you searching for?”

Philip said: “For the underlying reality and the plan."

Hymn  In solidarity with those for whom standing is not easy or possible, we will remain seated to sing
“God the Weaver”  (Tune:’Picardy’, 87 87 87, 497TiS)
God the weaver, making patterns,
spinning threads throughout our days -
Joy and sadness interwoven,
strands of sorrow, strands of praise.
Help us to discern your weaving
in the multi-coloured maze.

Teach us, Lord, to trust your guidance
when the pattern is not clear,
and to feel your strength and comfort
when life's fabric's torn by fear.
Help us sense that in the dark times
Lightening love is always near.

When we see the pattern changing
and a new direction starts,
let us know your love unbroken
winds through life in all its parts
by the threads of love and friendship
closely woven in our hearts.

Though we never see the picture
with your sense of space and time,
help us, Lord, to take our places
in our faith's continuing line,
as all lives are interwoven 
in your final grand design. © M Dobson. 1996 Stainer & Bell Ltd

Non-canonical Gospel:  (Scholars Version)
Thomas 47:3-4

“Nobody drinks aged wine and immediately wants to drink young wine.
Young wine is not poured into old wineskins,
or they might break, and aged wine
is not poured into a new wineskin, or it might spoil.

“An old patch is not sewn onto a new garment, since it would create a tear”.

OR

“Tradition and Faith1”
An extract by Roy W. Hoover. From “Tradition and Faith in a New Era” in 
The Jesus Seminar (ed). The Future of the Christian Tradition. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press, 2007

In the introduction to his book The Religious Situation, written when he was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Frankfort, Paul Tillich suggested that “to live spiritually is to live in the presence of meaning” - a remark that resonates beyond the use he made of it in the course of [his particular] discussion. Here it can serve to point to the fact that a faith that has lost its credibility has lost its meaning, and that to continue to recite traditional expressions of faith that have lost their meaning is to deprive people of a spiritual life.

What our present religious situation calls for first of all is not a set of updated creedal affirmations, but something prior: an unconditional commitment to veracity, to what John A. T. Robinson referred to as “what is veridical” - to what, to the best of our knowledge, corresponds with reality. That is the most pertinent answer, for those who are inclined to ask, to the question, “What would Jesus do?” His parables and aphorisms are expressions of his own vision of reality and of what that reality implied for him and his contemporaries and called upon them to do about the way they think and the way they live. Basing our faith and life on what is veridical is, in that sense, to do what Jesus would do, even if that leads us to understand ourselves and our world in ways that never occurred to him. An unconditional commitment to veracity is the narrow gate that will admit us to terrain where we will be able to identify the meaning that can nourish our spirits in a new axial age.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

An Affirmation of Peace and Justice (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand and share
an affirmation of peace and justice in our world.
The people stand as they are able

v1  Let us dare to believe in the future:
Le:  a future when people shall have learned to live by freedom
and not by compulsion, by love and not by fear,
by adventure and not by jealously guarded security.
Ri:  They shall live in peace and shared respect
and ‘none shall make them afraid.’

v2  They shall be continuously hungry for knowledge,
and none shall say it is forbidden them.
Le:  They shall live in trust, and none shall do them hurt.
Ri:  They shall explore without fear of what they may find,
and the difficulties they meet shall be stepping-stones upward.

v1  Though this be slow in coming,
Le:  though it appears that all this may never be universally shared,
Ri:  it will be open to all on the condition
that each chooses individually.

v2  None shall create barriers between a person
and the fulfillment of the human spirit
which the person may not alone overthrow.
Le:  It is the barrier we build against others which holds us, ourselves, back;
Ri:  The defenses we painstakingly establish become our own fetters.

v1  This could be the future of humanity if we dare:
All  the people seek to master themselves instead of others,
and rejoice in the fruits of disciplines
they choose for themselves.
  (Robert T Wesson/slt)

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take some time 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
Further Still
Further still than hill or mountain peak,
further still abides the help we seek.
Further than the heavens
where the planets roll
abides the love that lives to make us whole.

Closer still than eyes alert can see,
closer still than reason's trusted key.
Closer that the psyche,
closer than the soul,
abides the love that works to make us whole.

Deeper still than deepest therapy,
stronger still than medicine can be.
Bolder still than passion
bursting from control