Epiphany3A.23.1.2011

Revd Rex A E Hunt


eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au

Web site:  www.rexaehuntprogressive.com


LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

23 January 2011. Epiphany 3A. (Green).



Acknowledgement of land

(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 celebration

The gong is sounded three times


Come in.  Come into this place

which we make special by our presence.


Come into this place,

where the ordinary is sanctified,

the human is celebrated,

the compassionate is expected.


Come into this place.

Together we make it a holy place.


Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life

in the presentness of God.


Lighting of the community candle

The candle is lit


Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing

"As the sun beats down" (Tune: 10 7 10 7)   2 FFS

As the sun beats down and the heat invades,

and creation burns and dries;

let us sing to God of a promised hope

in the midst of anxious cries.


As the parching winds relentless blow,

and creation browns away;

let us sing to God, who restores and calms

all foreboding and dismay.


As the feed dies back and the stock decline,

and creation's bones show through;

let us sing to God of the bread of life,

to refresh, restore, renew.


As the silent birds sing a silent song

in creation's still blue sky;

let us sing to God of the songs of hope,

through a gentle rain's reply.


As the season comes and the season goes,

and we search the skies each day;

let us sing to God of a rainbow faith,

and a promised green display. BBennett

Remain standing


Opening sentences

God of our yesterdays and God of our tomorrows

we ask that you be with us now, God of our today.

All Amen.


God of vision and new possibilities

open our hearts and minds

to the reality of your presence. (Adapt/RSugrue)

All Amen.


Prayer of awareness

We pray:

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 imagination, dedication and 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.


May we always rejoice in life,

and work to cultivate a sense of its giftedness. MSMilnor/Adapt

Amen.


Hymn "Faith has set us on a journey" (Tune: Venture)   14 FFS

Faith has set us on a journey

past the landmarks that we know,

taking risks with no insurance

but the Word that tells us "Go!"

Friend or job or home or lover

we may need to leave behind,

outworn truths and ways of thinking,

baggage to the past consigned.


Some are swags of easy conscience

who with others hitch a ride,

some are tourist-package Christians,

dollar-safe, with Book and guide.

There are others on this journey -

those who long and pray and search,

heave the stones to free the structures,

love the Christ and leave the Church.


We are this unlikely people

in the Body knit as one,

company of clowns and cripples -

some are wise and some can run.

Prophets are our travel agents,

gospel-makers lay this road:

to the place of peace and promise

faith will take us into God. SEMurray

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.


Remembering

Today is part of the celebration we call Australia Day weekend.

A time of reflecting and remembering.


As you entered this morning, you were given a eucalypt or gum leaf.


Take it between your fingers, break it, smell it,

and share with the person next to you

a memory of times you celebrated Australia Day.

Conversation


Silence


This day we celebrate our country

in its grandeur and grace,

its challenges and its possibilities.

All We remember and rejoice


This day we also grieve and respect our past

and walk another step into our future together. DMcRae-McMahon/rlll

All and we lament.


Now away from the busyness of life

and in the silence of this sacred place,

let us give thanks for the gift of life, all of life:

life born of faithfulness,

life born of courage.

(Silence)


Life rises in our midst

All It surprises us when it blossoms forth

in unexpected times and places. DMcRae-McMahon/plpm


Music of reflection (with DVD/slide images of Australia and people)



EXPLORING

Readings from our broad biblical tradition

Two readings from our broad biblical tradition shall be read by (NN).


Hebrew scriptures:

Psalm 27

Francis Macnab. A fine wind is blowing/13.


• How easy the author succumbs to every noise and anxiety.  How easy it is to fall in heap.
But the author wants to believe, wants courage and strength.  They are God’s gift.


The headlines in the papers every day can arouse a lot of anxiety.

Even in the safety of my home,

one noise at night can make my heart jump with fright

and I start believing the house could be surrounded

by who-knows-what - coming to get me.


And then I know that I have succumbed to my own scattered fear when

what I need to do is refocus

on what is good and beautiful in life.


So I focus on the Presence of a loving caring God

who raises me out of my stress,

and helps me stand tall again,

in spite of the things that make me anxious.


Deep inside, I hear my heart say to me

"Come on, take hold of that good Presence".


Even then in my anxiety I hear myself say

"Oh God, help me.  Do not hide yourself from me.

Though mother and father are of no help to me,

surely there is a God who will bring me

to my moment of strength".


Yes, I say to that Good Presence

"Show me the way.  I do not want to be like those

who throw themselves on the useless heaps of life".

I want to believe in the Goodness of Life.

I am ready to wait for that.


Yes I shall breathe better.

I shall gather my courage and my strength.

God gives them to me.  If only I will wait for God's gift.


Gospel:

Matthew 4:12, 18-23 (Inclusive Text)


Hearing that John had been arrested

Jesus went back to Galilee, and leaving Nazareth

went and settled in Capernaum, a lake-side town…


From that moment Jesus began preaching with the message,

'Repent, for heaven's reign is close at hand.'


As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee,

he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter,

and his brother, Andrew

they were making a cast in the lake with their net,

for they were by trade, fishers.


And Jesus said to them,

'Follow me and I will make you fishers of people.'

And they left their nets at once and followed Jesus.


Going on from there Jesus saw another pair of brothers,

James, son of Zebedee, and his brother, John;

they were in their boat with their father Zebedee,

mending their nets, and Jesus called them.

At once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed.


Jesus went round the whole of Galilee

teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming

the Good News of God's reign and 

curing all kinds of diseases and sickness among the people.


Contemporary word


Silence for personal reflection


AFFIRMING

Litany: Travelling on...

The people stand as they are able


When hope invites us to journey

elusive, beckoning onward

but never in our grasp:

All God of wisdom and promise

give us courage to travel on.


Wn When dreams glimmer in the distance,

fading, clouded and hidden

or shining with new brightness:

All God of wisdom and promise

give us courage to travel on.

Mn When established patterns collapse

into the uncertainty of the unknown

and security dissolves into a memory:

All God of wisdom and promise

give us courage to travel on.


Wn When the illusion of success

threatens to divert us

and silence our souls' yearning:

All God of wisdom and promise

give us courage to travel on.

Mn When we think our journey has ended

in the star-lit glow

only to find the end is a new beginning:

All God of wisdom and promise

give us courage to travel on. JBerry/ssb


The peace

Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace

and our shared friendship.


The peace of God is here... to stay.

All Thanks be to God.

You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.


Hymn "Dear Mother God(Tune:  ‘Intercessor’ 11 10 11 10, 587 TiS)

Dear Mother God, your wings are warm around us,

We are enfolded in your love and care,

Safe in the dark, your heartbeat's pulse surround us,

You call to us, for you are always there.


You call to us, for we are in your image.

We wait on you, the nest is cold and bare -

High overhead your wingbeats call us onward,

Filled with your power, we ride the empty air.


Let not our freedom scorn the needs of others -

We climb the clouds until our strong heart sings -

May we enfold our sisters and our brothers,

Till all are strong, till all have eagles' wings. (JWootton/cw)


CELEBRATING

Offering

Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,

shall now be received.


Presentation The people stand as they are able, for the presentation of gifts

Far beyond the ‘east’, your Australian children

come to celebrate under the Southern Cross.


As we gather in this place, remembering

and telling the stories of our faith,

may we go behind the words to discern their meaning,

that we may be empowered with courage

to embrace the living of these days.

The people sit


Reflections and prayers

Care candle:

We are people of all ages who enter this space

bringing our joys and concerns.

Joys and concerns shared.


Listening response:

In caring for one another

All May we be untiring.

In sheltering one another

All May we be strong.

In holding one another

All May we be tender (GVosper/ab).


In all our joys and in all our concerns, may we be ever mindful

of the presentness of God among us,

and to see the new possibilities of the now.

The Care candle is lit


And let us recommit ourselves to the inclusive ways of Jesus.


Pastoral prayers:

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 O Birther!  Father-Mother of the Cosmos

you create all that moves in light.

Hear the one Sound that created all others,

in this way the Name is hallowed in silence.


Your rule springs into existence

as our arms reach out to embrace all creation.

Let all wills move together

in your vortex, as stars and planets

swirl through the sky.


Grant what we need each day in bread and insight:

subsistence for the call of growing life.


Lighten our load of secret debts as

we relieve others of their need to repay.


Keep us from hoarding false wealth,

and from the inner shame of

help not given in time. (MFox/ormw)


SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing

“God the weaver” (Tune: 497TiS, 8.7.8.7.8.7)

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.

Remain standing


Words of mission

The God we worship is never confined to this holy place.

So go and travel with the God

who is found in ordinary and surprising places.

The community candle is extinguished


Come to us, Creating God.

In new life,

In courage,

In wisdom,

In joy.


Bind us together as those who feel your love under our feet

in the warmth of this, our holy ground.

All Dance within our life, Spirit of God,

that we may be transformed by your eternal passion

for making all things new. DMcRae-McMahon/bst


Blessing words

Go into this week,

held together by the love of God

clothed with the nature of Jesus our Companion

reinforced by the strength of the Holy Spirit.

All Amen!


Hymn (Cont) “God the weaver” (Tune: 497TiS, 8.7.8.7.8.7)

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. © MDobson. 1996 Stainer & Bell Ltd

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 the moment 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:

(FFS) Faith forever singing. Songs for a new day. 2000. NZ: Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.

Fox, M. 2000.  One river, many wells. Wisdom springing from global faiths. NY: New York. Tarcher/Penguin Publishing.

Inclusive readings. Year A. 2004. QLD: Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.

Iona Community. 2001.  Iona abbey worship book. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.

McRae-McMahon, D. 2001.  Prayers for life's particular moments. VIC: Thornbury. DesBooks.

McRae-McMahon, D. 1996.  The glory of blood, sweat and tears. Liturgies for living and dying. VIC: Melbourne. JBCE.

Macnab, F. 2006.  A fine wind is blowing: Psalms of the bible in words that blow you away. VIC: Richmond. Spectrum Publications.

Vosper, G. 2009/2010.  Another breath. Prayers for celebration and reflection. QLD: Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane.

Ward, H.; J. Wild, J Morley. (ed). 1995.  Celebrating women. New edition. GtB: London. SPCK.


Web sites:

Sugrue. Spirit & spice Web site, NZ.

Milnor, Belcher. UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston.  www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/

Dobson. Stainer & Bell Ltd. <hymns.uk.com>

rexae@optusnet.com.au