Epiphany7A.20.2.2011

Revd Rex A E Hunt


eMail:  rexae@optusnet.com.au

Web:  www.rexaehuntprogressive.com




LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

20 February 2011. Epiphany7A. (Green).
Celebrating community: Sacrament of the Lord's style of Supper



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, gender, cultural background or sexual orientation



GATHERING

Gathering music


Entry into celebration

There is, under the mystery that is ‘us’,

a deep, abiding sense of oneness.


 As we celebrate and worship today, may we

be filled with an awareness of that oneness,

and may it soak into and through

the whole of our living (GVosper/hb).


So, at this time and in this place,

let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life

in the presentness of God.


Lighting of community candle

The candle is lit


Our light may seem small and flickering,

but it bears the flame to another and another,

just as the flame of love is passed

from person to person PBrooks/li.Adapt.


Hymn 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 RCDuck.


Opening sentences

As we gather together this morning

may we learn to recognise and affirm

the pieces of possibility we bring.

All May we allow and encourage our individual gifts

to weave a patchwork of inclusiveness:


Wm the soft deep blue of sensitivity and understanding;

Mn the red energy of creativity;

Wm the white heat of convictions;

Mn the risky, fragile green of new growth;

Wm the golden flashes of gratitude;

Mn the warm rose of love.


Together, in our gathered diversity, we form the whole.

All So be it (BWienecke).


Prayer

We pray:

Awesome and gracious God,

the creativity that brings us to life and sustains us,

may we become what is in our power to become,

this day, and throughout the coming week.

Amen.


HymnCome celebrate…(Tune: ‘Gift of life’, CGibson)  17 HoS

Come celebrate the gift of life:

creation’s journey from the star

whose first great flaring forth of light

responded to God’s word of power.

Enable us, O God, to see

your living word is in us still;

this vibrant possibility

within our human lives fulfil.


Come celebrate the gift of love,

potential in each human soul,

revealed by Jesus as he strove

to heal our world and make us whole.

Enable us, O God, to choose

beyond the inborn needs of self;

in loving, be prepared to lose

our boundaries, and find new life.


Come celebrate the gift of power:

the flow of God within each soul,

which calls us in this present hour

to see creation as a whole.

Enable us, O God, to know

your life is present in all things;

and may our lives, within that flow,

reflect the joy creation sings. (MBond)

The people sit.


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.


Silence

As we now settle into the sacred silence of this place,

may our truest selves transcend the

dissonance of daily distractions.

(Silence)


And all our living away from this time,

be joined to the spiraling, infinite dance

pulsing unseen throughout the universe.

So may it be (MKCapo).

(Silence)


Music of reflection


EXPLORING

A reading from our biblical tradition

Continuing a collection of pronouncements from our biblical tradition,

as recorded by the storyteller we call Matthew, be read by (NN).


Gospel:

Matthew 5:35 - 48 (Scholars Edition)


• As you know, we were once told,

‘An eye for an eye’, and ‘A tooth for a tooth’.


But I tell you: Don’t react violently against the one who is evil:

when someone slaps you on the right cheek,

turn the other as well.


When someone want to sue you for your shirt,

let that person have your coat along with it.

Further, when anyone conscripts you for one mile,

go an extra mile.


Give to the one who begs from you; and don’t

turn away the one who tries to borrow from you…


• As you know, we once were told,

‘You are to love your neighbor’ and ‘You are to hate your enemy’.


But I tell you: Love your enemies,

and pray for your persecutors.

You’ll then become children of your Father in the heavens.


God causes the sun to rise on both the bad and the good,

and sends rain on both the just and the unjust.

Tell me, if you love those who love you, why should you

be commended for that?  Even the toll collectors

do as much, don’t they?

And if you greet only your friends, what have you done

that is exceptional?  Even the pagans

do as much, don’t they?


To sum up, you are to be unstinting in your generosity

in the way your heavenly Father’s generosity

is unstinting…


OR


Matthew 5: 38-48   

(Translated and paraphrased by Harry T. Cook.)


Jesus said,
"You know that it used to be said,
'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'


"But I say do not resist.
If someone hits you on your right cheek,
turn the other to him, and if any one threatens to sue you to get your shirt,
just give it to him along with your coat;

and if someone forces you to go one mile, go the second voluntarily.


"You also have heard that you should love your neighbor but hate your enemy.
Wrong.  I'm telling you to love your enemies,
for if you love people who love you, so what?


"Try to be mature instead of infantile.
Don't be a Gentile.
Be a Jew." 

Contemporary Word
• A Sermon suitable for this day can be found in my forthcoming book, Against the Stream. Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew.


Silence for private reflection


Litany: ‘Web of life’

In response to the word reflected on let us stand

and share a Litany celebrating the ‘web of life’.

People stand as they are able


All We create a web of life.

This is finally the time to let go of that crazy notion

that we can live separate and aloof from one another.


All We create a web of life.

This is the time at last

that we can come home to each other,

to our mutual belonging.


All We create a web of life.

And we create a web of life

out of which every single one of us

can use everything our stories have given us.


All We create a web of life.

Every part of our lives... even the cruelty,

even the abuse, even the addictions,

even the loneliness, even the failures...


All We create a web of life.

A web of life is created within

which you can rest in that knowing.

Because out of that you can act.

Out of that, all power is yours.

Out of that, you travel light.

Out of that, you can step forward. 


All We create a web of life.

Let every encounter be a homecoming

as we step forward now for the healing of our world.

The world is not going to be saved by good people or noble people.
The world is going to be healed by ordinary people,

like you and me,

who are not afraid of pain

and who are not afraid to love each other SLammer.


The peace

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

and of 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 of the month

Nothing is lost…(Tune: ‘Greenlane’)  50 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.


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 (CGibson)


AFFIRMING

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 joy and in sorrow

All We do not walk alone (GVosper/wwg)


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


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 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. Amen (SJWeinberg)


With the children

The children come to the storyteller’s 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

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF THE LORD'S STYLE OF SUPPER

The offerings Offerings/bread and wine are presented

Let us bring our offerings, and our gifts of bread and wine,

as a symbol of our decision to be co-creators with God

in a safer and more inclusive world.


The presentation The people stand as they are able

In harmony with Creativity God,

may we recognise our kinship with other creatures:

webs of cosmos, life and culture,

so that we and the rest of our planet

can continue and flourish.

People sit


Thanksgiving

In faith and love, we celebrate the brightness

and warmth of this season and offer to

Creativity God our praise and thanksgiving.


We join our praise with all people

all over the world, saying

All Holy, holy, holy, Celebrating God,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.

All Hosanna in the highest.


God of the late summer’s day,

All praise and wonder be.

God of the lingering sunset and early dawn,

All praise and wonder be.

God of the hot north wind and the refreshing shower,

God of the shady tree and the cool water bag,

God of the Season of Kooyang (Eels) for the

Djab Wurrung and Jardwidjarli, traditional peoples of Gariwerd.

All Praise and wonder be.


All creation blesses Creativity God, source of energy and life,

in the ongoing evolving process of nature.


In our praise and thanksgiving we remember the ways of Jesus

who walked the dusty roads of Galilee,

who taught from seashore and mountainside,

who told stories of the sower and the seed,

the lilies of the field and the birds of the air,

and challenged friends to love neighbour and to love enemies.


May we be constantly aware of the need to become fresh

and new in the midst of death and loss.

And may we know the presentness of God

in the beauty of creation and

the compassion for others.


But we also lament that all care for this earth

and its people can be denied:

goodness and compassion is betrayed

as Jesus was betrayed.


On the night of his betrayal,

Jesus shared again a supper with his disciples.

Grain and grape.

Bread and wine.

Human labour and celebration.


May that same spirit of celebration be with us now.

(Silence)


May we be blessed with a desire

to praise in song and story and poetry, and

with a sharpened awareness of the presentness of the sacred.

All May we be blessed with deep compassion,

and with the patience and daring of the mystics.


Breaking the bread/Pouring of wine

Actions in silence


Communion

Served in continuous line, by intinction.


Bread broken.

Cup filled.


After communion

May the bread and the wine and the fellowship

be the nourishment we seek,

and may it transform us into disciples 

who serve all of creation.


SCATTERING

Hymn "This love, this life…" (Tune: O Waly, Waly. 88 88)   72 (v1-2) WNC

This love, this life, this enterprise

is that by which we will arise

affirmed, up-raised, to live again

when we have suffered death or pain.


Our practical adventure here

involves both urgency and care;

compelled by shared humanity

to offer love, set people free.

People remain standing


Words of mission

As we prepare to leave this sacred space

where we have worshipped together,

let us return to our work and school

enlivened and renewed...

The community candle is extinguished


We receive fragments of holiness, glimpses of eternity,

brief moments of insight.

All Let us gather them up

for the precious gifts that they are and,

renewed by their grace,

move boldly into the unknown (SCampbell/slt)


Blessing words

The celebration of this gathered community

in this sacred place, is ended.

May the holy mystery of Creativity God be found along the road.

The wonder of the costly love of Jesus the Companion embrace you.

And the Empowering Spirit bless and keep you, always.

All Amen.


Hymn (Cont.). "This love, this life…" (Tune: O Waly, Waly. 88 88)   72 (v3) WNC

And if the task enlarges sight

to wider visions, greater height

than those which we can reach on earth,

then know that God has come to birth © Pratt.

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:

Binkley, C. G.; J. M. McKeel. 2001.  Jesus and his kingdom of equals. An international curriculum on the life and teaching of Jesus. CA: Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press.

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

Funk, R. W; R. W. Hoover. 1993.  The five gospels. The search for the authentic words of Jesus. NY: New York. MacMillan Press.

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

Johnson, D. A. 2003.  The light invisible. MA: Brookline. Self published.

(WNC) Pratt, A. 2002.  Whatever name or creed. Hymns and songs. GtB: London. Stainer & Bell Ltd.

(SLT) Singing the living tradition. 1993.  MA: Boston. UUA.

The six seasons of Gariwerd. Brambuk. The National Park & Cultural Centre. Vic.

(TiS) Together in song. Australian hymn book 2. 1999. NSW: Sydney. HarperCollins Religious.

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

Vosper, G. 2008.  With or without God. Why the way we live is more important that what we believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.


Web sites:

Sherri Weinberg. St Paul's Presbyterian Church Web site. NZ: Devonport. (2005)

Andrew Pratt. eMail resources. UK. Direct for the author.

Wienecke, Capo, Lammer, UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Harry T Cook. 'Findings 11'. (2011). <www.harrytcook.com>

rexae@optusnet.com.au