Easter4A.11.5.2014

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au
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My books, suitable for progressive religious thinkers…

Against the Stream: Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew. Preston: Mosaic Press, 2012.

Cards, Carols, and Claus. Christmas in Popular Culture and Progressive Christianity. Preston: Mosaic Press, 2013.

• (Edited with John W Smith) Why Weren’t We Told? A Handbook on ‘progressive’ Christianity. Salem: Polebridge Press, 2012.

• (Edited with John Smith) New Life: Rediscovering Faith. Stories from Progressive Christians. Preston: Mosaic Press, 2013.


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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

11 May 2014. Easter 4A. (White).


Acknowledgement of Country
(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

In the presence.
In the peace.
In the power, of God.

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The community candle is lit

We light this flame to honour our past.
We light this flame to endorse our present as a community.
We light this flame to symbolise our future.

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"I am that Great and Fiery Force(Tune: 'Duke St.' 88 88, 439 TiS)     27 SLT
I am that great and fiery force
sparkling in every thing that lives;
in shining of the river's course,
in greening grass that glory gives.

I shine in glitter on the seas,
in burning sun, in moon and stars.
In unseen wind, in verdant trees
I breathe within, both near and far.

And where I breathe there is no death,
and meadows glow with beauties rife.
I am in all, the spirit's breath,
the thundered word, for I am Life.  Hildegard of Bingen, 12th Cent.
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
For our community gathered here,
for the spirit that called us together and drew us to this place:
All Let us give thanks.

For moments we have shared with others;
for times when we have reached out across barriers of distance and fear;
for times when others have reached out to us:
All Let us again give thanks.

For our weaving together out of many separate selves
this hour of celebration and reflection:
All We give thanks this day(JMauldin/adapted)

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:
The Spirit of Creativity is all around us.
We are grateful for the possibility of being ever more aware, human and alive.
Our world touches us in so many ways.

May we consider all that is - the beautiful,
and that which we don't want to read of and think about.

May the joys and the concerns of this present day
move and jolt us to our greater selves
and our greater thoughts.  RKleinheksel/adapted
May it be so.

Hymn God of Gumtree and of Quandong”  (Tune ‘Blaenwern’, 590 TiS)
God of gumtree and of quandong,
granite rocks and rolling plain;
God of pasture sheep and cattle,
fallow land and crops and grain:
You are always here around us
even when we do not know.
Help us realise your presence
that our Spirit life may grow.

Ploughing, seeding, patient waiting
for the harvest of the soil;
Shearing, branding, culling, feeding,
You are with us in our toil.
In the workshop, store and office,
classroom, kitchen, garden, too.
Help us see your gift and glory,
serve you well in all we do.

Scattered in our congregations
yet one body called to be;
reaching out to fellow Christians,
serving the community.
Thanks to You for love that binds us;
for the strength to do your will.
Father keep us true and faithful;
may we love and serve you still.  NThrelfall.
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.

CENTERING

Meditation
"Spirit of life"
By Barbara Hamilton-Holway

Spirit of life, in us and around us,
here is our chance, once again,
to live like we wish the world would live.

May we find within ourselves
the courage to be who we are.

May we know when it is time to listen
and when it is time to speak.

May we trust ourselves to be the ones to find
the words that need to be said
or to do what needs to be done.

May we trust one another
and know there are many ways to go through life.

May we know that
though we cannot change some of what life gives to us,
we can choose how we deal with what we are given.

We are coming into our power,
and together we can make possible justice and love.
We are all connected;
we depend upon one another more than we know.

We are one body.
So be it.
Blessed be.

Silence
There is a moment when noise ceases.
When the busy world is quiet
and the day's work is done.

In that moment... in this silence...
may we know God's presentness and God's peace.
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our religious tradition
Some stories from our biblical tradition shall now be read.
Our reader is (NN).

Hebrew Scriptures:
Ezekiel 1: 28b (plus other selected verses) (NRSV)

The glory of God was around me.
And I heard the voice of someone speaking.
‘O Human One, stand up on your feet, and I will speak with you’.

And when he spoke to me, a spirit entered into me
and set me on my feet; and I heard him speaking to me.
He said to me,
‘Human One, I am sending you to the people of Israel,
to a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me... and you shall say to them,
"Thus says the Lord God."

‘Whether they hear or refuse to hear...
they shall know that there has been a prophet among them.

OR

The World Around Us:
“To my Mother”
By Akbar Ahmed.

When I walk at night alone
in the deep wadis of her sobs

or when I know that each time I drive fast
or laze the reply to her letters;

when I know that at midnight
she sits up praying to her God
to keep me warm and whole,

when I know that she will still bless me
though I give her eyes cause to tears,

when I know that all my warts and ways
will turn to gold at her simple touch,

then I see through her the God she sits rotating her
beads to and then I know that her God
will always be there for me to reach out and touch.

Traditional Gospel:
John 10:1-2, 7-10.  (Inclusive Text)

Jesus said,
'I tell you most solemnly,
anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate,
but gets in some another way is a thief and a brigand.

The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the flock…

'I tell you most solemnly, I am the gate of the sheepfold.
All others who come are thieves and brigands;
but the sheep took no notice of them.

'I am the gate.  Anyone who enters through me will be safe:
they will go freely in and out and be sure of finding pasture.

'The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.'

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

Earth Litany (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

v1  Earth teach me!
Le  Earth teach me patience as the plants grow slowly
Ri  Earth teach me hope as the first shoots break through
Le  Earth teach me courage as the wild animals protect their young
Ri  
Earth teach me blessing as the sun rises each day
Le  Earth teach me loving kindness as the birds migrate for winter
Ri  
Earth teach me freedom as the birds who fly alone
Le  Earth teach me celebration as the apples come to full fruit
Ri  
Earth teach me yearning as the rain nourishes the drought.

v1 Earth teach me!  (MAbbott/sotc)

OR

Litany of Women's Voices (Optional)

v1  Mother God
Spirit-filled Woman
Source of all living things
It was you who breathed life into me.

v2  In your likeness I was formed.
The darkness of your sacred womb enwraps me in the silence of the Holy One
Your creative energy pulsates through every fibre of my being.
You birth forth life within me.

v3  Your abundant breasts continue to sustain my very being.
You carry me close to your heart
And sing your song of love to me.

v4  You hold me close to your heart
And sing your song of love to me.
You hold me close to you and comfort me.
Cradled in your arms, I am at peace.

v5  You bathe me with life-giving waters of your giftedness.
Reflected in your eyes is my dignity as woman.
You nurture me and guide me

v1-5  To proclaim my sacredness as woman of God
You call me forth to image your compassion, love and joy
To a broken world.
All  Together we dance life's passionate song (Mary Kemen/w)

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

May a heart of peace rest with you (DGalston/q)
All  And also with you
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours

CELEBRATING

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing

"You Hold Us With a Tender Parent's Hand"  (Tune: "Song 1", Orlando Gibbons)    152 HoS
You hold us with a tender parent's hand,
empower when the load is hard to bear,
uplift us when we hesitate or fall,
surround us with your unremitting care.
You give us courage when our faith is weak;
guide all our deeds, inspire the words we speak.

We give you thanks for unexpected joys,
a sudden smile, reunion with a friend,
delight of violets' fragrance in the air,
the warmth of greeting at our journey's end.
Guard all these special moments in our mind;
your presence in them all we, seeking, find.

From Chrysalis a butterfly appears;
from bud the petals of a flower unfold.
With those whose lives are held within your love
the fractured rock reveals a seam of gold.
Then take us, use us Lord, that we may be
transformed, released to live creatively (Jocelyn Marshall)

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

Presentation
We give thanks to God for our life
and the courage we are given to live it.

Let our gratitude for life be expressed in our generosity.
Let our faith be expressed in good causes.
Let our belief in the future find full expression
in our daily attitude of mind  (FMacnab/fwb)

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)

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:
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 the sacred among us,
and to see the new possibilities of the now.
The Care candle is lit

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,
Focus your light within us - make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now.
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.

Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others' guilt.
Don't let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.

From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all, from age to age it renews.

Truly - power to these statements -
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow. Amen
. (NDouglas-Klotz/pc)

OR

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(WWallace)

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
"Whispers Rippled through the Cosmos(Tune: 'Nettleton', 87 87. 392 TiS)
Whispers rippled through the cosmos,
pan-galactic breath of God;
marking paths of whirling planets,
stellar strings where stars first trod.
Major chords of constellations
ringing on the staves of time,
soften to a sombre minor,
echoes of an ancient rhyme.

God is in this wild confusion
bringing order, giving grace;
author, ground of all creation,
fount of being, Lord of space.
All transcendent power and glory
now distilled, condensed, confined;
shaped while shaping rich resources
cradling waiting humankind.  © APratt

OR

"Simply To Be" (Tune: "Enfolded", Jane Marshall) 37 TEL
Simply to be, to be in stillness,
simply to trust that God is here,
simply to know the Holy Presence,
is to be blessed:
so am I blessed.

Simply to hold the given moment,
simply to lay concern aside,
simply to to let the heart be speaking,
is to be blessed:
so am I blessed,

so am I blessed within God's keeping,
so am I freed from pointless stress,
steadied to feel the soul replenished,
given this grace,
folded in peace (SEMurray)
Remain standing

Parting Words
As we prepare to leave this sacred space
where we have worshipped together,
let us return to our work enlivened and renewed...
The community candle is extinguished

v2 We extinguish this candle,
knowing the light of The Human One is within us,
and we carry it forth from this place.

Words of Blessing
May God the heart of life be deep within us,
God the Christ be present in our history,
and God the Spirit empower us 
to sing and dance and celebrate.
All Amen! May it be so!

HymnSpirit of Peace”    58 FFS
Spirit of peace,
Spirit of truth,
Spirit of life,
Spirit of earth,
Spirit of Jesus,
Spirit of love,
only one Spirit,
Spirit of God. (JMurray)
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:
Ahlers, J. & R Broughton, & C. Koch. (ed) Women Psalms. Winona. St Mary’s Press/Christian Brothers Publications, (date). 
Binkley, C. G.; J. M. McKeel. 2001. Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An international curriculum on the life and teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press.
Burgess, R. 2001. A Book of Blessings. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Douglas-Klotz, N.
Prayers of the Cosmos. Meditations on the Aramaic Words of Jesus. New York. Harper & Row, 1990.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. 2000. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust. 
Holy Bible. NRSV. 1989. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers.
(HoS)
Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. 2004. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.

Macnab, F. 2006. A Fine Wind is Blowing: Psalms of the Bible in words that blow you away. Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
(TEL) Murray, S. E. 2008. Touch the Earth Lightly. New Hymns written between 2003 and 2008. Carol Stream. Hope Publishing.
(SLT)
Singing the Living Tradition
. 1993. MA: Boston. UUA.
"God of gumtree...". Uniting Church Assembly Resources. Sydney, NSW. (Released from time to time.)
Vosper, G. 2009/2010.  
Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought.

Web sites/Other:
Mauldin, 
Hamilton-Holway. UUA Worship Web. Boston. < http://www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
"Whispers Rippled through the Cosmos". Andrew Pratt. UK. Hymns & Books blog site. <http://hymnsandbooks.blogspot.com/>
Kleinheksel, C3 Exchange, (2008). Spring Lake. MI. <http://www.c3exchange.org/>
"To my Mother". From Suspended Somewhere Between: A Book of Verse by Akbar Ahmed. Published by PM Press and Busboys and Poets Press, 2011.
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/

rexae@optusnet.com.au