EasterA.24.4.2011

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au
Web site:  www.rexaehuntprogressive.com


LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

24 April 2011. Easter A. (White).
Celebrating community: Sacrament of Holy Communion


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 the celebration
The sacred space has been changed since we left it on Good Friday morning.
The wooden cross is no longer present. All that remains is the outline of the cross made from the petals and leaves
scattered by the women of the congregation...


The gong is sounded three times

This day we shall let the hills embrace us,
the trees comfort us,
and the sun enlighten our minds.

This day we shall let the sap rise within us
and dance the music of the Cosmos.  (Adpat/W Wallace/wb)

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life in the presentness of God.

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Easter 1”  (Tune: ‘St Magnus, 86 86. 378 TiS)
So bleak with possibility,
bare branches reach for hope,
a promise in this barren time
of love of boundless scope.

We look beyond this season's end,
through winter's lengthened night,
to longer days, and new found growth,
the cross no more a blight.

Each healing hand, each watchful eye,
each grief or joy we share,
lives out that resurrection love,
our calling and our care.  © Andrew Pratt

OR

"Easter 3" (Tune: 'Fulda' 88, 88 LM)
Was it the shaking ground that moved

the stone, that freed the resting Word,

that called the Christ to life again:

God's Spirit, breathing, moved and stirred?

Whatever cause, we may not know,

but Mary heard a calming voice,

that turned her life around again,

that gave her reason to rejoice.

The world still spinning, recollects

that God survived all human scorn;

that lives were changed for ever more

in meeting love alive, re-born.

This is the Voice that turns us round,

that calmly offers grace to cope;

that gives us strength to live again,

that gives us cause to sing our hope. 

© Andrew Pratt 1/4/2011

Remain standing

Opening sentences
v2 We live at mystery's edge
watching for a startling luminescence
or a word to guide us.
All In fragile occurrence the Holy One presents oneself
and we must pause...

Daily, there are glimmers,
reflections of a seamless mercy
revealed in common intricacies.
All These circles of grace spill out around us
and announce that we are part of this mystery.  KWehlander/adapted

v1 Today we celebrate life over death.
Today we celebrate the flame that lives again.
We will light the fire…

Lighting of the community candle
The candle is lit

aware that the power of resurrection
has forever changed who we are,
and given us the courage
to boldly proclaim a living faith.

Today we celebrate:
new life,
new joy,
new possibilities.
All We give thanks for the Spirit of Life visible in Jesus,
visible in us, visible in people in all walks of life.

Prayer of awareness
We pray:
God of all life, we give thanks for the signs
of your care and creativity
that surrounds us and blesses us.
Amen.

Hymn God who sets us on a journey(Tune: ‘Canvas’’) 32 FFS
God who sets us on a journey
to discover, dream and grow,
lead us as you led your people
in the desert long ago;
journey inward, journey outward,
stir the spirit, stretch the mind,
love for God and self and neighbour
marks the way that Christ defined.

Exploration brings new insights,
changes, choices we must face;
give us wisdom in deciding,
mindful always of your grace;
should we stumble, lose our bearings,
find it hard to know what's right,
we regain our true direction
focused on the Jesus light.

End our longing for the old days,
grant the vision that we lack –
once we've started on this journey
there can be no turning back;
let us travel light, discarding
excess baggage from our past,
cherish only what's essential,
choosing treasure that will last.

When we set up camp and settle
to avoid love's risk and pain,
you disturb complacent comfort,
pull the tent pegs up again;
keep us travelling in the knowledge
you are always at our side;
give us courage for the journey,
Christ our goal and Christ our guide.  Joy Dine
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
“A poem for Easter”
By R. Preston Price.

Like a blade of grass pushing up stubbornly through the sidewalk.
Like the butterfly emerging from the tomb-like chrysalis.
But much more.

Like the seed after years of dormant death sending up sprout.
Like the brown bulb breaking forth from brown earth into brilliant color.
But much more.

Like brilliant daybreak after a stormy, darkened night.
Like a rainbow mystically appearing amidst the rain.
But much more.

Like a patient making an unexpected, unpredicted turn for health.
Like the pine cone opening to spread seed only after touched by fiery death.
But much more.

Like a beautiful vase emerging from a lump of clay in the potter's hands.
Like a hidden spring burbling forth in the middle of a barren desert.
But much more…

So, it comes. 
Nothing else like it.
No image adequate.
No simile.
No metaphor.

Unable to talk about it but inadequately
We celebrate this great, real mystery that
Neither language nor imagination can encompass.

Easter!  Adapted/© 2008. RPPrice.

Music of celebration

EXPLORING

Reading from our broad religious tradition
Some sayings and a story from our broad religious tradition
shall be read by (NN).

A mystic’s reflection:
“Speak to us of… religion”
By Kahlil Gibran. The prophet/90-92 (adapted)

And an old priest said, "Speak to us of religion."
And the prophet said:
Have I spoken this day of aught else?

Is not religion all deeds and all reflection,
and that which is neither deed nor reflection,
but a wonder and a surprise ever springing in the soul,
even while the hands hew the stone or tend the loom?

Who can separate faith from actions, or belief from occupations?
Who can spread their hours before themselves, saying,
"This for God and this for myself;
This for my soul, and this other for my body?"
All your hours are wings that beat through space from self to self…

Your daily life is your temple and your religion.
Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.
Take the plough and the forge and the mallet and the lute,
The things you have fashioned in necessity or for delight…

And if you would know God, be not therefore a solver of riddles.
Rather look about you and you shall see
God playing with your children.

And look into space; you shall see God walking in the clouds,
with outstretched arms in the lightning and descending in rain.

You shall see God smiling in flowers,
then rising with arms waving in the trees.

Gospel:
Matthew 28:1-10  (NRSV)

After the sabbath, and towards dawn on the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to visit the sepulchre.

And all at once there was a violent earthquake, for the angel of God,
descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it.
The angel's face was like lightning,
and the angel's robe white as snow.
The guards were so shaken, so frightened that they were as if dead.

But the angel spoke, and said to the women,
'There is no need for you to be afraid.
I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
He is not here, for he has been raised, as he foretold.
Come and see the place where he lay,
then go quickly and tell the disciples:
Jesus has been raised from the dead,
and now is going before you to Galilee;
it is there you will see him.
Now I have told you.'

Filled with awe and great joy
the women came quickly away from the tomb,
and ran to tell the disciples.

And there coming to meet them, was Jesus.
'Greetings!' Jesus said.
And the women came up and, falling down before Jesus, clasped his feet.

Then Jesus said to them,
'Do not be afraid; go and tell the disciples
that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.'

OR

John 20:1-18 (NRSV)

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone
had been removed from the tomb.

So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple,
the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them,
“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,
and we do not know where they have laid him.”

Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb.
The two were running together,
but the other disciple outran Peter
and reached the tomb first.

He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there,
but he did not go in.

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb.
He saw the linen wrappings lying there,
and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head,
not lying with the linen wrappings
but rolled up in a place by itself.

Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first,
also went in, and he saw and believed;
for as yet they did not understand the scripture,
that he must rise from the dead.

Then the disciples returned to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb.
As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb;
and she saw two angels in white,
sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying,
one at the head and the other at the feet.

They said to her,
“Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them,
“They have taken away my Lord,
and I do not know where they have laid him.”

When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there,
but she did not know that it was Jesus.

Jesus said to her,
“Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him,
“Sir, if you have carried him away,
tell me where you have laid him,
and I will take him away.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).

Jesus said to her,
“Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and say to them,
‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord”; and she told them
that he had said these things to her.

Contemporary word

Silence for personal reflection

AFFIRMING

An Autumn litany
The people stand as they are able

For cool nights and sunny autumn days,
Mn for crunchy leaves to walk through
Wn and crisp red apples to bite into...
All We give thanks, artistic God.

For trees the colour of flame,
Wn For raucous crows and constant challenges,
Mn for netball practice and football games...
All We give thanks, celebrating God.

For holidays, processions and decorated floats,
Mn for warbling magpies and gentle rain,
Wn winter knitting, and after winter, spring again...
All We give thanks, generous God,
for all these glorious things.

The peace
God makes peace within us. Let us claim it.
God makes peace between us. Let us share it. (nwi)
Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace.

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
Where the light of Easter Day” (Tune: ‘Crusader’) 58 TEL

Where the light of Easter Day

shines through our life, then faith can say,

Christ is living,

Christ is moving,

Christ is changing all the world

Here is God’s good kingdom!

Where the yeast of love will rise,

bubbling with God’s new enterprise,

Christ is living,

Christ is moving,

Christ is working through the world

Here is God’s good kingdom!

Where a child can grow in trust,

where there is joy that powers are just,

Christ is living,

Christ is moving,

Christ will colour all the world

Here is God’s good kingdom!

Where the harvests ripen in peace,

where all the sounds of gunfire cease,

Christ is living,

Christ is moving,

Christ is healing all the world

Here is God’s good kingdom!

Where the Spirit’s flame burns bright,

where there is truth and health and light,

Christ is living,

Christ is moving,

Christ will resurrect the world

Here is God’s good kingdom! (SEMurray)

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:
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.

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 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)

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

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
Invitation
Friends, let us share in the sacred story
and celebrate the feast of the resurrection.

Offerings
In gratitude and in celebration, we present
our offerings and gifts of bread and wine.

Presentation  The people stand as they are able, as the gifts are presented
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
The people sit

Thanksgiving
God is the heart of life.
All And we are the heartbeat.
May our hearts be filled
with thanks and praise and songs of joy.
All We rejoice in the miracle of life
and delight in our participation.  SWeinberg

We give thanks for the invitation to be at this table,
for here we are shown our lives...

The daily bread of our work and care,
the wine of delight, pressed from the fruits of our creativity
and our brokenness, with all its pain and self-knowledge.

We celebrate the life that is ours
for we know we are precious in your sight.
We celebrate the life that is yours, pattern of reality for us:
life that is love revealed
love given and received
love in action.

Therefore, with all your lovers throughout the ages
we praise you saying:
All Holy, holy, holy, resurrection 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.

Bread and wine
We give thanks for the Spirit of New Life
active in our lives
as it was in the life of Jesus.

At this gathering in this sacred place
we take bread as Jesus took bread,
and we remember as Jesus remembered,
the constant presence
of the Spirit of Life and Love.

We break and share this bread
as Jesus broke and shared it.
(Break bread)

We share it as our pledge of openness
to the Spirit in our midst,
and in acknowledgement
of our eternal connectedness with the Spirit of Life.

We take wine and pour it as Jesus poured it.
(Wine poured)

We drink as Jesus invited his friends to drink,
mindful of a relationship of love and trust
between ourselves and the Spirit of Life,
believing as Jesus believed,
that beyond pain and darkness and death,
life in the Spirit continues
in ways beyond our imaginging.  (Adapted/M Morwood/pns).

Silence

Communion
The gifts of God for the people of God.
The bread and wine is served when people gather in four circles in the corners of the worship space

After communion
Living God, we give thanks
for this time shared around this table.

From now on, whenever we walk in strange places,
All we shall find your footprints there;
whenever we meet with unknown faces,
A
ll we shall see your image there;
whenever we face nameless terror,
All
we shall hear your 'Fear not' there;
whenever we stumble into unexpected joy,
All
we shall feel your heartbeat there.
Wherever we go we start from here.

SCATTERING

HymnWe are an Easter people”  (Tune: Alive)    146 (v1-2) AA
We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
the yeast is rising in our hearts,
our wine has vintage taste.
Refrain:
Christ is risen,
Christ is risen,
risen in our lives.

We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
our tears are freed to flow and heal
our shattered hopes and hearts.
Refrain:
Remain standing

Words of mission
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

Where Christ walks,
All We will follow.
Where Christ stumbles,
All We will stop.
Where Christ cries,
All We will listen.
Where Christ suffers,
All We will hurt.
When Christ dies,
All We will bow our heads in sorrow.
When Christ rises again in glory,
All We will share his endless joy(WGWG)

Blessing words
May God the starmaker cradle and circle you.
May God the storyteller beckon and encourage you.
May God the life changer challenge you and cherish you.

May you walk in the light of God’s love and laughter
all the moments of your nights and days.
All Amen!

Hymn (Cont)We are an Easter people(Tune: Alive)      146 (v3) AA
We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
our fears have died, we rise to dream,
to love, to dance, to live.
Refrain:
Christ is risen,
Christ is risen,
risen in our lives. WWallace
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:
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa.  Hymns and songs for all churches. 1993. NZ: Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust. 
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.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2000.  A world of blessing. Benedictions from every continent and many cultures. GtB: Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
(FFS)
Faith forever singing. Songs for a new day. 2000. NZ: Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Gibran, K. 1926/1969.  The prophet. Gt.B: London. Heinemann.
Holy Bible. NRSV. 1989. TN: Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Iona Community. 2001.  Iona abbey worship book. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Macnab, F. 2006.  A fine wind is blowing: Psalms of the bible in words that blow you away. VIC: Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
Morely, J. 1992.  All desires known. Expanded edition. GtB: London. SPCK.
Morwood, M. 2003.  Praying a new story. VIC: Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
(TEL) Murray, S. E. 2008.  
Touch the earth lightly. New hymns written between 2003 & 2008. IL: Carol Stream. Hope Publishing.
The St Hilda Community. 1996.  The new women included. A book of services and prayers. GtB: London.  SPCK.

Web sites:
Wehlander, Price. UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston.  <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Sherri Weinberg. (2005) St Paul's Presbyterian Church. NZ: Devonport.
Andrew Pratt  <Wordsandhymns> blog site (2011) UK.

rexae@optusnet.com.au