Lent2A.20.3.2011

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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


LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

20 March 2011. Lent2A. (Purple).
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 gong is sounded three times

We gather here 
to celebrate life's beauty and find healing for its pain,
to wonder at the mystery that gave us birth,
and to listen for the wisdom that guides us
in the quietness of this moment.  (GKowalski)

Let us then 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
A Hymn of Exploration(Tune: ‘Northbrook’, 11.10.11.10, 157 TiS)
We take the path that leads beyond this moment,
while seeking all the hope faith has to give;
we walk so near the edge of understanding,
while grasping what we need to know to live.

This is no abstract whim that we are tracing,
this story of God’s free, creative grace;
this is no empty, useless recitation,
but God’s own love that nothing can erase.

The vision that you give, each new disclosure,
will bring us closer to our common goal,
the point where you assure us of salvation,
for us and every other living soul. © APratt 23/6/2010
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
Life is a journey with others;
we travel as a people, on a winding road.
All We share our lives, our experiences, our hopes, our fears.

With joy and hope we welcome other travellers
to share our lives.
All We learn from each other.
We laugh and cry with each other.
We are home with each other.

And together we celebrate God's presentness
All as we are refreshed and made ready
for re-creation in our lives and our communities.

Prayer of Awareness
We pray:
In this season of Lent, may we become more aware
of the presentness of Holy God:
in each other,
in music,
as we give and receive gifts of love.

Grant, that we may all live that others
can see this presentness alive in our actions.
Amen.

Hymn Love Will Be Our Lenten Calling” (Tune: ‘Picardy’, 87 87 87)     684 TiS
Love will be our Lenten calling,
love to shake and shatter sin,
waking every closed, cold spirit,
stirring new life deep within,
till the quickened heart remembers
what our Easter birth can mean.

Peace will be our Lenten living
as we turn for home again,
longing for the words of pardon,
stripping off old grief and pain,
till we stand, restored and joyful,
with the Church on Easter day.

Truth will be our Lenten learning:
hear the Crucified One call!
Shadowed by the Saviour's passion,
images and idols fall,
and, in Easter's holy splendour,
God alone is all in all. (ESmith)
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

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. Bob Holmes/adapted
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Reading from our Biblical Tradition
A reading from our biblical tradition shall be read by (NN).

Gospel:
John 3:1-9  (Scholars Edition)

A Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Judean leader,
came to Jesus during the night and said,
"Rabbi, we know that you've come as a teacher from God;
after all, nobody can perform the miracles you do unless God is with him."

Jesus replied to him,
"As God is my witness: No one can experience God's imperial rule
without being born from above."

Nicodemus says to him,
"How can an adult be reborn?
Can you re-enter your mother's womb and be born a second time?"

Jesus replied,
"As God is my witness: No one can enter God's domain
without being born of water and spirit.  What is born of the human realm is human,
but what is born of the spiritual realm is spirit.

"Don't be surprised that I told you,
'Every one of you must be reborn from above.'

"The spirit blows every which way, like wind:
you hear the sound it makes but you can't tell where it is coming from
or where it's headed.  That's how it is
with everyone reborn of the spirit".

"How can that be possible?" Nicodemus retorted.

Contemporary Word

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany for Lent
The people stand as they are able

Sustainer and giver of life,
may all people be freed from the temptations of power,
from the urge to control rather than enable.
All Come, Spirit, liberate us from the forces of domination.

Loving Empowerer, may we
challenge the abuse of authority wherever it is to be found,
including in ourselves.
All Come, Spirit, give us strength not to walk by on the other side.

Still Small Voice,
may we learn to listen to each other,
and may those in authority understand the strength
that comes from true consultation.
All Come, Spirit of Understanding, deepen our insights.

Loving Creativity,
may we affirm ourselves and others,
understanding that we are all unique,
and have voices that need to be heard.
All Come, Creator of Diversity, and help us see the value of difference.
Silence

Inclusive and Compassionate God,
may we recognise and challenge discrimination
based on gender, race, age, sexual orientation,
clericalism and other excuses for exclusion.
All Come, Spirit of Equality, and imbue us
with the values of interconnectedness with all created nature,
human and non-human.  (Adapt. DMcEwan/ml)

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. (Iona)
All Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn of the Month  People stand as they are able, to sing
“Wisdom Far Beyond” (Tune: ‘Coronation Road’)  157 HoS

Wisdom far beyond our knowledge,

Word of endless mystery,

God, in whom is comprehended

all that was, is now, will be,

you have set us free to wander,

world on world, through time and space,

haunted by the hope of heaven,

nurtured by your constant grace.


Unimaginable lover,

faithful to eternity,

God, fulfilling and indwelling

all that was, is now, will be,

we can never stray beyond you,

loving Presence, you are here:

called to join your great adventure,

forth we go to find you there.


Beating heart of all creation,

first and final unity,

God who draws all things together,

all that was, is now, will be,

we have heard your distant music,

shared your dream of harmony:

now we go as reconcilers,

makers of community.


Focus of our search for meaning,

truth in our perplexity,

God the One by whom we measure

all that was, is now, will be,

centre of our heart’s devotion,

magnet of our questing mind,

spirit’s birth and soul’s companion,

journey’s end in you we find (CGibson).

CELEBRATING

Reflection 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:
May we today be touched by grace.
May we move beyond viewing this life
only through a frame,
Wm  but touch and be touched by it,
Mn  know it and be known by it,
All  Love it and be loved by it (Chinook Psalter/ep).

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 in your original language, as that is appropriate

All  Indwelling God,

infused throughout all existence,

we honour you with many names.


Your realm is within the human heart.

We accept life for all that it can be,

on earth as throughout all creation.


May we continue to draw sustenance from this earth,

and may we receive forgiveness equal to our own.


May we ever move from separation toward union,

to live in grace, with love in our hearts,

forever and ever. Amen FFKeip.

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 COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
Offering
Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,
and our gifts of bread and wine, shall now be received.

Presentation  The people stand as they are able, for the presentation of gifts
As we bring our offerings and gifts forward,
may our whole lives move forward,
in good faith,
with good feelings,
and with a good belief about the future.

May all that we give today, be blessed.
And all that we receive enrich our life and the lives of others.
People sit

Setting
Source and Sustainer of life we name God,
present and active from the beginning of time,
we are gathered in your ever presentness.
All  
And it is right that we give thanks and praise,
and tell our stories of celebration and connectedness.

Thanksgiving
In time beyond our dreaming
Creativity God hovered over the water
and was revealed in fire and storm and precious law.

Likewise, humanity in this creative likeness evolved on earth,
along with earth's minerals and waters,
flowers and fruits, 
living creatures of grace and beauty!
All  We offer this our thanks and praise.

Our stories go on to say:
Noah was shown a rainbow;
Moses gained courage to free his people,
in the face of danger Miriam would sing;
Esther found new strength, and
Ruth stayed loyal.
All We give thanks for women and men
in many different cultures and times, who spoke about
our connectedness with each other,
and with all of creation.

In the 40 days of Lent,
we remember the love made manifest in the
birth, life, and death of Jesus of Nazareth.

In his healing acts and radical teachings
we recall the words he spoke
to call forth love, care and respect for one another.

We are grateful for this assurance of 
love amidst human betrayal,
care amidst hatred,
respect amidst oppression.

And so, with Elizabeth who prophesied your birth,
Martha who confessed you as the Christ,
and James and John who sought to follow in your way,
we offer our praise and thanks:
All Holy, holy, holy, vulnerable 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 remember our living tradition…

At the end of a journey, among friends, gathered round a table...
Long ago, Jesus took bread,
and after offering a blessing, broke it:
v2 'This bread is broken, as my body will be'.

He handed it to his friends, and invited them to eat:
v2 'Remember all that I have been to you'.

Long ago, Jesus poured a cup of wine, 
and after offering a blessing, gave it to his friends,
v2 'This wine is poured out, as my life will be.
As you drink give thanks for all I have given'.

Bread... the very stuff of life, in which is gathered up
warm sun, rich Australian earth, gentle rain,
human labour and knowledge and skill.

Wine... fruit of the vine, nurtured, tended, harvested,
and pressed out for us to drink.

In the breaking of the bread
and the sharing of the wine,
All   may we know God’s continuing presence.
May the gathering of this community of faith
be comforted and challenged during this Lenten season.
All  May people see in us the courage and the generosity
that characterised Jesus' life.

Communion
Bread and wine served

After Communion
Life affirming God,
may this feast shared together
strengthen us in our witness to the world.

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Tree of Life” (Tune: Thomas, 87.8.77)    307 (v1-3) GA
Light of life beyond conceiving,
Mighty Spirit of our Lord;
Give new strength to our believing,
Give us faith to live your word.
Give us faith to live your word.

From the dawning of creation,
You have loved us as your own;
Stay with us through all temptation,
Make us turn to you alone.
Make us turn to you alone.

We remember truth once spoken,
Love passed on through act and word,
Ev’ry person lost and broken
Wears the body of our Lord.
Wears the body of our Lord.
Remain standing

Words of Mission
Time has now come for us to leave this sacred place.
As we do, may we embrace the challenges
of our lives and our world...
The community candle is extinguished

Worship need not cease.
All  It can echo in our lives,
in our words,
in our deeds,
in our moods,
in our dreams.
Carry worship with you wherever you may go.
Be a blessing in your going out and your coming in.
  GBMcKeeman 

Blessing Words
v1  Blessing of galaxies, blessing of stars:
Great stars, small stars, red stars, blue ones.
v2  Blessing of nebula, blessing of supernova,
planets, satellites, asteroids, comets.

v1  Blessing of our sun and moon, blessing of our earth;
oceans, rivers, continents, mountain ranges
v2  Blessing of wind and cloud, blessing of rain;
fog bank, snowdrift, lightning and thunder.

v1  Bless the wisdom of the holy one above us.
Bless the truth of the holy one beneath us.
Bless the love of the holy one within us
(Edit. Chinook Psalter/ep).
All Amen!

Hymn (Cont)Tree of Life” (Tune: Thomas, 87.8.77)    307 (v4-5) GA
Give us eyes to see you clearly,
Make us children of your light;
Give us hearts to live more nearly
As your gospel shining bright.
As your gospel shining bright.

God of all our fear and sorrow,
God who lives beyond our death;
Hold us close through each tomorrow,
Love as near as every breath.
Love as near as every breath  MHaugen
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.
(GA) Gather Australia. 1995. VIC: Ashburton. NLMC Publications.
Holmes, R. H. 1972.  The Bob Holmes Worship Materials. Vol 1.  NY: Little Falls. Self published.
(HoS) Hope is our Song. New hymns and songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North. The New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Iona Community. 2001. Iona Abbey Worship Book. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
McEwan, D. et al. (ed). 2001. Making Liturgy. Creating rituals for worship and life. GtB: Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Morely, J. 1992. All Desires Known. Expanded edition. GtB: London. SPCK.
Morwood, M. 2003. Praying a New Story. VIC: Richmond. Spectrum Publications.

Roberts, E; E. Amidon. 1991. Earth Prayers from Around the World. 365 prayers, poems, and invocations for honoring the earth. NY: New York. HarperCollins.
Seaburg, C. (ed). 1993.
 
The Communion Book. MA: Boston. UUMA.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. 1993.  MA: Boston. UUA.
(TiS) Together in Song. Australian hymn book 2. 1999. NSW: Sydney. HarperCollins Religious.
Withrow, L. 1995. Seasons of Prayer. Resources for worship. GtB: London. SPCK.

Web sites:
Kowalski, Keip, McKeeman. UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston. 
<www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
"Hymn of Exploration". Andrew Pratt blog site. <http://hymnsandbooks.blogspot.com/>

rexae@optusnet.com.au