Lent3A.23.3.2014

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

23 March 2014. Lent 3A. (Purple).


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

Let there be joy in our coming together this morning.
And let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The candle is lit

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Miracle of Life(Tune: ‘Ode to Joy’, 87 87D) 7 SiF
Miracle of life unfolding,
dazzling to our watching eyes,
far beyond full comprehension,
secrets of the earth and sky.
Each advance of understanding
each new piece of knowledge gained
leaves the soul amazed and humbled,
child-like wonder yet remains.

Nature teams with life abundant,
stunning in variety,
shape and size and colour diff’ring,
wondrous in complexity.
From a high, majestic mountain
to the contours of a shell,
Life has much to teach of diff’rence,
Rich we be to learn it well.

Filled with joy we stand in wonder
at the life in which we share,
Gratefully we find our spirits
sensing glory everywhere.
Sun and moon and tiny creature
in their beauty stir the heart,
leading us to sacred duty,
call us well to do our part © Scott Kearns 2008
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
There is a time for everything in creation:
Mn a time for light and a time for darkness,
Wn a time for sound and a time for silence,
Mn a time for action and a time for reflection,
Wn a time for others and a time for oneself.
But all these times are God’s time
All
and now is the time to be aware(Adapt. Wm Wallace/htw)

OR

There is a song in my soul.
It rises from the very depths demanding expression.
All I can only hear this song in the very deepest silence.

The melody is compassion. The lyrics are service.
All The rhythm is activity. The harmony is fellowship.

The song will end when I become the song.
All The song, the singer, and the singing. All become One.
Fred Stella. http://www.c3exchange.org/bulletins/Bulletin03_02_14.pdf

Act of Awareness
Touch the earth lightly,
use the earth gently,
nourish the life of the world in our care:
gift of great wonder,
ours to surrender,
trust for the children tomorrow will bear (SEMurray/tel).

OR

We pray:
Eternal God, we offer thanks and praise
for the opportunities we have
to celebrate your presentness in life this day.

My we be surrounded with a very real sense of this presentness
as we spend this time together.
May it be so.

Hymn When our Heart is in a Holy Place”    1008 STJ
Refrain:
When our heart is in a holy place,
When our heart is in a holy place,
We are blessed with love
And amazing grace,
When our heart is in a holy place.

When we trust the wisdom in each of us,
Ev’ry colour every creed and kind,
And we see our faces in each other’s eyes,
Then our heart is in a holy place.

Refrain:

When we tell our story from deep inside,
And we listen with a loving mind,
And we hear our voices in each other’s words,
Then our heart is in a holy place.

Refrain:

When we share the silence of sacred space,
And the God of our Heart stirs with in,
And we feel the power of each other’s faith,
Then our heart is in a holy place.  JPoley

Refrain:
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)

May this time of shared silence reveal to us
a strength of the spirit which will
renew us, in our journey towards faith.  (Bob Holmes)
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

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

Traditional Gospel:
John 4: 5-7, 9-15, 19-26, 39-42.  (Inclusive Text)

Jesus came to the Samaritan town called Sychar, near the land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
Jacob's well is there and Jesus, tired by the journey,
sat straight down by the well.

It was about noon.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her,
Give me a drink.'

The Samaritan woman said to Jesus,
'What?  You are a Jew and you ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink?'

Jesus replied:
'If you only knew what God is offering and who it is that is saying to you:
Give me a drink, you would have been the one to ask,
and he would have given you living water.'

'You have no bucket', she answered 'and the well is deep:
how could you get this living water?
Are you greater than our ancestors Leah, Rachel and Jacob
who gave us this well and drank from it
with their descendants and flocks?'

Jesus replied:
'Whoever drinks this water will get thirsty again;
but anyone who drinks the water that I shall give will never be thirsty again:
the water that I shall give will turn into a spring inside,
welling up to eternal life.'

The woman said,
'Give me some of that water, so that I may never get 
and never have to come here again to draw water…'

'I see you are a prophet.' said the woman.
'Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain,
while you say that Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.'

Jesus said:
'Believe me, woman; the hour is coming when you will worship God
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.

‘You worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know;
for salvation comes from the Jews.
But the hour will come - in fact it is here already - when
true worshippers will worship in spirit and truth:
that is the kind of worshipper our God wants.

‘God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth.'

The woman said to Jesus,
'I know the Messiah is coming - the Anointed One –  who will tell us everything.'

'I who am speaking to you,' said Jesus 'I am that one.'

Many Samaritans of the town had believed in Jesus
on the strength of the woman's testimony when she said,
'He told me all I have ever done,'
so when the Samaritans came up to Jesus,
they begged him to stay with them.

Jesus stayed for two days, and when he spoke to them
many more came to believe; and they said to the woman,
'Now we no longer believe because of what you told us;
we have heard this one ourselves
who we know really is the saviour of the world.'

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Celebration of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share together a celebration of faith.
The people stand as they are able

What a joyful celebration when we come together
as a community of people on the Way,
All  a network of worshippers with common purpose,
a united walk towards the promised land.

Jesus goes ahead of us as the shepherd leads the sheep
All  and we hear the song of the redeemed
as prisoners are released, the blind given sight,
the exploited and oppressed are given new hope,
and the rainbow sign arcs above the pilgrims
who walk together to the city of peace.  JJohansen-Berg/sco

Sharing 'The Peace'
This is a house of God.  A place of peace.
A place where we befriend one another.
(Mitchell & Ricciuti/bb).
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 People stand as they are able, to sing

Southern Hemisphere
“On a Cool and Autumn Dawn”
(Tune: ‘Te Ripeka’)   110 HoS
On a cool and autumn dawn,
as the sun awoke the eastern sky,
we decided you were such a risk,
we abandoned you to die –
on a cool and autumn dawn.

On a cool and autumn morn,
as the sun began to climb above,
we nailed you to a kauri beam,
as your wounded eyes spoke of love –
on a cool and autumn morn.

On a cool and autumn noon,
as the sun lit every watching face,
you forgave our cries of heartless hate
with compassion and with grace –
on a cool and autumn noon

On a cool and autumn day,
as the sun began its western slide,
‘It is finished!’ came your cry of hope,
confident of Eastertide –
on a cool and autumn day.

On a cool and autumn eve,
in the fading light when hope seemed lost,
in the tomb we laid your mortal bones,
waiting for God’s Pentecost –
on a cool and autumn eve (BillBennett).

OR

Northern Hemisphere
Spirit of Springtime(Tune: ‘Verdure’) 59 FFS
Spirit if springtime in creation’s garden,
tingling the senses,
tickling the earth,
sap that is rising where the seed was sleeping,
push for a new world
coming to birth!

Heard in the song that sweeps from bush to ocean,
seen in the sunlight,
felt in the blood,
surge of delight at every greening, growing,
God in the promise,
blossom from bud.

Fresh as the rain that washes clean our vision,
keen as the wind on
Pentecost day,
bright as the Spirit in the life of Jesus,
bold as the mindset
thinking his way.

Springtime of hope from out of winter’s clutches,
warm us to witness
woo us to see
beauty will break through rotted leaves and ashes,
joy will erupt, and
life will leap free! (SEMurray)

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

Presentation
In a demanding, noisy world,
may we have moments when we can
hear the sound of a bird, and
hear the rustle of leaves on a tree branch.

In a demanding, noisy world, may we have time
to stop,
to wait,
to listen…

CELEBRATING

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:
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 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  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.

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"Spirit of God, Creation's Force(Tune 245 TiS ‘Fulda’, 88 88)
Spirit of God, creation's force,
and power of evolution's course,
gave breath of life to humankind
and then inspired inventive mind.

Spirit of history's linked events
has shown repeated evidence
of hidden influence, working through
all our world leaders try to do.

Spirit of prophet's utterance
proclaimed in needy circumstance
a word of God, through human voice
with challenge to courageous choice.
Remain standing

Parting Words
Let us embrace the wonder of this week with expectation and imagination...
The community candle is extinguished

Celebrate all human beauty,
All  caught in colour, form and face.
Celebrate our own endeavours,
All  to achieve and to arrive;
friendship found in common focus
All  
sweeping obstacles aside,
celebrate our Maker’s wisdom,
All  
crafting body, mind and soul.  (SEMurray/sco)

Words ofBlessing
xxx

All Amen! May it be so!

Hymn (Cont) "Spirit of God, Creation's Force(Tune 245 TiS ‘Fulda’, 88 88)
Spirit of power and truth and grace,
renews today the human race,
bestowing gifts, producing fruits,
promoting godly attributes.

Spirit, possess and fill us whole,
fill every heart and mind and soul,
infuse our being with your power
that we may serve this present hour.  RFirth, adapt. (c) 1997 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:
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). 2003.  Harvest for the World. A worship anthology on sharing in the work of creation. Brit: Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Duncan, G. (ed). 1998.  Seeing Christ in Others. An anthology for worship, mediation and mission. Brit: Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
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.
Inclusive Readings. Year A.
2004
. QLD: Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. 2001.  Iona Abbey Worship Book. Brit: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
(SiF) Kearns, S. (ed). 2009.  
Sing it Forward. Traditional hymns recast and rewritten for non-exclusive communities. In circulation from the author.
Mitchell, R. C. & G. A. Ricciuti. 1992.
Birthings and Blessings. Liberating Worship Services for the Inclusive Church. New York. Crossroads.
Murray, S. E.
Touch the Earth Lightly. New Hymns written between 2003 & 2008. Carol Stream. Hope Publishing, 2008.
(STJ)
Singing the Journey
. 2005. MA: Boston. UUA.

Web sites/Other:
Keip. UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
"Spirit of God". R Firth. Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site: hymns.uk.com

rexae@optusnet.com.au