Revd Rex A E Hunt
Web site: www.rexaehuntprogressive.com
LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
17 April 2011. Palm A. (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) 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
Entry into worship
The gong is sounded three times
The morning comes and now is!
Greet the day with gladness,
and welcome the evening with praise.
Let us 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
“Creative love” (Tune: 'Truth from above’ LM) 289 SLT
Creative love, our thanks we give
that this our world, is incomplete,
that struggle greets our will to live,
that work awaits our hands and feet.
That we are not yet fully wise,
that we are in the making still -
as friends who share one enterprise
and strive to blend with nature's will.
What though the future long delay,
and still with faults we daily cope?
It gives us that for which we pray,
a field for toil and faith and hope.
Since what we choose is what we are,
and what we love we yet shall be,
the goal may ever shine afar -
the will to reach it makes us free (WdeW Hyde)
We come together as a community of faith.
We have gathered to talk,
and listen to, and care for each other.
All We acknowledged this is a privileged time.
Here we share a new covenant of promise and hope.
Our fears melt into awe and wonder before God.
Our failures become opportunities for learning.
All So let us share and celebrate this life we live.
Prayer of awareness
Spirit of life, we gather grateful for
the companionship of hearts and minds
seeking to speak the truth in love.
And we gather grateful for the gift of life itself,
mindful that to respect life means both
to celebrate what life is
and to insist on what it can become. M S Milner/adapt
Hymn “For the music of creation” 41 AA
For the music of creation,
for the song your Spirit sings,
for your sound's divine expression,
burst of joy in living things:
God, our God, the worlds composer,
hear us, echoes of your voice:
music is your art, your glory,
let the human heart rejoice!
Psalms and symphonies exalt you,
drum and trumpet, string and reed,
simple melodies acclaim you,
tunes that rise from deepest need,
hymns of longing and belonging,
carols from a cheerful throat,
lilt of lullaby and lovesong
catching heaven in a note.
All the voices of the ages
in transcendent chorus meet,
worship lifting up the senses,
hands that praise and dancing feet;
over discord and division
music speaks your joy and peace,
harmony of earth and heaven,
song of God that cannot cease! SEMurray
The people sit after the hymn
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.
“Prayer of the Leaves”
By Andrew Hill
Trees of Earth
let bud your leaves
let them open wide
let them gently fall
in annual cycle.
Let fallen leaves make a soft bed for Jesus at his birth
and may leafy humus make renewal of our humanity.
Forgive us our inhumanity and
may your dark branches break forth into bud and leaf to Creation’s praise
Let silence be placed around us now, like a mantle.
During this quiet time may we move
from busy-ness to quietness...
May we look with gratitude upon this day,
for the beauty of the world,
for the first radiance of dawn
and the last smoldering glow of sunset.
May we be appreciative above all
for the countless other blessings present in our lives.
Reading from our broad religious tradition
Some notes and a story from our broad religious tradition
shall be read by (NN) and (NN).
From the world around us:
Bruce Sanguin. If Darwin prayed/56-57
God of galaxies and gerbils,
and this 'gay great happening illimitably earth'
with great hope and celebration
we join the procession of life
en route to Jerusalem,
honouring the Christ,
as alpha and omega.
The palm branches we throw down -
the royal carpet for His passing -
are our own lives,
offered as hallelujahs
that it has all come to this:
Fourteen billion years it has taken
to come to this One,
arriving as servant, though honoured as King;
as peasant, though Lord of Compassion;
no formal education, though born as Wisdom;
dormant in the stars, gestating in the pregnant Earth;
and through Mary, Mother of God.
What joy is ours as we take our place
in the great procession of life,
heralding and blessing
this One who comes in your name,
and all who are coming
with a song of holiness on their lips
and a yearning for wholeness in their hearts.
is this one who comes in your name!
Matthew 21:1-4, 6-11 (NRSV)
When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage,
at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them,
‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately
you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her;
untie them and bring them to me.
‘If anyone says anything to you, just say this: The Lord needs them.
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them;
they brought the donkey and the colt,
and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them.
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road,
and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?”
The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
• A Sermon suitable for this day can be found in my forthcoming book, Against the Stream. Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew.
Silence for personal reflection
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.
This is a house of God. A place of peace.
A place where we befriend one another.
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
“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)
Reflections and prayers
We are people of all ages who enter this space bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and concerns shared.
May we have courage in uncertain times,
All Let it all happen. No mood is final.
May we recognise new beginnings
in what seem to be endings,
All Let it all happen. No feeling is final. (3C Exchange)
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
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 Eternal Spirit
Source of all that is and ever shall be,
Loving Parent in whom we discern heaven,
May knowledge of your holiness inspire all peoples.
And may your commonwealth of peace and freedom
flourish on earth, until all of humankind
heed your call to justice and compassion.
May we find the bread that we need for today.
And for the hurts we cause one another
may we be forgiven in the same measure
that we forgive.
In times of trial and temptation, help us to be strong;
When life seems overwhelming, help us to endure;
And thus from the yoke of sin deliver us.
May you reign in the power of human love,
Now and forever. (THall)
With the children
Children gather on the conversation mat
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
Jesus invited all to the feast of peace and new life.
Jesus risked everything in compassion.
Jesus promised to make himself known in the breaking of the bread.
The offering Offerings/bread and wine are presented
Let us bring our offerings and gifts of bread and wine, to the feast.
The presentation The people stand as the gifts are brought forward
God of splendour, your goodness sustains us,
and your graciousness gives us hope.
May these gifts of bread, wine and money
be used to further the way of
love, hope, and justice in the world.
We give thanks for the wonderful gift of reflective awareness
that allows us to recognise and name
the presence of a Creative Spirit
beyond all imagining, in our universe.
All We give thanks.
Everything we have,
Everything we see,
Everything we do,
Everyone we love and everyone who loves us,
reveals this sustaining Presence
and our total dependence on it.
Wn We marvel and wonder at the size and complexity of our universe.
Mn We marvel and wonder at the development
of life on this planet.
All We give thanks for the creative Presence
that 'energises' this life and all that exists.
We recognise that human life gives this Presence
a particular way of coming to expression,
and that in us the Presence can
sing and dance,
speak and write,
love and create.
Conscious that we live, move, and have our being in this Presence,
we give thanks for people throughout history
who have affirmed this loving presence in all people.
For those who have invited people to give witness to this
by lives characterised by
generosity and forgiveness.
Especially we give thanks for Jesus of Nazareth.
Through him we have learned how our loving
is a sharing in the presence of this Spirit of Life.
All In him we see this Presence urging all of us
to make its creativity on earth more visible. (Adapt.MMorwood/pns)
We also remember the night before he died
Jesus again shared a meal with his friends.
Bread and Wine
Bread is broken.
We break this bread in celebration of the great truth
that on this tiny planet,
hurtling through cold, empty space,
death is made the servant of life,
and out of death life is forever resurrected.
Wine poured out.
This cup with its fruit of the vine,
is a celebration that things are not always as they seem:
that out of faithfulness and steadfastness,
out of suffering and sorrow,
may come unsought blessings.
Bread... the very stuff of life. Broken.
Wine... fruit of the vine. Cup full.
The bread and the wine will be served in cocntinuous line
God of love and compassion,
may the celebration of the wonder and the mystery of your Presence,
strengthen and enable us to be your body the church.
Hymn 'Ride on, ride on' (Tune: ‘Ride on’) 24(v1-3) EOA
Ride on, ride on, the time is right:
The roadside crowds scream with delight;
Palm branches mark the pilgrim way
Where beggars squat and children play.
Ride on, ride on, the critics wait,
Intrigue and rumour circulate;
New lies abound in word and jest,
And truth becomes a suspect guest.
Ride on, ride on, while well aware
That those who shout and wave and stare
Are mortals who, with common breath,
Can crave for life and lust for death.
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
Remember this: within and all around us is our Source.
May we return to it, heed it, and honour it. Adapt/AMcKQuinn
The peace of this ancient earth to you...
of the high blue heavens which embrace it,
and the winds which blow freely over it.
The peace of splintered light sparkling on gum leaves,
and gentle rain falling on parched earth.
The peace of star-jewelled skies and full-orbed moons,
of breathless dawns and splendid dying suns.
And the peace of the God of Peace to you. EHowie/grpe
Hymn (Cont) 'Ride on, ride on' (Tune: ‘Ride on’) 24(v4-6) EOA
Ride on, ride on, though blind with tears,
Though dumb to speak and deaf to jeers.
Your path is clear, though few can tell
Their garments pave the road to Hell.
Ride on, ride on, the room is let,
The wine matured, the saw is whet;
And dice your death-throes shall attend
Though faith, not fate, dictates your end.
Rise on, ride on, God's love demands.
Justice and peace lie in your hands.
Evil and angel voices rhyme:
This is the man and this the time. (JBell)
The people sit after the hymn
'This week' at (NN)
Birthdays and anniversaries
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.
(EOA) Bell, J; G. Maule. 1990. Enemy of apathy. Wild Goose Songs Vol. 2. Revised edition. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
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.
(HoS) Hope is our song. New hymns and songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. 2009. NZ: Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Holy Bible. NRSV. 1989. TN: Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Iona Community. 2001. Iona abbey worship book. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Liebelt, P; N. Nicholls. (ed). 1996. Gentle rain on parched earth. Worship resources for rural situations. VIC: Melbourne. JBCE.
Macnab, F. 1996. Hope: The deeper longings of the mind and heart. VIC: Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
Morwood, M. 2003. Praying a new story. VIC: Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
Sanguin, B. 2010. If Darwin prayed. Prayers for evolutionary mystics. Canada: Vancouver. ESC/Bruce Sanguin.
Seaburg, C. (ed). 1993. The communion book. MA: Boston. UUMA.
(SLT) Singing the living tradition. 1993. MA: Boston. UUA.
Quinn. UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
L Bruce Miller. Edmonton, Canada. 2005
Tom Hall. The Lord's Prayer. Published in The FourthR. Polebridge Press
C3 Exchange. < http://www.c3exchange.org/>