Pentecost16A.21A.2.10.2011

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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


LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

2 October 2011. Pentecost 16A/21A. (Green).
Celebrating belonging: Sacrament of Baptism
Celebrating community: Sacrament of Holy (Flower) 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

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

Lighting of the Candle
The community candle is lit in silence

And let us rejoice in the company of this gathered people.

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Children of the Human Race(Tune: ‘Aberystwyth’, 77 77D. 211(i) TiS) 302 SLT
Children of the human race,
off-spring of our Mother Earth,
not alone in endless space
has our planet given birth.
Far across the cosmic skies
countless suns in glory blaze,
and from untold planets rise
endless canticles of praise.

Should some sign of others reach
this, our lonely planet Earth,
differences of form and speech
must not hide our common worth.
When at length our minds are free,
and the clouds of fear disperse,
then at last we’ll learn to be
Children of the Universe. (JAStorey)
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
As the curtain of night is drawn back,
and the golden robes of the day arrive over hill and sea,
All may there be expelled from our minds all sour thoughts
so we might greet this new day as a gift,
A
ll fresh from the rhythm of creation,
and filled with hope.

Prayer of Awareness
We pray:
The Spirit of Creativity is all around us.
We are grateful for the possibility of being
ever more aware, human and alive.
Amen.

Hymn "Celebrate a New Day Dawning(Tune: ‘Joyful joyful’ 152 TiS)
Celebrate a new day dawning,
sunrise of a golden morn;
Christ Sophia dwells among us,
glorious visions now are born,
Equal partners 'round the table,
we make dreams reality;
Calling out our gifts we nurture
hope beyond all we can see.

Christ Sophia lights the pathway
to a world of harmony;
Sister Brother love surrounds us,
nourishing our synergy.
Earth joins in our rich communion,
grateful for our healing care;
Leaping deer and soaring eagles,
all earth's fullness now can share.

Sing a song of jubilation,
dance with joyous revelry,
Clapping trees and laughing rivers
join our call to liberty.
Free at last to blossom fully,
flow'ring forth in beauty bright.
We become a new creation,
bursting open into light. JAldredge-Clanton/ctl
People sit

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
Gathering as we do in this sacred place,
we pause again to reflect, to feel, and to commit
to thoughtful and mindful intention.
(Silence)

We wonder again about the ebb and flow
of this living, breathing, expanding universe…
And of this community.
(Silence)

We give our attention right now
to each other,
to new beginnings,
to this time,
to this season.

We celebrate this new early Spring day,
and the new challenges and possibilities it brings.
The universe is beginning to bloom again.
Amazing!
(Silence)

May this time spent in sacred silence, empower us
to once again be open-eyed and open-sensed
to the beauty and the oneness
of all people and things.
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

CELEBRATING

CELEBRATING BELONGING: THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
Presentation
(N) and (NN) have come today to present their son/daughter for baptism.
We acknowledge (N) and (N) who have agreed
to be godparents, and welcome both sets of grandparents
who are also supporting the family in love.

The Narrative
Hear these words from the stories of our faith:
People brought little children to Jesus,
for him to lay his hand on them and say a prayer.

The disciples turned them away, but Jesus said:
‘Let the little children alone, 
and do not stop them coming to me,
for it is to such as these that the reign of God belongs.'

Then he laid his hands on them...

Baptism is the church's way
of celebrating and naming the grace of God
living in everyone of God's children. 

It is the way we initiate new members
into the life of the universal community of faith.

And it marks the entry point
into the life-time pilgrimage of following in the Way of Jesus.

The Request
(N) and (N) by what name is your child to be known?
Par. (NN).

How did you come to decide on these names?
Par. (Response).

Little one, born to love, surrounded by love,
child of the universe, one with all that lives,
we now name you (NN).

Take this name and make it your own.
Live in freedom and fullness
as you travel your journey of life.

And what do you ask of God's church at (N) for (NN)?
Par. We ask that s/he be baptised
into the faith and family of God’s love.

(NN), we welcome you to this family and this community.
We rejoice that you are here.

Thanksgiving
For us in Australia, the driest continent on earth,
water is a precious commodity...
Water is everything.
Water is life.

We claim the joy of water
and the way it sustains and nourishes us.
All Let it flow and pour and sprinkle for all people.
That all may know each day the gift of God in water.

The biblical stories talk of the preciousness of water.
These stories remind us that water is a blessing
and the source and strength of life.

Without it humanity and all that is created could not survive.

Our stories also remind us that God’s way
is the way of compassion and love.

God's love, like a shower of rain in drought,
awakens the sleeping seed within the soul
and lures it to blossom.

God's love, like a paddling pool,
inspires the responsive love of children,
jumping,
splashing each other,
shivering with wet delight.
The water is poured into the font

So let's give thanks for this love
that reaches out to us in what we say and do in love for this child
whom we are welcoming into our midst.

Prayer
We gather to pray,
believing that God prays in us.

We acknowledge our responsibility
to ensure we use the resources of water well,
and make available future resources
for our children and their children.

We give thanks for the gift of this water.
May it be the birthing waters of a new and holy life.
All Amen.
The congregation stands as they are able

The Baptism 
(NN)
in the touch of this water, the ancient symbol of new life,
I baptise you into the love, service and joy of God:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit...
Source of Life, Companion, Enlivener.
All Amen.
The minister takes the child

(NN) may the presence of the Spirit of Love in you
be nurtured and constantly affirmed by
your family,
your friends, and by
your church community.

May the sun and the stars delight and touch your heart with fire
and so may you find passion to be creative.

May you know God’s blessing.

Blessing  (Sung twice)
All  “May the Mystery of God Enfold Us(Tune: Marleborough Sounds)   95 AA
May the mystery of God enfold us,
may the wisdom of God uphold us,
may the fragrance of God be around us,
may the brightness of God surround us,
may the wonder of God renew us,
may the loving of God flow through us,
may the peace of God deeply move us,
may the moving of God bring us peace.  JCowley
During the Blessing (sung twice) the elder introduces the newly baptised child to the congregation.
At the end of the Blessing the congregation sits.

Responses
(N) and (N),
I ask you now to respond to God's graciousness to (N)
by making these promises:

Will you provide for (N) a welcoming home of love and trust?
Par. With God's help, we will.

Will you help (N) grow in her/his understanding and appreciation
of a broad religious faith?
Par. With God's help, we will.

Will you encourage (N) to reach out to others
with love and compassion?
Par. With God's help, we will.

(N) and (N) from (N),
have been asked by (N) and (N)
to be god parents for (N).

We now share their response.
(Response)

(N) and (N), and (N) and (N), as grandparents
you too share an important place in the life of this family.
Will you do everything possible to ensure (N) is nurtured
so her/his faith is healthy and strong?
Gp. We will.

Each of us knows the need for support and care
as we share in a journey of faith.

As this family gathers around this font and this water,
symbols of belonging and community,
let us as congregation also pledge our care for them.
All We stand as witnesses to the commitment this family has made this day.
And we pledge ourselves to their support and care
as they discover the ways that the Spirit
unfolds for them  (GVosper/wwg).

Baptismal Prayer
We pray:
Bless this newly baptised child.
May s/he always know that the Source of all Love
lives and comes to unique expression, in him.
All
Amen.

Gp. Bless (N) and (N),
may they always show their gratitude for the new life given them
by loving and caring for (N).
All Amen.

Bless this faithful people.
May we all live in love.
And may we continue to draw encouragement
from the faith which connects our loving
with the mystery we call ‘God’.
All Amen.

This is a day of great celebration for (NNN).
All Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Baptismal Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
During hymn parents return to their seats.  Children go to Sunday Club

"When Love is Taught in Parables"  (Tune: 'McKee', 86 86. 459(i) TiS)
When love is taught is parables,
and hope in history,
we thank you, God, for trusting us
with Jesus' memory.

When broken people speak their need
and pray to be made whole,
we thank you, God, for Christ, who heals
our body, mind, and soul.

When hearts are lifted, wine is poured,
and common bread is blessed,
we thank you, God, that in this meal
we share in heaven's feast.

When Christians claim the Spirit's power,
and faith, now fed, can grow,
we thank you, God, and go in peace,
to share the peace we know. EJSmith

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Two readings from our broad religious tradition
shall now be read by (NN).

From tradition:
‘Peace, birds, peace!’
From a sermon of St Francis

My brother and sister birds,
you should greatly praise your Creator
and love him always.
He gave you feathers to wear, and wings to fly,
and whatever you need.

God made you noble among his creatures
and gave you a home in the purity of the air,
so that, though you do not sow nor reap,
he nevertheless protects and governs you
without your least care.

Hebrew scriptures:
Genesis 2:18-23b  (Adapt.NRSV)

Then Yahweh Elohim said, "It is not good that the (hu)man should be alone;
I will make him a helper as his partner."

So out of the ground Yahweh Elohim formed
every animal of the field
and every bird of the air,
and brought them to the (hu)man to see what he would call them;
and whatever the (hu)man called every living creature,
that was its name.

The (hu)man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air,
and to every animal of the field;
but for the (hu)man there was not found a helper as his partner.

So Yahweh Elohim caused a deep sleep to fall upon the (hu)man, and he slept.
Then Yahweh took one of the (hu)man’s ribs and closed up its place with flesh.

And the rib that Yahweh Elohim had taken from the (hu)man
Yahweh made into a woman and brought her to the man.

Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman…

Contemporary Word

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Spring Reflection
The people stand

Spirit of life, bring to us beauty:
All the beauty of magnolia and tulip.

Bring to us strength:
All the strength of flowing Spring creeks
and the quiet strength of roots
pushing deep into the ground for nourishment.

Bring to us pleasure:
All the pleasures of toffee apples sweet on our tongues
and the wind grabbing a kite and taking it high...
if only we could go too!

Bring to us wisdom:
All the knowledge that new life springs up without help.
In spite of everything we do or don't,
grass and weeds and dandelions will appear.

Bring to us love:
All springtime love has magic in it.
Let springtime love be a part of our lives.

Spirit of life, come to us
that all the energy and power of Spring
All will make us tall and smiling and expectant.  (Adapt/JQuarles)

The Peace
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.
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
To God the Process(Tune: ‘Edith’) 140 HoS

Gloria! Gloria!

To God the process, God the life,

to God compassion’s spring,

to God the boundless way of love,

to God in everything,

to God the inner Christ of faith,

to God the wine and bread,

to God the sacred energy,

the fabric and the thread.

To you, O God, we sing our praise,
we join the cosmic song,

we walk the path that Jesus walked,

we turn our thoughts from wrong.

For you delight in each of us

and we delight in you.

With hearts on fire we live your praise

in all we think and do.

Amen, Amen, Amen, O God,
to you be endless praise.

Shalom, Shalom, Shalom, O God,

our hearts to you we raise.

For you empower and you fulfil

our latent energy,

the universe within our lives

shall dance your liturgy.

Gloria! (WLWallace)
People sit

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:
In this abundant blessing

All We share the joy.

In this, our time of need,

All May love abound (GVosper/wwg)

And so we take this flame and light our special care candle.
The Care candle is lit

In all our joys and in all our concerns, may we be ever mindful
of the presentness of God among us,
and to see new possibilities of the now.

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   Gracious Spirit,
Who loves us like a mother,
Whose realm is blooming among us now.
And within.

We pray that your compassion guide us in every action.
Give us what we need for each day,
and help us to be satisfied with the miracle of that alone.

Forgiver, whose embrace brings us to wholeness without our asking,
May we reconcile ourselves to one another in humility.
And may we cancel the crushing debts that imprison our neighbours
So that communities of joy and health may flourish.

May we neither profit from nor ignore evil.
But ever work to thwart it with non-violence
As we co-create the realm of peace in this world.
Now and each day.
Amen.  (BHesla/wsj)

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF (FLOWER) HOLY COMMUNION
The Flower Communion service had its origins in 1923 when Dr Norbert Capek, a former Baptist and founder of the Unitarian Church in Czechoslovakia, introduced it to his congregation.  This liturgy is shaped by sections of two other modern liturgies, written by Dr David Bumbaugh.

Welcome
v1 Enter into this sacred time.
Enter with joyful hearts.
Enter with reverent thoughts.
v2 It has taken long months beneath cold ground
for flowers to prepare their blooming.
It has taken each of us long times of growth,
through sorrow and joy,
to prepare for our living now.

v1 The blooming season is short.
Flowers stay only a brief time.
We are travellers upon the earth:
travellers through all too brief life times.
v2 Therefore let our moments together be bountiful.

And let us rejoice in our unique colours, aromas, and sounds. (EStrong/adapted)

Offerings
Our offerings, and gifts of flowers, bread and wine,
for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
shall now be received

Presentation People stand, as they are able, for the presentation of the bread, wine, flowers and money
Creating God, the landscape of life and your presence is near:
a daffodil in bloom,
a single green leaf,
the red and green flash of a parrot.

May we too be a people of adventure and life,
grace-filled companions, offering
courage and hope in unexpected places.
People sit

Thanksgiving
Have you considered the flowers, the lilies of the fields?
All They spin not, neither do they sew,
yet Solomon, in all his glory
Al
l was not arrayed as one of these.

Say what you will about the economy of life,
flowers are irrefutable proof of nature’s extravagance.

Flowers do not bloom for us.
They do not care whether or not we see them.
They grow and bloom because they are full of life.
They are a gift of grace.
They invite us to seek the beauty in each moment.
They encourage us to find fulfilment in life and the living of it.

As you came into this sacred place this morning,
you brought with you a flower,
from your yard,
from along your street,
from a florist,
from your neighbour’s flower bed,
from the basket in the entrance.

From many different sources these many different flowers have come.

Together on this table they symbolise
the extravagance of nature,
for as various as these flowers are,
they do not begin to exhaust nature's inventiveness
in creating forms
and colours
and beauty.

And what nature has done for flowers,
for bread and for wine, nature has done for us.

Bread and Wine
v1 In all the colours and scents and tastes and sounds of the world,
we see the beauty of the universe.
v2 In this season of spring it is fitting we should celebrate
the renewal of life and hope using
the symbols of bread and wine and flowers.

Time out of mind we have watched grain buried in the dark soil.
Time out of mind we have watched sprouting seeds
break through the soil, reaching towards the warm sun.
Time out of mind we have watched grain broken,
ground into dust-like flour.

Yet mixed with water and leavening,
it stirs, rises, becomes bread,
the sustainer of our lives.

For longer than we can remember the fruit of the vine has been our companion.
It’s clustered fruit is harvested and crushed,
and juice is stored and fermented
saved for festive occasions.

We have shared the fruit of the vine in moments of joy and sorrow,
and to mark momentous turnings. (DBumbaugh/hc)

Communion
Remembering the meal tradition surrounding Jesus…
we break this bread and fill this cup.
Bread broken. Wine poured out

We give thanks
All And seek to live in harmony with all about us.

We give thanks
All And take our place in the human story,
struggling for the unity of humankind.

We give thanks
All And join with all in a quest for justice.

We give thanks
All For all that Jesus, human like us, means to us.
Bread and wine served in continuous line

After Communion
And now we prepare to leave this place.
As you do, you are invited to take one of the flowers.

Take a different one than the flower you brought.
Take it not to keep forever and forever.
Nothing is forever.

Take a flower as a symbol of gratitude
for beauty we did not create,
for joys which come when unexpected.

Take a flower as a symbol of your participation
in the community of this congregation,
in the community of human kind,
in the community of all living things,
in the universal community.

Take a flower as a symbol that
beauty and grace and joy and love
are not matters of reciprocity.

In this world we cannot earn or deserve
that which is most important.
It comes to us as a gift. (DBumbaugh/hc)

SCATTERING

HymnCelebrate All Human Beauty” (Tune: 'Nettleton’, 87 87D. 392 TiS)
Celebrate all human beauty
caught in colour, form and face,
celebrate the human body
made to move with speed and grace.
Celebrate the human spirit
leaping high to reach a goal,
celebrate our Maker's wisdom
crafting body, mind and soul.

Celebrate our own endeavours
to achieve and to arrive
over handicap and hurdle
when against ourselves we strive,
iron will and summoned courage
sweeping obstacles aside,
sweating out our inner conflict
to acquit ourselves with pride.
Remain standing

Baptismal Candle
A lighted candle is given

(N), may this candle remind you throughout your life, of Jesus,
who opened peoples’ minds and hearts
to see the ‘light’ of God’s presence within them.

(N) and (N) use this candle
to help you tell (N) the story of his baptism,
as you light it each year to remember this day.
Parents return to their seats

Words of Mission
The presentness of God reaches beyond this place...
The candle is extinguished

We give you thanks,
Gentle One who has touched our soul.
All You have loved us from the moment of our first waking
and have held us in joy and in grief.

Stay with us, we pray.
All Grace us with your continuing presence,
that encouraged by your Spirit
A
ll we might work to restore compassion to the human family,
and renew the face of the earth.

Blessing Words
As the sun in its shining brings glory
As the stars in the night scatter dark
As the moon gives us hope in its radiance

So may the light of God fill your hearts
and your minds
and your lives.
All Amen.

Hymn (Cont) Celebrate All Human Beauty” (Tune: 'Nettleton’, 87 87D. 392 TiS)
Sport and faith both speak a language
universal, sensed and known;
where there's shared exhilaration,
new community is grown,
friendship found in common focus,
effort turned to common goal,
honouring our maker's purpose,
health in body, mind and soul.  (SEMurray/sco)
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.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2002.  Courage to Love. An anthology of inclusive worship material. GtB: Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Duncan, G. (ed). 1998.  Seeing Christ in Others. An anthology for worship, mediation and mission. GtB: Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Holy Bible. NRSV. 1989. TN: Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers.
(HoS) Hope Is Our Song. New hymns and songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. 2009. NZ: Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Iona Community. 2001.  Iona Abbey Worship Book. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, J; B. Hesle. 2005.  Worship in the Spirit of Jesus. Theology, liturgy, and songs without violence. OH: Cleveland. The Pilgrim Press.
Seaburg, C. (ed). 1993.  The Communion Book. MA: Boston. UUMA.
(SLT)
Singing the Living Tradition. 1993.  MA: Boston. UUA.
"When Love is Taught in Parables". Smith, E. J. 1997.  Songs for a Hopeful Church. VIC: Brunswick East. Acorn Press.
Stinson, J. 2006. “The encounter of progressive christian theology with the language of prayer and ritual on Sunday morning”. Westar Institute/Westar Leaders Seminar. March 2006.
Uniting in Worship. Leader’s Book. 1988. VIC: Melbourne. Uniting Church Press.
Vosper, G. 2008.  With or Without God. Why the way we live is more important that what we believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
Wiig, R., D. McKenzie. 1998.  Baptism liturgy. "God's love, like a..." In private circulation from the authors.

Web sites:
Quarles. UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Michael Morwood. Baptism ceremony. <www.greatnewstory.com>

Flower Communion:
Primary sources. “Flower Communion service” and “A Springtime Service” by David E Bumbaugh, in The Communion Book. 1993. Ed. Carl Seaburg. MA: Boston. UUMA.
Quarles. UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston. UUA.

rexae@optusnet.com.au