Easter2B.15.4.2012

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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


LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

15 April 2012.  Easter 2B. (White).


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.
(Silence)

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
God – The Dance” 
(Tune: ‘Camberwell’, 65 65D. 687 TiS)
Do we have a picture of what God may be?
Is it one of power and authority?
Does it help inspire more discovery?
Can we think of dancing metaphorically?

God is Love – can help us into Jesus’ mind;
For this Jewish rabbi is a dance, we find
All his life reminds us what love’s all about;
Dancing in the gospels, he would sing and shout.

Jesus shows us dancing in a loving way;
Costly yet fulfilling; never just display;
Sometimes it’s not easy; we may need a prod;
For to dance with Jesus is to dance with God.

Love is never static, always finds a way
To be kind and gentle; to be warm each day;
Like a dance with rhythm, love is never still;
Lightens every burden and prolongs each thrill.

God, the Love Dance, call us – use your energy
To live every moment in a dance with Me.
Dancing solo can be quite a misery.
Dancing with Me helps you find your destiny. (© GStuart 2008)

Opening Sentences
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...

v2 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/sosob.

v1 We see the presentness of God's beauty
reflected in our communities and in our world.
All We feel the warmth of God's love
in the autumn sun, the smiles of strangers,
and the hugs of friends.
We sense the fragrance of God's creativity
in the flowers of the garden,
and in the leaves of ash and oak and gum.
All
May we overcome our mono blandness
and enjoy God's presentness forever.

Prayer of Awareness
We pray:
We give thanks for the opportunity we have to worship and celebrate this day.
May we be surrounded with a very real sense
of the presentness of the Source and Sustainer of all that exists
as we spend this time together.

May the Spirit of Wisdom inspire and challenge us.
Amen.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The candle is lit

Hymn  “Easter People, See The Light!(Tune: ‘Ave Virgo Virginum’)
Easter people, see the light,
new light of this morning!
Myths and mysteries are gone,
brighter suns are dawning!
Empty Cross, display your arms,
all the world embracing,
shed Good Friday shadows now,
dark despair displacing!

For the Jesus whom we know
lives in different guises,
and the Spirit is unleashed,
mighty as it rises
through our chaos and our pain,
through all cultures winging
on a flight of health and peace
fresh momentum bringing!

Not the sacrificial Lamb,
blood for sins atoning,
nor the gold of chalice cup,
nor a king's enthroning -
God's desire can never be
pictured in this fashion,
but the working out of love,
justice with compassion.

Leave the loaves that fed the past
now is fresh bread baking,
risen with the Gospel yeast
free and for the taking!
Pour away the wine that sours,
new wine is for tasting,
Easter people, bring the world
to this new world's feasting! (© Shirley Erena Murray 2010)
People sit

OR

Hymn Doxology(Tune 100TiS)
Praise God the giver and the gift,
Hearts, minds and voices now uplift:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Breath of glad surprise,
freeing, uplifting, opening eyes,
Three in Oneness, Love communing,
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
BWren
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

Meditation
Commencing a series of ‘After Easter’ meditations
by Michael Benedikt… Jewish by birth.

“Whether or not God exists”
Michael Benedikt. God is the Good We Do. Theology of Theopraxy/3.

Whether or not God exists
is entirely up to us.

For God comes into being by what we do
and do not do.

Neither you nor I are God
but what we’re doing may be.

This God, who lives as deeds not creeds,
is the God we know firsthand.
This God, whose shape is action not image,
is the God we witness every day.
This God’s presence is not guaranteed.

“God is good and God does good” the Talmud says,
and Augustine said too,
“God is what God does” we might add – or
God does what God is,
which is good.

Goodness-of-deed is less God manifest
than God instanced.

God is in our hands,
and we in “his” as we choose the good
and do it.

Do good again and again,
and you “do God’s will.”
“Do God’s will,”
and you bring God into being.

Silence
Let us listen to the silence of this sacred space…
A space made ready for us by willing hands.
(Silence)

May this silence invigorate our questionings.
May our faith be made stronger by our coming together.
May new friendships be made and old friendships renewed,
bound together by care and affection.
(Silence)

Music

EXPLORING

Readings from our Biblical Tradition
Two readings from our biblical tradition shall now be read by (NN).

Early church:
Acts of the Apostles 4: 32-35  (Inclusive Text)

The whole group of believers were united, heart and soul;
none claimed for their own use anything that they had,
as everything they owned was held in common.

The apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of Jesus Christ with great power,
and they were given great respect.

None of their members was ever in want,
as all those who owned land or houses would sell them,
and brought the money from them,
to present it to the apostles;
it was then distributed to any member who might be in need.

Gospel:
John 20:19-23  (Inclusive Text)

In the evening on that same day, the first day of the week,
the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the people.

Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,
'Peace be with you,'
and showed them his hands and his side.

The disciples were filled with joy when they saw The Risen One, who said to them again,
'Peace be with you.
As God sent me, so I am sending you.'

After saying this Jesus breathed on them and said:
'Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven.
For those whose  sins you retain, they are retained.'

Contemporary Word
• 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

AFFIRMING

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

God is hearing what we hear
God is seeing what we see
All urging us, with others,
to make fresh that which is in decay.

God is crying when we cry
God is laughing when we laugh
All We are known
in community with believers
in ministry with the marginalised.

Encouragement and support
are the gifts we exchange
All in our places of rest, work and play,
in our speaking of dreams and visions.

In our physical, emotional and spiritual relating -
All being loved, empowers all women and men,
to, in turn, minister in love.  (Adapt.KDeLisle/ctl)

The Peace
No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey,
you are welcome here in this safe and sacred place.
So let us greet another as a sign of God's peace.

The peace and presence 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
Simply To Be" (Tune: "Kapiti") 118 HoS
Simply to be, to be in stillness,
simply to trust that God is here,
simply to know the Holy Presence,
is to be blessed:
so am I blessed.

Simply to hold the given moment,
simply to lay concern aside,
simply to to let the heart be speaking,
is to be blessed:
so am I blessed.

so am I blessed within God's keeping,
so am I freed from pointless stress,
steadied to feel the soul replenished,
given this grace,
folded in peace. (SEMurray)

Offerings
Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
shall now be received.

Presentation
May our eyes, our ears, and our mouths be opened.
Let us be doers of the word and not hearers only,
taking on those tasks set before us
with uncommon vision and wholehearted expectation.

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 the light and beauty of day
All We give thanks in awe and wonder.
In the dark and stillness of night
All We dream of healing and hope (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.

Focused Thoughts:
The 'Abba' Prayer
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as appropriate

All Father, may your name be holy.
May your rule take place.
Give us each day our daily bread.

Pardon our debts, for we ourselves pardon
everyone in debt to us.

And do not bring us to trial
into a trying situation. (BMack/Q) 

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
Easter 2(Tune: 101TiS, ‘Omni Die’ 87 87)
Stripped of leaves trees tell the story:
naked possibility.
Colours, rampant, rage before me
reaching for eternity.

Now the cross is grazed and gory,
petals fall around its head.
Christ has suffered death, not glory,
buried in that stone cold bed.

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

Your true home is in the present moment.
All To live in the present moment is a miracle.
The miracle is not to walk on water.
All The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment,
To appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.
All
Peace is all around, in the world and in nature
And within you - in your bodies and your spirits.
All
Once I learn to touch this peace,
I will be healed and transformed.
It is not a matter of faith,
All It is a matter of practice. (Thich Nhat Hanh/C3Exchange web site)

Blessing Words
Bless us God
with saints to tell us stories
with angels to surprise us
with friends along the way.

Bless us God
with strength and joy and courage
all the length and breadth
of our nights and days (RBurgess/bb)
All Amen.

Hymn (Cont). Easter 2(Tune: 101TiS, ‘Omni Die’ 87 87)
No more cross, the tomb is empty,
leaves and petals mark the place;
place of hope and new creation,
barren earth, the ground of grace.  © APratt  9/11/2005
The people sit

'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:
Benedikt, M. 2007. God is the Good We Do. Theology of Theopraxy. NY: New York. Bottino Books.
Burgess, R. 2001. A Book of Blessings. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2002. Courage to Love. An Anthology of Inclusive Worship Material. GtB: Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2001. Shine On, Star of Bethlehem. A worship resource for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. GtB: Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
(HoS)
Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. 2009. NZ: Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. 2005. QLD: Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. 2001.  Iona Abbey Worship Book. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Mack, B. L. 1993.  The Lost Gospel. The Book of Q and Christian Origins. NY: New York. HarperSanFrancisco.
(RP) Pratt, A. 2006.  Reclaiming Praise. Hymns from a Spiritual Journey. GtB: London. Stainer & Bell Ltd.
(TiS)
Together in Song. Australian Hymn Book 2. 1999. NSW: Sydney. HarperCollins Religious.
Vosper, G. 2008.  With or Without God. Why the way we live is more important that what we believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.

Web sites/Other:
UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston. UUA. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Andrew Pratt eMail distribution direct from the author. <andrewpratt@btconnect.com>
Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site: hymns.uk.com
C3 Exchange, Spring Lake. MI.  <http://www.c3exchange.org/    
George Stuart. “God – the Dance”. Direct from the author. <george.stuart@exemail.com.au>
Shirley E Murray "Easter People..." Direct from the author. <serenam@paradise.net.nz>

rexae@optusnet.com.au