Revd Rex A E Hunt
Web site: www.rexaehuntprogressive.com
LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
17 June 2012. Pentecost 3B. (Green).
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
Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times
As we gather together on this day, at this time, in this place
may we recognise and affirm:
the pieces of possibility,
the bits of good, we bring,
allowing our individual gifts
to weave a patchwork of celebration and justice.
Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life
in the presentness of God.
Lighting of the Community Candle
The candle is lit
As we light our flame today, may it:
remind us of the ongoing process of evolution,
reminding us of the first gasping breath, the first clumsy step,
the first drop of warm milk, the first curious thought…
All these are wonders of the Universe (Adapt.JCH. Public domain)
Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
"God Of All Time" (Tune: Infinite) 49 AA
God of all time,
all seasons of our living,
source of our spark,
protector of our flame,
blazing before our birth,
beyond our dying,
God of all time,
we come to sing your name.
Here in this place
where others have been building,
we come to claim
the legacy of faith,
take, in our turn
the telling of your story,
and though we tremble,
speak your hope, your truth.
Spirit who draws
our fragile selves together,
Spirit who turns
a stranger to a friend,
be at this table
where we greet each other,
be in the peace
we pass from hand to hand.
Let us not die
from poverty of caring,
let us not starve,
where love is to be shared.
Come, break us
open to receive your healing:
your broken body
be our wine and bread. SEMurray
v1 Come along with me as a sojourner in faith.
v2 Bring along a sense of expectancy
a sense of high hopes
a glimpse of future possibility
a vivid imagination.
For God's creation is not done.
All We are called to pioneer forth toward a future yet unnamed.
As we venture forward
we leave behind our desires for
a no-risk life,
certainty of answers.
Let us travel light in the spirit of faith and expectation
toward the God of our hopes and dreams.
All Let us be a witness to God's future breaking in.
v1 Come along with me as a sojourner in faith
secure in the knowledge
that we never travel alone. (SGreg-Schroeder)
Act of Awareness
Each morning brings a newness that we need but step into.
It can wash us,
just as each of us has need.
May we be open to the power that lies dormant within us.
May we be full with a confidence in our own strength.
May we move from the routines that we follow
to the fullness of life that we might live (GVosper/hb).
Calling God, you have gathered us into this community.
A place has been made for each of us.
Let what we say and do here
be real for us and honest to your creativity,
and prepare us for the life of the world.
Hymn “God Who Sets Us On A Journey” (Tune: ‘Canvas’’) 32 FFS
God who sets us on a journey
to discover, dream and grow,
lead us as you led your people
in the desert long ago;
journey inward, journey outward,
stir the spirit, stretch the mind,
love for God and self and neighbour
marks the way that Christ defined.
Exploration brings new insights,
changes, choices we must face;
give us wisdom in deciding,
mindful always of your grace;
should we stumble, lose our bearings,
find it hard to know what's right,
we regain our true direction
focused on the Jesus light.
End our longing for the old days,
grant the vision that we lack –
once we've started on this journey
there can be no turning back;
let us travel light, discarding
excess baggage from our past,
cherish only what's essential,
choosing treasure that will last.
When we set up camp and settle
to avoid love's risk and pain,
you disturb complacent comfort,
pull the tent pegs up again;
keep us travelling in the knowledge
you are always at our side;
give us courage for the journey,
Christ our goal and Christ our guide. JDine
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.
By Michael R Leduc.
May we look with gratitude upon this day,
for the beauty of the world,
or the first radiance of dawn
and the last smoldering glow of sunset.
Let us be thankful for physical joys,
for hills to climb and hard work to do,
for music that lifts our hearts in one breath,
for the hand-clasp of a friend,
and for the gracious loveliness of children
who remind us of the wonders of life.
May we be appreciative above all
for the concern and love of those around us,
for the exceeding bliss of the touch of the holy
which suddenly awakens our drowsy souls
to the blessed awareness of the divine
within us and within others.
For all of this,
and for the countless other blessings present in our lives,
let us be grateful.
Let there be a time of silence between us…
May the silence remind us of the best hours we have known,
and strengthen our resolve to live in that spirit
which gives the better meaning to our lives (BHolmes).
(A voice from within the Congregation)
“Miracles do happen”
By Peter Gebhardt. Eureka Street, Vol22, No. 10, 28/5/2012
It might only be a small one,
a dandelion dancing
in the heat of the day,
it lands on you
a moment of silver
the melting of an icicle
of a snowflake
thousands of stars
snow on red berries
the bloodtide turns
the stars seek watchers
patterns in simplicity
the miracle of friendship,
the warmth of embrace,
the celebration of dawn.
Music of Reflection
Readings from our Religious Tradition
A reading from our religious tradition shall now be offered.
Mark 4:26-32 (NRSV)
'The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground,
and would sleep and rise night and day,
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he does not know how.
'The earth produces of itself,
first the stalk,
then the head,
then the full grain in the head.
'But when the grain is ripe,
at once he goes in with his sickle,
because the harvest has come.'
Jesus also said,
'With what can we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable will we use for it?
'It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on earth.
‘Yet when it is sown it grows up
and becomes the greatest of all shrubs,
and puts forth large branches,
so the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.'
Silence for Personal Reflection
God makes peace within us. Let us claim it.
God makes peace between us. Let us share it (nwi).
Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace.
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
“God of the Northerlies” (Tune: ‘Matangi’ 10 10 6 10) 45 HoS
God of the northerlies, giver of grace;
warm and enveloping, fill every place.
Nurture the earth, water the seeds.
God of the northerlies, fulfill our needs.
Christ of the easterlies, life-giving Son;
earthly, renewing, in you we are one.
Hope is reborn, changing our hearts.
Christ of the easterlies, your peace impart.
Spirit of westerlies, gust through our lives;
shaking, disturbing the scheme we devise.
Teach us your truth, gift us your word,
God of the westerlies, faithfulness stirred.
God of the southerlies, polar defined,
crisply and sharply reshaping our minds.
Challenge our ways, strengthen our wills.
God of the southerlies, your love fulfills.
God of the north and the east, south and west,
Creative Process, by whom we are blest,
breeze through our lives, earnest and strong;
Spirit, keep blowing and lure us along. (BBennett/Last verse adapted, RAEH)
Reflections and Prayers
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and concerns shared.
In joy and in sorrow
All We do not walk alone (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.
The 'Abba' Prayer:
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as appropriate
All Holy Being,
whom we call by many different names,
Blessed are you.
Blessed are we in you.
May we create with you
a realm of mercy, peace and justice.
May love be done in the here and now
as it is in the infinite.
May we share life in bread and hope.
For our failures to love, we need forgiveness.
May we find the paths of reconciliation.
In the midst of evil's every incarnation,
From the powers that possess our spirits and our structures,
May we find liberation.
In the power that is love, we seek
to live and move and have our being.
May it be so,
now and forever. (NancyLSteeves/StSC.N-TP)
Conversation with the children
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)
Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
and our gifts of bread and wine shall now be received.
As a river without an outlet becomes stagnant,
so life which receives but does not give
becomes polluted and sour.
As we give, we know we will be refreshed
as well as being a blessing to others.
CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
May it be well with you.
All And also with you.
Life is a gift and we its celebration.
All May we rejoice in the beauty that we are. GVosper/wwg
We give thanks and praise for all that is good in the world.
For that mystery we name God…
For the sage we name Jesus…
For the renewing strength and freedom of the Spirit…
God of winter, the unpopular, slandered season;
God of lightning, wind and storm;
God of brisk winter mornings, frosted back lawns
and stark hillsides; of warm socks, coats and gloves,
raincoats, umbrellas and warm fires,
we open ourselves to all the possibilities life offers us.
So we join our celebration to all people, saying:
All Holy, holy, holy, re-creating 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.
When Jesus gathered with his friends
to tell them of a re-imagined way of living and being,
the conversations often went
on into the time for a meal.
Jesus ate and conversed
with the high and mighty,
with the pious and self-righteous, and
with those considered outcasts and sinners.
His table fellowship included everyone.
He often told them stories that caused them
to wonder and ask questions.
He also welcomed these opportunities
to eat with those who disagreed with him
and engaged them in open discussion.
In this way, the issues of life and death,
justice and injustice,
conflict and peace,
goodness and evil
were talked through and made real to ordinary people…
We are here to carry on this tradition
of seeking for truth and recognising goodness
wherever they may be found.
All This being so, we who are followers of Jesus in these times
gather around this table to pledge ourselves anew
to his words and ways. (RJones)
Bread and Wine
v1 Now, in the way humans have made certain things
and certain actions holy throughout the ages,
we offer this bread
and this wine to one another...
v2 Let us be grateful for the words and ways of Jesus
as they have been handed down to us
from generation to generation
by faithful followers and conscientious scholars.
All We are grateful for the many records
of Jesus’ words and ways and for those who
cared for them, copied them,
studied them, interpreted them, and
preserved them for study and interpretation in our time.
v1 Let us, in the spirit of Jesus, welcome this knowledge
and determine to use it as he would use it
in the service of justice and well being
for all persons, creatures, and things.
All We welcome the new ways of truth
and seek a deeper wisdom about all that is known.
Everyone is welcome to be here.
All In this way, we lift up a world of inclusion,
where all people live with respect and dignity.
Everyone present will receive a share.
All In this way, we lift up a world of generosity,
where, as in the examples of Jesus,
abundance overcomes scarcity so all are fed.
Everyone is invited now to take a portion,
and to see others also receive.
All In this way, we lift up a world of sufficiency,
where entrenched systems of privilege are challenged,
wealth is shared equally, and all are satisfied with enough. (JNelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)
So in the meal tradition of Jesus
we break and share bread and drink wine…
Bread broken, wine poured out
Pledging ourselves to allow the spirit
that moved in Jesus
to move freely in our lives.
The bread and wine are served
v1 Let us give thanks for this communion
as it sustains us in our desire to be followers of Jesus
in our time and place.
v2 Let us acknowledge that sharing this bread and this wine
ties us to a great company of people throughout history
and around the present world.
All And let us renew our sense of belonging to this congregation
as we seek to bring the words and ways of Jesus
into relevant connection with life
as we live and understand it today (Adapt.RJones)
Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
"Christ, the Tent God Pitched" (Tune:’ Picardy’, 87 87 87) 1 (v1-3) TMT
Christ, the tent God pitched among us
tabernacled on this earth,
as the sacred mystic presence
which sustains our spirits' growth,
for in Christ the Word incarnate
God's new world is brought to birth.
We are called to live as pilgrims,
from our birth until that day,
when our bodies have their ending
in their earthly home of clay,
but not all who walk that journey
find the true, the living way.
We can trap ourselves in systems,
and destroy life's primal stream,
or can dance in life's adventure
to the edges of our dream,
binding beauty, love, and justice
into one great holy theme.
Words of Mission
Let us go in faith to ponder in our hearts
the mystery and the wonder of this season...
The candle is extinguished
There is hope.
Our God is a God of life,
and the power of the Holy Spirit
permeates all creation.
All To live according to the Spirit
is to embrace its presence in all creation.
Go boldly into the future which has been claimed by God.
Know that the God who holds all things will be there,
that Christ who calls us friend will walk beside us,
and the Spirit who makes all things new
will mark our way with light and hope.
Hymn (Cont). "Christ, the Tent God Pitched" (Tune:’ Picardy’, 87 87 87) 1 (v4-5) TMT
Leaving all that breeds oppression
let us learn to travel light,
with no temple but our body,
and as shelter for the night,
pitch a pilgrim tent for dwelling
in the place of sheer delight.
Christ is found within each canvas
painted with the earth and sky,
in the singing and the dancing
and within the people's cry,
for the world is space for singing
God's great song that never dies. WWallace
The people sit
'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.
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.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. 2000. NZ: Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
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.
Holmes, R. H. 1972. The Bob Holmes Worship Materials. Vol 1. NY: Little Falls. Self published.
Iona Community. 2001. Iona Abbey Worship Book. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Jones, Robert V. 2005. “Liturgy: The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper”. In private circulation from the author. L & L Seminar, Westar Institute.
McRae-McMahon, D. 1993. Echoes Of Our Journey. Liturgies of the people. VIC: Melbourne. JBCE.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, J; B. Hesle. 2005. Worship in the Spirit of Jesus. Theology, Liturgy, and Songs without violence. OH: Cleveland. The Pilgrim Press.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. 1993. MA: Boston. UUA.
The St Hilda Community. 1996. The New Women Included. A book of Services and Prayers. GtB: London. SPCK.
Vosper, G. 2004/2010. Holy Breath. Prayers for Worship and Reflection. New & Revised edition. QLD: Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane.
Vosper, G. 2008. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
(TMT) Wallace, W. L. 2001. The Mystery Telling. Hymns and Songs for the New Millennium. NY: Kingston. Selah Publishing.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, J Morley. (ed). 1995. Celebrating Women. New edition. GtB: London. SPCK.
Withrow, L. 1995. Seasons of Prayer. Resources for Worship. G.B: London. SPCK.
Greg-Schroeder. UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Peter Gebhardt is a retired school principal and judge.
Nancy L Steeves. 'The Abba Prayer'. St Stephen's College. Non-Theistic Liturgies. <http://www.ualberta.ca/ST.STEPHENS/resources/>