Revd Rex A E Hunt
Web site: www.rexaehuntprogressive.com
LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
23 September 2012. Season of Creation 4B/Pentecost 17B. (Green).
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
With respect and gratitude for the original custodians of this land,
we gather together this day
to affirm in hope and faith,
that we can create a sacred space of welcome
for all who live in Australia.
So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life
in the presentness of God.
Lighting of the Community Candle
The candle is lit
v2 Fountain of life...
Pulse of life...
Breath of life...
All Earth is filled with the presentness of God.
v1 A planet filled with the presence of God
All a living green blue planet,
peoples from every corner of creation,
the vast reaches of space above us,
and the rocks and hills and wonders of the wild.
v2 Together this day,
let us sense the face of God in all creativity.
Hymn The people stand, as they are able, to sing
"The Majesty of Mountains" 139 AA
The majesty of mountains,
the sovereignty of skies,
the regal rock that arch above
where veils of vapour rise,
are gifts of God, the Lord of love,
the worshipful, the wise.
The running of the river,
the surging of the sea,
the grass that grows high on the hill,
the flower and fruiting tree,
our Saviour sends us, by whose will
all creatures came to be.
The Glory of the Godhead,
the Spirit and the Son,
the Father, faithful down the days:
to them, the Three-in-One,
while life shall last, be perfect praise
and highest honour done! MPerry.
Remain standing after the hymn
We invite the mountains to worship with us:
All mighty boulders and deep forests,
sliding glaciers and swirling snow.
We invite the wild to join us in wonder:
All gliding eagles and rock wallabies,
mysterious moths and magic mushrooms.
We join with the mountain creatures in praising God:
All leaping trout and crawling creatures,
exotic orchids and honey bees.
We call the depths of the mountains to celebrate:
All precious gems and sparkling stones,
volcanic lava and rich red ore.
We enter the mountain of God today:
All and we worship in God’s presence,
a sacred place on our planet.
Sing, mountains, sing!
All Sing, creation, sing! (Adapt.NHabel/soc)
Act of Awareness
We gather grateful for the companionship of hearts and minds
seeking to speak the truth in love.
We gather grateful for our heritage,
for the women and men before us
whose imagination, dedication and
prophetic words and deeds make possible
our dreams and our insight.
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.
May we always rejoice in life,
and work to cultivate a sense of its giftedness. (Adapt.MSMilnor)
Creativity God, whose renewing breath fills our planet,
may we discern your vibrant, creative presence among us.
And may our spirits be lifted
as we sing with the wild and the hills,
and connect with the mystery of the mountains
through majestic rocks, this day.
May it be so.
Hymn “We Understand Tectonic Plates” (Tune: 588 MHB, ‘Sheltered Dale’ 86 86 86)
We understand tectonic plates
that move beneath our feet.
We understand that powerful waves
make rivers in the street.
But when we try to centre God
our sense is incomplete.
To say creation points to God
will never make real sense
except within a frame of faith,
outside it brings offence.
Our claim is more than paradox
within this present tense.
And so we struggle with the facts
that contradict belief
until we find a greater truth
we never find relief.
Reason and revelation clash
and die in disbelief.
We honour God for all that is
and all that is to be.
We may not understand God's ways,
But love is stronger than belief
and faith can help us see. © APratt, 2004
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.
Take the symbol (smooth stone)
you received at the door, rub it between your fingers,
and share with the person next to you a memory
of climbing rocks and hills
and enjoying the wonders of the wild.
We remember our connection to mountains
and hills and the wild.
We lament the time we have become alienated from Earth
and viewed mountains as little more tourist spots,
hills for mining uranium and riches.
Yet we celebrate our kinship one with another
and with the whole of creation.
All We remember and rejoice.
Now away from the busyness of life
and in the silence of this place,
let us give thanks
for the gift of one another!
We celebrate the song of the mountains and the hills!
All Sing, mountains, Sing! (NHabel/soc)
Music of Celebration
Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
A reflection and a story from our broad religious tradition
shall now be offered.
From the world around us:
"How wonderful is our home, the earth..."
By Edward Abbey. Earth Prayers /62.
How strange and wonderful is our home, our earth,
With its swirling vaporous atmosphere,
Its flowing and frozen climbing creatures,
The croaking things with wings that hang on rocks
And soar through fog, the furry grass, the scaly seas...
How utterly rich and wild...
Yet some among us have the nerve,
The insolence, the brass, the gall to whine
About the limitations of our earthbound fate
And yearn for some more perfect world beyond the sky.
We are none of us good enough
For the world we have.
"Memory of a Sacred Rock"
By Norman Habel. Rainbow of Mysteries/206
I stood on a hill at sunset
overlooking a massive rock;
a mile high, same say,
and twenty miles around.
The rock was Uluru,
a golden boulder rising from deep in the red centre of Australia,
a sacred site of Aboriginal peoples.
As I watched, the rock exuded wonder,
changing colour from instant to instant,
from celestial gold to earthly orange,
from vivid bronze to blazing red,
all the colours of a desert rainbow.
I sensed what many had sensed in other lands before me,
that point of spiritual concentration,
the navel of Earth
where spirit is incarnate in the soil
and the intrinsic worth of Earth is revealed.
Wonder in a rock
and in my consciousness.
Alternate Reading - Season of Creation
Mark 16:14-18 (NRSV)
Later [Jesus] appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table;
and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness,
because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.
And he said to them,
"Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
The one who believes and is baptised will be saved;
but the one who does not believe will be condemned.
"And these signs will accompany those who believe:
by using my name thy will cast out demons;
they will speak in now tongues;
they will pick up snakes in their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them;
they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover".
Silence for Personal Reflection
A Celebration of Faith
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share together a celebration of faith.
The people stand as they are able
Our land is alive with the glory of God:
All desert sands hum and gum trees dance,
brown grasses sing
All and mountains breathe their stillness.
All created things add their rhythm of delight
All and even the stones rap out their praise.
Let our voices mingle with the song of the earth.
All May our hearts join the beat of her joy.
For our triune God is with us:
All our creator surrounds and upholds us.
Christ Jesus walks beside and before us.
The Spirit moves within and between us.
Blessed be God,
our wonder and our delight. JTymms/mgs
God makes peace within us. Let us claim it.
God makes peace between us. Let us share it.
Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace.
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 The people stand, as they are able, to sing
“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
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)
Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
shall now be received.
The landscape of life is always near:
a daffodil in bloom,
a single green leaf,
the red and green flash of a parrot.
Common, yet unexpected places.
May we too be a people of adventure and life,
grace-filled companions, offering
courage and hope in unexpected places.
Conversation 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)
Reflections and Prayers
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and concerns shared.
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.
The 'Abba' Prayer:
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as appropriate
All Good caring presence within us, around us, and above us;
Hold us in a sense of mystery and wonder.
Let the fullness of your goodness be within us and around us.
Let all the world know your ways of caring and generosity.
May we find we have all we need
to meet each day without undue anxiety.
Overlook our many stupidities,
and help us to release everyone from their stupidities.
May we know we are accepted.
Strengthen us that we will reach out to the best,
always with the faith
to rise above the ugly realities of our existence.
And we celebrate the gifts you have given us:
the rich kingdom of life’s possibilities,
the power to do good and the triumphs of good,
and the moments when we have seen
the glory and wonder of everything.
You are life’s richness.
You are life’s power.
You are life’s ultimate meaning.
And for everyone.
And for ever more. Amen. (FMacnab/fwb)
Hymn The people stand, as they are able, to sing
“It Is So Grand” (Tune: ‘Woodlands’, 10 10 10 10, 161 TiS) 4 (v1-3) SNS
It is so grand - the cosmos with its store
Of galaxies and stars; we stand in awe;
The constellations, nebulae and more,
So limitless, no human can explore.
It is so grand - the beauty of the earth -
Abundant life; all species seek re-birth;
We look at nature; she responds with mirth;
And then we wonder at her dazzling worth.
It is so grand - the body, soul and mind -
So complex yet exquisitely combined;
Belief, thought, deed - effectively entwined
Reveal the miracle of humankind.
Words of Mission
The God we worship is never confined to this holy place.
So go and travel with the God
who is found in ordinary and surprising places.
The candle is extinguished
Hold again the fragrant symbol in your hands
and go forth to serve.
v2 Will you care for Planet Earth?
All We will remember our planet home!
We will nurture our planet!
We will act graciously to all humanity!
We will wonder at the beauty of dawn and sunset!
We will rejoice in the mountains!
We will celebrate life!
May the places where you walk become
sacred spaces of Creativity God...
The places where you take your stand
be signposts to the love of Christ...
The places where you rest be filled with
the renewing grace of the Spirit. (Adapted. DMcRae-McMahon/ith)
Hymn (Cont). “It Is So Grand” (Tune: ‘Woodlands’, 10 10 10 10, 161 TiS) 4(4-5) SNS
It is so grand - the virtues we hold dear -
Soft kindness, goodness, gentleness sincere;
Faith, hope and love which constantly appear;
And grace, compassion which helps conquer fear.
The God beyond is always on display;
The God within sustains us all each day;
The God between in all our interplay;
We are so blest; we need to kneel and pray. (GStuart)
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. 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. Santa Rosa: Polebridge Press.
Habel, N. Rainbow of Mysteries. Meeting the Sacred in Nature. Kelowna: Copper House/Wood Lake Publishing, 2012.
Holy Bible. NRSV. 1989. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Inclusive Readings. Year B. 2005. Brisbane: Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. 2001. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications.
Macnab, F. 2006. A Fine Wind Is Blowing: Psalms of the Bible in words that blow you away. Richmond: Spectrum Publications.
McRae-McMahon, D. 2001. In This Hour. Liturgies for Pausing. Thornbury: DesBooks.
Moving with God's Spirit. A collection of Prayers, Hymns, Affirmations and Reflections. 1997. Perth: Uniting Church in Australia, National Assembly.
Roberts, E; E. Amidon. 1991. Earth Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for honoring the Earth. NY: New York. HarperCollins.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. 1993. Boston: UUA.
(SNS) Stuart, G. 2006. Singing a New Song. Traditional hymn tunes with new century lyrics. Second edition. Sydney: CPRT Sydney.
The St Hilda Community. 1996. The New Women Included. A Book of Services and Prayers. London: SPCK.
Vosper, G. 2008. With or Without God. Why the way we live is more important that what we believe. Toronto: HarperCollins.
Milnor. UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Norman Habel Creation Liturgies. <www.seasonofcreation.com>
Andrew Pratt. "We Understand...". Andrew Pratt Hymns and Words blog site. UK. <http://hymnsandbooks.blogspot.com/>