Revd Rex A E Hunt
Web site: www.rexaehuntprogressive.com
LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
9 May 20010. Easter 6C. (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
Entry into worship
The gong is sounded three times
In the Spirit of God who shares divinity with us,
In the Spirit of God who shares humanity with us,
In the Spirit of God who unsettles and inspires us…
Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life
in the presentness of this God.
Lighting of community candle
The candle is lit
Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
“The universe in God” (Tune: “Praise my soul”, 87 87 87. 179 TiS) 13 SNS
All creation sings a story
Of great splendours to declare.
When we contemplate its beauty
We are called forth into prayer.
We, enchanted, stand in silence;
God discovered everywhere.
When we stumble on new knowledge,
When new insights help us grow,
We are quick to re-discover
Just how much we do not know.
But the Universe smiles gently,
As our theories come and go.
Outer space and inner being
Both have secrets they conceal.
Galaxies so grimly awesome,
Deep emotions that we feel –
All in God are judged as sacred;
It is God they all reveal.
Ageless mysteries still excite us;
Time and space we must explore.
God the 'Presence' and 'Surrounding',
God the ever wondrous 'More'
Is not found by science labours,
But in praise when we adore. GStuart
Be in love with life
and so become friends and partners of God.
All Now is the time to live a new life
in balance with Life and with the Earth.
Spirit of Life, 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 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. MS Milner
Hymn “Look in wonder” (Tune: ‘Look in wonder’) 29
Look in wonder, hold in honour
all the beauty of the earth!
World, surrender to her splendor:
God's own blessing for her birth;
sense and savor every colour,
every season, sun to star,
see the measure of this treasure,
all we nurture, all we mar.
Every creature by its nature
shares the cycle, life's design,
every human, man and woman
joins the circle, moves the line;
look in horror, look in anger –
these are lifestreams we destroy!
Tree and river gone forever,
bird and flower dead to joy.
In this garden, Eve and Adam
still are given time and place,
ours to cherish, ours to nourish,
ocean, water, land and space;
God, unnerve us, God, forgive us:
how we plunder, waste and war!
Give new meaning to earth's greening,
that the beauty thrives once more. 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.
Music of celebration
Readings from our religious tradition
Let us now listen to some stories from our religious tradition.
Acts 16:9-15 (NRSV)
During the night Paul had a vision:
there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying,
“Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over
to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us
to proclaim the good news to them.
We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace,
the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi,
which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony.
We remained in this city for some days.
On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river,
where we supposed there was a place of prayer;
and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there.
A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us;
she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth.
The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.
When she and her household were baptised, she urged us, saying,
“If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.”
And she prevailed upon us.
John 5:1-3, 5-9 (NRSV)
Jesus went up to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Jews.
Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool,
called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes.
In these lay many invalids - blind, lame, and paralysed.
One man was there who had been ill for 38 years.
When Jesus saw the man lying there
and knew he had been there a long time, Jesus said,
“Do you want to be made well?”
The sick man answered him,
“I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up;
and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.”
Jesus said, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.”
At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.
Now that day was the sabbath.
Silence for personal reflection
Litany for Women on Mother’s Day
v1 Today is Mother’s Day.
The story of the modern celebration of Mother’s Day goes back to
Ann Marie Jarvis who, in America, founded a group called
‘Mother’s Day Work Clubs’ after their civil war.
The group worked to bring healing to all.
In the spirit of that care and healing let us share this special Litany for Women…
v3 Mother God, Spirit-filled Woman, Source of all living things
All it was you who breathed life into us.
In your likeness we were formed.
The darkness of your sacred womb
enwraps us in the silence of the Holy One.
v4 Your creative energy pulsates through every fibre of my being.
Wm You birth forth life within me.
Your abundant breasts continue to sustain my very being.
You carry me close to your heart and sing your song of love to me.
v5 You hold me close to your heart and sing your song of love to me.
Wm You hold me close to you and comfort me.
Cradled in your arms, I am at peace.
v6 You bathe me with life-giving waters of your giftedness.
Wm Reflected in your eyes is my dignity as woman.
You nurture me and guide me to proclaim
my sacredness as woman of God.
v2 You call me forth to image your compassion, love and joy to a broken world.
Mn Together we dance life’s passionate song. MKemen/w
We enter as strangers. We leave as friends.
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
“Sing of a sacred circle” (Tune: ‘Sacred circle', 75 65) 23 TMT
Sing of a sacred circle
round the sky and earth,
binding plants and creatures,
linking death and birth.
Sing of that ring of mystery,
changed by fearsome greed;
pawned for Judas silver,
sold for idols' needs.
See how a people's loving
greens the Mammon ring;
hear the people's sharing,
help creation sing.
Sing of the Gospel ring-time;
love embracing earth;
vibrant sphere of our living,
circle death and birth. (WWallace)
The offering Offerings are presented
Let us bring our offerings as a symbol of our ministry
in this place and beyond.
The presentation The people stand as the offerings are brought forward
We give these gifts as an act of celebration.
And we celebrate our own new life, and the worldwide proclamation
of the good news to all people, everywhere.
Offerings placed on the table. People sit
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 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.
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as that is appropriate
All God, lover of us all, most holy one.
Help us to respond to you.
To create what you want for us here on earth.
Give us today enough for our needs.
Forgive our weak and deliberate offences,
just as we must forgive others when they hurt us.
Help us to resist evil and to do what is good.
For we are yours, endowed with your power
to make our world whole.
Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
“God's dearest work of art”
God's dearest work of art
we long have called the heart,
the depth within from which begin
the prayers that we impart.
A heart whose thought exceed
our reason and our need,
and open us to fuller life
beyond our wants and greed.
In manner bold or meek,
if from the heart we speak
we speak to God, we reach to God,
for God is whom we seek.
And when our heart lies bare,
no matter when or where,
or how the words are first addressed,
our speaking is a prayer.
A celebration of women
As we prepare to leave this sacred place,
let us continue to celebrate the role of women
in this place
in our biblical tradition, and in society…
The colour purple is God's gift to us all.
Purple for the dignity of women…
of biblical women,
of women in history.
We stand up for and commit ourselves to the dignity of women.
All We light this purple candle for the dignity of women.
The candle is lit
The colour white is God's gift to us all.
White for the singlemindedness of women…
of contemporary women in the community, in parliament, in the church.
We stand up for and commit ourselves to the singlemindedness of women.
All We light this white candle for the singlemindedness of women.
The candle is lit
The colour green is God's gift to us all.
Green for the hope of the women's movement…
biblical women and women in history who dared to stand tall.
We stand up for and commit ourselves to the hope of the women’s movement.
All We light this green candle for the hope of all women. (CLing/cmw.Adapted)
The candle is lit
The blessing of the God of Sarah and Hagar, as of Abraham…
the blessing of the Son, born of the woman Mary…
the blessing of the Holy Spirit who broods over us as a mother, her children,
be with you all. LWilson/cw
Hymn (Cont.) “God's dearest work of art”
To so disclose the heart
is then the crucial part.
The very wish to speak like this
becomes the way to start.
And when, touched by love's fire,
to love we then aspire,
we know al that we need to know:
the heart lives through desire. (© Wm Flanders, 2004)
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:
Ahlers, J; R Broughton, C. Koch. (ed) (date). Womenpsalms. MN: Winona. St Mary’s Press/Christian Brothers 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.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2005. Entertaining angels. A worship anthology on sharing Christ’s hospitality. GtB: Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Ellem, E. W. (ed). 1990. The church made whole. National conference on Women in the Uniting Church in Australia. VIC: Melbourne. David Lovell.
Holy Bible. NRSV. 1989. TN: Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Iona Community. 2001. Iona abbey worship book. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Murray, S. E. 2008. Touch the earth lightly. New hymns written between 2003 & 2008. IL: Carol Stream. Hope Publishing.
Stuart, G. 2006. Singing a new song. Traditional hymn tunes with new century lyrics. NSW: Sydney. CPRT Sydney.
Vosper, G. 2008. With or without God. Why the way we live is more important that what we believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
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.
Milner. UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston. http://uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/index.php
William Flanders. 'Skeptic's hymns". web site.