Revd Rex A E Hunt
Web site: www.rexaehuntprogressive.com
LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
7 November 2010. Pentecost 24C. (Green).
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
Entry into worship
The gong is sounded three times
We gather here
to wonder at the mystery that gave us birth;
to find courage for life’s journey;
and to listen for the wisdom that guides us
in the quietness of this moment. GKowalski
So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life
in the presentness of God.
Lighting of the community candle
The candle is lit
Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"God has called us" (Tune: ‘Duke Street’. 88 88. 439 TiS)
God, you have called us to this hour:
now two or three or many claim
the promised gift of living power,
as your church meets in Jesus' name.
Open our minds and set us free
from spite and hurt, that we may face
the dread responsibility
of your church, meeting in this place.
Encouraged by the risk you take
in trusting us to do your will,
we dare to offer, for your sake,
all this church gath'ring can fulfil. JWootton. © Stainer & Bell Ltd
Remain standing (Title & last line adapted/ RAEHunt)
Spirit of God brooding over
the waters of our chaos,
All inspire us to generous living.
Wind of God dancing over
the desert of our reluctance,
All lead us to the oasis of celebration.
Breath of God inspiring
communication among strangers,
All make us channels of your peace. (KMcIlhagga/cw)
Prayer of awareness
Loving God, we gather in this place,
coming from our varied concerns and competing views,
yet seeking our common humanity.
Open our eyes,
touch our hearts,
empower our wills... now.
Hymn "Wake, now my senses" (Tune: Slane, 10 10 10 10, 547 TiS) 298 SLT
Wake, now my senses, and hear the earth call;
feel the deep power of being in all;
keep, with the web of creation your vow,
giving, receiving as love shows us how.
Wake, now my reason, reach out to the new,
join with each pilgrim who quests for the true;
honour the beauty and wisdom of time;
suffer your limit, and praise the sublime.
Wake, now compassion, give heed to the cry;
voices of suffering fill the wide sky;
take as your neighbour both stranger and friend,
praying and striving their hardship to end.
Wake, now my conscience, with justice your guide;
join with all people whose rights are denied;
take not for granted a privileged place;
God's love embraces the whole human race.
Wake, now my vision of ministry clear;
brighten my pathway with radiance here;
mingle my calling with all who will share;
work toward a planet transformed by our care. TJS Mikelson
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.
By Giles David. The pattern of our days/109.
whose intriguing presence
is closer to home
than we dare imagine,
fill us with wonder of you
that we may be filled with wonder of ourselves.
whose creativity is a river running,
startle us with diversity
and surprise us with difference
that we may be filled with wonder of others.
whose mystery and concern is
revealed in Jesus
reshape our perceptions,
reshape our patterns of living,
reshape our politics and prayer
that we may be filled with wonder of a world made whole.
Music of reflection
Amid all the noise in our lives,
we take this moment to sit in silence:
to give thanks for another day;
to give thanks for the gift of life.
And let us open ourselves to the process of becoming more whole:
of living more fully;
of understanding more completely
the meaning of our lives here on this earth. (Adapt.THaley)
Reading from our Biblical Tradition
Let us overhear an extract from one of the letters
attributed to (but most likely not written by) Paul, to a group of people in Thessalonica.
It shall be read by (NN).
Reader: May we open ourselves to the seeds of wisdom
that lies dormant in this reading.
All And may our minds be fertile soil
in which it may grow strong and true (GVosper/ab)
Luke 19:1-10 (Inclusive Text)
Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town
when a wealthy person whose name was Zacchaeus appeared.
Zacchaeus was one of the senior toll collectors.
Zacchaeus was anxious to see what Jesus was like,
but was too short and could not see Jesus for the crowd;
so Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree
to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way.
When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke:
'Zacchaeus, come down.
Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.'
And Zacchaeus hurried down and welcomed Jesus joyfully.
They all complained when they saw what was happening.
'He has gone to stay at a sinner's house,' they said.
But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to Jesus,
'Look, I am going to give half my property to the poor,
and if I have cheated anybody
I will pay back four times the amount.'
And Jesus said to Zacchaeus,
'Today, salvation has come to this house,
because you too are a descendant of Abraham;
for the Promised One has come to seek out and save what was lost.'
ii Thessalonians 2:16-3:5 (Inclusive Text)
(Set as a reading in 2007)
May Jesus Christ, and our God who has given us love and,
through grace, such inexhaustible
comfort and such sure hope,
comfort you and strengthen you
in everything good that you do or say.
Sisters and brothers, pray for us;
pray that Christ's message may spread quickly,
and be received with honour as it was among you;
and pray that we may be preserved from the interference
of bigoted and evil people, for faith is not given to everyone.
But God is faithful, and will give you strength
and guard you from the evil one,
and we, in Christ Jesus,
have every confidence
that you are doing and will go on doing all that we tell you.
May your hearts be turned towards the love of God
and the fortitude of Christ.
Silence for personal reflection
Litany: We believe in a sacred power...
The people stand
We believe in a sacred power within and around us.
A divine spirit that we call by many names
and experience in many ways,
that empowers and heals,
that calls us forth.
All We believe in our creativity.
v2 Making and transforming beauty
out of words and notes,
images and colours,
lines and pictures...
All We believe in doing justice.
Justice that compels and empowers us
to risk whatever we must risk
to create a climate
in which all people can be who they are.
All We believe in our dreams.
v2 We experience the world as it is,
in both its ugliness and beauty,
and we see what it can become.
All We believe in making peace.
A peace that is based on openness,
honesty and compassion.
All We believe in hope.
v2 We expect change to continue to occur in our world.
We rely on our courage to continue
to bring about these changes.
All We believe in love.
A passionate love within and around us
that laughs and cries,
challenges and comforts,
a healing love that perseveres.
All We believe in potential.
v2 We know who we are,
painful as that can be at times,
yet we continue to call each other
to become more of who we are.
All We believe in celebrating.
We remember and we commemorate.
We create rituals.
We play and dance,
and sing and love well.
All We believe in our diversity.
v2 We affirm our many shapes and sizes,
colours and traditions,
emotions and thoughts,
differences and similarities.
All We believe in life.
Life that wells up within
and flows out of us
like a streaming fountain.
All We believe we are good and holy,
a sacred part of all creation. SKramer/cl
This is a house of God. A place of peace.
A place where we befriend one another. (RMitchell/bb)
Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace
and of our shared friendship.
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
“Come celebrate…” (Tune: ‘Gift of life’, CGibson) 17 HoS
Come celebrate the gift of life:
creation’s journey from the star
whose first great flaring forth of light
responded to God’s word of power.
Enable us, O God, to see
your living word is in us still;
this vibrant possibility
within our human lives fulfil.
Come celebrate the gift of love,
potential in each human soul,
revealed by Jesus as he strove
to heal our world and make us whole.
Enable us, O God, to choose
beyond the inborn needs of self;
in loving, be prepared to lose
our boundaries, and find new life.
Come celebrate the gift of power:
the flow of God within each soul,
which calls us in this present hour
to see creation as a whole.
Enable us, O God, to know
your life is present in all things;
and may our lives, within that flow,
reflect the joy creation sings. (MBond)
With the children
Children gather on the conversation mat
Refelctions 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)
In all our joys and in all our concerns, may we be ever mindful
of the presentness of God among us,
and to see the new possibilities of the now.
The Care candle is lit
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as that is appropriate
All Life-Giver, Pain-Bearer, Love-Maker.
Source of all that is and that shall be.
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed
by all peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done
by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and forever. Amen. (UIW2)
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 similar modern liturgies, written by Dr David Bumbaugh.
Welcome to Table
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)
Our offerings, and gifts of flowers, bread and wine,
shall now be received
Presentation People stand, as they are able, for the presentation of the bread, wine, flowers and money
The landscape of life is full of the presentness of Creativity God:
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.
Have you considered the flowers, the lilies of the fields?
All They spin not, neither do they sew,
yet Solomon, in all his glory
All 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
in creating forms
And what nature has done for flowers,
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)
Remembering the tradition surrounding Jesus…
we break this bread and fill this cup with wine.
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
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
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)
Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
“Hymn for Anzac/Remembrance Day” (Tune: ‘Anzac’, 10 10 10 10, CGibson)
Honour the dead, our country's fighting brave,
honour our children left in foreign grave,
where poppies blow and sorrow seeds her flowers,
honour the crosses marked forever ours.
Weep for the places ravaged by our blood,
weep for the young bones buried in the mud,
weep for the powers of violence and greed,
weep for the deals done in the name of need.
Honour the brave whose conscience was their call,
answered no bugle, went against the wall,
suffered in prisons of contempt and shame,
branded as cowards, in our country's name.
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 community candle is extinguished
Go out and live as citizens of God’s realm.
All Into God’s hands, we commit our spirits.
You are a chosen people.
Through you, the family of faith may grow.
All Others will know they are God’s own through us.
Be empowered as you tell
of the wonderful deeds of God in your life.
All We will share the love
we have received, with others.
God’s blessing be yours and well may it keep you.
Christ’s blessing be yours and well may it heal you.
Spirit’s blessing be yours and well may it warm you.
Now and ever more.
All Amen! (Adapt/ Celtic blessing)
Hymn (Cont) “Hymn for Anzac/Remembrance Day” (Tune: ‘Anzac’, CGibson)
Weep for the waste of all that might have been,
weep for the cost that war has made obscene,
weep for the homes that ache with human pain,
weep that we ever sanction war again.
Honour the dream for which our nation bled,
held now in trust to justify the dead,
honour their vision on this solemn day:
peace known in freedom, peace the only way. SEMurray, 2005
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:
Duncan, G. (ed). 2002. Courage to love. An anthology of inclusive worship material. GtB: Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Galloway, K. (ed). 1996. The pattern of our days. Liturgies and resources for worship. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
(HoS) Hope is our song. New hymns and songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. 2009. NZ: Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Inclusive readings. Year C. 2006. QLD: Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. 2001. Iona abbey worship book. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Macnab, F. 2006. A fine wind is blowing: Psalms of the bible in words that blow you away. VIC: Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
Mitchell, R. C; G. A. Ricciuti. 1992. Birthings and blessings. Liberating worship services for the inclusive church. NY: New York. Crossroads.
Seaburg, C. (ed). 1993. The communion book. MA: Boston. UUMA.
(SLT) Singing the living tradition. 1993. MA: Boston. UUA.
Uniting in Worship 2. 2005. NSW: Sydney. Uniting Church Press.
Vosper, G. 2009/2010. Another breath. Prayers for celebration and reflection. 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.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, J Morley. (ed). 1995. Celebrating women. New edition. GtB: London. SPCK.
Kowalski, Haley. UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston. UUA. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site: hymns.uk.com
Shirley Murray. Hymn for Anzac/Remembrance Day. Direct from the author.