Pentecost25C.14.11.2010

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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


LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
14 November 2010. Pentecost 25C. (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


GATHERING

Gathering music

Entry into worship
The gong is sounded three times

The morning comes and now is!
Greet the day with gladness
and welcome the evening with praise.  (Adapted)

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
Everything in God”  (Tune: ‘Lobe den Herren’, 111 TiS)         9 SNS
God is the One in whom we all have life-giving purpose.
Spirit encompassing all and yet present within us.
Breath of each birth:
Source of all beauty and worth:
Found in us all, yet mysterious.

Have faith in virtue, have hope in great beauty abounding;
Hear words of love, and then listen for laughter resounding;
When, with delight,
We turn the darkness to light;
God, we discern, is surrounding.

Home in our world amidst wonder of life with its splendour;
Movement and colour show nature's abundant agenda.
God is thus found
In air and sea, on the ground.
God is displayed by each gender.

Greet the creation, the magic of each constellation;
Stars without number and planets of unknown location
Whirling around,
Far beyond sight, sense and sound.
All share in God's incarnation.

God is the One in whom we live and move and have being:
Spirit within as we ponder our faith and believing:
Here and elsewhere,
Past, present, future to share,
God, the beginning and ending.  (GStuart)
Remain standing

Opening sentences
This safe and sacred place welcomes us this day.

Let us trust enough to open our ears and hearts.
All We have heard of God's deeds in other times;
our pioneers have kept the story alive for us.
Let us listen to God's word for today.
All
We long for a faith that makes sense today.
We want to keep the story alive for new generations.

God's story is for all people.
All It is ours to receive and share.

Prayer of awareness
We pray:
Spirit of life and love, we have gathered in this place, again.
May we create here a circle of love, ever expanding, ever growing.
A place of wisdom.
A place of connection.
A place of hope.
Amen.

Hymn  In the singing”  (Tune: Bread of peace/Carlton Young)  38 FFS
In the singing, in the silence,
in the hands expectant, open,
in the blessing, in the breaking,
in the Presence at this table,
Refrain:
Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ,
be the wine of grace:
Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ,
be the bread of peace.

In the question, in the answer,
in the moment of acceptance,
in the heart’s cry, in the healing,
in the circle of your people,
Refrain:
Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ,
be the wine of grace:
Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ,
be the bread of peace.  SEMurray
The people sit after the hymn

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.

Reflection
“A God for all seasons”
By Kate Compston. Dare to dream/31.

Springtime God,
coming alive within us like pale shoots
thrusting through frozen earth,
we need your persistent love to disturb
the impacted soil of our hearts' rigidity.

Summer God,
growing luxuriously, blossoming with heady scents,:
holding us in your warm embrace,
we need these times of perceived presence
to draw upon in cooler seasons.

Autumn God,
falling and dying in Christ,
etched with the colours of vulnerability,
we need the fellowship of your wounds
to dignify our brokenness.

Winter God,
dormant and distant,
starkly challenging our self-absorption,
we need your austerity to nudge us
into a warm compassion for your suffering ones.

Silence
Let us open ourselves to the sacred silence of this place.
(Silence)

Generous God, enfold us in the depths of love and there hold us.
Renew.
Refresh.
Restore us.
Saturate us with unending peace.
(Silence)

EXPLORING

Readings from our religious tradition
Two readings from our religious tradition shall be read by (NN).

Even as we seek understanding, our minds
too often, shelter us from the realities we might uncover.

All  May we have the courage to hear and hold truths

found within these words (GVosper/ab)


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).


Early churches:

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.


Psalm:
Psalm 97
Francis Macnab. A fine wind is blowing/36.
The psalmist looks around him and says, "Surely there are better ways to live". Something calls us to step beyond our limited view to a larger view of life.

If only people all over the world would stop for a moment
- people along every coast and scattered across every island.

Let them look up through the smog and dust,
through the fumes and smoke,
and see there are better ways to live.

If only people could realize that the environment that gives them life,
the hills and the mountains,
are being turned into trash dumps;
the earth's resources are disappearing.
Surely there are better ways to live.

If only people would see that they are wearing themselves out,
and life is being lost to them.
They pursue the goals they think are important,
but they miss out on the joy of life and the glory of God's creation.

There is a power beyond us and within us
that draws us to a better higher humanity:
there is something that calls us to reach beyond the smaller view to the larger life;
that would have us step through and over our stress to find the joy;
that reminds us again that beyond our emptiness there is a new energy,
that after our losses there are seeds of a new tomorrow.

All of you who search for the God of the bigger life -
The God that is in you and the God who lifts you out of yourselves -
All of you who have an awareness of the God
of the greater life, rejoice!

Rejoice that you are part of this greater life
and part of its expanded joy.

Hebrew scriptures:
Isaiah 65:17-25  (NRSV)

For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.

I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.

They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord,
and their descendants as well.

Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
but the serpent - its food shall be dust!

They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord.

Contemporary word

Silence for personal reflection

AFFIRMING

An affirmation of faith
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share an affirmation of faith…
The people stand as they are able

We believe in God who cares for all
All especially vulnerable and powerless people.

We affirm the right of all people
to decent living conditions:
All housing, health services, education, 
food and clothing, fun and leisure.

We assert that God is with us in all that life brings us;
that God loves us as we are at any moment in our life:
All in our anger and rage, in our pain and grief,
our complaints and despair,
our joy and delight.

We hope for the day that will come
when God’s justice and mercy, love and peace,
will be realities in this world.
All We commit ourselves to show what we believe,
by the way we take care of God’s creation
and how we live together in community.  (UCA Special resources)

The peace
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

Conversation

"Somewhere someone"
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)

CELEBRATING
Offerings
Our offerings shall now be received.

Presentation  The people stand, as they are able, as the gifts are presented
God, we look for a gentler humanity, a kinder world:
with our money and with our hearts,
with our minds and with every good intention,
let this be our prayer.  (FMacnab/h)

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)

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

Pastoral prayers:
Lord's Prayer:
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)

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"The majesty of mountains"        139 (1-2) 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.
Remain standing

Words of mission
Let us take on this week’s life with renewed hope and imagination...
The candle is extinguished

May we leave this place seeking an uncharted,
but freely chosen, way to wholeness
All Knowing we have companions along the way.  Bets Wienecke

Blessing words
May Creativity God be with you on the smooth paths.
May Jesus the Companion be with you in the storms.
May the Empowering Spirit be with you at all times.
All Amen!

Hymn (Cont) "The majesty of mountains"        139 (3) AA
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.
The people sit after the hymn

'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:
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa.  Hymns and songs for all churches. 1993. NZ: Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Duncan, G. (ed). 1995.  Dare to dream. A prayer and worship anthology from around the world. GtB: London. Fount/HarperCollins.
(FFS) Faith forever singing. Songs for a new day. 2000. NZ: Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.

(HoS) Hope is our song. New hymns and songs from Aotearoa New Zealand2009. NZ: Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.

Holy Bible. NRSV. 1989. TN: Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers.
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.

Macnab, F. 1996. Hope:  The deeper longings of the mind and heart. 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.

  
Special resources. UCA National Assembly. (Issued from time to time).
(SNS) Stuart, G. 2006.  Singing a new song. Traditional hymn tunes with new century lyrics. NSW: Sydney. CPRT Sydney.
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 than what we believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.

rexae@optusnet.com.au