November 13, 2016

Still in the land of the lost bibliography.  🙁  The Baptism liturgy was adapted from Rex Hunt’s website.

St. Luke’s United Church
November 13th, 2016
Hymn How Lovely Is Your Dwelling Place MV 29

Words of Welcome and Announcements

Lighting the Christ Candle & Centering

Call to Worship: StAndrew’s, Auckland, adapted.
One: We gather here as the human ones of creation.
All: We name ourselves threads in the web of life.
One: We give thanks for connection,
that we are all part of one another
and that we are part of the sacred.
All: So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Opening Prayer: The Buddha, adapted.
The thought becomes the word.
The word becomes the deed.
The deed develops into habit.
And habit harden into character.

So watch the thought and its ways with care.
And let it spring from love
born out of concern for all beings.
Hymn I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry VU 644
Baptism & Transfer
In grateful response to God’s abundant love,
we bear in mind our integral connection
to the earth and one another;
we participate in God’s work of healing and mending creation.
To point to the presence of the holy in the world,
the church receives, consecrates, and shares visible signs of the grace of God.
In company with the churches
of the Reformed and Methodist traditions,
we celebrate two sacraments as gifts of Christ:
baptism and holy communion.
In these sacraments the ordinary things of life
—water, bread, wine—
point beyond themselves to God and God’s love,
teaching us to be alert
to the sacred in the midst of life.
Before conscious thought or action on our part,
we are born into the brokenness of this world.
Before conscious thought or action on our part,
we are surrounded by God’s redeeming love.
Baptism by water in the name of the Holy Trinity
is the means by which we are received, at any age,
into the covenanted community of the church.
It is the ritual that signifies our rebirth in faith
and cleansing by the power of God.
Baptism signifies the nurturing, sustaining,
and transforming power of God’s love
and our grateful response to that grace.

Presentation of Candidates
On behalf of the congregation of St. Luke’s United Church,
I present the following person for initiation into the body of Christ through baptism:
Barrett Michael Kelly

Do you believe in God, Source of love;
in Jesus Christ, love incarnate;
and in the Holy Spirit, love’s power.
I do, by the grace of God.

Will you follow in the way of Jesus Christ, resisting oppression and evil, seeking justice, and witnessing to God’s love for all creation?
I will, God being my helper.

Will you join with your brothers and sisters in this community of faith to celebrate God’s presence, live with respect in creation, and love and serve others?
I will, God being my helper.

Will you share your faith with Barrett
growing with him in faith, hope, and love?
I will, God being my helper.

Commitment of Godparents
Recognizing that many persons nurture and influence the life of a child, will you support Barrett and his parents as they grow in faith?
I will, God being my helper.

Each of us knows the need for support and care as we share in a journey of faith.
As this family gathers around this font and this water,
symbols of belonging and community,
let us pledge our care for them.
All: We stand as witnesses to the commitment this family has made this day.
And we pledge ourselves to their support and care
as they discover the ways that the Spirit
unfolds for them. (G Vosper)

Pouring & Blessing the Water
Gracious and Holy God,
we bless you for the gift of life,
and, within it, the gift of water.
Over its unshaped promise your Spirit hovered at creation.
By water, comes the growth of the earth.
Through water, you led the children of Israel to freedom.
In the waters of the Jordan your Child Jesus was baptized.
Now may your Spirit be upon us and what we do, that this water may be a sign for all of new life in Christ,
in whose name we pray.

Barrett Michael Kelly, I baptize you
in the name of the Father, Mother, the Source of Love
and of the Son, the Christ, the Beloved One
and of the Holy Spirit, Wisdom, the Power of Love
May the blessing of Love be with you today and always.
Barrett, I mark you with the cross, a sign of the Power of Love.

Laying On of Hands
Barrett, may the Holy Spirit, Love’s power, guide you, inspire you, and work within you, all the days of your life.

Presentation of Candle and Scarf

Transferring Membership
Mindy, will you join with us
as together we celebrate God’s presence,
live with respect in creation,
love and serve others,
seek justice and resist evil?
I will, with God’s help.

Let us pledge to Mindy our support and care.
All: As your brothers and sisters in Christ,
we rejoice in the gifts you bring to us.
We pledge to you our love and our support.
We will together live out
the mission and ministry of the Church.

Symbol of Welcome

Congregational Welcome
All: By one Spirit, we are all baptized into one body.
We are children of the one God,
Mother and Father of us all.
We welcome you into the community of faith.

In celebration of all that has happened today, let’s join together in an Affirmation of Faith:
Affirmation of Faith (taken from A Song of Faith)
Divine creation does not cease
until all things have found wholeness, union, and integration
with the common ground of all being.
As children of the Timeless One,
our time-bound lives will find completion
in the all-embracing Creator.
In the meantime, we embrace the present,
embodying hope, loving our enemies,
caring for the earth,
choosing life.

Grateful for God’s loving action,
we cannot keep from singing.
Creating and seeking relationship,
in awe and trust,
we witness to Holy Mystery who is Wholly Love.

Blessing: May God’s Sheltering Wings MV 214

Readings Isaiah 65:17-25

Hymn I See A New Heaven VU 713

A Vision of Peace
God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change. Courage to change the things we can, And the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.
This particular passage from Isaiah reminds me that it is possible, it is within our reach to create heaven – right here on earth. All we need to do is change the way we think about things. You see, the realm of God as described in this passage is made of common things, things that exist here on earth. People wanting what they have and having what they want – because it’s not extravagant.
This passage along with the understanding that even in situations of extreme poverty, people can still find happiness, has shaped my understanding of the realm of God: that supposedly far off place that we as Christians are constantly working for. You can be a lamb and live happily with a lion – if you are willing to trust the lion and offer the lion respect. Similarly, you can be a lion and live with a lamb – if you value the lamb as a being and offer the lamb respect. You don’t have to stop being a lion, you just need to have more respect for other beings than usual.
I don’t know about you, but often I look in the mirror and see a lamb, when really I should be seeing a lion. It’s easy to feel sorry for myself, but I have to remember that even though I might not have the largest bank account or the most powerful position, I am still capable of a lot.
There’s a cartoon online that has gone viral in the last couple of days. It gives a step by step account of how to help someone being harassed or bullied in a non-confrontational way, in a very lion laying down with a lamb kind of way. The cartoon itself is specific to Islamophobia, but could easily be adapted to any phobia. In four simple steps, the helper doesn’t engage the perpetrator at all. Instead the helper treats the victim as they would a friend. This seems to be a particularly relevant cartoon this week as things to the South of us seem to be escalating. While I might be a lion, I’m certainly not the bravest lion. But this non-confrontational method might actually be do-able. In the follow up, post US election mindlessness, it has also been suggested that if you are unable to engage in a conversation, to at least record the incident and report it.
A lot happened this past week. Some good, some not so good. As Christians, as followers of The Way, we’re called to work towards the kindom, the realm of God, in everything we do. Lamb or Lion, there is always something that you can do. This is my own personal trick: figure out the least I can do, and go from there. Sometimes it turns out to be a lot, and often it turns out to be the least but even something small is better than nothing. So what small steps can you take towards the realm of God? What is the least you can do to help Lions and Lambs get along? When are you a Lion, offering dignity and respect? When are you a Lamb, offering trust and respect? Can you see the new heaven yet? May it be so.

Music Ministry

Minute for Mission

Offering Invitation
We are each called to give according to our gifts. Each person’s gifts are different, and for that we give thanks.

Offertory Ev’ry day Is a Day of Thannksgiving MV 185

Offering Prayer
For these gifts and those given through PAR, we give thanks. May they help us to continue the journey of peace we pray. Amen.

Prayer Music And When You Call for Me MV 96

Prayers of the People
Ending with ‘A Paraphrase’, found in Voices United, pg 916 or on the screen.
During the Prayer of Jesus, you are invited to use the translation and language of your choice. A variety of translations and expressions of the Prayer of Jesus (also known as The Lord’s Prayer) can be found in Voices United pages 916-927.
Eternal Spirit,
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
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 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 for ever. Amen.
Commissioning and Benediction

Musical Blessing You Shall Go Out With Joy VU 884

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