A Spring Service

"Cherish the earth"

(an adaptation of a liturgy by Dorothy McRae McMahon by the Rev. Ken Russell)

(L) Let us hear God's call to cherish the earth.  Let us dream of our world where the species are infinite
(P) and our dreams will be delicate.

(L) Let us sing in a world with all voices in harmony
(P) and our song will be delicate.

(L) Let us walk in our world of warm light and fragility
(P) and our tread will be delicate.

(L) Let us go gently into a delicate world.
(P) Let us worship God.

HYMN: 'The Spring again is here'  (No. 965 Methodist Hymn Book)

1. The Spring again is here,
 life wakes from Winter's gloom;
 in field and forest far and near
 sweet opening flowerets bloom.

2. Mystery strange and sweet,
 that life so dumbly bound
 should rise, our thankful gaze to greet,
 and break from underground.

3. The morn is fresh and bright,
the slow dark hours depart;
let days unstained and pure delight
bring sunshine to the heart.

4. Lord, touch our careless eyes;
 new life, new ardour bring
 that we may read Thy mysteries,
 the wonder of Thy spring.
    - Arthur C. Benson (1862-1925)

BIBLE READING Ecclesiastes 3:1-8



(L) "For see, winter is past, the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth.
The season of glad songs has come, the call of the tui is heard in our land."
  (S. of S. 2:11, 12)

(P) "Does the rain have a mother who gives birth to the daffodils?"  (Job 38:28)
 You, O God, our Creator and our Redeemer!

(L) Creator God we thank you for the spring, for the rebirth
 and the renewal which we see around us in Nature.

(P) "Does the rain have a mother  who gives birth to the daffodils?" 
 You, O God, our Creator and our Redeemer!

(L) We thank you for reminding us that you are the One who is making all things new. 
So often we behave as if life were always the same old grind, the same old pressures,
the same old failures - no hope, no escape, nothing new.

(P) "Does the rain have a mother  who gives birth to the daffodils?" 
 You, O God, our Creator and our Redeemer!

(L) When we see the new leaves misting the trees with green,
when the first flowers bloom in the shelter of a wall,
when the morning air is alive with birdsong, hope seeps back into our souls, warmth into our hearts.

(P) "Does the rain have a mother who gives birth to the daffodils?" 
 You, O God, our Creator and our Redeemer!

(L) Forgive our hopelessness.  Forgive our dreary duty which we so often pass off as faith and love.
 Renew us; restore us; redeem us!  "for see, winter is past, the rains are over and gone.
 The flowers appear on the earth, the seasons of glad songs has come,
the call of the tui is heard in our land."

(P) "Does the rain have a mother who gives birth to the daffodils?"
 You, O God, our Creator and our Redeemer!
- Olga McKellar
      Mt Carmel-Zion United Church, Ontario

(L) Our God is just and forgiving.
 Our God warms us and calls us to change before it is too late,our God receives us as we are;
lift us up and appoints us again to care for the earth and all its creatures.
 Receive the grace of God in all its strength and delicate beauty.
 The old order has passed away and the new creation is before us.

(P) Thanks be to God.

  "What does being Church Florist mean to you?"

HYMN 'Our life has its seasons' -  Shirley Murray (Alleluia Aotearoa 113)

  Epistle: 1 Corinthians 3:1-9
  Gospel: Matthew 5:25-34


(L) In response to the Word,
 let us stand and affirm our faith.

(All)     We believe in God,
  who is found in darkness,
  who parted the waters with a dream,
  fragrant as the ancient damask rose;
  who made from nothing - light, stars, moons, planets and liveliest earth;
  who ran wild with joy, creating mountains, waves and snowflakes.
  All different ....
  Who spun a web of shimmering life where creatures grew and changed,
  flowered and put down roots, swam, chirped and flew,
ran, played and roared, talked - in many different languages
wondered and dreamed beings of astonishing variety,
each needing all the others, held in a delicate kinship.
God saw that it was very good and laughed and made some more.

We believe in God,
 who is found in waiting, who patiently provides for each according to their need
who blankets the drowsy wintering spider with warm earth
so she may go about her business in the springtime,
feared and respected by her neighbours.
We believe in God,
who is found in stillness, who walks in the world, awake and vulnerable,
delighting and loving, bright as kowhai in the sunshine,
who grieves in the quiet beyond tears for scorched wilderness,
stifled air wounded forests silenced voices broken threads
who names the truth and shoulders the weight of hoping.
We believe in God,
who is found in loneliness, who speaks in the dawn birdsong
the grieving call of whales, the music of stars.
We believe God calls us as the church
to love the earth, to live humbly in the web of relationship,
to announce the new wilderness.

HYMN 'We thank thee Lord'  (Methodist Hymn Book No. 414)

1. We thank thee, Lord, for this fair earth,
the glittering sky, the silver sea;
for all their beauty, all their worth,
their light and glory, come from Thee.

2. Thanks for the flowers that clothe the ground,
the trees that wave their arms above,
the hills that gird our dwellings round,
as Thou dost gird thine own with love.

3. Yet teach us still how far more fair,
more glorious, Father, in Thy sight,
is one pure deed, one holy prayer,
one heart that owns Thy Spirit's might.

4. So, while we gaze with thoughtful eye
on all the gifts Thy love has given,
help us in Thee to live and die,
by Thee to rise from earth to heaven.  Amen
    - George E.L. Cotton (1813-66)

(L) Let us bring our offering to God.

 (The offering is received.)

(L) In response to the immeasurable wonder and diversity of God's creation, we bring these gifts,

(P) and dedicate them to sustaining the fragile web of all life on earth.

All Amen.

(L) O Eternal Wisdom, we praise you and give you thanks,
 for, as you revealed yourself of old in fire and storm and precious law,
 so you did not leave your followers comfortless, but came upon them on Pentecost day
 in thunder, wind and flame, filling them with clarity and power,
 and making them drunk with longing to utter your uncontainable word.
 And now, you have poured out your spirit upon all flesh,
 that your sons and daughters may prophesy, that old and young may share a vision,
and even the slaves find a voice.

Therefore, with Elizabeth who prophesied your birth,
Mary who sang for the poor, Martha who confessed you as the Christ,
the women, who announced you risen from the dead,
and with every nameless and unremembered prophet
who heard your call and inspired her people, we praise you, saying:

All Holy, holy, holy,
 God of power and might,
 heaven and earth are full of your glory;
 hosanna in the highest.
 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God;
 hosanna in the highest.

(L) Blessed is our brother Jesus,
 who comes behind the doors we have closed,
and breathes on our fear his fearful peace;
who, on the night that he was betrayed,
took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and said:
"This is my body, which is for you.  Do this to remember me."
In the same way the cup, after supper, saying:
"This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this whenever you drink it, to remember me."

All We remember Christ's death;
 We proclaim Christ's resurrection;
 We await Christ's coming in glory.

(L) Come now, spirit of integrity,
 of tenderness, judgement, and dance;
 touch our speechlessness, kindle our longing,
 reach into our silence, and fire our words with your truth;
 that each may hear in her own language the mighty works of God.



HYMN 'Now let us see thy beauty, Lord'  (No. 534 H & P)
1. Now let us see thy beauty, Lord,
as we have seen before;
and by thy beauty quicken us
to love Thee and adore.

2. 'Tis easy when with simple mind
Thy loveliness we see,
To consecrate ourselves afresh
To duty and to Thee.

3. Our every feverish mood is cooled,
and gone is every load,
when we can lose the love of self,
and find the love of God.

4. Lord, it is coming to ourselves
when thus we come to Thee;
the bondage of Thy loveliness
is perfect liberty.

5. So now we come to ask again
what thou hast often given,
the vision of that loveliness
which is the life of heaven.
     - Benjamin Waugh (1839-1908)

(L) Go out to care for God's earth in all its varied and fragile beauty.

(P) We go out with trust and courage to care for the earth,
 our home and our children's home.

(L) May God the Creator restore our hope and vision.
 May the Christ who walked the earth go with us.
 And may the Holy Spirit empower us,
 To see the pattern of the universe. Amen.