Summer Solstice.21.12.2016

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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Recently Published
Rex A E Hunt 
When Progressives Gather Together:
Liturgy, Lectionary, Landscape… And Other Explorations

Melbourne: Morning Star Publishing, 2016
(In the USA published by Wipf & Stock)


Summer Solstice Liturgy (Southern Hemisphere)
(Can be adapted for Northern Hemisphere where ’cold is the main factor)

Notes:
Movement/Dance 
There are two opportunities for dance during the ritual:
(i) When the fire is lit - decide beforehand on what steps/gestures the group will do.
(ii) At the end of the ritual - it is suggested that participants dance around the fire. Decide beforehand on the steps of the dance. Be creative in using steps, chains, etc. 

Music
Musicians, CD player and/or drums… And Irish dance music

The Solstice
The summer solstice occurs once a year in December when the Sun's track across the Australian sky reaches its highest point.
It is the day that has the most daylight hours of any in the year.
The summer solstice usually occurs on 21 December, but can occur between 20 and 22 December.

oo0oo


Gathering Music
Irish Dance music

Gathering Words
We gather on this the longest day of the year
to praise the Life Force Creativity which flared forth
the kindling of time and space
and continues to create.
All  We raise our hearts in gratitude 
for the mystery of the sun, 
the mystery of light and of fire.

Reflection
“The Summer Day”
By Mary Oliver. (Reprinted from The Hopewell Centre newsletter, 7/2010)

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean -
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth
instead of up and down -
who is gazing around
with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms
and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Lighting the Fire
(If outside… keep the fire as small as possible and contained on stones so as not to disturb the creatures of the soil)

May the lighting of this fire inflame the hearts
of all with love and passion.
Drum beats/Rhythm  

May this fire bring blessings of peace and protection to all.
Drum beats/Rhythm
  
May this fire remind us of the first spark of light
which flared forth at the beginning of the universe.
Drum beats/Rhythm

Silence

Candles or tea-lights are distributed. The leader lights a large candle and light is passed around the circle.
The leader raises the candle and leads the words of praise (Below):

(If inside… Candles or tea-lights only are used. The leader lights a large candle and light is passed around the circle. 
The leader raises the candle and leads the words of praise:

Sacred is this fire of midsummer's eve.
Sacred is the light of our sun.
Sacred is the Source of All Life,
Who kindles light and fire.
All  How beautiful the light!
How glorious its splendour!
 

Sacred is the moment when you sparkled forth a fireball of love and creativity.
Sacred was that kindling fifteen billion years ago.
Sacred is the birthing of supernovas,
The fiery activity of stars,
The formation of galaxies,
The formation of elements.
All  How beautiful the light!
How glorious its splendour!

Sacred was the calling forth of our Milky Way.
Sacred was the seeding of our sun aflame with brilliant energy.
Sacred was the blaze that whirled the planets and shaped our earth.
Sacred was the formation of Earth's crust and atmosphere.
Sacred are the trees, the plants, the flowers
All kissed into life by Sun.
All  How beautiful the light!
How glorious its splendour!
 

Sacred are the fish that swim, and birds that fly,
All creatures that breathe the fire of creativity.
Sacred the creation of humankind
With Sun's burning love and passion.
All  How beautiful the light!
How glorious its splendour!
 

Sacred is the spark of fire in all that is.
Fire that reflects your eternal light.
Each heart aflame with a flame of fire.
Each eye reflecting your burning love.
Sacred is this holy night
Aglow with star-light, moon light, fire light, candle light, Love light.
All  How beautiful the light!
How glorious its splendour!
 

OR

v1  Spirit of the East, spirit of air,
v2  we know you in the stillness of every new dawn,
in the crispness of breezes cooled by night,
in the first beams of the rising sun shining through.
All  Bless us now and always with your clarity.
We welcome you.

v3  Spirit of the South, spirit of fire,
v4  we know you in the fury of the noonday sun,
in the wall of heat pushing from an open oven,
in the quiet light of candles upon our altar.
All  Bless us now and always with your intensity.
We welcome you
.

v1  Spirit of the West, spirit of water,
v2  we know you in the cooling power of rain,
in the tinkle of ice in a glass of lemonade,
in the refreshing plunge of bare feet into a cold river.
All  Bless us now and always with your calm.
We welcome you.

v3  Spirit of the North, spirit of earth,
v4  we know you in the shadows cast by the setting sun,
in the joyous taste of ripe summer fruits,
in the comfort of a cool, grassy seat under a night sky.
All  Bless us now and always with your nurturing.
We welcome you.

v5  Spirit at the Center, Mother of all,
v6  Cleanse us with your burning sun and cooling water.
Wn  As the summer grows long, and we begin to turn our faces towards autumn,
Mn  Give us the strength to live each day in harmony with your creation.
All  We honor you. Blessed be.  (Adapted/Christine Hoff Kraemer)

Song
Chant for the Seasons(Tune: ‘Praha’, Irreg.)        73 SLT
Can be sung separately as a chant, or the verses can be rearranged according to the actual season

Summer-time has turned the star-wheel,
autumn is upon us. (Repeat)
Sweet the angling sun,
sweet upon the air
the smell of blue mist rising.
Summer-time has turned the star-wheel,
autumn is upon us.
Glorious the trees,
glorious the sight
of rust leaves, falling.
Summer-time has turned the star-wheel,
autumn is upon us.

Autumn cold has turned the star-wheel,
winter is upon us. (Repeat)
Grey the windy storms,
cold upon our cheeks
the wet rain glistens, glistens.
Autumn cold has turned the star-wheel,
winter is upon us.
leaping is the fire,
golden in the glass
the cider glows like amber.
Autumn cold has turned the star-wheel,
winter is upon us.

Winter rains have turned the star-wheel,
spring-time is upon us. (Repeat)
Sharp the smell of loam,
bursting in our eyes
the turrets of the tulip.
Winter rains have turned the star-wheel,
spring-time is upon us.
Greening is the grass,
soft upon our brows
the sunlight warm caresses.
Winter rains have turned the star-wheel,
spring-time is upon us.

Vernal clouds have turned the star-wheel,
summer is upon us. (Repeat)
Gliding are the hawks,
hovering above
the hot and yellow hillside.
Vernal clouds have turned the star-wheel,
summer is upon us.
crickets in the night,
chirping in our ears
the sound of moon-lit music.
Vernal clouds have turned the star-wheel,
summer is upon us.  (Mark L Belletini)

OR

Nature’s Beauty(Tune: ‘Regent Square’, 87 87 47 Extend.) 4 SNS3
Nature knows her sounds and movements
Heard and seen each day and night;
All her life in rich abundance
Fills my heart with great delight;
Celebrate with adoration;
Thankful for the world so bright.

Fearsome winds cause trees to whimper;
Storms can force the clouds to cry;
Raindrops, snowflakes dance together;
Sun and moon wink in reply;
Celebrate with adoration
All the wonders of the sky.

Celebrate all hidden textures;
Value all the roots below;
Celebrate all covered spendour;
Value beauty not on show;
Celebrate with adoration;
Thankful for the world we know.

Creatures bold and creatures timid
Offer beauty, each unique;
Trees and flowers paint a picture
On the plain and mountain peak;
Celebrate with adoration;
All revealed for those who seek.

We are blest with such profusion;
Beauty bursts out everywhere;
If we take the time to ponder
We may find a thankful prayer;
Celebrate with adoration
Thankful for the world we share (George Stuart).

OR

"As The Sun Beats Down" (Tune: 10 7 10 7)     2 FFS
As the sun beats down and the heat invades,
and creation burns and dries;
let us sing to God of a promised hope
in the midst of anxious cries.

As the parching winds relentless blow,
and creation browns away;
let us sing to God, who restores and calms
all foreboding and dismay.

As the feed dies back and the stock decline,
and creation's bones show through;
let us sing to God of the bread of life,
to refresh, restore, renew.

As the silent birds sing a silent song
in creation's still blue sky;
let us sing to God of the songs of hope,
through a gentle rain's reply.

As the season comes and the season goes,
and we search the skies each day;
let us sing to God of a rainbow faith,
and a promised green display. (Bill Bennett)

Blessing
May the light of our Solstice celebration glow in our homes.
May the fire of blessing glow on our hearths.
May the fire of creativity ignite our imaginations.
May the fire of this celebration bring attention to our gardens/fields and their inhabitants.
May the fire of love drive out the darkness of hunger and poverty.
May the fire of passion enkindle in all a great enthusiasm for life.
May the fire of healing soothe and comfort all.
May we be encircled in light and love.

Share a Meal of Salads and Wine... and more Irish Dance Music 

(The majority of this liturgy has been adapted from one by Kathleen Glennon. With additional resources.)
Further content/adaption is available at St Stephen’s College Non-Theistic Liturgy Project 

Bibliography/Resources:
Glennon, K. Heartbeat of the Seasons: Earth Rituals for the Celtic Year. Dublin: Columba Press, 2005.
(SLT) Singing The Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
(FFS) 
Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
(SNS3) Stuart, G.
Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 3. Toronto. G Stuart, 2011.

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