Creation1A.Pent13A.3.9.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au
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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
3 September 2017. Pentecost 13A/Creation 1A. (Green).
Forest Sunday
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion


Acknowledgement of Country/First Peoples
(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 the Celebration (Sung, Solo voice)
Be Still… (Tune: ‘Be Still and Know That I Am God’)
Be still and feel the presence of God,
the presence pulsing, pulsing through Earth, 
be still and feel the pulse of God.
(Silence)

Be still and hear the Spirit of God,
the Spirit breathing, breathing through Earth,
be still and hear the breath of God.
(Silence)

Be still, behold the glory of God,
the glory filling, filling this Earth,
be still, behold the face of God.  (Norman C Habel)
(The gong is sounded three times)

The God of the forests be with you.
All  And also with you.

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit in silence

v2  Fountain of life...
Pulse of life...
Breath of life...
All Earth is filled with the presentness of God.

v1  A planet filled with the presentness of God
All  quivering in the forests,
vibrating in the land,
pulsating in the wilderness,
shimmering in the rivers.
v2  Together this day, let us sense
the face of God in all creation. (Adapted. Norman Habel/soc)

Note: (i) A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE
(ii) Additional Special Purpose Hymns that cover major international events or themes can be found HERE  They include the categories: 1. Bush (Brush) Fire, 2. Tsunami, Storms/Cyclones, 3. Earthquakes, 4. War/Remembrance, 5. Caregiving, 6. God as Mother, 7. Human Trafficking, 8. Disabled, 9. Migration/Refugees

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
Morning, So Far To See(Tune: ‘Schonster herr Jesu’, 66 96 68)     42 SLT
Morning, so fair to see,
night, veiled in mystery –
glorious the earth and resplendent skies!
Pilgrims, we march along,
singing our joyous song,
as through an earthly paradise.

Tall are the verdant trees;
deep are the flashing seas;
glorious each wonder the seasons bring.
Brighter is faith’s surmise,
singing in pilgrim eyes,
from which our waking spirits spring.

Age after age we rise,
‘neath the eternal skies,
into the light from the shadowed past:
still shall our pilgrim song,
buoyant and brave and strong,
resound while life and mountains last.  (Vincent B Silliman)

OR

"O For A Thousand Trees"  (Tune: ‘Richmond’, 86 86. 425 TiS)     21 HH
O for a thousand trees to sing
And join with us this day,
With ferns and frogs and butterflies:
A forest hymn of praise.

Come celebrate with all the land,
Let species rare begin,
With geese and owls and cockatoos:
A choir of country kin.

How can we hear creation groan,
The outback cry in pain?
With desert dragons we rejoice
When Earth is born again.

Let ev’ry stream and river flow
In song toward the sea;
With whale and seal and albatross
We thank God we are free.

O for a thousand trees to sing,
And join with us this day,
With ferns and frogs and butterflies:
A forest hymn of praise.  (
Norman Habel)
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
We invite the forests to worship with us:
All  
Mountain ash and eucalypts,
quivering ferns and glistening moss!
We quiver with the trees as they shake before God:
All  
when tempests and tornadoes hit,
and raging winds invade the forest.
We invite tall trees to celebrate life:
All  
Huon pines and ironbark,
tall timber where lizards and lichen
find their home!

We invite the forest night-life to sing:
All  Green tree frogs and timid moths,
ancient owls and swirling bats!
We join with the fauna of the forest in praising God:
All  Lyrebirds and black cockatoos,
platypuses, pythons and butterflies!

We celebrate the song of the forest!
All  Sing, forest, sing!  
(Norman Habel/soc)

Act of Awareness
The sacred is everywhere,
At the heart of everything
That was, is, or to be...

It isn't what one says
But in what one does
That we discover where the sacred is
And is marked by peace and love.  (Edited. Robert Halsey/vv)

OR

We pray:
Creativity God, whose renewing breath fills our planet,
may we discern this vibrant presence among us,
especially in the mysteries of the forest.

May our spirits be lifted to rejoice with the forest
and all the creatures of the forest, this day.
May it be so.

Hymn "God of the Galaxies(Tune: ‘Cheam')    54 AA
God of the galaxies spinning in space,
God of the smallest seed, our living source,
yours is the gift of this beautiful place.
Let us care for your garden
and honour the earth.

Careless and covetous, gross are our greeds,
taking the riches the garden provides,
wasting its goodness, forgetting its needs.
Let us care for your garden
and honour the earth.

Forests and rivers are ravaged and die,
raped is the land till it bleeds in its clay,
silenced the birdsong and plundered the sea.
Let us care for your garden
and honour the earth.  
(Shirley Erena Murray)

OR

"God is Surroundly Inherent" (Tune: "Wunderbarer Konig", 668D 33. 66)   14 SNS2
All the cosmos beaming;
All creation gleaming;
So we stand in awe and silence.
Galaxies are dancing;
Stars, the night enhancing;
Constellations claim our reverence.
God's own heart
Seen in part,
Shines in all the brilliance;
Shows forth God's transcendence.

Microscopic sources
Hold such mighty forces
In the atom's sacred magic.
Germs can be our masters;
Makers of disasters;
So minute, yet cause 'the tragic'.
Smaller still
Genes, with skill,
Breed God's inborn presence
In our human essence.

God is all, surrounding;
Source of life abounding;
Ground of being, spirit swelling.
Inmost at our centre,
There we all encounter
God as love and grace indwelling.
We adore
Evermore
Worshipped down through history,
God the wondrous mystery.  (George Stuart)
The people sit

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

CENTERING

Remembering
Take the eucalyptus leaf you received at the door,
rub it between your fingers, break it, smell it,
and share with the person next to you
rich childhood memories of the forest,
the bush or a special tree.
Conversation

We remember the gardens and the forests of our childhood.
The places where we played in the past,
when we felt close to Earth and to trees.
All  We remember and rejoice.

Silence
Now, away from the busyness of life
and in the silence of this place,
let us give thanks for trees,
for forests, filled with mysteries!
(Silence)

Sung reflection

HC -CarolChrist2

All  As this day dawns in beauty,
we pledge ourselves
to repair the web. 
(Carol P Christ/swc)
(Silence)

Earth is a sanctuary, a sacred planet
filled with the presentness of God.
All A home for us to share with our kin.
(Norman Habel/soc)

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Two readings from our broad religious tradition
shall now be read by (NN).

From the World around us:
"Let the Trees be Consulted..."
By John Wright. Earth Prayers/105.

Let the trees be consulted
before you take any action
every time you breathe in
thank a tree

let treeroots crack parking lots
at the world bank headquarters
let loggers be druids
specially trained and rewarded
to sacrifice trees at auspicious times
let carpenters be master artisans
let lumber be treasured like gold
let chainsaws be played like saxophones
let soldiers on maneuvers plant trees
give police and criminals
a shovel and a thousand seedlings
let businessmen carry pocketfuls of acorns
let newlyweds honeymoon in the woods

walk don't drive
stop reading newspapers
stop writing poetry
squat under a tree
and tell stories

OR

“Into the Woods”
By Meg Lawton. SBNR.Org.

Crisp, quiet.  Just us.  Almost.

A path, winding somewhere to follow, over there.

We go.

Running, mostly walking.

Sticks become rivers to jump.

Trees are lookouts.

A magical carpet of fallen leaves covers the earth.

So we fly.

We break the stillness with loud sing silly songs.

Make up jokes.

Race each other to the top.

And the deer watch.

We stop. Puffing, panting.

And look up at the yellow ceiling above.

There is no sky,
not here.

“Wow,” she says, “Look at all that gold.”
“We’re rich,” he says breathing in the moment deeply.

Taking each of their hands as we walk home,
it’s simple.  I nod.  Yes.   (© 2009 Meg Lawton)

Inspired by the Hebrew scriptures:
“Creation accounts in Genesis”
By Miriam Therese Winter. Womanprayer. Womansong/25-27.

v1  In the beginning
the very beginning,
God gave birth to,
God delivered,
God created
the heavens and the earth.

Yes, out of the womb
of fertile divinity
emerged our mother
the earth.
v3  Mother earth, sister sea, giving birth, energy,
reaching out, touching me lovingly.

v1  The earth was formless
and empty.
There was darkness
over the deep.

God paused,
reflected.
Her brooding spirit
hovered
restless
over the face of the waters,
savoring the stillness,
embracing the mystical moment,
contemplating the indissoluble cord
binding Her to the earth.
v4  Mother earth, sister sea, giving birth, energy,
reaching out, touching me lovingly.

v1  God loved
the fruit of Her womb
with all its potential for good.
Intuitively,
She broke the silence,
singing:
Let there be light!

Her sunlight chased the shadows.
She danced with the moon and the stars.
She sang all life into being:
seeds, trees,
fruits and flowers,
birds that took to the heavens
and creatures that kept to the earth.

She taught earth all about motherhood,
about nurture,
about birth.
v5  Mother earth, sister sea, giving birth, energy,
reaching out, touching me lovingly.

v1  God sang:
Let there be life
fashioned in My image.

She created humankind
in Her image,
rational beings
She created them,
female and male
She created them,
from out of the earth
She created them.
From humus of earth,
from mud, from muck,

She fashioned in Her image
woman
and man,
breathed into them
Her spirit,
the very breath of life.

From the beginning,
humankind
is the love child of our God
in the womb of mother earth.
v6  Mother earth, sister sea, giving birth, energy,
reaching out, touching me lovingly.

OR

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 16:21-27  (Inclusive Text)

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering
at the hands of the elders
and chief priests
and scribes,
and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

And Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, saying,
'God forbid it!  This must never happen to you.'

But he turned and said to Peter,
'Get behind me, Satan!
You are a stumbling block to me;
for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.'

Then Jesus told his disciples,
If any want to become my followers,
let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

'For those who want to save their life will lose it,
and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

'For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life?
Or what will they give in return for their life?

'For the Promised One is to come with angels
in the glory of the Most High,
and will repay everyone for what has been done.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Celebration of Faith  (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share a celebration of faith.
The people stand as they are able

In desert and bushland, mountain and water,
we see the signs that God is with us.
All  In grass that grows through cities of concrete and brick,
we see the signs that God is with us.

In the faces of people whom God so loves,
All  we see the signs that God is with us.
In our brokenness,
there is the hope of wholeness.
All  In our emptiness,
there is the hope of fullness.
In our deaths,
All  lies the hope of resurrection life.

This is the Word in Christ to us.
All  The flame of the Holy Spirit
lives in this place
and travels with us.  (Adapted. Dorothy McRae-McMahon/eoj

OR

Litany of Spring  (Optional)
The icy frosts of winter
Give way to springtime dew.
Frost-bitten fuschias
Struggle to burst forth in new bud.
All  
Thanks be to God.

Early morning dew on cobwebs,
Hangs like crystal on the weeds
along the roadside,
Reminding us of creations's plan
for all creatures; great and small.
All   Thanks be to God.

The winter has been short and dry; 
Cold wind never quite giving way to rain
Driving its clouds on towards the coast;
But the seed lying in the thirsty ground
Has still burst forth.
All   Thanks be to God.

We cannot hold you in the spider's web, a God;
We cannot hold you in the winds that drive the windmill;
For you are also in the thirsty ground,
The budding fuschia,
and the struggling seed.
Great is your faithfulness
O Lord, our God.
(Silence)

Daffodil and jonquil 
Filling fields and lining driveways,
Cheer the heart;
Perfumed daphney awakens dulled senses;
And songbirds declare the joy of living.
All   Thanks be to God.

We cannot hold you in the daffodil or daphne;
For you are also in the air we breathe 
And in the magpie's song
Reminding us again of creation's plan.
Great is your faithfulness 
O Lord, our God.  (Pam Wyley/grpe)

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.
The peace of God is here… to stay. (Iona)
All Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
Just as the Rainbow(Tune: ‘Colours of Hope’,  D C Damon)    22 PaT
Just as the rainbow, bright with its promise,

holds in its prism spectrums of light,
so do our human cultures and colours
bring to each other depth and delight.

Colours adorn us, colours define us,

colours enliven nature's own art,

colours divide us, stark in their meaning,
black and white judgments tear us apart.

Fear of the stranger, unspoken anger,

shades of misgiving show in our face,

colours of blood have stained our traditions,

led us to conflict, race against race.

God give us eyes to value our neighbour,

judging no colour, image or skin,
but where the heart is, open to friendship,
care and connection making us kin.

God give us wisdom, luminous thinking,
 prizing this rainbow, sensing its scope,
 finding the gold in icons of others,

 working to paint the colours of hope.  
(Shirley Erena Murray)
People sit

CELEBRATING

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)

Reflections and Prayers
Care Candle:
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Celebrations; Griefs and Concerns shared

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
In the light and beauty of day
All  We give thanks in awe and wonder.
In the dark and stillness of night