Revd Rex A E Hunt

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17 September 2017. Pentecost 15A/Creation 3A. (Green).
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion

Outback/Wilderness Sunday

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 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.

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

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 outback/wilderness 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.  
(Adapted. Norman Habel/soc)

v2 Together this day, let us sense the face of God in all creation.

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"Spirit of God, Creation's Force
(Tune: ‘Fulda’, 88 88. 245 TiS)
Sprit of God, creation's force,
and power of evolution's course,
gave breath of life to humankind
and then inspired inventive mind.

Spirit of history's linked events
has shown repeated evidence
of hidden influence, working through
all our world leaders try to do.

Spirit of prophet's utterance
proclaimed in needy circumstance
a word of God, through human voice
with challenge to courageous choice.
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
We invite the outback to worship with us:
Uluru and the red centre,
deep gorges and mountain ranges.

We invite the flora to sing in the sun:
All ghost gums and spinifex,
mallee trees and Sturt’s desert pea. 
We join with the fauna of the outback in praising God:
roaming dingos and wallabies,
old goannas and hovering hawks.

We invite the Dreaming to join us in praise:
All songs of ancient custodians deep in the rock,
spirits of life deep in the sand and the hills.

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

Act of Awareness
In all our living, may we be freed
to see things afresh,
to be more fully alive,
and have the courage to keep faith in
the future of humanity.


We pray:
Creating God, whose rugged beauty fills our planet,
may we discern your vibrant presence among us,
especially in the wonders of our outback.

May our spirits be lifted to rejoice with the sand 
and the wind and the wild of the outback .
May it be so with us.

Hymn (Cont.) "Spirit of God, Creation's Force(Tune: ‘Fulda’, 88 88)
Spirit of power and truth and grace,
renew today the human race,
bestowing gifts, producing fruits,
promoting godly attributes.

Spirit, possess and fill us whole,
fill every heart and mind and soul,
infuse our being with your power
that we may serve this present hour. (RFirth, adapted. (c) 1997


Spring Has Now…(Tune: ‘Blackburn’, 76 76D) 63 SLT
Spring has now unwrapped the flowers,
day is fast reviving,
life in all her growing powers
toward the light is striving.
Gone the iron touch of cold,
winter time and frost time,
seedlings working through the mold
now make up for lost time.

Herb and plant that, winter long,
slumbered at their leisure,
now be stirring green and strong,
find in growth their pleasure.
All the world with beauty fills,
gold and green enhancing;
flowers make glee among the hills,
set the meadows dancing. (PCantiones, 1582)
The people sit                              

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


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
some memories of the outback, a desert, 
or somewhere in the wild where we have visited or lived.


We remember the sand and spinifex and brush turkey.
The places we have visited and stayed a while.
When we felt close to Earth 
and been embraced by the Southern Cross.
All We remember and rejoice.

Away from the busyness of life and in the silence of this place,
let us now give thanks
for the outback, filled with a mysterious silence!

Sung reflection:

HC -CarolChrist2

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

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)


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

From the world around us:
"In the Kimberley..."
By Bruce Prewer. Australian Psalms/15.

This outback landscape
is not the right place
for camera and video;
its scale is much too big,
its colours too rich
and a person too small.

The best we can do
is just be here,
overawed by it all.

If that is how it is
with one small parcel
of an ancient land,
why am I so quick
to wordily dogmatise
about the mind of God?

In such sublime territory,
isn't awed worship
the only way to be wise?

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 20:1-15 
(Inclusive text)

The reign of God is like a landowner
who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for the vineyard.

After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage,
the landowner sent them into his vineyard.

The owner went out about nine o’clock
and saw others standing idle in the marketplace; he said to them,
‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’
So they went.

The owner went out again about noon and about three o’clock, and did the same.

And about five o’clock the owner went out
and found others standing around; and said to them,
‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’

They said, ‘Because no one has hired us’
to which the owner replied:
‘You also go into the vineyard.’

When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to the manager,
‘Call the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and then going to the first.’

When those hired about five o’clock came,
each of them received the usual daily wage.

Now when the first came,
they thought they would receive more;
but each of them also received the usual daily wage.
And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us
who have borne the heat of the day and the scorching heat.’

But he replied to one of them,
‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong;
did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
'Take what belongs to you and go.
I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you.
Am I not allowed to do what I choose 
with what belongs to me?

'Or are you envious because I am generous?’

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection


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

We celebrate a God
All who lives and speaks in sunsets,
in love-wrapped gifts,
and fleeting butterflies.

We celebrate a Christ
All who honoured our humanness,
who climbed trees,
skinned knees;
who laughed and cried,
loved and wept, bled and died.

We celebrate a Spirit,
All who mystically joins us
to people everywhere,
and incorporates us into Christ.

We celebrate a church,
All seeking, however imperfectly,
to act justly, love mercy,
and walk humbly with our God
  (Adapted. Dorothy McRae-McMahon/eoj)

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
Big Bang" (Tune: 'Amazing Grace' or other suitable CM tune)

We seek the source of all that was
of all that is to be;
the ground of being, source of life
that set creation free 

The cataclysmic cosmic force,
God's rollercoaster ride,
may give a glimpse back into time
as particles collide.

For here we watch, observe, compute
and try to understand
the time before we even thought
what physics might demand.

But even if we comprehend
or wonder at these things,
Higgs boson, quasars, pulsars, quarks,
we need the faith God brings.

The test of all we ought to be
is in the common place,
our depth of kindness, strength of love,
that demonstrate God's grace.  (© Andrew Pratt 10/9/2008 ( )
People sit


Holy Mystery, Holy Wisdom(Tune: ‘Austrian’, 87 87D)
Holy Mystery, Holy Wisdom
Wholly Love who guides our way,
Loving Presence, Source of Being,
Now transform us day by day.
Words of Scripture tell our stories,
Voices rise in gifts of song,
Calling us to loving action,
Faith-filled as we journey on.

We are partners in creation,
Bound by love to all around,
Seeking justice and compassion,
Sharing truths that we have found.
Spirit - Source of Inspiration,
Love - our song along the way,
Holy Mystery, Holy Wisdom –
Source of hope with each new day.  (© Gayle Simonson, 2005)

Reflections and Prayers
Care Candle:
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys 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
We dream of healing and hope  (Gretta Vosper/wwg)

And so we take this flame and light our special care candle.
The Care Candle is lit

v2   When we are grieving or sad,
When we are challenged,
When we need help,
The flame of this candle guides us out of the darkness.

v3   When we are cheerful,
When we celebrate,
When we accomplish a great task,
When we return to a place that makes us happy,
The flame of this candle reminds us
to share our happiness with others (Adapted. A Palmer)

The Abba’ Prayer:  (Optional)
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as that is appropriate

All  God - heart of the world:
revealed through every aspect of creation:
understood through our awareness.

May we honour the holiness of creation and act accordingly
so that your love is reflected in the way we live.
May we always be thankful for the food we eat
and the friends we have.
May we forgive those who transgress against us
and be forgiven for our own.

In the freedom of love may we live as your heartbeat
and not be compromised by hesitation.
Through our freedom, may your justice
be seen and heard and experienced
forever and ever.  Amen.
  (Sherri J Weinberg)


With the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat


"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?


Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,

and our gifts of bread and wine, shall now be received.

By our smallest actions, we become part of a bigger world.
The smallest giving can be an expression
of the good spirit of generosity and caring.
May we carry through the doorway of each new day
this good spirit of generosity and caring.  
(Adapted. Francis Macnab/h)

Centering Words
The earth has gone the round of seasons:
from the vibrant green of spring's new life
to the lush richness of warm summer,
to the brilliant fulfillment of riotous autumn,
to the generosity and self-giving of winter.

Now we gather again, touched by the promise
of new life in the spring.

As we celebrate the renewal of life and hope,
we also celebrate the presentness
of the Spirit of Life and Hope and Creativity,
everywhere around and within us.

No matter who you are, or where you are
on life's journey, you are welcome
at this table with it's symbols of God's Creative Presence.
All In company with all who seek nourishment at this table,
we come to celebrate community, and to share
these life-giving symbols. 
(Jerry Stinson/adapted)

v3  In the early spring, pale green blades of wheat
broke through the earth's surface.

v4  This hand of mine began to take shape millions of years ago
as the first leaves stretched out for nourishment and light.

v5  Eons ago the earth itself was glowing with heat
as it separated itself from the sun.

(singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth. (Smith & Taussig/mt)

v3  By mid-summer the wheat stems sway heavily
in the breeze for acres and acres
of green and golden earth.

v4  The early species of kangaroo,
able to move quickly and nimbly in a way
we can only imitate, learned which plants
were best for them to eat and sought them out.

v5  The ground we stand on carries in it
the remnants of volcanos and oceans
which once dominated the landscape.
(singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.

v3  This morning we gather around the bread,
which comes from the wheat in the paddocks.

v4  This morning we celebrate our oneness
with the plants and the animals,
which precede and surround us.

v5 This morning we remember we are earth people,
united with each other and to all on this globe
by the ground under us.

3,4,5  One body, one history, one home for us all.
(singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.

3,4,5  One body, one history, one home for us all.
(singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.


3,4,5  One body, one history, one home for us all.
(singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.

The Tradition
On the night of his arrest, so the story is told,
Jesus shared again a meal with his friends.

He took the bread, offered thanks, broke it,
and gave it to them, inviting them to eat.
Bread broken

Afterwards, he poured a cup of wine,
offered thanks, and gave it to them,
inviting them to drink.
Wine poured out

And we remember…

v3  Life grows from the earth.
The kernel of wheat lives in the soil before it breaks ground.
As it stretches itself skyward, it also reaches deeper into the earth.

v4  Water and nourishment blend with sunlight as the stalk
begins to produce kernels of its own.

v5  This bread holds those kernels, that sunshine, that soil and water.
As we take it into ourselves, we affirm our own roots in the earth.

This is the ground we stand upon,
the earth yearning to be inside us.
It is the life we have taken in order to live ourselves.

v3  Life flows toward us from the Source beyond us.
It is a stream that creates us anew each day.

v4  It is a stream that wants to make its way through us.
A stream that flows through the city and country.

v5  A stream that readies a harvest in every season.

This is the life we have received from the earth
and from our forbearers.

This is the pulsing energy that has made a home in us
and that we give on 
(Smith & Taussig/mt).

To eat and drink together reminds us of the deeper aspects of human fellowship,
for from time immemorial
the sharing of bread and wine has been
the most universal of all symbols of community.
Bread and wine served

After Communion
We give thanks that we have gathered together in this sacred place,
and been refreshed at this table.

We rejoice in the giftedness of each person here.
We are grateful for who we are for each other.
May we go forth into the world in courage and peace.


Hymn We Are Not Our Own”  (Tune: ‘Nexus’, 89 85)       317 (1-2) SLT
We are not our own.  Earth forms us,
human leaves on nature's growing vine,
fruit of many generations,
seeds of life divine.

We are not alone.  Earth names us:
past and present, peoples near and far,
family and friends and strangers
show us who we are.
Remain standing

Parting Words
As we prepare to leave this sacred space where we have worshipped together,
let us return to our school and work enlivened and renewed...
The Community Candle is extinguished

Hold again the eucalyptus leaf in your hands
as you go forth into this week.

v2 Will you care for creation?
All We will care for creation!
We will nurture the outback!
We will celebrate life!

v2 This we know, the earth does not belong to us,
All We belong to the earth.

Words of Blessing
Go in peace to claim the life of Christ within your midst:
and may the earth be warm under your feet,
the rain bring the gentle flowers
of the bush bright around you,
and the wind blows as the breath of the Spirit before you.
Amen. May it be so.


Rainbow Blessing
v3  May your inner ear
hear the cries of Mother Earth.
and may you respond with empathy.
(A blue coloured cloth - The Voice from the Deep - is put in place beside the cloths from previous weeks)

v2  May your enquiring mind explode
when you discover the mystery of Wisdom
encoded in the blueprints of nature.
(An indigo coloured cloth - The Wisdom of Nature - is put in place)

v1  May the compassion of the cosmos,
and the empathy of Earth,
stir within you a consciousness
of a spiritual force in nature
that shares pain,
heals hearts,
and nurtures hope. (Norman Habel/rm)

Hymn (Cont) We Are Not Our Own”  (Tune: ‘Nexus’, 89 85)       317 (v3-4) SLT
Therefore let us make thanksgiving,
and with justice, willing and aware,
give to earth, and all things living,
liturgies of care.

Let us be a house of welcome,
living stone upholding living stone,
gladly showing all our neighbours
we are not our own! 
(Brian Wren)
The people sit after the hymn

'This Week' at (NN)
Birthdays and anniversaries
Significant events
Journey candles


Morning tea is now served.
You are invited to share in this time 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:
Abbott, M. 2001.  Sparks of the Cosmos. Rituals for Seasonal use. Unley. MediaCom Education.
Binkley, C. G. & J. M. McKeel.
Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An International Curriculum on the Life and Teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press, 2001.
Christ, C. P.
She Who Changes. Re-imagining the Divine in the World. New York. Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. 
Habel, N. Rainbow of Mysteries. Meeting the Sacred in Nature. Kelowna: Copper House/Wood Lake Publishing, 2012.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2004.
Iona Community. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Macnab, F. Hope: The Deeper Longings of the Mind and Heart. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 1996.
McRae-McMahon, D. Echoes of Our Journey. Liturgies of the People. Melbourne. JBCE, 1993.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
(MT) Smith, D. E. & Hal E. Taussig. Many Tables. The Eucharist in the New Testament and Liturgy Today. London. SCM Press, 1990.
Stinson, J. “The Encounter of progressive Christian theology with the language of Prayer and Ritual on Sunday morning”. Westar Institute/Westar Leaders Seminar. March 2006.
Vosper, G. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.

Web sites/Other:
Palmer. UUA Worship Web. Boston. <>
Sherri Weinberg. 2004. St Paul's Presbyterian Church. NZ: Devonport.
R. Firth. "Spirit of God". Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site:

Norman Habel
Creation Liturgies. <>
"Big Bang". Andrew PrattWritten in the day that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator complex, intended to collide opposing beams of protons, was put into action.
"Holy Mystery, Holy Wisdom". 
Gayle Simonson. St Stephen’s Non-Theistic Project.