Epiphany6B.15.2.2015

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au
Web site:  www.rexaehuntprogressive.com


GATHERING FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

15 February 2015.  Epiphany 6B. (Green).
Evolution Sunday/Weekend
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion


Acknowledgement of Country
(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
The gong is sounded three times

Here we have gathered the elements of our lives and brought them to this place –
the joy of waking and living,
the blush of health,
the pain of illness,
the grief of loss,
the gift of love.

Some of these we have carried a long way.
All  All we have carried through the seasons of our lives
has brought us here to this place
which we make sacred
by our coming together.
Come, you are welcome here  (Adapt.SShick/ctl)

v2   So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The community candle is lit

We light this candle today in recognition of the energy

that allows life to occur:
The energy of atomic fusion
The energy of photosynthesis
The energy of primitive metabolisms, still active in our cells today
The energy of campfires, labor, and growth

And, the energy of our community (Adapt.JCH, public domain)

(Note: A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE)

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"O Brother Sun" (Tune: Ye banks & braes, 88 88D)   1066 STJ
O Brother Sun, you bring us light,
all shining 'round in fiery might.
O Sister Moon, you heal and bless,
your beauty shines in tenderness.
O Brother Wind, you sweep the hills,
your mighty breath both freshens and fills.
O Sister Water, you cleanse and flow
through rivers and streams, in ice and snow.

O Brother Fire, you warm our night,
with all your dancing coloured light.
O Sister Earth, you feed all things,
all birds, all creatures, all scales and wings.
O Sister Death, you meet us here
and take us to our God so near.
O God of Life, we give you praise
for all your creatures, for all your ways.
Remain standing (Adpated/St Francis of Assisi/SAnway)

Opening Sentences
In our humanity we bring our desire:
for relationship with God,
for relationship with others.
All We bring our differences and diversity.
And celebrate them.
We are church.

Act of Awareness
Today we celebrate a dream awakening.
Today we celebrate with renewed hope in our hearts.
Today we act on an audacity of hopes and dreams for the future.

Today we begin the hard work for justice, equity and
compassion in all human relations,
for today is a day like no other and
it is ours to shape with vision and action.


Let us be together and celebrate a dream awakening (Adapt.EMStrong).

OR

We pray:
Illuminating God, each sunrise and sunset
reminds us of your constant presentness.
Awaken in each of us
the possibility for new life, new vision
and renewed energy.  (TWatts/s)
May it be so.

HymnFor the Music of Creation(Tune: ‘Russington’, 87 87D. 99 TiS)    41 AA
For the music of creation,
for the song your Spirit sings,
for your sound's divine expression,
burst of joy in living things:
God, our God, the worlds composer,
hear us, echoes of your voice:
music is your art, your glory,
let the human heart rejoice!

Psalms and symphonies exalt you,
drum and trumpet, string and reed,
simple melodies acclaim you,
tunes that rise from deepest need,
hymns of longing and belonging,
carols from a cheerful throat,
lilt of lullaby and lovesong
catching heaven in a note.

All the voices of the ages
in transcendent chorus meet,
worship lifting up the senses,
hands that praise and dancing feet;
over discord and division
music speaks your joy and peace,
harmony of earth and heaven,
song of God that cannot cease!  SEMurray
The people sit

Welcome In your own words
A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are here 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

Reflection
“Crystal of Creation”
By Tess Baumberger.

If there is a heaven, it is right here, right now,
in this particular arrangement of nature,
this happening of earth, moon, and star,
this constellation of instants,
this laden moment,
this flash of recognition,
this particle of time.

If there is a god,
it is all around us, everywhere,
in every blinking eye,
in every pulsing possibility,
in every ugliness, every beauty,
in every wholeness, every part.

If there is an axiom in the universe
it is life,
it is love,
it is death,
it is hatred,

it is wanting and needing to be
in this crystal of creation.

Music of Celebration

Centering Silence
Let silence be placed around us now, like a mantle.
Let us enter into it,
where stillness reigns
and God is present.
(Silence)

EXPLORING

Reading from our broad Religious Tradition
A reading from the world around us, and
a story from our biblical tradition, as told by the teller we call Mark.
Both shall be read by (NN).

If celebrating Evolution Sunday...
From the World around us:
“Conclusion”
By Charles Darwin. On the Origin of Species/362

It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, 
with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about,
and with worms crawling through the damp earth,
and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms,
so different from each other,
and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, 
have all been produced by laws acting around us.

These laws, taken in the largest sense, being
Growth with Reproduction;
Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction;
Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life, and from use and disuse;
a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life,
and as a consequence to Natural Selection,
entailing Divergence of Character and the
Extinction of less improved forms.

Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, 
the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving,
namely, the production of the higher animals,
directly follows.

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers,
having been originally breathed by the Creator
into a few forms or into one;
and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on
according to the fixed law of gravity,
from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful 
have been, and are being, evolved.

OR

From the World around us:
"Cactus and Caterpillars"
By C M Kao.

I asked God
to give me a bunch of flowers.
But God gave me
a cactus, ugly and full of thorns.

 I asked God
to give me lovely butterflies.
But God gave me
Hairy caterpillars, horrible and obscene.

I was shocked disappointed grieved!

After many days
suddenly I saw cactus burst into bloom.
Those hairy caterpillars also turned
into lovely butterflies
flying and dancing in the spring wind.

How unfathomable God's purpose is!

OR

“Fireballs and Photons and Light”
By Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme. The Universe Story/7, 47

Fifteen billion years ago, in a great flash,
the universe flared forth into being.
In each drop of existence
a primordial energy blazed with an intensity
never to be equalled gain…

In the beginning the universe is a great shining
that expands rapidly and then explodes into hundreds of billions of dark clouds…

[Later] a hundred billion galaxies light up with a spendor
new to the universe.
The beginning of the universe is a smooth, intense flame.
A few billion years later the large-scale structure of the universe
glows in great sheets of galaxies
and in their intersections in long,
spidery filaments of sparkling worlds

Traditional Gospel:
Mark 1:40-45  (Inclusive Text/NRSV)

A leper came to Jesus begging him, and kneeling he said to him,
'If you choose, you can make me clean.'

Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him,
'I do choose. Be made clean!'

Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.

After sternly warning him Jesus sent him away at once, saying to him,
'See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest,
and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded,
as a testimony to them.'

But he went out and began to proclaim it freely,
and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly,
but stayed out in the country;
and people came to him from every quarter.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

An Litany: ‘Heart of Matter’ (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand and share a special litany for today.
The people stand as they are able

Blessed be you, harsh matter, barren soil, stubborn rock:
you who yield only to violence;
All  You who force us to work if we would eat.

Blessed be you, perilous matter, violent sea, untameable passion:
All  You who unless we fetter you will devour us,

Blessed be you, mighty matter, irresistible march of evolution, reality ever new-born;
All  You who, by constantly shattering our mental categories,
force us to go ever further and further
in our pursuit of the truth.

Blessed be you, universal matter, unmeasurable time,
boundless ether, triple abyss of stars
and atoms and generations; 
All  You who by overflowing and dissolving
our narrow standards of measurement
reveal to us the dimensions of God  (Teilhard de Chardin/slt)

Sharing 'The Peace'
“Life should be a pattern of experiences to savour, not endure” P D’Arcy
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
We Gaze in Wonder…(Tune: ‘Gaze in wonder’, 11 10 11 9) 30 WNC
We gaze in wonder at the morning’s dawning,
positive witness to God’s faithful grace;
we turn our backs, and in the shadow standing,
shield the light we need to find our place.

In arrogance, in darkness we will stumble,
screening our eyes, we turn away from light.
We venerate our skill, the rocket’s rumble,
deadens sense, distorting wrong and right.

As stewards of love, let’s contemplate creation,
filigree frosting of a winter’s pain;
God hold in hand elation, desperation,
born in death that we might live again. (APratt)
People sit

Conversation 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)

CELEBRATING

Reflections and Payers

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:

Creation thrums with Being


and peals the Word - 'I am'.

All We sometimes remember

to whisper the antiphon, 'We are'. (VArnold/es)

And so we take a flame and light our special Care candle.
For ourselves, for those named or remembered, and in solidarity with those
who have not the freedom to express their concern or celebration
for fear of discrimination or condemnation…
The Care candle is lit

v2  May we find in this day
an awareness of the freedom we are given
to know life unshackled from fear,
v1  and embrace the possibilities of the present,
with every breath we take. (GVosper/ab)

The 'Abba' Prayer:
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as appropriate

All  God, lover of us all, most holy one.
Help us to respond to you.
To create what you want for us here on earth.

Give us today enough for our needs.
Forgive our weak and deliberate offences,
just as we must forgive others when they hurt us.

Help us to resist evil and to do what is good.
For we are yours, endowed with your power
to make our world whole.
Amen.  (LWinkley/cw)

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
Offerings
Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
and our gifts of bread and wine, shall now be received.

Presentation
As a river without an outlet becomes stagnant,
so life which receives but does not give
becomes polluted and sour.
All  As we give, we know we will be refreshed and cleansed
as well as being a blessing to others.

Thanksgiving
May it be well with you.
All And also with you.
Life is a gift and we its celebration.
All May we rejoice in the beauty that we are.  (GVosper/wwg)

God of the summer’s day and this "whirling, expanding, living, dying, cosmos", (BSanguin/idp) 
All Praise and wonder be.
God of the lingering sunset and early dawn, 
All Praise and wonder be.

God of the hot north wind and the refreshing shower,
God of the shady tree and the cool water bag,
God of the ripening harvest and sparkling sea, 
All Praise and wonder be.

All creation blesses this creativity, the Source of Energy and Life.
For all things bright and beautiful.
For all things dark and mysterious and lovely.
For all things green and growing and strong.
For all things weak and struggling to push life up through rocky earth.
For all human faces, hearts, minds, and hands which surround us.

And for all non human minds and hearts, 
paws and claws, 
fins and wings...  (G A Ricciuti/bb)
All Praise and wonder be.

So we join our praise with all your people 
across the generations, saying
All Holy, holy, holy, Celebrating God,
heaven and earth are full of your glory!

In our praise and thanksgiving
we also remember the ways of Jesus
who walked the dusty roads of Galilee,
who taught from seashore and mountainside,
who told stories of the sower and the seed,
the lilies of the field,
and the birds of the air.

May we, too, know your presentness
in this evolving miracle of life.

And we remember our tradition...
On the night of his arrest, Jesus shared a meal with his disciples.

Bread taken, blessed, broken in silence
Wine taken, poured out in silence

Be present with us now, Enfolding God, as we share this sacrament.
Let your Spirit brood among us...
as it is through this bread and wine.
All   May we be blessed with a desire to praise in song and story and poetry.
May we be blessed with a sharpened awareness of the Sacred in all.
May we be blessed with deep compassion.
May we be blessed with the patience and daring of the mystics. (Adapt.MAbbott/sc)

Communion
Served according to local custom 

This is an open table.
This Bread and Wine is available to all

After Communion
Generous Giver of life, you supply us with all good things.
May this bread and wine be the nourishment we seek,
and may it transform us so all of creation
is lifted up into the heart of the Holy.

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
The Cosmos is Revolving”  (Tune: 13 13 13 13, Sprowston)   147 (v1-2) RP
The cosmos is revolving with endless rhythmic rhyme,
the circle keeps on turning to mark off chance and time;
and through the life we're living and images we see
we plot the hopeful story of God's eternity.

The summer sheds its harvest as autumn turns to gold,
the springtime and its newness are lost in time, grown old;
the cold of winter beckons, the trees are crippled, bare,
but seeds of hope are hidden, await the spring's repair.

Parting Words
The presentness of God reaches beyond this place...
The candle is extinguished

Remembering that the universe is much larger 
than our ability to comprehend,
All  let us go from this time together 
with the resolve to allow wonder,
- that sense of what is sacred -
to find space to open up our minds and illumine our lives  MNLeaming

Words of Blessing
Walk softly.
Speak truthfully.
Love gently.
Breathe deeply.
Live wisely.
Go in peace  EGehrmann.
All Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont).The Cosmos is Revolving”  (Tune: 13 13 13 13, Sprowston)    147 (v3) RP
This broadens expectation, the life for which we hope,
the gift of resurrection, the faith for which we grope,
are found within our compass and not beyond our grasp,
these gifts of grace and loving are sown in us to last.  APratt
The people sit

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

Music

Fellowship
Morning tea is now served.
You are invited to share in the moment 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. Sparks of the Cosmos. Rituals for Seasonal Use. Unley: MediaCom Education, 2001.
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa.
 Hymns and Songs for all Churches. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 1993.
Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme. The Universe Story. NY. Harper SanFrancisco, 1992.
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.
Darwin, C. On the Origins of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Preface by George Davidson. London. Arcturus Publishing, 2008.
Holy Bible. NRSV.Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. 2005. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
(RP) Pratt, A. Reclaiming Praise. Hymns from a Spiritual Journey. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2006.
Sanguin, B. If Darwin Prayed. Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics. Vancouver: EOS, 2010.
Shick, S. M. 2004.  Consider the Lilies. Meditations. Boston. Skinner House Books.
(STJ) Singing the Journey. 2005. Boston. UUA.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. 1993.  Boston. UUA.
Vosper, G. 2008. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
Vosper, G. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.
Ward, H. & J. Wild, J Morley. (ed). 1995. Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK.
Watts, T. & G. Lord.  2005. Sanctuary. Where Heaven Touches Earth. A group resource for those seeking simplicity, silence, and nurture. Canada: Kelowna. Wood Lake Books.

Web sites/Other:
D'Arcy, Baumberger, Strong, Gehrmann, Leaming. UUA Worship Web. Boston. UUA. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
"Listening Response". Eureka Street eZine 20, 23. 23/11/10.
"Cactus and Caterpillars" by C M Kao in Hilton, D. (ed). Liturgy of Life. An Anthology. Birmingham. National Christian Education Council, 1991. 

rexae74@gmail.com