SeasonCreation5B.30.9.2018

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
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A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE

30 September 2018.  Season of Creation 5B/Pentecost 19B. (Green).
Climate Sunday


Worth Pondering
“You owe it to your children to see this film. If you do not, 
and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them 
why you decided not to”
(Roger Ebert, when reviewing Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth)


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

Refreshment Station/Water Basins
Pottery basins are set on stands near the entrance to the Gathering space. 
Attendees are invited to dip their hands in the cool water in the basins as they arrive. 
Or to rinse each other’s hands. 
That we may relax, be refreshed, and prepare for this time together.

(Note: A small sign is placed above the basin explaining that as they dip their hands in the water, they are invited to relax and try to mindfully set aside or release for a time anything that might be preventing them from being fully present—each traveller rinsing the “dust from the road”).

OR

(A suggestion of other words)

We come together from our separate lives,
each of us bringing our concerns, our preoccupations,
our hopes, and our dreams.

We are not yet fully present.
The traffic, the last-minute cooking, the final details still cling to us.
Our bodies hold the rush of the past few hours.

It is now time to let go of these pressures and really arrive…   

When you are ready, repeat silently to yourself: ‘Hineini’ or ‘Here I am’.
Hineini is used in the Torah to signify being present
in body, mind, and spirit.

It means settling into where we are and simply being “here”. (Adapted/Nan Fink Gene)

Rich and Striking Visuals
 
         “The function of beauty… is to make us aware of a reality which is richer and deeper
          and more marvellous than anything we can dream or conceive.” (Henry N. Wieman)
          Artwork OR Floral/Symbols display (cloths, candles, stones, wood, leaves, flowers, earth, water) OR projection of Film/Slides 

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

With respect and gratitude for the original custodians of this land,
we gather together this day
to affirm in hope and faith,
that we can create a sacred space of welcome
for all who live in Australia.

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

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 presence of God
All  a living green blue planet,
peoples from every corner of creation,
the vast reaches of space above us,
the rocks and hills and wonders of the wild,
and the mysteries of weather and climate.

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

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 these 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, 10. Terrorist Attacks, 11. Science/Cosmology
(iii) PLUS some specific resources on Terrorism 
HERE

Hymn   People stand as they are able, to sing
God Who Fills the Universe
(Tune: ‘Francis David’, 77.66.7)     37 SLT
God who fills the universe
from the atom to the stars,
make firm my changeful heart
so I may do my part
and bring joy to all the earth.

God who webs the universe
with amazing mysteries,
make glad my fragile soul
so I can see life whole
and bring hope to all the earth.

God who keeps the universe
by the truths of living love,
make strong that love in me
so I can set it free
and bring peace to all the earth.  (Carl G Seaburg)

OR

The Footprints Where Your People Tread(Tune: ‘Irish’, 86.86)
The footprints where your people tread
have marked and marred the earth,
the global warming that we dread
has shadowed us from birth.

As climates change and nature shifts,
we play a god-less game.
We reap rewards from what we sow,
yet try to shift the blame.

O gracious God we pray for help,
that we might learn to live
in harmony within this world
with all you gave and give.  
© Andrew Pratt
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
We invite the weather to worship with us,
All  thunderstorms and wild lightning,
rain clouds and soft summer skies.

We invite the ocean currents to praise God,
All  deep currents that circle in the Pacific Ocean,
swirling waters that warm the Atlantic.

We join with the movements of Earth in celebration,
All  rotations that create atmospheric movement,
weather cycles moving Westward from dawn to dusk.

We call the ecosystems of nature to worship with us,
All  connecting us with diverse climates
that nourish and sustain all life on Earth.

We celebrate the songs of our climate!
All  Sing! Climate! Sing!  
(Adapt.Norman Habel/soc)

Act of Awareness
It is a sacred time, this.
And a sacred place, this.

A place for questions more profound than answers;
vulnerability more powerful than strength;
and a peace that can pass all understanding.

It is a sacred time, this.  (Davidson Loehr)

OR

We pray:
God of surprises, startle us with truth we do not see,
amaze us with your power and grace,
beckon us, and lead us far above
restricted hope and narrow faith.
May it be so with us.

HymnHuman Touch…" (Tune: Dunedin’, 88.88)        307 SLT
The human touch can light the flame
which gives a brightness to the day,
the spirit uses mortal flame,
life's vehicle for work and play.

The lover's kiss, the friends embrace,
the clasp of hands to show we care,
the light of welcome on the face
are treasured moments all can share.

May all who come within our reach
be kindled by our inner glow,
not just in spirit's words we preach,
in human touch love's faith we show.  John Storey

OR

Spirit of Life(Tune: ‘Spirit of Life’, 8.12.8.12.8.10)       123 SLT
Spirit of Life, come unto me.
Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion.
Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;
Move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.
Roots hold me close; wings set me free;
Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me.  
(Carolyn McDade)
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

Presentation of Water Basins
Words which acknowledge that the dust of many roads and many life experiences has been rinsed into the basins,
and calls for the contents of the basins and the gathering to be transformed, renewed, and more fully alive

The dust of many roads and may life experiences
has been washed in this refreshing water.
For this place is a sacred place.

May we
greet one another with open hearts and minds;
inspire each other to consider new questions
and seek deeper meaning;
and cultivate both wisdom and compassion.

And may this time together empower us to take some new steps
so all our living is transforming and the
yearning of our hearts become reality.
The bowls of water are removed from the Gathering space

Remembering

Take the copy of the map of Australia you received at the door,
mark on it (approximately) where:
you were born, where you lived as a youth,
where you were married, where you now live.

Then share with the person next to you a special memory
of a climate pattern or climate extreme
from any of those areas where you have lived.
Conversation

We remember the weather cycles of our youth,
the storms of Winter and vibrant colours of Spring
the hot winds of Summer and peaceful skies of Autumn.

We remember and rejoice,
aware of Creativity God in nature
that balances our climate and sustains our planet.
All 
We remember and rejoice.

Now away from the busyness of life
and in the silence of this place,
let us give thanks
for the gift of Planet Earth, filled with mystery!
(Silence)

We celebrate the songs of our climate!
All  Sing! Climate! Sing!  
(Norman Habel/soc)

Music of Celebration

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Two readings from our broad religious tradition shall now be offered.

From the World Around us:
"To Err is Divine”
By Karl E Peters.
Dancing with the Sacred/38, 42.

If one is used to thinking about God as a being who created the world,
trying to think about God as a process or event of creation may seem quite radical.

When I began to reflect of God as a process of creation, I found it helpful to come up with unusual expressions
that heightened my sense of what this process could be in our daily lives.

Hence… to err is divine.

An immediate reaction… might be, “That’s a mistake.”  I agree. The usual saying is “To err is human, to forgive divine”.
However, my mistake highlights the main point I wish to make…

How can God be regarded as mistake making…
[We need] to understand what an error or mistake is… “Error” or “mistake” can mean a deviation from the way things have usually been said or done.
These words signify mis-takes, so that the past is not reproduced in exactly the same way.

Yet from another perspective, mis-takes are new variations on the past; therefore, they may possibly be a creative advance into the future…

A classic example of one who made mis-takes, who refused to correct them, who was harshly judged by the standards of his cultural environment
– [challenging interpretations of the established religious and moral code] - and yet who prevailed to establish a major new cultural reality
was Jesus of Nazareth.

OR

“Memory and Imagination”
Diann L. New. Return Blessings/1

Return blessings, O Holy Ones,
So life’s cycles can continue with beauty, balance, and abundance.
May life’s cycles return blessings.

Return blessings, Sacred Earth,
So air, water, fire, and food can nourish all we hold dear.
May air, water, fire and food return blessings.

Return blessings, Beloved Sisters and Brothers,
So all creation can share pleasure and do justice.
May all creation return blessings.

Return blessings, Crawling Creatures and Winged Friends,
So the Earth can be renewed.
May the Earth return blessings.

Return blessings, Trees, Flowers, Rivers, Mountains,
So nature can refresh all spirits.
May nature return blessings.

Return blessings, Stars, Moons, Planets, Galaxies,
So wonder can nourish all visions.
May wonder return blessings.

Return blessings, Changing Seasons,
So life’s cycles can continue in peace.
May life’s cycles return blessings.

Traditional Gospel:
Mark 9: 38-42, 50 (Inclusive Text/adapted)

John said to Jesus,
'We saw someone who is not one of us
casting out devils in your name,
and because the person was not one of us, we forbad it.'

But Jesus said,
'You must not forbid it: no one who works a miracle
in my name is likely to speak evil of me.
Anyone who is not against us is for us.

'If any give you a cup of water to drink just because
you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly,
they will most certainly not lose their reward.

'But any who are an obstacle to bring down one of these
little ones who have faith, would be better thrown
into the sea with a great millstone round their neck...

'Salt is good, but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it?
Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.'

OR

Alternate - Season of Creation
Traditional Gospel
Matthew 16: 1-4  (A New New Testament)

Here the Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and, to test Jesus requested him
to show them a sign from the heavens. 
But he answered:
“In the evening you say, ‘It will be fine weather, for the sky is as red as fire.’
In the morning you say, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is as red as fire and threatening.’

You learn to read the sky, yet you are unable to read the signs of the times.
A wicked and unfaithful generation is asking for a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” 

So he left them and went away.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

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

We say to ourselves:
All  Choose life, that you
and your children may live
.

We say to friends:
All  Choose life, that you
and your children may live
.

We say to the world:
All  Choose life, that you
and your children may live
.

The earth is our source of survival.
Deplete her resources, poison her waters,
and you will cultivate death.
All 
Choose life, that you
and your children may live
.

The universe is our sacred canopy.
Clutter its space with the hardware of war,
and the stars and the planets will die.
All 
Choose life, that you
and your children may live
.

Life is a fragile environment.
Upset the balance, and everything, everyone,
everywhere will disappear.
All 
Choose life, that you
and your children may live.  (Miriam T Winter/)

The Peace
God makes peace within us.  Let us claim it.
God makes peace between us.  Let us share it (nwi).
Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace.

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
"Can You Hear the Singing Silence”  (Tune: ‘Brother/Sister Let me be…’)           19 HH3
Can you hear the singing silence
Deep within the forest night?
Can you hear her fragile creatures
Hold the harmonies of life?
Refrain:
Will you come and play your spirit,
Play in tune with life on Earth?
Sing your soul and play your spirit
In the symphony called Earth!

Can you hear the cricket’s chorus
Playing on vibrating strings?
Can you hear the winds vibrating
At the tips of eagle’s wings?
Refrain:

Can you hear the Earth, our mother,
Groaning when we sing off key,
Hoping that her human children
Heal her broken harmony?
Refrain:

Can you hear the live Creator
Making music ev’ry day,
Blessing ev’ry clod and creature
With the breath on life to play?
Refrain:

Can you hear the desert laughing?
Rain is dancing on her dust!
Can your hear the beat of gum nuts
Bursting open, bushfire blessed?  (1999, Norman 
Habel)
Refrain:
People sit

CELEBRATING

Offerings
Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
shall now be received.

Presentation
In a world so full of what is wonderful,
ever changing, ever surprising us with life’s
power and beauty, may we accept with gratitude,
all that gladdens us, and with fortitude
all that brings us grief.

Let be learning always,
from all that we see and do, and
from all that happens to us.  
(Adapt. A Powell Davies/lth)

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)

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:
Creation thrums with Being
and peals the Word - 'I am’.
All 
We sometimes remember
to whisper the antiphon, 'We are’.  (VArnold/ep)

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

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.

In all our joys and in all our concerns, may we be ever mindful
of the presentness of the sacred among us,
and to see new possibilities of the now.

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

All  Good caring presence within us, around us, and above us;
Hold us in a sense of mystery and wonder.

Let the fullness of your goodness be within us and around us.
Let all the world know your ways of caring and generosity.

May we find we have all we need
to meet each day without undue anxiety.
Overlook our many stupidities,
and help us to release everyone from their stupidities.
May we know we are accepted.

Strengthen us that we will reach out to the best,
always with the faith
to rise above the ugly realities of our existence.

And we celebrate the gifts you have given us:
the rich kingdom of life’s possibilities,
the power to do good and the triumphs of good,
and the moments when we have seen
the glory and wonder of everything.

You are life’s richness.
You are life’s power.
You are life’s ultimate meaning.
Always.
And for everyone.
And for ever more.  Amen.  (Francis Macnab/fwb)

SCATTERING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
During the hymn sprigs of eucalyptus leaves are distributed

Climate Change(Tune: ‘St Bernard’, 86.86)      42 (v1-3) SNS2
God’s presence sings a joyous song
When life’s in harmony;
But climate change – it is so wrong;
It can cause tragedy.

If green-house gases fill outdoors
They poison nature’s womb;
And global warming which they cause
Can bring about our doom.

The carbon foot-print that we leave
Will alter future days;
It can increase or can retrieve
The follies of past ways.
People sit

Symbolic Action: 'Sensing the Pulse
Time has now come for us to leave this sacred place.
The Community Candle is extinguished

Before we do, you are invited to take your sprig of eucalyptus leaves
to stimulate your senses as we seek
to reconnect with the mystery called Life...

Seeing
v1  We focus our eyes on the leaves in our hand:
their shape, their texture, their colour, their inner power...
the living impulse that inspires plants to grow from Earth.
People focus their eyes on the leaves

All   Earth, help us see the deep impulse
revealed in the life of this planet here and now
.

Hearing
v2  We brush the leaves across an ear and hear the sounds,
the song they make as they touch our skin, our mind, our spirit.
People brush the leaves past their ears a few times

All  Earth, help us to hear the spirit within,
breathing life into us through this plant
and all the plants of Earth.

Touch
v1  We feel the leaves between our fingers,
their textures, their skin, their rough stems...
green life forms made of Earth.
People feel the leaves between their fingers

All  Earth, help us discern the wisdom of this plant,
the mystery that makes a eucalypt a eucalypt
.

Smell
v2  We crush a few leaves and smell their soul:
the aroma from the plant penetrates our souls.
People crush a few leaves and smell the aroma

All  Earth, help us, through this aroma,
to sense Presence evoking Presence among us.

Taste
v1   We take a few crushed leaves and taste them,
savour the rich flavour, a gourmet gift to celebrate life.
People taste and savour a few leaves

All  Earth, help us to celebrate this plant,
to celebrate ll Life on Earth,
and celebrate life itself as it pulses through us.  
(Norman Habel/rm)

Blessing Words
May the atmosphere,
the moist breath of God enveloping us,
penetrate every pore of our planet
and activate all those impulses needed
to keep our forests green,
our swallows singing,
and our dragonflies dancing.  
(Norman Habel/rm)

Blessed be.
All  Amen!

Hymn (Cont). People stand as they are able, to sing
Climate Change
(Tune: ‘St Bernard’, 86.86)       42 (v4-5) SNS2
Our children surely have the right
To futures still unseen;
To see the stars and moon at night;
To oceans pure and clean.

We cannot ask a god above
To rectify our woes;
But when we treat the earth with love
God’s caring overflows.  (George Stuart)
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:
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.
Davies, A. P. 1956.
The Language of the Heart. A Book of Prayers. Washington. All Soul’s Church, 1956.
Habel, N.
Rainbow of Mysteries. Meeting the Sacred in Nature. Canada. CopperHouse/Wood Lake Publishing, 2012.
Habel, N. Habel Hymns 3. Songs to Explore ‘The Mysteries’ of Evolution and Ecology. Adelaide. Habel, 2012.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2005.
Iona Community.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Macnab, F.
A Fine Wind is Blowing: Psalms of the Bible in Words that Blow You Away. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2006.
Neu, D. L. Return Blessings: Ecofeminist Liturgies Renewing the Earth. Cleveland. Pilgrim Press, 2002.
Peters, K. E. Dancing With The Sacred. Evolution, Ecology, and God. Harrisburg. Trinity Press International, 2002.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon.
Earth Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth. New York. HarperCollins, 1991.
(SLT)
Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto. G Stuart, 2009.
Taussig, H. (ed). A New New Testament. A Bible for the 21
st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts. New York. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
The St Hilda Community. The New Women Included. A Book of Services and Prayers. London. SPCK, 1996.
Winter, Miriam T.
Women Prayer. Women Song. Resources for Ritual. Hartford. Meyer Stone Books, 1987.

Web sites/Other:
Norman Habel Creation Liturgies. <www.seasonofcreation.com>
Andrew Pratt. "
Footprints..." Andrew Pratt Hymns and Words blog site. UK. <http://hymnsandbooks.blogspot.com/>
Refreshment Station
Words by Nan Fink Gefen, taken from an Evolutionary Passover Haggadah by Tree Bressen.

rexae74@gmail.com