Evolution10.2.2019

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail:  rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au
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A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
10 February 2019.  Evolution Sunday C. (Green).
Theme: "
The Confluence of Religion and Science”

Worth Pondering
“Evolution is too often portrayed as a progression, a sequence.
But the bedrock beneath Earth’s tectonic plates is constantly moving,
the climate is constantly changing, ocean and land
have swapped locations repeatedly”
(Paul R. Fleischman)


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 of the (N) Nation, past and present,
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

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

Come into this place,
where the ordinary is sanctified,
the human is celebrated,
the compassionate is expected.

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Doxology  (Tune: ‘Tallis’ Canon’, LM)                376 SLT
Sing loudly till the stars have heard.                
In joy, feast on this bounteous word!
Our praises call us to explore
till suns shall rise and set no more.   
(Anonymous)

Lighting of the Community Candle
A 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: (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 The people stand as they are able, to sing
"Colourful Creator(Tune: Houghton', 65.65D)         190 TiS
Colourful Creator, God of mystery,
thank you for the artist teaching us to see
glimpses of the meaning of the commonplace,
visions of the holy in each human face.

Harmony of ages, God of listening ear,
thank you for composers tuning us to hear
echoes of the Gospel in the songs we sing,
sounds of love and longing from the deepest spring

Author of our journey, God of near and far,
praise for tale and drama telling who we are,
stripping to the essence struggles of our day,
times of change and conflict when we choose our way.

God of truth and beauty, Poet of the Word,
may we be creators by the Spirit stirred,
open to your presence in our joy and strife,
vessels of the holy coursing through our life.
  Ruth C Duck

OR

We Stand in Awe (2)”  (Tune: ‘Crucifer’, 10.10. Refrain)     61 SNS4 
Refrain:
We stand in awe; the mystery is supreme; 
The cosmos sings aloud the sacred dream. 

Earth is our home; its wonders, so diverse,
Are constant in a changing universe. 
Refrain:
We stand in awe…

 Noises in nature sound harsh harmony;
The singing of whales and violent predatory. 
Refrain:
We stand in awe… 

Eager engagement and each new re-birth
Bring constant refreshment to this vibrant earth. 
Refrain:
We stand in awe… 

Constant renewal; promise in each seed;
For from each death new life will then proceed. 
Refrain:
We stand in awe… 

We are accepted; in this dream we grow,
Forever thankful that it can be so. 

Refrain:
We stand in awe…   (George Stuart)
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
Let us acknowledge the awesome mystery
embodied in every person.
All  
Through us the sacred comes to unique and personal expression.
Let us give thanks for the abundance of life on this earth.
All  
Through it we and all people may be nourished.

OR

In the beginning was diversity
All  
Puddle and pond, mountain and paddock,
dandelion and daisy, raven and robin,
cougar and cow, you and me
.
And it was good!
All  
From the beginning, diversity confused us.
We created categories:
race, rank and religion;
colour, class and creed;
language, looks and learning.
All  
And divisions came to be!
We gather to honour diversity
All  To love creation,
to celebrate difference,
to embrace all within God's unending circle of love
.  (Nancy L Steeves/St Stephen’s Project) 

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.Elizabeth M Strong)

OR

We pray:
Creativity in all times and seasons, and of all the seasons of our lives,
we gather in this sacred place,
thankful for the days that have been,
and hopeful for the days that shall be.

May we become one with ourselves and you
in all the seasons to come.
All   May it be so.

Hymn "Whispers Rippled Through The Cosmos" (Tune: 'Nettleton', 87.87)
Whispers rippled through the cosmos,
pan-galactic breath of God;
marking paths of whirling planets,
stellar strings where stars first trod.
Major chords of constellations
ringing on the staves of time,
soften to a sombre minor,
echoes of an ancient rhyme.

God is in this wild confusion
bringing order, giving grace;
author, ground of all creation,
fount of being, Lord of space.
All transcendent power and glory
now distilled, condensed, confined;
shaped while shaping rich resources
cradling waiting humankind.
  © Andrew Pratt
People sit after the hymn

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

Meditation
"To Look"
By  Stephen Shick.
Consider the Lilies/51.

The doer looks with a focused gaze 
upon a row of things once made,
or, if of the reformer's mind, reshapes the things 
to fit the times. 

But the watcher looks in another way 
and sees the commonplace of day
a radiance on a wilted flower, a nest in a cathedral tower.

The watcher moves with a deliberate gait and knows the power of the wait
to lift the weariness of time
and show the world as a holy shrine. 

Centering Silence
As we gather let us claim
some stillness,
some silence.
(Silence)

May we become conscious in this moment
and in every moment of our gathering,
that the Holy One, Creator God,
is the life giving energy pulsing through us...

Energy which connects us, and us to all of creation.
(Silence continues)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Some readings from our broad religious tradition shall now be read.

Hebrew Scriptures:
Proverbs 8:1-7a, 8-9 
(NRSV)

Does not wisdom call,
and does not understanding raise her voice?

On the heights, beside the way,
at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries out:

To you, O people, I call, and my cry is to all that live.
O simple ones, learn prudence;
acquire intelligence, you who lack it.

Hear, for I will speak noble things,
and from my lips will come what is right;
for my mouth will utter truth...

All the words of my mouth are righteous;
there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.

They are all straight to one who understands
and right to those who find knowledge.

OR

The World Around Us:
"Our Whole System"
By Maria Mitchell. Singing the Living Tradition/537.

Small as is our whole system
compared with the infinitude of creation,

Brief as is our life
compared with the cycles of time,

We are so tethered to all
by the beautiful dependencies of law,
That not only the sparrow's fall is felt to the uttermost bound
but the vibrations set in motion by the words that we utter
reach through all space
and the tremor is felt through all time.

Hymn In solidarity with those for whom standing is not easy or possible we will remain seated to sing...
"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.

Let there be beauty, and let there be air
fragrant with peace, never poisoned with fear,
freed from the plagues of pollution and war.
Let us care for your garden
and honour the earth.

Life is a holy thing, life is a whole,
linking each creature and blessing us all,
making connections of body and soul.
Let us care for your garden
and honour the earth.
  Shirley Erena Murray

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 6: 26, 28-29 
(NRSV)

Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap
nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they...?
And why do you worry about clothing?

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;
they neither toil nor spin,
yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory
was not clothed like one of these.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany Celebrating Evolution
In response to the word reflected on let us share together
a litany celebrating evolution.
The people stand as they are able

Out of the stars in their flight, out
of the dust of eternity, here have we come,
Stardust and sunlight, mingling
through time and through space.
All  Out of the stars have we come, up from time;
Out of the stars have we come.

Time out of time before time
in the vastness of space, earth
spun to orbit the sun,
Earth with the thunder of
mountains newborn, the boiling of seas.
All  Earth warmed by sun, lit by sunlight:
This is our home;
Out of the stars have we come.

Mystery hidden in mystery, back
through all time;
Mystery rising from rocks in the
storm and the sea.
All  Out of the stars, rising from rocks and the sea,
kindled by sunlight on earth, arose life.

Ponder this thing in your heart;
ponder with awe:
Out of the sea to the land, out of
the shallows came ferns.
All  Out of the sea to the land, up from darkness to light,
Rising to walk and to fly,
out of the sea trembled life.

Ponder this thing in your heart,
life up from sea:
Eyes to behold, throats to sing, mates to love.
All  Life from the sea, warmed by sun, washed by rain,
life from within, giving birth,
rose to love.

This is the wonder of time; this is
the marvel of space; out of the
stars swung the earth; life upon
earth rose to love.
All  This is the marvel of life, rising
to see and to know;
Out of your heart, cry wonder:
sing that we live.  Robert Weston/slt

Ritual: 'We Are Made of Stardust'
v1  In the beginning there was mystery and darkness.
Out of this mystery and darkness, the universe
was born in a Great Radiance
of brilliant light and boundless energy...
The gong is sounded once

Presentation of Symbols
A candle is brought in and lit
A bowl is brought in and filled with water, poured from a height to enhance the sound of falling water
A plate is brought in and a handful of sand is poured onto it
A coloured paper star, dusted with glitter, is placed in the midst of these symbols

All are invited to become aware of their breathing - breath in and then breath out

v2  We humans are a web of life, and part of a web of life.
v3  We humans have always been drawn to the stars.
We have always yearned for relationship.

v2  In 1943, the French author Antoine de St Exupery
had his Little Prince speak these words:
v4  "In one of the stars I shall be living.
In one of them I shall be laughing.
And so it will be as if all the stars
were laughing, when you look at the sky at night".

v1  Thirty years ago, the astronomer Carl Sagan
concluded his television series Cosmos in this way:
v5  "We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness.
We have begun to contemplate our origins.
We are star-stuff pondering the stars!"

v2  Twenty years ago, Native American poet Joy Harjo
wrote of another kind of relationship with the stars:
v6  "I can hear the sizzle of a newborn star,
and know that anything of meaning,
of fierce magic, is emerging here.
I am witness to flexible eternity, the evolving past.
And I know I shall live forever,