Evolution.L1C.14.2.2016

Revd Rex A E Hunt

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LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
14 February 2016. Evolution Sunday C. (Green).


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) 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

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.

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

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
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.EMStrong).

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. 392 TiS)
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.

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,
as dust or breath in the face of stars,
in the shifting pattern of winds".
The gong is sounded once

v3  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.

Invitation
v3  Those who would like to celebrate this relationship
are invited to come forward and receive the gift of 'stardust' (glitter)
on the back of their hands (or forehead)...
People come forward and receive 

Hymn (Optional)
“Amazing Place, So Blue and Round”
(Tune: ‘Amazing Grace’, 86 86. 129TiS)
Amazing Place, so blue and round,
That sets my spirit free.
I once seemed lost but now am found,
Seemed blind, but now, I see.

This Earth has rendered good to me.

And all my fears relieved.

How precious is this Earth to see,

its beauty now perceived.

Through many dangers, toils and snares

we have already come.

'Tis Earth that brought us safe thus far,

and still will be our home.

When we've been here ten thousand years,
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing Earth's praise

than when we'd first begun. (PTolleson/tgs)

Sharing 'The Peace
Let us now take some time to celebrate each other.

May a heart of peace rest with you (David Galston/q)
All  And also with you.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

CELEBRATING

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
Imagining Stars(Tune: ‘Stuttgart’. 87 87)          21 SNS2
When, at night, the stars shine on us
Light years from our tiny earth,
Songs and psalms provoke the questions
Of our fragile human worth.

These gigantic specks are burning
Balls of fire, as at play;
Stars in billions share their light and
Thus create a Milky Way.

We still gaze in raw amazement,
Contemplating timeless space;
Numberless, the stars keep stories
Hidden from our human race.

Tiny holes in heaven’s flooring
Letting light beyond shine through;
Stars invite us to imagine
What it is we cannot view.

Myst’ry strides across the canvas
Of the picture we might paint;
Sacredness is grandly present;
Let us praise without restraint. (George Stuart)
The people sit

The Offerings
Let us bring our offerings as a symbol of our ministry
in this place and beyond.

The Presentation
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 be helped to carry through the doorway of each new day
this good spirit of generosity and caring.

With the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat

Conversation:
An excellent resource is:  S. 
Bellis. The Curious Mind of Young Darwin. Shrewsbury: Field Studies Council, 2008.
Also check out: <www.darwinshrewsbury.org>

"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 Concerns shared

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
In this abundant blessing
All  
We share the joy.
In this, our time of need,
All  May love abound (Gretta Vosper/wwg)

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 presence 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 Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as appropriate

All  Loving Presence, luminous in all creation,
hallowed be your name.
Thy kin-dom come.
May we reflect on earth
the yielding perfection of the heavens.

Help us to receive an illumined measure from the earth this day.
Forgive us when we trespass against others,
human and other than human,
as we forgive others who trespass against us.

Keep us on the path of wisdom
when we are tempted to take the selfish path.

May it be your rule we follow,
your power we exercise,
and your radiance that allures.

May this be the truth that guides our lives,
the ground from which our future will grow,
until we meet again. (Bruce Sanguin/dddc)

SCATTERING

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
A Firemist and a Planet(Tune: 'Aurelia', 76 76D, 457 TiS).  343 (v1-2) SLT
A firemist and a planet,
a crystal and a cell,
a starfish and a saurian,
and caves where ancients dwelt;
the sense of law and beauty,
a face turned from the sod
- some call it evolution,
and others call  it God.

Haze on the far horizon,
the infinite tender sky,
the ripe, rich tints of [wheat]fields,
and wild geese sailing high;
and over high and low-land,
the charm of golden rod
- some people call it autumn,
and others call it God.

Parting Words
Let us take on this week’s life with renewed hope and imagination...
The Community Candle is extinguished

Blessed be God
All  Blessed be the earth

Blessed be those who compost
and nurture the earth
All  Blessed be the petals, leaves and stems
that become compost for the seeds of the plant

Blessed be the life cycle that sustains and nurtures
All  Blessed be God who creates and co-creates

Blessed be those who walk on the earth with respect.
All  Blessed be all who care for the earth
Blessed be all!  MAbbott/sotc

Words of Blessing
May the God who dances in creation,
who embraces us in human love,
who shakes our lives like thunder,
bless us and drive us out with power
to fill the world with her justice.
All
May it be so!

Hymn (Cont.)  “A Firemist and a Planet(Tune: 'Aurelia', 76 76D, 457 TiS).  343 (v3-4) SLT
Like tides on crescent sea-beach,
when moon's so new and thin,
into our hearts high yearnings
come welling, surging in,
come from the mystic ocean
whose rim not foot has trod
- some people call it longing,
and others call it God.

A sentry lone and frozen,
a mother starved for her brood,
and Socrates' dread hemlock,
and Jesus on the rood;
and millions, who, though nameless,
the straight, hard pathway trod,
- some call it consecration,
and others call it God. 
WHCarruth
The people sit after the hymn

'This Week' at (NN)
Birthdays
Anniversaries
Significant events
Journeys

Recessional 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. 2001. Sparks of the Cosmos. Rituals for seasonal use. Unley: MediaCom Education.
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and Songs for all churches. 1993. Raumati: New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Binkley, C. G. &. M. McKeel. 2001. Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An international curriculum on the life and teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa: Polebridge Press.
Burgess, R. 2001. A Book of Blessings. Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications.
Holy Bible. NRSV. 1989. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Macnab, F. 1996. Hope: The deeper longings of the mind and heart. Richmond: Spectrum Publications.
Morwood, M. 2003. Praying a New Story. Richmond: Spectrum Publications.

Sanguin, B. 2007.  
Darwin, Divinity, and the Dance of the Cosmos. An ecological Christianity. Kelowna: CopperHouse.
Shick, S. M. 2004. Consider the Lilies. Meditations. Boston: Skinner House Books.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. 1993. Boston: UUA.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto: G Stuart, 2009.
(TiS) Together in Song. Australian Hymn Book 2. 1999. Sydney: HarperCollins Religious.
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:

Strong. UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Pete Tolleson. "Amazing Place". The great story. <www.thegreatstory.org> 2003.
Connie Barlow. 'We are made of stardust' (Adapted). <www.thegreatstory.org> 2003
Andrew Pratt eMail distribution. UK. Direct from the author.
The Clergy Letter Project. "Evolution Weekend" Resources for UU ministers.
David Galston.
Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. <http://www.questcentre.ca/>
St Stephen’s Non-Theistic Project. http://stephen.srv.ualberta.ca/publications/non-theistic-liturgy-resources/#sthash.0Sd5KwzN.wLO2Tlw4.dpbs

rexae74@gmail.com