Lent1C.10.3.2019

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail:  rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au
For continuing access make sure you 'Favourite' or ‘Bookmark’ my web site: 
www.rexaehuntprogressive.com

Details on the availability of my books, supporting progressive religious thought, HERE
Suggestion:
’Refresh’ each page before reading - especially if you are using Google Chrome - to make sure to get my latest edition


A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
10 March 2019.  Lent 1. (Purple).
Celebrating Community in the Tradition of the Meal

Worth Pondering
“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living,
and your belief will help create the fact”
(William James)

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

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

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning is a new arrival.  
(Rumi/lp).

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
A Community Candle is lit

We light our candle to illuminate the world we seek.
In the search for truth, may we be just.
In the search for justice, may we be loving.
And, in loving, may we find peace.
  EMcMaster

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
"We're Standing Here on Holy Ground" (Tune: 'Ellacombe(2)', 86.86D)
We're standing here on holy ground,
on land your hand has made;
Your art displayed in timeless rocks,
in purple haze and space;
Its mighty gums and feathery ferns
your beauty magnify.
Tread softly then, in awe reflect,
and listen to the land.

We're standing here on holy ground,
on land which ancients trod.
They wrote your law in hills and streams
in rocks and caves and trees;
A law to tell us who we are,
to guide and make us strong.
Tread gently then, respect the earth,
remember whence we've come.

We're standing here on holy ground,
on land that toil has shaped.
It's fertile plains will feed us all,
when tilled with care and love.
But mindless greed and drought and flood
wreak havoc in the land.
Then let us tread with love the earth,
that's fed us faithfully.

We're standing here on holy ground,
on land we long to share,
Where each has space and equity,
and neither want nor fear
But demons fierce are dancing here
of race and greed and hate.
Engrave upon our wills, we pray,
your ancient covenant law.

We're standing here on holy ground,
we seek your rule on earth;
Your will be done in politics,
in law court, market, church;
Your gentleness among us reign,
and each one dwell secure;
May generations yet unborn,
live here in harmony.   © John Brown. (Adapted - Verses 1-2, 4-6)
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
In hope, in longing
All  
We're glad to come together.
In trust, in community
All  
We're glad to come together.
In many moods, in many shapes and sizes
All  
We're glad to come together in this Lenten season(Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

Act of Awareness
The earth turning…
Exploding orb of helium and hydrogen,
firing our lives into existence.

We are here.
We mindfully take our places in life again.

OR

We pray:
Remind us, O Spirit, that life is worth living.
Remind us, O Creator, that the struggle for justice is worth undertaking.
Remind us, O Mercy, that love and action are one.
May it be so.  (Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

Hymn  "Love Will be our Lenten Calling(Tune: 'Picardy', 87.87.87)            684 TiS
Love will be our Lenten calling,
love to shake and shatter sin,
waking every closed, cold spirit,
stirring new life deep within,
till the quickened heart remembers
what our Easter birth can mean.

Peace will be our Lenten living
as we turn for home again,
longing for the words of pardon,
stripping off old grief and pain,
till we stand, restored and joyful,
with the Church on Easter day.

Truth will be our Lenten learning:
hear the Crucified One call!
Shadowed by the Saviour's passion,
images and idols fall,
and, in Easter's holy splendour,
God alone is all in all.  (Elizabeth Smith)
People sit after the hymn

OR

Creative Love(Tune: 'Truth from Above’, LM)             289 SLT

Creative love, our thanks we give

that this our world, is incomplete,
that struggle greets our will to live,
that work awaits our hands and feet.

That we are not yet fully wise,

that we are in the making still -

as friends who share one enterprise
and strive to blend with nature's will.

What though the future long delay,
and still with faults we daily cope?
It gives us that for which we pray,
a field for toil and faith and hope.

Since what we choose is what we are,

and what we love we yet shall be,

the goal may ever shine afar -

the will to reach it makes us free.  (Wde W Hyde)
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

Centering Silence
Let us take a moment to settle into the silence.
(The charka is sounded)

Silence

Sung response: “Bless the Lord my Soul” (2)   706 TiS
Bless the Lord, my soul,
and bless God's holy name.
Bless the Lord,
my soul, who leads me into life.
(The charka is sounded)

Silence

In these brief moments of silence and meditation
may we find strength.

May our lives be rich in affection,
deep in understanding and
sympathy for each other.

Sung response: “Bless the Lord my Soul” (7)

May the blessings of life be known to all.   (Bob Holmes/adapted)
(The charka is sounded) 

Silence 

EXPLORING

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

The World Around Us:
"We Dare to Imagine a World Where..."
By Linda Jones. Let Justice Roll Down/36.

We dare to imagine a world
Where hunger has no chance to show its face

We dare to dream of a world where war and terror
are afraid to leave their mark

We long to believe in a world of hope
unchained and lives unfettered

We dare to share in the creation of a world
where people break free.

Dare we open our own minds to difference?
Dare we open our own lives to change?

Your realm come, O Holy One
Your will be done. 
(Adapted)

OR

For Waiting in the Wilderness
By Keri Wehlander. A World of Blessing/142

This is the wilderness time,
when every path is obscure
and thorns have grown around the words of hope.
Be the wings of our strength, O God,
in this time of wilderness waiting.

This is the time of stone, not bread,
when even the sunrise feels uncertain
and everything tastes of bitterness.
Be the Wings of our strength, O God,
in this time of wilderness waiting.

This is the time of ashes and dust,
when darkness clothes our dreams
and no star shines a guiding light.
Be the wings of our strength, O God,
in this time of wilderness waiting.

This is the time of treading life,
waiting for the swells to subside
and for the chaos to clear.
Be the wings of our strength, O God,
in this time of wilderness waiting.

Traditional Gospel:
Luke 4: 1-13 
(Inclusive Text)

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit through the wilderness,
being tempted there by the devil for 40 days.

During that time Jesus ate nothing and at the end was famished.

Then the devil said,
'If you are the One born of God, tell this stone to turn into a loaf.'

But Jesus replied,
'Scripture says: No one lives on bread alone.’

Then leading Jesus to a height,
the devil
showed him in a moment of time all the nations of the world and said,
'I will give you all this power and the glory of these for it has been committed to me,
and I give it to anyone I choose.

'Worship me, then, and it shall all be yours.'

But Jesus answered,
'Scripture says: you must worship your God, whom alone you must serve.'

Then the devil led Jesus to Jerusalem and made him stand on the parapet of the Temple.
'If you are the One born of God', the devil said,
'throw yourself down from here,  for Scripture says,
"God will put angels in charge of you to guard you,"
and again,
"On their hands they will bear you up in case
you will hurt your foot against a stone".

But Jesus answered the devil,
'It has been said, "You must not put your God to the test".

Having exhausted all these ways of tempting Jesus,
the devil left to return at a more opportune time.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

Litany for Lent (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on
let us share together a litany celebrating Lent.
The people stand as they are able

O Sustainer and giver of life,
free your people from the temptations of power,
from the urge to control rather than enable.
All  Come, Spirit, liberate us from the forces of domination.

O Loving Empowerer,
help us to challenge abuse of authority wherever it is to be found,
including in ourselves.
All  Come, Spirit, give us strength not to walk by on the other side.

O Still Small Voice,
help the People of God to learn to listen to each other,
and those in authority to understand the strength
that comes from true consultation.
All  Come, Spirit of Understanding, deepen our insights.

O Loving Creativity,
help us to affirm ourselves and others,
understanding that we are all uniquely created
and have a voice that needs to be heard.
All  Come, Creator of Diversity, and help us see the value of difference.

O God who made both women and men in your image,
may your church not to deface its image
by treating women as inferior beings.

Help us to recognise and challenge discrimination
based on gender, race, sexual orientation,
clericalism and other excuses for exclusion.
All  Come, Spirit of Equality, and imbue us with the values
of interconnectedness with all created nature,
human and non-human.  (Adapt.D McEwan/ml)

OR

“In the Beginning… We are Stardust”
By Michael Dowd and Conni Barlow.

v1  In the beginning, the energy of silence
rested over an infinite horizon of pure nothingness.
v2 
The silence lasted for billions of years, stretching across aeons
that the human mind cannot even remotely comprehend.
v3
 Out of the silence arose the first ripples of sound,
vibrations of pure energy that ruptured the tranquil stillness
as a single point of raw potential,
bearing all matter, all dimension, all energy,
and all time: exploding like a massive fireball.
All 
It was the greatest explosion of all time!

v2  An irruption of infinite energy danced into being.
It had a wild and joyful freedom about it,
and like a dance it was richly endowed with
coherence, elegance, and creativity.
v3 
The universe continued to expand and cool
until the first atoms came into being.
The force of gravity joined the cosmic dance;
atoms clustered into primordial galaxies.
v1
 Giant clouds of hydrogen and helium gases
gathered into condensed masses,
giving birth to stars!
v2
 Generations of stars were born and died, born and died,
and then our own star system, the solar system,
was formed from a huge cloud of interstellar dust,
enriched by the gifts of all those ancestral stars.
All 
 Planet Earth condensed out of a cloud
that was rich in a diversity of elements
.

v3  Each atom of carbon, oxygen, silicon, calcium, and sodium
had been given during the explosive death of ancient stars.
These elements, this stuff of stars,
included all the chemical elements necessary
for the evolution of carbon-based life.
v1 
With the appearance of the first bacteria, the cosmic dance
reached a more complex level of integration.
v2
 Molecules clustered together to form living cells!
v3
 Later came the algae, and then fishes began to inhabit the waters!
v1
Thence the journey of life on land and in the sky.
Insects, amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals:
all flourished and diversified and elaborated the themes of life.
All  
And now it is our time, too.
This is our story
.

v2  The story of our beginning, our cosmology.
v3 
Humans were invited to care for the earth…
All
 But often we tried to conquer and subdue it.

Wn We have poisoned our life-support systems of
soil, water, and air with toxic waste.
Mn  We have damaged our forests through clear-cutting and acid rain.

Wn  Our oceans, lakes, and streams are littered with
plastic and laced with sewage
.
Mn
 We are annihilating our companion creatures at a rapid rate.

v3  In a universal sense, this is our Calvary experience.
v1
The onus is not on some divine, external agent
who can reverse the destruction we humans have caused.
All
 The burden is ours to own and bear.

v2  The future is now.
v1
 And so we begin our Lenten Journey…take the daily things of life and see them as sacred.
v2
 May we perform simple acts of love and prayer,
and real works of reform and renewal.
v3
 May we love deeply the earth which gives us air to breathe,
water to drink, and food to sustain us.
v2
 May we remember that life is begotten from stardust,
radiant in light and heat.
v3
 We are all one - all of creation,
all that now live,
all that have ever lived.

v1  Remember we are stardust, and to stardust we return.
v2
 Remember we are connected and to connection we return.
v3
 Remember we are part of the great mystery.
All
 Remember we are stardust and to stardust we return.

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment 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   The people stand as they are able, to sing
May the Mystery of God Enfold Us(Tune:  ‘Marlborough Sounds’)          95 AA
May the mystery of God enfold us,
may the wisdom of God uphold us,
may the fragrance of God be around us,
may the brightness of God surround us,
may the wonder of God renew us,
may the loving of God flow through us,
may the peace of God deeply move us,
may the moving of God bring us peace.  
Joy Cowley
The people sit

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?  (Binkley & McKeel/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:
As one heart is lifted
All  May we share its celebration
As one heart is burdened
All  
May we share the pain it knows.  (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 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  Eternal Spirit
Source of all that is and ever shall be,
Loving Parent in whom we discern heaven,
May knowledge of your holiness inspire all peoples.

And may your commonwealth of peace and freedom
flourish on earth, until all of humankind
heed your call to justice and compassion.

May we find the bread that we need for today.
And for the hurts we cause one another
may we be forgiven in the same measure
that we forgive.

In times of trial and temptation,
help us to be strong;
When life seems overwhelming,
Help us to endure;
And thus from the yoke of sin deliver us.

May you reign in the power of human love,
Now and forever.  (Tom Hall)
Amen.

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY IN THE TRADITION OF THE MEAL
The Offering
Let us bring our offerings and gifts of bread and wine
as symbols 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 carry through the doorway of each new day
this good spirit of generosity and caring.  
(Adapt.Francis Macnab)

Invitation
In faith and love, gathered in this place,
we celebrate the brightness of community
and the season of late summer called 'Kooyang' (Season of Eels)
by the Djab Wurrung and Jardwidjarli People.

Thanksgiving
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.
All (singing)  You