Epiphany3A.26.1.2020

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au
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The Other Lectionary’ - a suggested ‘southern hemisphere’ Lectionary (with a few Resources added) offered in parallel to,
or even replacement of, the RCL which is in standard use by many.


A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
26 January 2020. Epiphany 3A. (Green).
Australia Day/Invasion Day

Worth Pondering
“Life is good because Life keeps us living: Life is good because it is the meaning of living.
We don’t study it to have meaning, we live it, we dance meaning into life,
we embrace living into meaning”
(Fredric John Muir)

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 (NN) Nation, past, present, emerging,
and their stewardship 
of this land throughout the ages.

First Peoples Statement to the Nation 2017 called “Uluru Statement from the Heart” HERE
A Response from Common Dreams5 Conference of Religious Progressives,
Australia/South Pacific 2019 HERE

(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 in.  Come into this place
which we make special by our presence.

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

Come into this place.
Together we make it a sacred place.

OR

Today will be a joyful day.
This is our promise to each other
and to a world often taken aback by genuine invitation.
All
Today will be a joyful day.
Enter, rejoice, and come in.
  (George Stewart/www.uusf.org)

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

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/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
"As the Sun Beats Down" (Tune: 10.7.10.7)                                                                     2 FFS
As the sun beats down and the heat invades,
and creation burns and dries;
let us sing to God of a promised hope
in the midst of anxious cries.

As the parching winds relentless blow,
and creation browns away;
let us sing to God, who restores and calms
all foreboding and dismay.

As the feed dies back and the stock decline,
and creation's bones show through;
let us sing to God of the bread of life,
to refresh, restore, renew.

As the silent birds sing a silent song
in creation's still blue sky;
let us sing to God of the songs of hope,
through a gentle rain's reply.

As the season comes and the season goes,
and we search the skies each day;
let us sing to God of a rainbow faith,
and a promised green display.  Bill Bennett
Remain standing

OR

"May God's Wisdom"  (Tune:  ‘Stuttgart 87.87)
May God's wisdom deep within us
Shape the joy within our hearts,
Smooth the road we travel gently
Using all our loving arts.

May fair blossoms dropping petals
On the living path we tread,
Make a cushioned, glorious carpet,
Fragrancing the way ahead.

May we root our dreams and longings
In a true integrity,
Clearing out all that will hinder
Love's own creativity. 
June Boyce-Tillman/ssb

Opening Sentences
God of our yesterdays and God of our tomorrows
we ask that you be with us now, God of our today.
All  
May it be so.

God of vision and new possibilities
open our hearts and minds
to the reality of your presence.  (Adapt/Rosie Sugrue)
All  May it be so with us.

Act of Awareness
For all that is our life we offer thanks and praise.
For all life is a gift which we are called to use,
to build the store of common good.

May we know once again that we are not isolated beings
but connected, in mystery and miracle,
to the universe,
to this community, and
to each other.

OR

We pray:
We gather grateful for the companionship of hearts and minds
seeking to speak the truth in love.

We gather grateful for our heritage,
for the women and men before us
whose imagination, dedication and prophetic words and deeds
make possible our dreams and our insight.

And we gather grateful for the gift of life itself,
mindful that to respect life means both to celebrate what life is
and to insist on what it can become.

May we always rejoice in life,
and work to cultivate a sense of its giftedness.  (
MSMilnor/Adapt)
May it be so.

Hymn/Song  "Faith Has Set Us On a Journey" (Tune: ‘Venture')                                  14 FFS
Faith has set us on a journey
past the landmarks that we know,
taking risks with no insurance
but the Word that tells us “Go!”
Friend or job or home or lover
we may need to leave behind,
outworn truths and ways of thinking,
baggage to the past consigned.

Some are swags of easy conscience
who with others hitch a ride,
some are tourist-package Christians,
dollar-safe, with Book and guide.
There are others on this journey -
those who long and pray and search,
heave the stones to free the structures,
love the Christ and leave the Church.

We are this unlikely people
in the Body knit as one,
company of clowns and cripples -
some are wise and some can run.
Prophets are our travel agents,
gospel-makers lay this road:
to the place of peace and promise
faith will take us into God.  (Shirley Erena Murray)
The 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.

Remembering (Optional)
Today is part of the celebration we call Australia Day weekend.
Either way it is a time of reflecting and remembering...

As you entered this morning, you were given a eucalypt or gum leaf.
Take it between your fingers, break it, smell it,
and share with the person next to you
a memory of times you observed the Australia Day/Invasion Day weekend.
Conversation

Silence

This day we celebrate our country
in its grandeur and grace,
its challenges and its possibilities.
All   
We remember and rejoice

This day we also grieve and respect our past
and walk another step into our future together.
Dorothy McRae-McMahon/rlll
All  And we lament.

Now away from the busyness of life
and in the silence of this sacred place,
let us give thanks for the gift of life, all of life:
life born of faithfulness,
life born of courage.
(Silence)

Life rises in our midst
All  It surprises us when it blossoms forth
in unexpected times and places. Dorothy McRae-McMahon/plpm

Music of reflection (with DVD/slide images of Australia and people)

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Biblical Tradition
Two readings from our broad biblical tradition shall be read by (NN).

From the World Around us:
One of the following Jack Davis poems could be selected

"The First-born”
By Jack David. The First Born and Other Poems/1

Where are my first-born, said the brown land, sighing;
They came out of my womb long, long ago.

They were formed of my dust—why, why are they crying
And the light of their being barely aglow?

I strain my ears for the sound of their laughter.
Where are the laws and the legends I gave?

‘Tell me what happened, you whom I bore after.
Now only their spirits dwell in the caves.

You are silent, you cringe from replying.

A question is there, like a blow on the face.

The answer is there when I look at the 
At the death and neglect of my dark proud race.

 Jack Davis is a First Peoples poet.  About himself Jack Davis writes: "My father, whose name was William Davis, was taken out of a tribe and reared up by a white family until he was the age of fifteen, then he left his family and worked allover the North-west [of WA] and eventually came south… My mum was taken away from her tribe in Broome by a white family, and reared up by them until she was fourteen of fifteen years of age, when she came to work in the south of the State for a white family."

“Laverton Incident”*
By Jack Davis.
The First Born and Other Poems/22

The two worlds collided
In anger and fear

As it has always been—
Gun against spear.

Aboriginal earth,
Hungry and dry,
Took back the life again,
Wondering why.

Echo the gun-blast
Throughout the land
Before more blood seeps
Into the sand.

*  Laverton is 756 klm from Perth, WA, in the eastern goldfields area. In September 1969 an aboriginal named Raymond Watson was wounded in the leg by a police officer during a disturbance, and subsequently died in hospital. The case caused controversy in Aboriginal circles throughout Australia

OR

Hebrew Scriptures:
Psalm 27
Francis Macnab.
A Fine Wind is Blowing/13.

• How easy the author succumbs to every noise and anxiety.  How easy it is to fall in heap.
But the author wants to believe, wants courage and strength.  They are God’s gift.

The headlines in the papers every day can arouse a lot of anxiety.
Even in the safety of my home,
one noise at night can make my heart jump with fright
and I start believing the house could be surrounded
by who-knows-what - coming to get me.

And then I know that I have succumbed to my own scattered fear when
what I need to do is refocus
on what is good and beautiful in life.

So I focus on the Presence of a loving caring God
who raises me out of my stress,
and helps me stand tall again,
in spite of the things that make me anxious.

Deep inside, I hear my heart say to me
"Come on, take hold of that good Presence".

Even then in my anxiety I hear myself say
"Oh God, help me.  Do not hide yourself from me.
Though mother and father are of no help to me,
surely there is a God who will bring me
to my moment of strength".

Yes, I say to that Good Presence
"Show me the way. 
I do not want to be like thosewho throw themselves on the useless heaps of life”.
I want to believe in the Goodness of Life.
I am ready to wait for that.

Yes I shall breathe better.
I shall gather my courage and my strength.
God gives them to me.  If only I will wait for God's gift.

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 4:12, 18-23 (Inclusive Text)

Hearing that John had been arrested
Jesus went back to Galilee, and leaving Nazareth
went and settled in Capernaum, a lake-side town…

From that moment Jesus began preaching with the message,
'Repent, for heaven's reign is close at hand.'

As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter,
and his brother, Andrew
they were making a cast in the lake with their net,
for they were by trade, fishers.

And Jesus said to them,
'Follow me and I will make you fishers of people.’
And they left their nets at once and followed Jesus.

Going on from there Jesus saw another pair of brothers,
James, son of Zebedee, and his brother, John;
they were in their boat with their father Zebedee,
mending their nets, and Jesus called them.
At once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed.

Jesus went round the whole of Galilee
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming
the Good News of God's reign and 
curing all kinds of diseases and sickness among the people.

Contemporary Exploration
The following short extract is taken from a Presentation to the Common Dreams5 Conference in Sydney, Australia, in July 2019, by Revd Dr Chris Budden. The full title of his Presentation was: “Post-colonial Theology and Sovereignty”.
This community was invaded, the people largely dispossessed of land, their culture and language broken, people killed, children stolen, people imprisoned, and trauma passed from generation to generation. 

Did you know that there were probably 1 million First People in Australia in 1788, and yet by 1911 the ABS said there were 31,000? Even if we work on the conservation figures of 750,000 and 100,000 still alive, that is a loss of 87% of the population. The estimates are 96% for Tasmania, and 90% for Victoria. It is estimated that some 60,000 First Peoples were killed on the Queensland Frontier.

These are crimes against humanity; even cultural genocide. But the dominant narrative is of peaceful settlement and a lucky country with equality for all...

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

Litany: Travelling On... (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

When hope invites us to journey
elusive, beckoning onward
but never in our grasp:
All  
May we have the wisdom and the courage to travel on.

Wn  When dreams glimmer in the distance,
fading, clouded and hidden
or shining with new brightness:
All  May we have the wisdom and the courage to travel on.

Mn  When established patterns collapse
into the uncertainty of the unknown
and security dissolves into a memory:
All  May we have the wisdom and the courage to travel on.

Wn  When the illusion of success
threatens to divert us
and silence our souls' yearning:
All  May wisdom and imagination inspire us to travel on.

Mn  When we think our journey has ended
in the star-lit glow
only to find the end is a new beginning:
All  May wisdom and imagination inspire us to travel on.  (Adapted.Jan Berry/ssb)

Sharing 'The Peace
Let us 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.

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
Who Claims to Own this Piece of Land”  (Tune: ‘Chamberlain’s Ford’, 86.86D (CMD))                    25 SC
Who claims to own this piece of land?
Who holds its title deeds?
Who thinks it is their private space
To meet their selfish needs?
Though deeds are signed and funds transferred,
No ownership is ours,
For we have failed to take account
Of Nature’s fiery powers.

With angry face the river comes
And sweeps the land away;
Where in the muddy water’s swirl
Lies Nature’s final say.
When we think we control the world,
Or even part of space,
Let us remember Nature’s way
Controls the human race.

How easily we all forget
That God in Nature rules
The ecosystem of this earth
With all the life it pools.
O God, who gives us land to share
With all that moves and lives,
May we embrace true stewardship
Of all that Nature gives.  (William L Wallace)

OR

A Hymn of Exploration(Tune:  11.10.11.10)
We take the path that leads beyond this moment,
while seeking all the hope faith has to give;
we walk so near the edge of understanding,
while grasping what we need to know to live.

This is no abstract whim that we are tracing,
this story of God’s free, creative grace;
this is no empty, useless recitation,
but God’s own love that nothing can erase.

The vision that you give, each new disclosure,
will bring us closer to our common goal,
the point where you assure us of salvation,
for us and every other living soul.  
 © Andrew Pratt 23/6/2010

CELEBRATING

Offering

Presentation
Far beyond the ‘east’, the people of Australia
come to celebrate under the Southern Cross...

(With or without the above...)
As we gather in this place, remembering
and telling the stories of our faith,
may we go behind the words to discern their meaning,
that we may be empowered with courage
to embrace the living of these days.

With the Children
The 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:
In caring for one another
All  
May we be untiring.
In sheltering one another
All  May we be strong.
In holding one another
All  May we be tender.  (Gretta Vosper/ab).

And so we take a 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 the 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 that is appropriate

All  O Birther!  Father-Mother of the Cosmos
you create all that moves in light.
Hear the one Sound that created all others,
in this way the Name is hallowed in silence.

Your rule springs into existence
as our arms reach out to embrace all creation.
Let all wills move together
in your vortex, as stars and planets
swirl through the sky.

Grant what we need each day in bread and insight:
subsistence for the call of growing life.

Lighten our load of secret debts as
we relieve others of their need to repay.

Keep us from hoarding false wealth,
and from the inner shame of
help not given in time.  (Matthew Fox/ormw)

PARTING

Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
God the Weaver
(Tune: Picardy', 87.87.87)
God the weaver, making patterns,
spinning threads throughout our days -
Joy and sadness interwoven,
strands of sorrow, strands of praise.
Help us to discern your weaving
in the multi-coloured maze.

Teach us, Lord, to trust your guidance
when the pattern is not clear,
and to feel your strength and comfort
when life's fabric's torn by fear.
Help us sense that in the dark times
Lightening love is always near.

When we see the pattern changing
and a new direction starts,
let us know your love unbroken
winds through life in all its parts
by the threads of love and friendship
closely woven in our hearts.
Remain standing

Parting Words
The God we worship is never confined to this holy place.
So go and travel with the God
who is found in ordinary and surprising places.
The Community Candle is extinguished

v2  Summer is here!
In the warmth and light of this holiday season it is easier
to smile,
to play
to laugh,
to relax…
Our sun-kissed faces reflect abundant sunlight energy.

v3  Yet even as we delight in life’s rich pleasures,
we remember that some of us are also in pain…
suffering from breaking relationships or physical hurt,
watching loved ones fade into dementia or slip from life,
battling anxiety from financial fear or addiction’s ongoing grip.

v1  So, this today, let us breathe deeply and embrace life’s gifts.
Let us be gentle with ourselves and each other,
caressing all our glorious yet often flawed humanity.

Let us find balance as we dive head-first into life’s rhythms.
And let us reach out to support and hold each other close (Adapt.Mary Ackerson/C3 web site).

OR

Come to us, Creating God.
In new life,
In courage,
In wisdom,
In joy.

Bind us together as those who feel your love under our feet
in the warmth of this, our holy ground.
All  
Dance within our life, Spirit of God,
that we may be transformed by your eternal passion
for making all things new. Dorothy McRae-McMahon/bst

Words of Blessing
Go into this week,
held together by the love of God
clothed with the nature of Jesus our Companion
reinforced by the strength of the Holy Spirit.
All  
Amen! May it be so!

Hymn/Song  (Cont) “God the Weaver” (Tune: ‘Picardy’, 87.87.87)
Though we never see the picture
with your sense of space and time,
help us, Lord, to take our places
in our faith's continuing line,
as all lives are interwoven 
in your final grand design. © Marjory Dobson. 1996 Stainer & Bell Ltd
The people sit after the hymn

'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 this time 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, 2002.
Davis, J. 
The First Born and Other Poems. Sydney. Angus & Robertson/1970.
Duncan, G. (ed). Shine On, Star of Bethlehem. A Worship Resource for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2001.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
Fox, M.
One River, Many Wells. Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths. New York. Tarcher/Penguin Publishing, 2000.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2004.
McRae-McMahon, D.
Prayers for Life's Particular Moments. Thornbury. DesBook, 2001.
McRae-McMahon, D.
The Glory of Blood, Sweat and Tears. Liturgies for living and dying. Melbourne. JBCE, 1996.
Macnab, F.
A Fine Wind is Blowing: Psalms of the Bible in words that blow you away. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2006.
(SC) 
Usher, A. (ed) A Southern Chalice. An Anthology of Readings and Songs. Wellington. ANZUUA, 2013
Vosper, G. 2009/2010.  Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane.

Web sites/Other:
Sugrue. Spirit & spice Web site, NZ.
Milnor, Belcher. UUA Worship Web. Boston.  www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/
"God the Weaver". M Dobson. Stainer & Bell Ltd. <hymns.uk.com>
"A Hymn of Exploration". Andrew Pratt. Direct from the author. Used with permission.
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. <http://www.questcentre.ca/>


rexae74@gmail.com