EasterA.12.4.2020

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
12 April 2020. Easter A. (White).
Celebrating Community in the Tradition of the Meal

We need a new configuration of liturgy and climate to celebrate Easter in Australia.
In the southern hemisphere we cannot exploit the theme of Spring’s new life. 
Perhaps the theme of refreshing coolness would be an excellent substitute to enrich our appreciation of the Easter event.
April in Australia is a pleasant, refreshing month.
Its arrival brings a sense of relief from the thick blanket of summer
as we are rejuvenated by a touch of coolness. 
For us, this is Eastertime


Worth Pondering
xxx


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, and emerging leaders,
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

xxx

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   (Including Solo Song just before Entry)
Being Here”  (Tune: Original, C. New)                                                                   1 OHV
We move our spirits
We move our spirits
from thoughts of getting here.

We move our spirits
We move our spirits
t’ward the gift of being here.  (Christopher New)

Entry into the Celebration
The sacred space has been changed since we left it on Good Friday morning.
The wooden cross is no longer present. All that remains is the outline of the cross 
made from the petals and leaves scattered by the women of the congregation

The gong is sounded three times

v1  This day we shall let the hills embrace us,
the trees comfort us,
and the sun enlighten our minds.

This day we shall let the sap rise within us
and dance the music of the Cosmos.
  (Adapt/William L  Wallace/wb)

v2  Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

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
Easter 1”  (Tune: ‘St Magnus, 86.86)
So bleak with possibility,
bare branches reach for hope,
a promise in this barren time
of love of boundless scope.

We look beyond this season's end,
through winter's lengthened night,
to longer days, and new found growth,
the cross no more a blight.

Each healing hand, each watchful eye,
each grief or joy we share,
lives out that resurrection love,
our calling and our care. 
© Andrew Pratt

OR

"Easter 3" (Tune: 'Fulda 88.88 LM)
Was it the shaking ground that moved
the stone, that freed the resting Word,
that called the Christ to life again:
God's Spirit, breathing, moved and stirred?

Whatever cause, we may not know,
but Mary heard a calming voice,
that turned her life around again,
that gave her reason to rejoice.

The world still spinning, recollects
that God survived all human scorn;
that lives were changed for ever more
in meeting love alive, re-born.

This is the Voice that turns us round,
that calmly offers grace to cope;
that gives us strength to live again,
that gives us cause to sing our hope.  
© Andrew Pratt 1/4/2011
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
v2  We live at mystery's edge
watching for a startling luminescence
or a word to guide us.
All  
In fragile occurrence the Holy One presents oneself
and we must pause...

Daily, there are glimmers,
reflections of a seamless mercy
revealed in common intricacies.
All  These circles of grace spill out around us
and announce that we are part of this mystery.
  KWehlander/adapted

v1  Today we celebrate life over death.
Today we celebrate the flame that lives again.
We will light the fire…
(Go to Candle lighting)

OR

Jesus lives! He lives in the hearts
and minds of all who love him.
All  This is the way we will remember him!

On this day called Easter, we celebrate
the indestructible love and wisdom that
Jesus showed to the world.
All  We will gladly follow in his Way!

We will remember Jesus as we live our lives.
All  We will remember him as we forgive,
and not hold on to hurts.

We will remember Jesus as we live our lives.
All  We will remember him as we give
until it makes a difference.

We will remember Jesus as we live our lives.
All  We will remember him as we resist war
and all forms of violence.

We will remember Jesus as we live our lives.
All  We will remember him as we feed the hungry,
shelter the homeless and befriend the lonely.

We will remember Jesus as we live our lives.
All  We will remember his faith in a God
who loves, forgives and restores our hope.

We will remember Jesus as we live our lives.
All  We will remember his guidelines
for life and for loving.  
 (2012 Easter Liturgy, PCNVic) 

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

...aware that the power of resurrection
has forever changed who we are,
and given us the courage
to boldly proclaim a living faith.

Today we celebrate:
new life,
new joy,
new possibilities.
All  We give thanks for the Spirit of Life visible in Jesus,
visible in us, visible in people in all walks of life.

OR

With heat and light, the Great Radiance blazed forth
With heat and light, ancestral stars fused atoms, exploding in awesome power
With heat and light, the fire on our Ancestors’ hearth cooked their food
With heat and light, modern scientists harnessed new energy sources
With heat and light, we light our flame today,
looking toward a sustainable future.  (Adapt.JCH. Public domain)

Act of Awareness
In the seed is the flower,
In the weed and the apple tree,
In the chrysalis hides a promise
Of life that soon will be free.
In the deathly cold of winter storms
Waits the spring for you and me,
In the silence is the song
In which dreams come alive.  (Robert Halsey/vv)

OR

We pray:
God of all life, we give thanks for the signs
of your care and creativity
that surrounds us and blesses us.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song  "When Mary Through The Garden Went" (Tune: 'Was Gott Thut', 88.88.8)                    267 SLT
When Mary through the garden went,
there was no sound of any bird,
and yet, because the night was spent,
the little grasses lightly stirred,
the flowers awoke, the lilies heard.

When Mary through the garden went,
the dew lay still on flower and grass,
the waving palms above her sent
their fragrance out as she did pass.
No light upon the branches was.

When Mary through the garden went,
her eyes, for weeping long, were dim.
The grass beneath her foot-step bent,
the solemn lilies, white and slim,
these also stood and wept for him.  (Mary Coleridge)

OR

God Who Sets Us On A Journey(Tune: ‘Canvas’’)                                                32 FFS
God who sets us on a journey
to discover, dream and grow,
lead us as you led your people
in the desert long ago;
journey inward, journey outward,
stir the spirit, stretch the mind,
love for God and self and neighbour
marks the way that Christ defined.

Exploration brings new insights,
changes, choices we must face;
give us wisdom in deciding,
mindful always of your grace;
should we stumble, lose our bearings,
find it hard to know what's right,
we regain our true direction
focused on the Jesus light.

End our longing for the old days,
grant the vision that we lack –
once we've started on this journey
there can be no turning back;
let us travel light, discarding
excess baggage from our past,
cherish only what's essential,
choosing treasure that will last.

When we set up camp and settle
to avoid love's risk and pain,
you disturb complacent comfort,
pull the tent pegs up again;
keep us travelling in the knowledge
you are always at our side;
give us courage for the journey,
Christ our goal and Christ our guide.  Joy Dine
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.

CENTERING

Meditation
“A Poem for Easter”
By R. Preston Price. (Adapted)

Like a blade of grass pushing up stubbornly through the sidewalk.
Like the butterfly emerging from the tomb-like chrysalis.
But much more.

Like the seed after years of dormant death sending up sprout.
Like the brown bulb breaking forth from brown earth into brilliant color.
But much more.

Like brilliant daybreak after a stormy, darkened night.
Like a rainbow mystically appearing amidst the rain.
But much more.

Like a patient making an unexpected, unpredicted turn for health.
Like the pine cone opening to spread seed only after touched by fiery death.
But much more.

Like a beautiful vase emerging from a lump of clay in the potter's hands.
Like a hidden spring burbling forth in the middle of a barren desert.
But much more…

So, it comes. 
Nothing else like it.
No image adequate.
No simile.
No metaphor.

Unable to talk about it but inadequately
We celebrate this great, real mystery that
Neither language nor imagination can encompass.

Easter!

Music of Celebration

EXPLORING

Reading from our broad Religious Tradition
Some sayings and a story from our broad religious tradition
shall be read by (NN).

The Colour of Beauty (Part 7) - The Rainbow:
Extracts from John O’Donohue.  Divine Beauty. The Invisible Embrace

The presence and experience of colour is at the very heart of human life. In a sense, we are created for a life full of colour. Each colour evokes its own world of feeling and association… The appearance and definition of white is made possible by the prince of darkness and perhaps the softest light that shines upon the earth is moonlight. The white light of the moon is infinitely gentle with the dark... 

It is no accident that we abandon the world when the colours vanish and the reign of darkness commences. Night is the land where all the outer colours sleep. We awaken and return to the world when the colours return at dawn…

We take daylight for granted. Yet daylight is not simply there; it is an event, a smooth all-pervasive happening. Daylight is created light, a light woven seamlessly from a whole series of colours. The unnoticed miracle of everyday light is exposed in the rainbow, an apparition that is both illusory and tenuous...

Every rainbow is a revelation: the optic through water drops that separates seamless daylight to reveal and display the secret inlay of colours that dwell at the heart of ordinary light. In a sense, one could speak of the secret life of colour. Despite its outward beckoning, like true beauty, colour is immensely hesitant in giving away its secrets. Painters learn to respect the hesitancy of colour and endeavour to refine their skill to become worthy of its revelations. 

OR

A Mystic’s Reflection:
“Speak to us of… Religion”
By Kahlil Gibran. The Prophet/90-92 (adapted)

And an old priest said, "Speak to us of religion."
And the prophet said:
Have I spoken this day of aught else?

Is not religion all deeds and all reflection,
and that which is neither deed nor reflection,
but a wonder and a surprise ever springing in the soul,
even while the hands hew the stone or tend the loom?

Who can separate faith from actions, or belief from occupations?
Who can spread their hours before themselves, saying,
"This for God and this for myself;
This for my soul, and this other for my body?"
All your hours are wings that beat through space from self to self…

Your daily life is your temple and your religion.
Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.
Take the plough and the forge and the mallet and the lute,
The things you have fashioned in necessity or for delight…

And if you would know God, be not therefore a solver of riddles.
Rather look about you and you shall see
God playing with your children.

And look into space; you shall see God walking in the clouds,
with outstretched arms in the lightning and descending in rain.

You shall see God smiling in flowers,
then rising with arms waving in the trees.

OR

From the World Around us:
“Resurrection”
Rubem Alves. The Poet The Warrior, The Prophet/23.

During his 1990 Edward Cadbury Lecture given in the University of Birmingham, England, Brazilian Rubem Alves
told a story of a boy who found the body of a dead man washed up on the edge of a sea-side village.

It happened that on a day like all others a boy saw a strange shape floating far away on the sea.
And he cried.

The whole village came: in a place like that even a strange shape is an occasion for excitement.
And there they stayed, on the beach, looking, waiting.
Till the sea. slowly, no haste, brought the thing and put it on the sand,
to the disappointment of all.

A dead man.

All dead men are alike because there is one thing only to do with them: they must be buried.
In that village the usage was that the women prepared the dead for burial.
So, they carried the corpse to a house, women inside, men outside.
And the silence was great as they cleaned it from the algae and the green things of the sea.

But suddenly a voice broke the silence: a woman…
‘Had he lived among us he would have had to bend his head everytime he entered our houses.
He is too tall…’
And they all nodded in approval.

Again the silence was deep. But another voice was heard. Another woman…
‘I wonder about his voice... was it like the whisper of the breeze? Like the thunder of the waves?
Did he know that secret word which, once uttered makes a woman pick up a flower and stick it in her hair?’
And they all smiled.

Silence again.

And again, the voice of another woman:
‘These hands... How big they are!. What did they do?
Did they play with children? Did they sail through the seas?
Did they fight many battles? Did they build houses?
Did they know how to caress and embrace a woman's body?’

And they all laughed,
and were surprised as they realised that the funeral had become resurrection:
a moment in their flesh, dreams, long believed to be dead, returning,
ashes becoming fire, forbidden desires emerging to the surface of their skins,
their bodies alive again...

Their husbands, outside, watched what was happening to their wives,
and they were jealous of the drowned man,
as they realised that he had a power which they themselves did not have.
And they thought about the dreams they had never had,
the poems they had never written, the seas they had never seen,
the women they had never loved...

The story ends by telling that they finally buried the dead man.
But the village was never the same.

Traditional Gospel 1:
Matthew 28:1-10 
(NRSV)

After the sabbath, and towards dawn on the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to visit the sepulchre.

And all at once there was a violent earthquake, for the angel of God,
descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it.
The angel's face was like lightning,
and the angel's robe white as snow.
The guards were so shaken, so frightened that they were as if dead.

But the angel spoke, and said to the women,
'There is no need for you to be afraid.
I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
He is not here, for he has been raised, as he foretold.
Come and see the place where he lay,
then go quickly and tell the disciples:
Jesus has been raised from the dead,
and now is going before you to Galilee;
it is there you will see him.
Now I have told you.'

Filled with awe and great joy