Lent1A.5.3.2017

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

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
5 March 2017. Lent 1A. (Purple).

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, gender, 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 

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)

Gathering Music (Including Solo Song just before Entry)
Go into the Sacredness”  (Tune: Original, C. New)                                                       10 OHV
Go into the sacredness,
the sacredness of the world we love.
Go into the sacredness,
the sacredness of the world we love.
To live the change,
To be the ones,
To stand together in peace and love.  
(Christopher New)

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

It is a sacred time, this.
And a sacred place, this:
- a place for questions more profound than answers;
- vulnerability more powerful than strength;
- and a peace that can pass all understanding.

It is a sacred time, this. (UU Church of Austin)

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

We are safe.
We are together.
We are loved.
And so it will be (BGriffin/icuu-cl).

xxx

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
Gather the Spirit
(Tune: ‘Gather the Spirit’, 9.9.9.10/Refrain)                             347 SLT
Gather the spirit, harvest the power.
Our sep'rate fires will kindle one flame.
Witness the mystery of this hour.
Our trials in this light appear all the same.
Refrain:
Gather in peace, gather in thanks.
Gather in sympathy now and then.
Gather in hope, compassion and strength.
Gather to celebrate once again.

Gather the spirit of heart and mind.
Seeds for the sowing are laid in store.
Nurtured in love, and con-science refined,
with body and spirit united once more
Refrain:

Gather the spirit growing in all,
drawn by the moon and fed by the sun.
Winter to spring, and summer to fall,
the chorus of life resounding as one.
Refrain:
Gather in peace, gather in thanks.
Gather in sympathy now and then.
Gather in hope, compassion and strength.
Gather to celebrate once again.  (Jim Scott)

Opening Sentences
In bright sunlight, warm air, and barmy evenings,
seasons of colour and courage
All  
Creativity God is in our midst.

In hills outlined against the rising sun,
and the muted sounds of early morning walkers along the Ridge
All  
Creativity God is in our midst.

In the faces of families, and those alone,
the hurrying and the day dreaming
All  
Creativity God is in our midst.

In life touching other life, moments of kindness,
sharing of joys, caring for others
All  
Creativity God is in our midst.

Act of Awareness
In all our living, may we be freed
to see things afresh,
to be more fully alive,
and have the courage to keep faith in
the future of humanity.

OR

We pray:
As we move into new experiences of life and others
may we be open to the presence of the sacred 
among us and within.

And may we sense the wonder and imagination
in the sights and sounds of this Lenten day.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song In The Midst Of All Our Living(Tune: ‘Nettleton’, 87.87D)                            2 SiF
In the midst of every blessing
may my heart be filled with grace.
Streams of goodness, ever flowing
call for songs of highest praise.
May my words be filled with gratitude;
may my glad heart humble be.
As a holder of a blessing
May I share it gratefully.

In the midst of every trial
may my heart be filled with grace.
Streams of comfort, ever flowing
call for songs of highest praise.
May I find the strength within me;
may I sense it everywhere.
As I face what must be handled
may I find truth I can share.

In the midst of all our living
may our hearts be filled with grace.
Streams of goodness ever flowing
call for songs of highest praise.
May we seek and find encouragement;
may our choices worthy be.
As we journey on together,
may we know integrity.  (Words © Scott Kearns 2008, inspired by Robert Robinson, 1758)
The 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

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 and used on a garden

Silence
Let us now settle into silence and stillness.
(Silence)

Let us centre our minds and our hearts.
   We are one with the universe.
   We are one with the sun and the stars.
   We are one with the earth.
   We are one with mystery…

(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our Religious Tradition
Readings from our broad religious tradition, some of which is traditionally read
at the beginning of Lent, shall now be read by (NN) and (NN).

The Colour of Beauty (Part 1):
Extracts from John O’Donohue.  Divine Beauty. The Invisible Embrace

xxx

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 4:1-11
(Inclusive Text)

Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights,
and after it, was very hungry.

The tempter came and said,
'If you are the One Born of God, tell these stones to turn into loaves’.

But Jesus replied, Scripture says,
'Not on bread alone is one to live
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’.

The devil then took Jesus to the holy city
and made Jesus stand on the parapet of the Temple.
'If you are the One Born of God,
throw yourself down; for scripture says,
'God will put you in the charge of angels
who will support you on their hands
in case you hurt your foot against a stone.'

Jesus said to the devil, Scripture also says,
'You must not put your God to the test.'

Next, taking Jesus to a very high mountain
the devil showed Jesus all the nations of the world and their splendour.
'I will give you all these' the devil said, 'if you fall at my feet and worship me.'

Then Jesus replied,
Be off, Satan!  For scripture says:
'You must worship your God, God alone must you serve.
’Then the devil left Jesus and angels appeared and looked after him.

Contemporary Exploration
• A Sermon suitable for this day can be found in my book, Against the Stream. Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew.
And just a thought from the past…

          I’m giving up austerity for Lent. 
          My impulse to beat myself-up in order to win God’s favour seems to die hard. 
          So I’m tackling this with a diet of joy, supplemented by a daily dose of the Lord’s Supper. 
          The original Christians didn’t celebrate Eucharist with cardboard wafers and diluted grape juice. 
          They shared communion in the midst of a common meal and sometimes inside a genuine feast. 
          I wonder what we’ve lost. 
          So, I’m giving up austerity for Lent. 
(Mark Herringshaw, blog.Beliefnet.com  18/2/2010)

Silence for Private Reflection

AFFIRMING

Litany for Lent (Optional)
The people stand, as they are able

Jesus invites us to a way of celebration,
meeting and feasting with the humble and poor.
All  
Let us walk his way with joy.

Jesus beckons us to a way of risk,
letting go of our security.
All  
Let us walk his way with joy.

Jesus challenges us to listen to the voices
of those who have nothing to lose.
All  
Let us walk his way with joy.

Jesus points us to a way of self-giving,
where power and status are overturned.
All 
Let us walk his way with joy.

Jesus calls us to follow the way of the cross,
where despair is transformed
by the promise of new life.
All  Let us walk his way with joy.  (© Jan Berry/bot)

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 
The Sound of History Humming"  (Tune: ‘Aurelia', 76.76D)                         5 RP
The sound of history humming,
the origins of time,
as galaxies are clustered,
as light and matter rhyme:
philosophers imagine
while science gathers facts,
we reach for understanding,
yet what we know contracts.

We delve beyond the present
through interstellar gas;
we fathom, seek to measure,
a sub-atomic mass.
The God that we conceive of,
a thief within the night:
we cannot gauge this treasure,
beyond the scale of light.

As yet the mystery blinds us,
confined by birth and death,
but human exploration
will not discard the quest;
as yet we live in tension:
the only earth we know
is where all skill and science
must help our love to grow.  
(© Andrew Pratt)

CELEBRATING

With the Children
The children come to 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? (xxx/jke)

The Offerings

The Presentation
God the weaver, making patterns,
spinning threads throughout our days,
help us to discern your weaving
in the multi-coloured autumn maze. (Adapted. Marjorie Dobson/mcm)

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  Indwelling God,
infused throughout all existence,
we honour you with many names.

Your realm is within the human heart.
We accept life for all that it can be,
on earth as throughout all creation.

May we continue to draw sustenance from this earth,
and may we receive forgiveness equal to our own.

May we ever move from separation toward union,
to live in grace, with love in our hearts,
forever and ever. Amen.    (Fred F Keip)

PARTING

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
"When There Is No Star To Guide You" (Tune: ‘Ode to Joy’, 87.87D)
When there is not star to guide you
and you cannot wait for day
and your ancient maps provide you
only hints to find the way,
keep within each other’s calling,
mark each time you make a turn,
shout for help if you are falling,
tell each other all you learn.

Be alert to shifts in weather;
if it turns to cold and frost
huddle closely all together,
check if any have been lost.
Listen for a river flowing,
feel for damper moving air,
trace from where the wind is blowing,
move on bravely but with care.
People remain standing

Parting Words
The presentness of Creativity God reaches beyond this place…
The Community Candle is extinguished

For the blessings we each bestow on one another
with our energy, compassion, and prayer,
we give thanks.
All  
For the blessings we become to others in need,
we give thanks and remember
that we are not alone.  (Douglas Taylor/fal)

Words of Blessing
Go now and walk lightly upon the earth,
for the places in which you 
stand,
walk,
play,
work,
love,
sleep, are holy.

Live simply.
Protect vulnerable creatures and places.
Resist evil.
Be of good courage.
Care for the earth.

Go now in the strength of Creativity God
to be a blessing to creation.
All  
Amen! May it be so!

Hymn/Song  (Cont.). "When There Is No Star To Guide You" (Tune: ‘Ode to Joy’, 87.87D)
If you think you have discovered
with your lantern in the dark
some clear path the dark has covered
let the others bring their light.
Test your single lone perception
in their gathered shining beams,
what you saw may be projection
fed by shadows, fears and dreams.

You may sometimes trip and stumble
on a hidden root or stone
but remember as you grumble
that you do not fall alone.
And in risking dark expanses
never marked on map or chart
you will find that faith advances
through the landscape of your heart.  (© Tom Troeger)
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, 2001.
Dobson, M. Multi-coloured Maze. Drama, Hymns, Prayers and Poems for Worship and Everyday Living. London. Stainer & Bell, 2004.
(HoS)
Hope is our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2004.
(SiF) Kearns, S.
Sing It Forward. Traditional Hymns Recast and Rewritten for Non-exclusive Spiritual Communities. Canada. Toronto. Direct from the  author, 2009.
Morely, J. (ed).
Bread of Tomorrow. Praying with the World’s Poor. London. SPCK/Christian Aid, 1992.
(OHV) New, C. Our Highest Values: A Collection of Songs for an Expansive Spirituality. Edmonton. Southminster-Steinhauer United Church, 2015.  chris@smsuc.com - Contact Christopher for musical score.
Pickett, H & E. (ed).
For All That is Our Life. A Meditation Anthology. Boston: Skinner House Books, 2005.
(RP) Pratt, A.
Reclaiming Praise. Hymns from a Spiritual Journey. London: Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2006.
(SLT)
Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
Troeger, T.
Borrowed Light. Hymn Texts, Prayers, and Poems. New York. Oxford University Press, 1994.
Vosper, G.
Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.

Web sites/Other:
Keip. UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Griffin. International Council of Unitarians & Universalists. http://www.icuu.net/resources/chalice_archives/Chalice%20index.html
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca
R
efreshment StationWords by Nan Fink Gefen, taken from an Evolutionary Passover Haggadah by Tree Bressen.

rexae74@gmail.com