Lent2A.8.3.2020

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
8 March 2020. Lent2A. (Purple).
Celebrating Community in the Tradition of the Meal

Worth Pondering
“Jesus’ speech had the character not of instructionand ideas,
but of compelling imagination…”
(
Amos Wilder)

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,
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)
          Multi-sensory 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

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

We gather here 
to celebrate life's beauty and find healing for its pain,
to wonder at the mystery that gave us birth,
and to listen for the wisdom that guides us
in the quietness of this moment.
  (Gary Kowalski)

Let us then celebrate the richness and diversity of life
in the presentness of God.

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
One in Love, We Meet Together(Tune: ‘Hyfrydol’ 87.87D) 
One in love, we meet together,
one in time, and never apart.
We in flesh as brother, sister,
makes us one in mind and heart.
All incarnate, we would offer,
all we most sincerely prize,
Learning though traditions differ
how they join to make us wise.

One in outlook, always searching,
not to bind in common creed,
As a people, be more ready
to respond to other’s need.
Here we are so finely fashioned,
understanding, here to serve,
Never narrow in compassion,
empathy without reserve.

As in Christ, may we discover
that to give is to receive,
That in God the good is present,
ever, always we perceive.
Not by chance the world’s creation,
not by chance was life begun,
God is love and our vocation
is to love ‘til love has won.  (Adapted by Betty Van Till/3C Exchange)

OR

A Hymn of Exploration(Tune: ‘Northbrook’, 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
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
Life is a journey with others;
we travel as a people, on a winding road.
All  
We share our lives, our experiences, our hopes, our fears.

With joy and hope we welcome other travellers
to share our lives.
All  We learn from each other.
We laugh and cry with each other.
We are home with each other.

And together we celebrate God's presentness
All  as we are refreshed and made ready
for re-creation in our lives and our communities.

Act of Awareness
Southern hemisphere:
May we live 
with the grace of falling leaves,
the enthusiasm of the flaming Japanese Maples,
and with the serenity of the old fruit trees,
whose roots reach deep into the earth...

May we know 
that living and dying are one,
that life is precious, and beautiful, and limited,
and that nothing good is ever lost...

This autumn, may we see 
in the ways of nature
a way for ourselves.  (Christine Robinson/adapt)

OR

Northern hemisphere:
In this time of anticipated spring
let us allow ourselves to extend the anticipation -
to value the time of budding before blooming,
of seeding before sprouting...

A revelation of that which is new, never before seen.
It is that very newness
which embodies hope and potential
for the wholeness which is yet to be...

Let us allow spring to unfold slowly
that we may appreciate the true mystery
of rebirth and renewal.  (Terasa Cooley/adapt)

OR

We pray:
In this season of Lent, may we become more aware
of the presentness of the sacred:
in each other,
in music,
as we give and receive gifts of love...

That we may all live so others
can see this presentness alive in our actions.
May it be so with us.

Hymn/Song  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)

OR

For the Beauty of the Earth(Tune: ‘Dix’, 77.77.77)                                                         21 SLT
For the beauty of the earth,
for the splendour of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies:
Refrain:
Source of all,
to thee we raise this
our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind’s delight,
for the mystic harmony
linking sense to sound and sight:
Refrain:

For the wonder of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale and tree and flower,
sun and moon and stars of light:
Refrain:

For the joy of human care,
sister, brother, parent, child,
for the kinship we all share,
for all gentle thought and mild:
Refrain:
Source of all,
to thee we raise this
our hymn of grateful praise
.  (FSPierpoint/adapt)
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

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 poured onto a garden

Centering Silence
Let us now take a moment to settle into the silence.
(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.

May the blessings of life be known to all.  Bob Holmes/adapted
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our Religious Tradition
Readings from our broad religious tradition shall be read by (NN) and (NN).

“Colour of Beauty” (Part 2) - Black
Extracts from John O’Donohue. Divine Beauty. The Invisible Embrace

In terms of physics, black occurs when an object is absorbing all of the coloured wavelengths. This is why nothing is reflected black. Black represents pure hunger or colour; it exercises no generosity, the eye receives nothing…

Yet it is not that black is without colour; it is rather that it is the absence, the outer surface, behind which colours secretly dwell. The heart of blackness is full of colour. The outer absence veils a rich interiority of presence…

In a world where colour is often garish, the simple clarity of black maintains a lovely dignity.

Traditional Gospel:
John 3:1-9  (Scholars Edition)

A Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Judean leader,
came to Jesus during the night and said,
"Rabbi, we know that you've come as a teacher from God;
after all, nobody can perform the miracles you do unless God is with him."

Jesus replied to him,
"As God is my witness: No one can experience God's imperial rule
without being born from above."

Nicodemus says to him,
"How can an adult be reborn?
Can you re-enter your mother's womb and be born a second time?"

Jesus replied,
"As God is my witness: No one can enter God's domain
without being born of water and spirit.  What is born of the human realm is human,
but what is born of the spiritual realm is spirit.

"Don't be surprised that I told you,
'Every one of you must be reborn from above.'

"The spirit blows every which way, like wind:
you hear the sound it makes but you can't tell where it is coming from
or where it's headed.  That's how it is
with everyone reborn of the spirit".

"How can that be possible?" Nicodemus retorted.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

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

Sustainer and giver of life,
may all people be freed from the temptations of power,
from the urge to control rather than enable.
All  Come, Spirit, liberate us from the forces of domination.

Loving Empowerer, may we
challenge the 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.

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

Loving Creativity,
may we affirm ourselves and others,
understanding that we are all unique,
and have voices that need to be heard.
All  Come, Creator of Diversity, 
and help us see the value of difference.
Silence

Inclusive and Compassionate God,
may we recognise and challenge discrimination
based on gender, race, age, 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. DMcEwan/ml)

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace
and of our shared friendship.

The peace of God is here... to stay. (Iona)
All Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn/Song   People stand as they are able, to sing
“Wisdom Far Beyond” (Tune: 'Coronation Road')                                                     157 HoS
Wisdom far beyond our knowledge,
Word of endless mystery,
God, in whom is comprehended
all that was, is now, will be,
you have set us free to wander,
world on world, through time and space,
haunted by the hope of heaven,
nurtured by your constant grace.

Unimaginable lover,
faithful to eternity,
God, fulfilling and indwelling
all that was, is now, will be,
we can never stray beyond you,
loving Presence, you are here:
called to join your great adventure,
forth we go to find you there.

Beating heart of all creation,
first and final unity,
God who draws all things together,
all that was, is now, will be,
we have heard your distant music,
shared your dream of harmony:
now we go as reconcilers,
makers of community.

Focus of our search for meaning,
truth in our perplexity,
God the One by whom we measure
all that was, is now, will be,
centre of our heart’s devotion,
magnet of our questing mind,
spirit’s birth and soul’s companion,
journey’s end in you we find.  (Colin Gibson)

CELEBRATING

Reflection 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:
May we today be touched by grace.
May we move beyond viewing this life
only through a frame,
Wm  but touch and be touched by it,