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.

22 March 2020. Lent 4A. (Purple).
Commissioning of a Lay Leader (Optional)

Worth Pondering
“Our generation has been the first in history (that I know of)
to willingly surrender the middle class to become peasants
to enrich the privileged for no apparent reason”
(Roger Lee Ray)

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


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”).


(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

Blessed be the changing seasons of our living.
Blessed be the reliable balancing act of nature.
Blessed be the rededication of values and meaning of life.

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

Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
God Who Carved... Landscape” 
(Tune: ‘Dansey’).                                                              31 FFS
God who carved this timeless landscape,
snow-clad ridge to valley plain,
power of surging race and river,
limestone crag and scarred terrain;
maker still of earth, fire, water,
artistry of sight and sound,
Southern lights and sunset splendour,
raise our eyes and you are found.

Calendar of nature's balance,
rhythms of the farming year,
shearing, milking, ploughing, pruning,
manger setting ever near!
lonely struggle in the byways,
nor'west dust or snow and flood,
fellowship of tears and laughter:
Lord, with you, we're understood.

Giving thanks for those before us,
village life and tussock track,
as we turn to face the future,
history's wind upon our back;
scattered are our congregations,
each now shares in ministry,
bonding strength of work together:
spirit of community.  (D
oug Grierson)
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
We are people of faith.
We are called to listen for the wind;
to encounter the Spirit.
Who will tell us what God wants us to do?

Our pioneers in the faith dared to trust God;
they left all to follow a call and a promise.
All  Where is it that God wants to lead us?

We have received the promise of steadfast love.
God has blessed us, and our hearts are glad.

Act of Awareness
We come together in this hour...
in a wider search for truth and purpose.

In this quest, 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.

Let all who enter this sacred place
find comfort in this community.


We pray:
Awesome and gracious God,
you who are the power that brings us to life
and the spirit that sustains us.

May we become what is in our power to become.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song  Here in the Busy City”                                                                           166 AOV2
Here in the busy city 
now let the church be seen
where lesser gods are worshipped
in money and machine;
where news is but sensation,
the Good News hardly heard
now let the church take action
in living out the word!

In policies and planning
the church be there to speak
to moderate the powerful,
to argue for the weak:
where law must sit in judgement
and love is little known,
there at the crisis centre
the Christ concern be shown.

Where litter chokes the gutter
and people go to waste,
where joblessness is bitter
and living lost its taste
to underlevened people
be proof of rising yeast,
in lives devoid of flavour
be saltiness released!

Here in the busy city
 God walks on every street
 in generous or greedy,
 the honest or the cheat,
 and daily we must offer
 the good that goes unpriced
 with vigour and with vision
 the lifestyle of the Christ.  (Shirley 
Erena Murray)


Of the Mulitude of Words”  (Tune:  ‘Vienna’, 77.77)                                                  16 TMT
Of the multitude of words
held within the Bible's wall,
some bring life and some spread death,
some can liberate us all.

Should our use of sacred words
put all other views to flight?
Does our inner certainty
justify abuse of might?

Are our ways of using strength
open for the world to see?
Do they hide behind the texts
masking our transparency?

Loving God, the source of truth,
help us clearly to discern
what brings death and what brings life,
life for which our spirits yearn.

Then O God of spirit life,
we shall live with openness,
giving all the right to be
their true selves with graciousness.  (William L Wallace)
The people sit

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 poured on an outside garden

Centering Silence
So we come apart from the busyness of family and work…
In the silence of this place
may we give our attention right now
to each other,
to new beginnings,
to this time,
to this season.

Music of Reflection


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

“Colour of Beauty” (Part 4) - Yellow
Extracts from John O’Donohue.
Divine Beauty. The Invisible Embrace

A yellow fire burns eternally, alway out in the infinite distance of the cosmos. All colour, light and earthly life depend on that yellow furnace. Without our knowing it, distance, as always, is one of our great protectors. Were we nearer to the yellow fire-source, it would scorch everything to cinders. Conversely, were this sun-fire to slip down into a crevice in the pattern that holds its face toward us, the earth would freeze over and all life would disappear.

The colour yellow holds such warmth, brightness and attraction for us because it is the colour of the source that sustains us. A room that is yellow can throw a glad brightness back into the space it surrounds. Put some pinks, reds and burnt umber in there and it almost feels as though you are nestled within a honeycomb…

In terms of its physics, yellow has absorbed read and green and then reflects yellow back. Red is the colour of life, blood and fire; and green is the colour of growth and of hope. Little wonder that yellow has such a life-giving brightness.

Traditional Gospel:
John 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 33-34  
(Inclusive Text)

Jesus went along and saw a man blind from birth.
Jesus spat on the ground, made mud with the spittle,
put this over the eyes of the blind man, and said,
“Go and wash in the pool of Siloam'.

So the blind man went off and washed,
and came away with sight restored.

The neighbours and people who earlier had seen him begging, said,
'Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?'
Some said, 'Yes, it is the same one.'
Others said, 'No, he only looks like him.'
The man said, 'I am the one…'

They brought the man who had been blind to the Pharisees.
It had been a sabbath day when Jesus made the paste 
and opened the man's eyes,
so when the Pharisees asked how he had come to see, he said,
'The one they call Jesus put paste on my eyes,
and I washed and I can see.'

Then some of the Pharisees said,
'This Jesus can not be from God: he does not keep the sabbath.'

Others said, 'How could a sinner produce signs like this?'
And there was disagreement among them.

So they spoke to the blind man again,
'What do you have to say about this Jesus yourself,
now that he has opened your eyes?'
'He is a prophet', replied the man.

'Are you trying to teach us,' they replied, ‘and you a sinner
through and through, since you were born!'
And they drove the man away.


John 9:1-7 (An Adaptation)
By Helen Garton. Courage to Love/223

As he went on his way he saw a woman who had been gay from birth.
His disciples asked him:
‘Rabbi, whose sin caused her to be lesbian?
Hers or her parents’ sin?’

Jesus answered:
’Neither she nor her parents sinned;
she was born that way so that God’s work might be revealed in her.
While the day lasts, we must carry on the work of God; night is coming,
when no one can work. While I am in the world I am the light of the world.’

With these words, he spat on the ground and made a paste with the spittle;
he spread it on the disciples’s eyes and immediately
her pain eased and she was able to be herself.

Contemporary Exploration
• A Sermon suitable for this day can be found in my book, Against the Stream. Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew.

Something for EARTH Hour...

Silence for Personal Reflection


An Affirmation of Peace and Justice  (Optional)
In response to the Word reflected on, let us stand and share together
an affirmation written by some people in Indonesia.
The people stand as they are able

All  I believe in God, who is love and who has given the earth to all people.
I believe in Jesus Christ, who came to heal us
and to free us from all forms of oppression.
I believe in the Spirit of God,
who works in and through all who are turned to towards the truth.
I believe in the community of faith,
which is called to be at the service of all people.

v1  I do not believe in the right of the strongest,
nor the force of arms, nor the power of oppression.
v2  I believe in human rights, in the solidarity of all people,
in the power of non-violence.
v3  I do not believe in racism,
in the power that comes from wealth and privilege,
or in any established order that enslaves.

v4  I believe that all men and women are equally human,
that order based on violence and injustice is not order.
v5  I do not believe that war and hunger are inevitable and peace unattainable.
v6  I believe in beauty of simplicity,
in love with open hands, in peace on earth.
All  I do not believe that suffering needs to be in vain,
that death is the end, that the disfigurement of the world
is what God intended.

But I dare to believe always and in spite of everything,
in God’s power to transform and transfigure,
fulfilling the promise of a new heaven and a new earth
where justice and peace will flourish. 
 Adapted from an Indonesian creed/dd

Lay leader comes forward

The Story
Once upon a time, in the beginning,
a labour of love and outreach was undertaken.

And a place was established where all persons might find
space and hospitality and inclusion.
And it was called (NN).

And the labour of love progressed.
And it grew.
And it was very good.
All  We are an inclusive community of people
who seek together to discern the transforming presence of God
in the world and in our own lives,
and to respond to that discovery through
worship, mission, hospitality, conversation and care.

The Ministry
For several years now (NN) has served this congregation
as its (Urban Community Worker/Other)
As a result, (NN Congregation) has become very well known and respected
in the local communities we serve.

But time has come to reshape that work,
and Church Council has now given it a new focus
through the recently established (NN) Wellbeing Centre/Other.

(About the new venture…)
The Centre is a holistic response to health and well-being for people of all ages.  
And it seeks to make this response through the supply of extra support
for parents, families, older people, and carers,
 by being both a safe place, as well as providing
 useful information and practical living skills, to all.

The role of Manager will be to work with our Centre tenants
encouraging them to join with us
in promoting existing and new outreach activities,
thus enriching the lives of all who come to this place.

Today we commission (NN) to this new work
as Manager, NN Wellbeing Centre.
The people stand

Commissioning Prayer
v1  We pray remembering God prays within us:
We give thanks for all those who, over the years,
have offered care and hospitality and outreach,
as part of this inclusive community called (NN) Congregation.

May they all continue to be blessed with God's love and care.

This day we also give thanks for (NN):
for the community work s/he has done in the past,
and for the new tasks set before her/him today as
Manager, (NN) Wellbeing Centre.

May s/he be blessed with God’s love and care.
May we always be prepared to offer our support to her/him,
that s/he may never feel alone in her/his challenging work.

v2  And the labourers looked at all that had been accomplished,
and the people rejoiced, for it was very good.

Sharing 'The Peace'
This is a house of God.  A place of peace.
A place where we befriend one another.  
(Mitchell & Ricciuti/bb)
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, and with (NN)

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
God’s Word, God’s World”  (Tune: ‘The Streets of Laredo’ - trad.)
Come people of faith from the bounds of Australia,
let’s share in the vision of what we might be:
a part of God’s world that is vibrant with colour,
a landscape for life that is open and free.

God’s world has one table for all kinds of people, 
God's world is a home all are welcome inside,
God's way is the way beyond stigma and dogma, 
God's Spirit the surfboard that dares us to-ride.

God's Word is alive in the challenge of Jesus: 
to look with his eyes at the world that we know, 
to stand with conviction, to care with compassion, 
to make new connections, to pray as we go.

Let's relish the changes the Word rearranges, 
 with bushfires of bias stamped out from the start,
 let's savour the flavour of full-bodied living,
 the world of Christ Jesus, the way of the heart.  (Shirley Erena Murray)


Praise Death and Birth amid the Stars  (Tune: ‘Lasst Uns Erferuen’, 88 88 Alleluia)
Praise birth and death amid the stars
Whence came all atoms that we
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise cosmic temporality
Each moment precious as can be
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Praise birth and death upon this Earth
Rejuvenation and rebirth
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise beauty, rise, and then depart
Fullness of spirit, breaking heart
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia!  (Connie Barlow)



In a world so full of what is wonderful,
ever changing, ever surprising us with life’s
power and beauty, may we accept with gratitude,
all that gladdens us, and with fortitude
all that brings us grief.

Let us be learning always,
from all that we see and do, and
from all that happens to us.  (Adapt.A Powell Davies/lth)

With the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat


"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 in your original language, as that is 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)


Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
We Laugh, We Cry” 
(Tune: ‘Credo’, Irreg.)                                                               354(v1-2) SLT
We laugh, we cry, we live, we die;
we dance, we sing our song.
We need to feel there’s something here
to which we can belong.
We need to feel the freedom
just to have some time alone.
But most of all we need close friends
we can call our very own.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;