Lent5A.29.3.2020

Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae74@gmail.com
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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
29 March 2020. Lent 5A. (Purple).
Celebrating the Liturgy of the Banquet

Worth Pondering
“Where the imagination is awake and alive, fact never hardens or closes
but remains open, inviting you to new thresholds of possibility and creativity”
(John O’Donahue)

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)
          Multi-sensory artwork
OR Floral/Symbols display (cloths, candles, stones, wood, leaves, flowers, earth, water) OR projection of Film/Slides 

xxx

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

The creator of life and the giver of life is in our midst.
Life in all its fullness is God’s offer to all.  (Adapt.WARC)

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
"Wake, Now My Senses" 
(Tune: Slane', 10.10.10.10)                                                            298 SLT
Wake, now my senses, and hear the earth call;
feel the deep power of being in all;
keep, with the web of creation your vow,
giving, receiving as love shows us how.

Wake, now my reason, reach out to the new,
join with each pilgrim who quests for the true;
honour the beauty and wisdom of time;
suffer your limit, and praise the sublime.

Wake, now compassion, give heed to the cry;
voices of suffering fill the wide sky;
take as your neighbour both stranger and friend,
praying and striving their hardship to end.

Wake, now my conscience, with justice your guide;
join with all people whose rights are denied;
take not for granted a privileged place;
God's love embraces the whole human race. 
Thomas J S Mikelson

OR

Here Is A Canvas(Tune: 11.10.11.10)
Here is a canvas as broad as creation,
here is a palette of life and of light.
Here God is painting through each generation,
mixing fresh pigments to move or delight.

Artists have joined in the bright celebration,
capturing images, pictures that shine;
telling new stories, recording our hist’ry,
moments of harmony,  dancing through time.

Others reflecting, exploring and shaping,
seek to imagine, to let colours flow,
using their skills as they share in creation,
changing perspectives as images grow.

Now let us join in this same acclamation,
challenge perceptions and offer new ways,
new ways of seeing to share re-creation,
now in this place, in this time, in our days.  © Andrew Pratt 24/4/2010

Opening Sentences
Praise to Creativity God, present through the ages,
All
source of our living.
Praise to Creativity God, dancing within our lives,
All
transforming and overflowing our lives.

Act of Awareness
We have gathered in this sacred place, again.
May we continue to create here a circle of love,
ever expanding,
ever growing.

A place of wisdom.
A place of connection.
A place of hope.

OR

We pray:
May our coming and our going be blessed,
this day and forever more.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song  Brother, Sister...” (Tune: 'Servant Song', 87.87)
Brother, sister I'm beside you,
Let me be as Christ to you,
Pray that I might have the grace
to let you be as Christ to me.

We are pilgrims on a journey
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.

I will share your problems with you
I'll support you in your space
I will help you run your distance
I will look you in the face.

I'll remember that God made you
I'll not take your dignity
I'll encourage you in your skills
to create and feel and be.

Brother, sister I'm beside you,
Let me be as Christ to you,
Pray that I might have the grace
to let you be as Christ to me.  (Richard Gillard)

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

xxx

Centering Silence
I invite you now into a time of silence
(Silence)

May this time of silence together
renew our hope
refresh our courage
lift our spirits
restore us in faith.
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
A reflection from a modern poet and a story from our biblical tradition
shall be read by (NN).

“Colour of Beauty” (Part 5) - Blue
Extracts from John O’Donohue. Divine Beauty. The Invisible Embrace

Distance and light often conspire to create unexpected beauty. On certain summer days the dark mountains become suffused with delicate blue fog. In the distance the mountains lose their coarse eroded aspect and assume the dream of being shrouded in delicate muslin of blue…

Distance loves blue. More often than not distance will choose to express its faraway-ness in blue. Somehow it feels appropriate that distance and loss have the same colour and the colour of such sorrow is blue…

Yet blue is a strange colour. It holds night and day within it. Though the land is mostly without blue, this makes clearance to intensify the blue of sky and water. The earth could have no more perfect covering that the sky. Earth and sky complement and counterpoint each other so perfectly because each is invested with the predominantly absent colour of the other. The earth is green, the sky has no green. The sky is blue, the earth has no blue…

Blue seems to be the colour of the infinite - an endless expanse where darkness and brightness dwell in blue light.

OR

From the World around us:
“Australian Street”
By Brenda Saunders. Eureka Street, Vol 22, No. 10. 21/5/2012

I know it's autumn when exotic imports

lose their cargo of leaves

Empty branches startle the sky

Northern cut-outs curling in the sun

catch on fence wire at the school

flooding gutters after rain

In summer the gumtree
in our yard
slims down, mindful of the dry spell

Oily crescents pressed underfoot

soften the asphalt under the line

Loose bark hangs in strips for weeks

like forgotten underwear
Gum nuts line the pathway to the bin

tiny hulls, our hidden progeny.

Traditionl Gospel:
Matthew 26: 6-13. 
(Inclusive Text)

While Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,
a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment,
and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table.

But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said,
‘Why this waste? This ointment could have been sold for a large sum,
and the money given to the poor.’

But Jesus, aware of this, said to them,
‘Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me.
For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.

‘Bypouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial

‘Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world,
what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.’

Contemporary Exploration HERE and HERE

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany: Life in All its Fullness (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

Bless you Wise and Holy One,
for your down-to-earth vision
of the best of what human life can be.
All  Bless you Wise and Holy One,
for your call to life in all its fullness…

v1 when we honour who we are as easily
as we are enthralled by what others want us to be;

v2  when we stop pursuing happiness and let it embrace us;

v3  when we love not in the hope of getting
but for the joy of giving;

v4  when love is not what-you-can-do-for-me
but what-we-can-be together;

v5  when we choose our leaders not for their image
but for their imagination,
not for the politics they play
but for the principles they live;

v6  when our economy thrives on our expressing who we are
not on our spending what we have;

v7  when the earth itself is our communion table;

v8  when we bite into theology's questions
as readily as we swallow technology’s answers;

v9  when we celebrate today as not just all we have but all we need.

Bless you Wise and Holy One
All  for calling us to life in all its fullness,
not just hereafter, but here and now. 
(N S D Esdon.edited/ea)

OR

A Litany (Optional)
Snow-capped peaks and warming valleys;
rolling spinifex and rocky outcroppings;
All  These are the splendours for which
we raise our songs of grateful praise.

Blue sky mornings and blood-red sunsets;
whirling dances between soil and sun;
All  These are the splendours for which
we raise our songs of grateful praise.

Bustling streets and lonely sidewalks;
rivers both mysterious and majestic;
All  These are the splendours for which
we raise our songs of grateful praise.

Ghost towns and gold mines;
sea breezes and desert palms;
All  These are the splendours for which
we raise our songs of grateful praise.

A place of Celebration that honours the earth
on which we walk, live and love,
All  With a spirit of compassion and a commitment
to community, the eternal ‘We’,
we raise our songs of grateful praise.  
(George L Stewart/Adapt)

Sharing 'The Peace'
This is a house of God.  A place of peace.
A place where we befriend one another.

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 AP

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
God, Composer and Conductor
(Tune: ‘Regent Square’ OR ‘Westminster Abbey’)                34 HoS
God, composer and conductor
of earth’s matchless symphony,
makes from silence glorious music,
from discordance, harmony;
brings forth joy from deepest sorrow,
ecstasy from agony.

God, the architect and artist
of earth’s colours, textures, forms,
gives new wonder to our vision,
light in even darkest storms,
teaches that with understanding,
faith redeems and love reforms.

God of science, healer, teacher,
pushes out the boundaries
of capacity and knowledge,
challenges and gently frees
from the limits that restrain us,
offers opportunities.

God, creative spirit in us,
inspiration, force sublime,
leading us to new endeavour,
you, our living paradigm,
may we know your constant presence
now, and to the end of time.  (Jocelyn Marshall)

With the Children
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? 
(xxx/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 the light and beauty of day
All We give thanks in awe and wonder.
In the dark and stillness of night
All We dream of healing and hope. (Gretta Vosper/wwg)

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)

THE LITURGY OF THE BANQUET
Offerings

Let us bring our offerings and our gifts of bread and wine
…
From each according to ability.
All  To each according to need.  (David Galston/q)

Welcome
Welcome to this banqueting table.

This is a table of hospitality, of sharing, and of celebration.
All   We break bread and pour wine
because these are the gifts that strengthen our journey together.

Remembering our Common Humanity…
v1 We remember and honour the justice imperative
that is the biblical heritage:
justice is not belief but action,
not silence but voice, not tolerance but compassion.

v2 A banquet reminds us of our common humanity
and our common need for just relationships.
All Jesus said, “If you love those who love you,
what merit is there in that?
An outlaw can do the same thing.

And if you give only to those who give back to you,
do you really expect congratulations?
Rather, love your enemies, do good,
and lend without expecting anything in return.”

Bread and Wine
v1 The call to follow justice is easy to issue,
but the resolve to follow justice is difficult to muster.
Together, let us be a community
that not only issues the word
but follows the dictate.

v2  May our community be one that holds
the strength of compassion and the resolve to act.
May we be a people who unites
our words with our deeds.
All  For the dignity of life and the hope of humanity,
may it be so.

v1 We break bread as an act of solidarity.
We pour wine as an act of sharing.

Welcome to this banquet celebration.
You are invited to participate.  (David Galston/q)
Bread and Wine served in small groups around the worship space

PARTING

Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
Celebrate Each Difference”  (Tune: ‘Intercessor’, 11.10.11.10)
We cannot make an easy, safe distinction,
all people are our neighbours, none denied.
The voices of all nations heard beside us:
all sisters, brothers, none we should deride.

The wall between the peoples has been broken.
In love of God divisions disappear.
As seen in Christ, we recognise our neighbours.
We greet unusual faces without fear.

We celebrate each difference God has given.
Each nation, black and white, both straight and gay,
the able and the challenged, God has offered,
that we might share together, learn and pray
Remain standing

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

You are wayfarers, following roads to the end of the earth,
pilgrims on your way to the end of the age.
All We are travellers on the road to freedom,
a community of grace, with good news for all we meet.

Travel lightly, travel together, learn as you go:
you are disciples, the mission is urgent, the journey is long.
All We will take heart.

When the way is uncertain,
shadows are sinister and dangers threaten,
All  we will not be afraid.
For we are in God and God is in us.

Words of Blessing
Go in peace.
And may the Holy God surprise you on the way,
Christ Jesus be your company,