Revd Rex A E Hunt

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10 September 2017. Pentecost 14A. Creation 2A. (Green).
Land Sunday

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 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 Music

Entry into the Celebration  (Sung, Solo Voice)
Be Still… (Tune: ‘Be Still and Know That I Am God’)
Be still and feel the presence of God,
the presence pulsing, pulsing through Earth, 
be still and feel the pulse of God.

Be still and hear the Spirit of God,
the Spirit breathing, breathing through Earth,
be still and hear the breath of God.

Be still, behold the glory of God,
the glory filling, filling this Earth,
be still, behold the face of God.  (Norman C Habel)
(The gong is sounded three times)

The God of the land be with.
All   And also with you.

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit in silence

v2 Fountain of life...
Pulse of life...
Breath of life...
All  Earth is filled with the presentness of God.

v1 A planet filled with the presentness of God
All  quivering in the forests,
vibrating in the land,
pulsating in the wilderness,
shimmering in the rivers.

v2  Together this day, let us sense
the face of God in all creation. (Adapted. Norman Habel/soc)

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 the 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
(iii) PLUS some specific resources on Terrorism

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"O Brother Sun" (Tune: Ye banks & braes, 88 88D)    1066 STJ
O Brother Sun, you bring us light,
all shining 'round in fiery might.
O Sister Moon, you heal and bless,
your beauty shines in tenderness.

O Brother Wind, you sweep the hills,
your mighty breath both freshens and fills.
O Sister Water, you cleanse and flow
through rivers and streams, in ice and snow.

O Brother Fire, you warm our night,
with all your dancing coloured light.
O Sister Earth, you feed all things,
all birds, all creatures, all scales and wings.

O Sister Death, you meet us here
and take us to our God so near.
O God of Life, we give you praise
for all your creatures, for all your ways.  
(Adpat.St Francis of Assisi by Sharon Anway)
Remain standing after the hymn             

Opening Sentences
We invite the country to worship with us:
wild flowers and mysterious mushrooms,
swirling grasses and golden wattle.

We invite the farmlands to sing with us:
wheat fields, orchards and vineyards,
red gums, gardens and wetlands.

We join with all the fauna in praising God:
All kangaroos, emus and bandicoots,
echidnas, eagles and magpies
We invite the ground to stir deep below:
life-giving microbes restoring the soil,
beetles and worms preparing our food.

We celebrate the song of the soil!
All Sing, soil, sing! 
(Adapted. Norman Habel/soc)

Act of Awareness
It's time for us.
This time is for us.
We step inside the sacred circle.

Here, with courage, we see our lives as part of
the continually astonishing mystery of life.

Here, with reflection, we know our lives
are always lived connected with other people,
wider communities, the eternal humanity.

Here, with faith, we reach beyond ourselves,
to find that good spirit that strengthens our spirit;
to hear that word that changes us;
and to come closer to the sacred...

This time is for us. (Adapted. Francis Macnab/h)


We pray:
Creating God, we celebrate your vibrant presence
among us and our kin in creation,
especially in the soil,
the paddocks and the land.

May our spirits be lifted to rejoice with the land,
the wild flowers, and
all the creatures of the countryside.
May it be so.

Hymn  “Dancing with God” (Tune: ‘To God be the Glory’)    23 SNS2
Our energy level is high when we start;
We quickly discover the dance in our heart;
For God is within and between and beyond;
With movement and rhythm we love to respond.
Come and try; don’t be shy;
We are given the chance
To be free; and with glee
To be part of the dance;
The rhythm of life has a wonderful beat;
God’s life is indwelling and deems all complete.

Some steps are familiar but some are quite new;
Some easy to learn and some harder to do;
Life’s beat is amazing; we truly are blest;
With God as our partner we dance at our best.
Come and try; don’t be shy;
We are given the chance
To be free; Come! Agree
To be part of the dance;
The rhythm of life is a rhythm so strong;
In God we keep dancing; in God we belong.

Sometime we’re exhausted, our eagerness gone;
We wish to slow down but the dance hastens on;
With God dwelling in us we dance the last mile;
In God we can finish and do it in style.
Come and try; don’t be shy;
We are given the chance
To be free; constantly
To be part of the dance;
This rhythm of life in the depths of our soul
Is God’s gracious gift; it declares we are whole.  (George Stuart)


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.  (Doug Grierson)

The people sit


"Great God..." (Tune: 'Jerusalem")
Great God your love has held our lives
across the years down to this day.
Your constant presence held us fast:
remain with us we plead and pray.
We watched the towers, we saw the flame,
the clouds of dust swept down the street;
we heard the voices that we loved
and cried for those we’d no more meet.

As time moves on some memories fade,
the grief we shared lies in the past,
for others pain is just as sharp,
this present hurt will always last.
A human act has swept away
our partners, parents, children, friends,
some people we had never known,
the memory lives and never ends.

Beyond this day we try to live:
a sinew of each life survives,
but where is God in hurt and hate?
The questions stay to haunt our lives.
Help us to build a better world
not fuelled by vengeance, fed by greed;
a world in which we all can live,
what ever colour, race or creed.  (© Andrew Pratt 18/8/2011)
Commissioned by Dean McIntyre (United Methodist Church (USA)
for the 10th Anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Centre

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


Take the eucalyptus leaf you received at the door,
rub it between your fingers, break it, smell it,
and share with the person next to you
a special memory of the soil,
the paddocks or wild creatures in the country.

We remember with delight the gardens
and paddocks of our childhood.

The places where we played in the sand, when we felt close
to the ground
to bright flowers and baby animals.
All We remember and rejoice.

Away from the busyness of our day-to-day living
and in the silence of this place,
let us now give thanks
for the land, for soils that sustain our life!

Sung reflection:

All  As this day dawns in beauty,
we pledge ourselves
to repair the web. 
(Carol P Christ/swc)

Earth is a sanctuary, a sacred planet
filled with the presentness of God.
All A home for us to share with our kin.
(Norman Habel/soc)


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

From the World Around us:
"The Small Plot of Ground..."
By Alla Renee Bozarth. Earth Prayers/132

The small plot of ground
on which you were born
cannot be expected
to stay forever
the same.

Earth changes,
and home becomes different

You took flesh
from clay
but the clay
did not come
from just one

To feel alive,
important, and safe,
know your own waters
and hills, but know

You have stars in your bones
and oceans
in blood.
You have opposing
terrain in each eye.

You belong to the land
and sky of your first cry,
you belong to infinity.

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 18: 15-20

Jesus spoke to the disciples:
“If your brother or sister sins against you,
go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.
If the brother or sister listens to you, you have regained that one.
But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you,
so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 

If the brother or sister refuses to listen to them,
tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church,
let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 

Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be
bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask,
it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
For where two or three are gathered in my name,
I am there among them.”

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection


A Celebration of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share a celebration of faith.
The people stand as they are able

Our land is alive with the glory of God:
All  desert sands hum and gum trees dance,
brown grasses sing
and mountains breathe their stillness.

All created things add their rhythm of delight
All  and even the stones rap out their praise.
Let our voices mingle with the song of the earth.
May our hearts join the beat of her joy.

For our triune God is with us:
All  our creator surrounds and upholds us.
Christ Jesus walks beside and before us.
The Spirit moves within and between us.
Blessed be God,
our wonder and our delight.  (
Jenni Tymms/mgs)


Ashes, Stones, and Flowers: A Litany for 9/11 Rembrance
In memory of all Victims of War and Terrorism

The litany requires either actually standing at a running river or a lake, or if that is not feasible bringing a large basin of water into the center of a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other space.  It also requires having a list of names of people of various countries who have died and are dying as victims of war and terrorism.

For vibrant lives suddenly and shamelessly sacrificed,
We lift up the ashes of our loss, 
O Source of Life.

For the lives that continue, haunted forever by the pain of absence,
We lift up the ashes of our remorse, 
O Wellspring of Compassion.

For the conflagration of flames and nightmare images
forever seared into our memories,
We lift up the ashes of our pain, 
O Breathing Spirit of the World.

For the charred visions of peace and the dry taste of fear,
We lift up the ashes of our grief, 
O Infinite.

For all the deaths that have been justified by turning the love of God
or country into fanatical arrogance,
We lift up the ashes of our shame, 
O God.

All As we cast these ashes into the troubled water of our times,
Transforming One, hear our plea:

Mn that by your power they will make fertile the soil of our future
Wn and by your mercy nourish the seeds of peace.

The people recite the names of the dead.

The people cast the ashes in silence into the river or a bowl of water.

For the ways humanity pursues violence rather than understanding
We lift up the stones of our anger, 
O Breathing Spirit of the World.

For the ways we allow national, religious and ethnic boundaries
to circumscribe our compassion,
We lift up the stones of our hardness, 
O Wellspring of Compassion.

For our addiction to weapons and the ways of militarism
We lift up the stones of our fear, 
O Source of Life.

For the ways we cast blame and create enemies
We lift up the stones of our self-righteousness, 
O God

All As we cast these stones into this troubled water,
Transforming One, hear our plea:

Mn Just as water wears away the hardest of stones,
Wn so too may the power of your compassion soften the hardness of our hearts
and draw us into a future of justice and peace.

The people recite the names of the dead.

The people cast the stones in silence into the river or a bowl of water.

For sowing seeds of justice to blossom into harmony,
We cast these flowers into the water, 
O Source of Peace.

For seeing clearly the many rainbow colors of humanity and earth,
We cast these flowers into water, 
O Infinite.

For calling us to life beyond our grieving,
We cast these flowers into water, 
O Breathing Spirit of the World.

All As we cast these flowers into this living water,
Transforming One, hear our plea:

Mn Just as water births life in a desert and gives hope to the wounded,
Wn so too may the power of your nurturing renew our commitment to peace.

The people recite the names of the dead.

The people cast the flowers in silence into the river or a bowl of water.

• Litany by Rev Patricia Pearce, former pastor of Tabernacle United Church, Philadelphia, and Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of The Shalom Center.

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.
The peace of God is here… to stay. (Iona)