Nobodies.ReignXA.22.11.2020

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
22 November 2020. Reign of Christ A. (White).
Jesus and his Kingdom of Nobodies

Worth Pondering
“It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy
for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion
for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted,
but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid.

"When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit;
when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendour of the past;
when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain;
when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than
with the voice of compassion--its message becomes meaningless” 
(Abraham Heschel)

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/Video 

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

Come in bringing all of who you are.
Calm your hurried pace.
For this hour let the cares, the fretfulness and worry, be set aside.

Know that you are not alone. 
There is strength and caring support for you here.
(Adapt. C S Owen-Towle)

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit in silence, then...

"We call upon the power which sustains the planets in their orbits,
that wheels our Milky Way in its 200 million year spiral,
to imbue our personalities and our relationships
with harmony, endurance, and joy.

"Fill us with a sense of immense time so our brief, flickering lives
may truly reflect the work of vast ages past
and also the millions of years of evolution whose potential
lies in our trembling hands." (Australian deep ecologist) John Seed, Thinking Like a Mountain, 1988)

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, 10 Terrorism, 11. Science/Cosmology
(iii) Some specific resources on Terrorism
HERE
(iv) On Wonder, Awe, and Nature HERE

Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
"You Are Born In Us Again”  (Tune: ‘Dunstan’)                                                                 52 COC
You are born in us again
Like the warmth of the summer wind you come,
to melt away the icicles of vanity and pride;
you come to blow the very doors of loving open wide.
Like the warmth of the summer wind you come,
like the warmth of the summer wind you come.

You are born in us again
Like the scent of the summer rain you come,
You come to quench the thirsty and to freshen up the land;
you come to clean away the dust that settled in our hand.
Like the scent of the summer rain you come,
like the scent of the summer rain you come.

You are born in us again
Like the light of the summer sun you come,
to give light to the places that have never seen the Son;
you come now to embrace us, you’re the holy, holy one.
Like the light of the summer sun you come,
like the light of the summer sun you come.  MWilson
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
v1  A morning mist,
the gleam of a new day,
faintly we discern the possibilities that are before us.
All   Energy rising, plans turning to action,
we build our every yesterday
from the living of our days.

v2   May we live our hope into tomorrow.
All   May we wrap our lives around
the challenges of today.

v1  And in the quiet of the sacred space,
may we listen at the centre of our being
for the truth of our inner voice
v2   that sets before us the purpose of this day.  (Adapt.Gretta Vosper/ab)

Act of Awareness
The world is always radiant.
Whether at night under the dimmest starlight,
or at noon under the brightest sun,
the world is giving forth a vast legend.

It only awaits the involvement of the eye,
the engagement of the ear.

So let us live this moment in all its fullness,
for in it is all realization, all time.  (Adapt.Kenneth Patton/sscl)

OR

We pray:
Christ be with me, Christ before me,
Christ be after me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left. 
(Adapt. St Patrick)
May it be so.

Hymn  O Life That Maketh All Things New”  (Tune: ‘Truro’, LM)                                     54 HCL
O life that maketh all things new,
The blooming earth, our thoughts within!
Our pilgrim feet, wet with thy dew,
In gladness hither turn again.

From hand to hand the greeting flows,
From eye to eye the signals run,
From heart to heart the bright hope glows;
The seekers of the Light are one.

One in the freedom of the truth,
One in the joy of paths untrod,
One in the soul’s perennial youth,
One in the larger thought of God;

The freer step, the fuller breath,
The wide horizon’s grander view,
The sense of life that knows no death,
The Life that maketh all things new.  (Samuel Longfellow/Revised by D S Harrington)

OR

E=mc2: Einstein/Science/Religion (Tune: ‘Stewardship’ 11.10.11.10)
God is less tangible than a neutrino
(taking a short-cut? Or faster than light?
Challenging theories, sustained suppositions).
Can we be certain that we are so right?

All our theology, all speculation
must be provisional, never a creed.
Is the best test of 'divine' revelation
how it is mending those broken, in need;

Open to challenge, to intellect, reason;
forging new concepts in culture and place;
yet in humility focusing loving,
open, accepting and channelling grace?  © Andrew Pratt 26/9/2011
People sit

Welcome
In your own words

A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are gatherping 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 the Gathering.
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.

CENTERING

Centering Silence
In the safety of this sacred place I invite you now into a time of silence.
(Silence)

May our ears be attuned to hear
the great symphony of the universe, and
in the solo of another’s face...
(Silence)

Spoken Reflection (Optional)
"Imagine Integrity"
By Bruce Sanguin.
If Darwin Prayed/162.

Mighty and tender God,
you, the deep within all,
you, the encompassing heart of all,
we enter now into your kin-dom,
your community of wholeness,
a realm of peace.

We bring our hunger,
and the hunger of the world.
We bring our inner stranger,
and the exiled of the world.
We bring our hurting selves,
and the hurting of the world.
We open to healing.

Inspired,
we dare to imagine integrity
in our inner life, our relationships,
our planet, and our political systems.

We dare to imagine the reign of Christ.
Love's Servant,
your heart
for an unfolding cosmos.
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Wisdom from the Religious Traditions
          “Wisdom is not just special knowledge about something. Wisdom is a way of being, a way of inhabiting the world.
          The beauty of wisdom is harmony, belonging and illumination of thought, action, heart and mind.”
(John O’Donohue)

Reader:  Even as we seek understanding, our minds,
too often, shelter us from the realities we might uncover.
All  May we have the courage to hear and hold truths
found within these words.  (Gretta Vosper/ab)

• "At the Margin”
By Stephen M. Shick. Consider the Lilies/48

At the margin of a newly cut field,
where every blade still stands secure,
where every bud is fearless now,
a lily
        turns to the dawn
                  and opens.

Here, in the kingdom of the living,
        danger has passed,
        and clustered buds,
        moist and swollen,
        choose their day.

We too grow at the margins,
where our fear of cutting is faced,
where we accept our lowly place,
where we explode in the dawn,
        with the brilliance
                  of a flower.

OR

• “Christ on the Margins”
By Marlene Marburg.

He upturns the table

They upturn the soapbox

He reads the raw underside

They read the soapie side

He speaks of love and vulnerability

They speak of law and certainty
He is crucified
…
They are crassified.

OR

• "Distinguishing History from Confession”
By David Galston.
Embracing the Human Jesus/17.

Taking the historical Jesus seriously mans saving Jesus from the imperial church
and the memory of the Christian Empire - the days
when everyone was Christian whether they wanted to be or not.

This is no easy task.
Despite the apparent waning of Christianity in Western experience,
the desire to preserve it for nostalgic reasons remains in place.
Even among 'progressives', the point often is
to explain Christianity correctly and to modernize its language
but not genuinely to alter its foundational beliefs.

The historical Jesus, though, is all about the challenge of alteration.

Recovering the human Jesus means recovering someone who is not the Christian savior
or anybody else's for that matter.

A positive future for religion rests on a basic turn to honest human existence.
No one really comes from heaven, and no king or emperor
or great mind is ever anything but human like everyone else.

The imperial language used to name Jesus, even when the satire is noticed,
still delivers Jesus to a lofty place beyond his humanity and,
accordingly, beyond honest hope that might be associated with him.

• Matthew 25:31-46  (Inclusive Text)

Jesus said to the disciples:
When the Promised One comes in glory, with all the angels,
then he will sit on the throne of his glory.
All the nations will be gathered before him,
and he will separate people one from another
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
and he will put the sheep at his right hand
and the goats at the left.

Then the king will say to those at his right hand,
Come, you that are blessed of God,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
for I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you gave me clothing,
I was sick and you took care of me,
I was in prison and you visited me.

Then the righteous will answer him,
When was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food,
or thirsty and gave you something to drink?

And when was it that we saw you a stranger
and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?

And when was it that we saw you sick
or in prison and visited you?’

And the king will answer them,
Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these
who are members of my family, you did it to me.

OR

• “Sand and Foam”
By Kahlil Gibran

Once every hundred years, Jesus of Nazareth meets Jesus of the Christians
in a
garden among the hills of Lebanon.
And they talk long;
And each time Jesus of
Nazareth goes away saying to Jesus of the Christians,
‘My friend, I fear we shall
never, never agree’.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany: ‘Call to be Church’ (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share together the litany, ‘Call to be church’.
The people stand as they are able

Our God, you call us to be Church:
Le   enable us to create - across
cultural, age and class boundaries –
a laboratory of peace,
testing out your vision
of community and love as we struggle
live with our differences.

Our God, you call us to be Church:
Ri   enable us to be a parable of the Kingdom,
allowing the upside-down values of your commonwealth
to nudge us away from the acquisitive
and self-regarding attitudes of our day.

Our God, you call us to be Church:
Le   enable us to be a sign of contradiction among the nations,
pointing to hope in the midst of disillusion,
offering non-violent resistance when evil threatens,
accepting loss of prestige or wealth in the cause of justice.

Our God, you call us to be Church:
Ri   enable us to be a place of welcome and warmth,